Reading: Galatians 2
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal. 2:20-21 ESV)
Reflecting and Thinking
Another possible description of the gospel Paul shares is the "lived out" gospel. These words, "lived out," may not mean what you initially think. Chapter 2 is Paul's description of how the gospel has changed his life. He also makes clear that it is not always easy to live out the gospel in our lives. Even Peter was tempted to compromise some details of faith, and good-hearted Barnabas was led astray by Peter's example.
The lived out gospel has consequences we may not like. When we live out the gospel and are willing to be justified by Christ (instead of our own works), our sin becomes very evident. Living out the gospel is not a description of perfect action; it is Paul's description of perfect submission to Christ, allowing Christ to control our lives and live through us. Living out the gospel shows that I am weak and sinful, incapable and inconsistent. The good news is that the weak, sinful man is crucified with Christ and no longer exists in God's sight as life is lived by faith in the Son of God. The grace of God does not make me better. The grace of God declares me better and I no longer have to be righteous in myself since I am righteous through Christ.
What does it mean to you to be crucified with Christ? How hard is it to live so that Christ is the total explanation of how we live as he lives in us? How is it possible for us to nullify the grace of God today? How might we nullify the gospel by seeking righteousness through our own efforts? How might we nullify the gospel by adopting a merit/demerit version of Christianity?
Dear God, help us do right for the right reasons. Help me know with confidence that my faith in Christ justifies more than the good things I can do. Help me integrate these two concepts correctly, so that faith is primary, and my actions follow. May Christ live more fully in me and through me is my prayer in his name, Amen.