Freedom and godly living
Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:16-20 NLT
Paul from the text is reminding Jewish Christians that they and he became followers of Jesus for the same reason. They wanted to be saved. They had turned to Christ because He offered an alternative to the futility of a religion based on laws. Salvation is through a relationship with the Savior, not through unquestioning obedience to a complex code of behavior. The Judaizers fear that granting Gentiles total freedom from the law will lead to lawlessness among them. Not true, Paul insists. “But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not!” (Galatians 2:17). Paul asserts that the closer we draw to Christ, the more aware of our sinfulness we become. We are like Isaiah, whose vision of God made him cry out in his awful sinfulness (see Isaiah 6:1–4). Also, if our behavior is less than exemplary, if we act like sinners, we are not to blame Christ for our abuse of our freedom. He’s not the lawbreaker, but we are, because we are then not living a life filled with the Spirit but are instead still following the dictates of the flesh (see Galatians 5:16–26). Then Paul proceeds to discuss the basis for one’s relationship with God. That basis is not law, but faith. “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” (Galatians 2:20 NIV). Paul learned that there is a way to please God. It wouldn’t be through all his vain efforts, but by believing in Jesus Christ and letting Him live in his life. He now has only one hope and that hope is in Christ. He does not trust intellect or religion or money or glamour or power or anything else to save him. Just like Paul, only what Christ wants should we want. When He is the One ruling us, He also directs us. When Christ lives in us, we are no longer subjected to the ruler of this world but we triumph over it in Christ.