New life, through faith in Christ, alone…

New life, through faith in Christ, alone…

GALATIANS 2 v. 15 – 21

‘We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, since by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be!
For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.
For through the law I died to the law, that I might live to God.
I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died needlessly.’

In the first part of today’s reading, as Paul continues to challenge Peter, and his hypocritical behaviour, Paul emphasises in the strongest way possible that we are put right (justified) not by works (the law) but by faith in Christ Jesus. In other words, ‘there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we can DO to earn God’s favour, to make Him love us more (or less) than He already does – it’s all God’s grace received through faith in Jesus.

Paul then explains the purpose of the cross – that we can identify our sins, our shortcomings being nailed to the cross, dying with Jesus, so that by His resurrection life, we are re-born, given new life.
The line ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’, reminds me of our Covenant Prayer all over again – ‘I am no longer my own, but Yours.’
It’s a daily discipline to lay down our lives, in Christ, that He might raise us up and live through us.

Lord Jesus,
I freely and wholeheartedly
yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am Yours,
so be it.

Meditate / reflect for a while on the verse ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’.
Try to put into your own words your personal experience of your old self, crucified with Jesus, and the new life He lives through you.

Phil Gough