Sketch by Patrick Murphy: inspiredsketch.blogspot.com
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:19-20, HCSB).
This is one of the most concise descriptions of the Christian walk found in scripture. It is like a zip file–full of stuff that needs to be unpacked. Here are some of my random thoughts:
We live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. This applies on two fronts. By offering Himself once on the cross, Jesus has cleansed us from every sin–past, present, future (Heb. 10:10). That’s the first front. The other has to do with “where” the Son of God is in this verse. Many times I read this verse and imagined myself trusting in Jesus as He sat on a heavenly throne somewhere out there. But Paul just told us “Christ lives in me.” The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me in history. But He also lives in me now. So when I live by faith in the Son of God, I am trusting His sacrifice AND the One who now lives in my place.
In context, Paul is discussing the law: “For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God” (Gal. 2:19). The law exposed me as a sinner and condemned me to death. My execution was accomplished through the cross. Now that I am dead, the use and purpose of the law is exhausted. Statutes against murder have no further use once a serial killer has been executed.
And what of good behavior? What power does a corpse have to honor his father and mother or keep the sabbath?
Instead of the law legislating my outward behavior, Christ lives in me. He is the fulfillment of the law (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 10:1). The presence of Christ in me will change my behavior. But not even my changed behavior is the fulfillment of the law. Christ IS the fulfillment (Matt. 5:17).
Remember the prodigal son and his brother? The son that pleased the father wasn’t the one who toed the line and stayed home. It was the one who was brought back from the dead (Luke 15:32). The law isn’t a testimony of what we should and shouldn’t do. It is a testimony of the One who died and rose again. Only if we are dead and risen with Christ will we know the law’s fulfillment in our lives.
This is the Christian walk: not keeping the law, not living up to God’s expectations but knowing Christ in His death and resurrection (Php. 3:10).
Also see “Wonderful Things in Your Law“