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Living by Faith in the Son of God

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. 20 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. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:19-21)

 

Closing out the chapter, in the next two verses, Paul uses death and resurrection to explain the new life found in Christ Jesus. In verse 19, the penalty for breaking the law in any point is death. Yet, when Christ died on the cross, He paid the penalty for our failure to uphold the law, paying the penalty of sin, which is death. Therefore, through Christ, believers are united with Him in faith. As Anders states, “The believer has died to the law. Since we have died, the law must acquit us of further punishment. So, through fulfilling the law by dying in Christ, we are now free from the law.”: “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God.”

 

Then, Paul expounds more of verse 19 with verse 20, “I have been crucified with Christ,” can mean that every believer, in a sense, being unified with Christ, has experienced the effects of Christ’s death. It could also mean that believers, when they follow Christ, put to death their old sinful self, leaving it behind and surrendering to Christ to follow Him, so that it is no longer our desires, but rather, living a life pursuing Christ, who “lives in me.” Because of Christ, believers can now live a life following God because of what Christ has done.

 

And this is not by works, as emphasized by the Judaizers, but it is living by “faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Anders again sums it up nicely, “The more we exercise faith in Christ the more he is free to live through us. The more we are obedient to the Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit, the more our life approximates what Jesus would do if He were in our shoes. In that sense, the life Paul lives, Paul lives by faith in the Son of God.

 

Closing this argument, Paul states strongly in verse 21, “I do not set aside the grace of God,” as the Judaizers were doing, trying to gain salvation, “for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” If anyone could become righteous before the Father through good works alone, then Christ’s death on the cross was pointless. Anders one last time, “Grace provides what the law was powerless to provide—righteousness.”

 

Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone, receiving the free gift of grace bestowed upon us. We cannot earn it through doing good, for the penalty of breaking the law in any way is death. That is why the Father sent His Son Jesus to pay that penalty, so that we could all have the opportunity to live, through Him.

 

Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman

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