As I listen to the song “100 Billion times” God speaks to me. “In the vapour of my breath a hundred billion galaxies are born – think of that power, huge stars, many times the size of the sun, galaxies of them – awesome unimaginable furnaces – that reflect and show My power – the vapour of My breath can produce anything – that power is at work in the world today and the full aim and purpose of that power is focused on preparing a people for Myself – a Bride – a Bride to bring Me glory – a Bride which will give Me joy and each person is important in that Bride, each of you who will be there will know the joy I am experiencing at the culmination of My plan – look around you – the whole earth is is under My power, yes it is not always so evident because of sin and the ‘curse’ – but that power is at work all the time – in the Covid epidemic, in the looting masses – that power is at work to achieve My purpose – it is at work in you in every part of your being, so go into the week with the words ringing in your ears – “if God is for you who can be against you?” And rejoice in them.”
Thankyou for your accurate and intimate comments on Galatians 2:20,21 . Let us look at this passage together again because it is so important not only to know and understand it but to actually live through it by grace. It is surely the beginning of center point of this letter, which actually carries on and includes Ch 3:1-5. So in vs 19 Paul says “through the law I died to the law that I may live (for God).” In vs 20 he uses the “death” terminology again. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me”. So what is he saying? What about him has died and how does that affect his life and ours? Remember death denotes a total separation. He says he has died to the law. What does he mean and what is the deeper meaning which is the beginning of the secret of this passage?
The law represented God’s standard which, according to Deuteronomy if obeyed completely it would be the source of life.
Dt 30:15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.
Dt 30:16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live.
But our lack of ability to keep this law perfectly represents the deep problem we each of us has. It is the problem of placing ourselves first in our thoughts and lives. Truly the word sin has i in the middle. Because we are each born with the default desire to love ourselves and to live for ourselves it is impossible to obey God’s law completely from our hearts starting with the basic one “I command you to love the Lord”. Later in the letter Paul will expand on this concept that the law, paradoxically leads him to realize his need for salvation, his need to break the bonds of the law, as it were.
For this to happen he needs to be crucified. What is to be killed? Well this very “self” which is the center point of sin. It is only as that part of ourselves is put to death that we can come alive to accept the power of God to lead us in the Spirit-filled life. The new life is a life of faith, he says. A life of living by trusting Jesus, through His Spirit to lead us and empower us to live it.
This verb crucified is in the aorist tense, an action done once for always. So he is saying he has been crucified once and for all so that his whole life is new. From now on Jesus will be at the center if his life and all his life will be focused on following and pleasing Jesus. His life has taken on a new direction. Interestingly Jesus builds on that concept in Mark 8:34 ff. “If anyone would come after me , he must deny himself (Daily and continually) and take up his cross and follow me”. So while we have been totally set free once and for all, we need to learn to apply that freedom to our daily lives continually.
Then Paul comes to the application of this theological discussion which is summarized in 2:21 – 3:6, which is the very purpose of his writing this letter. So lets look at that next time, to see how these vv fit together and most of all whether we are really applying them to our lives.
So the challenge to me is to keep remembering that I have been crucified with Christ. He is the One who has set me free so I need to embrace that in my mind and actions every day as I live it by His grace.