Galatians 2: The Grace of God
May 18, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Paul is continuing to establish his authority as a real apostle. He does it in the following ways – each of which allow us to put our trust in the authority of the Bible:
First, Paul tells the story of his own visit to Jerusalem, making clear that he was not somehow lesser than the other apostles. Today, too many people at times are more happy to accept some parts of the New Testament apostolic writings than other parts. They find some of what Paul wrote more difficult to accept than (for instance) some of what Peter or John wrote. But Paul, under the inspiration of God, wrote Holy Scripture, and we are to accept his writings as the inspired word of God. As Peter himself said of him later, that Paul wrote some things which are hard to understand which ignorant and unstable men distort, as they do the other Scriptures – indicating that Peter regarded what Paul was writing as Scripture. Take God’s Word seriously. Read it. Mark it. Inwardly digest it. And let the food of the Word strengthen you as you trust it and obey it.
Second, Paul tells the story of his confrontation with Peter. In this way, Paul establishes that if he or anyone else preaches another gospel, let him be eternally condemned – as he said in the first chapter. Even if Peter himself was off base, he should still be corrected. There is but one gospel. And it is that gospel that we must believe, obey, and proclaim to others. Ask God to give you a renewed heart for the gospel. To follow it. To share it. To stick to what God has said about Jesus.
Third, Paul concludes with some stunning words that explicate and apply this gospel that he is defending.
“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.I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Note three important truths. One, note that the Christian no longer lives for him or herself. We have been bought at a price. We now live for God – but even more Christ lives in us. It is his life in us. We do not do it ourselves. He does it through us. Two, note that our life is lived by faith. We do not yet see. We do not see God face to face. We do not know all that we are one day going to know. There are many things that we cannot understand. But we know that Christ gave himself for us, and in the knowledge of that truth and by faith in it, we walk by faith through the sometimes confusing aspects of life in this world. Third, as we go on through the Christian life, we continue to live by the grace of God. Paul will talk about this in the next chapter: but here he introduces the idea. We do not set aside the grace of God. Righteousness cannot be obtained by our own efforts, our own performance. It is all by grace. Praise God!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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