How in the world do I live out my Christian life? What principles does God’s Word give me to make significant strides in following Jesus? We are camping on Galatians 2:19-21 to see what “keys” are there that can help us.
We have seen the first key in verse 19 that I must have a proper relationship to the law. The law brings death and I have died to it. The second key is that the old me is dead! We read in verse 20- “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.” The third key that impacts me here is this: There is a NEW ME who is to live by faith! (v. 20). I have not ceased to exist. But now I can live a new life by faith in the Son of God. The fourth key that I see in this passage is: I have been paid for! Please notice the expression in verse 20- “the Son of God . . . who loved me and gave himself for me.” Theologians refer to this as the doctrine of substitutionary atonement! [We get paid by the big words].
The last key that I notice in this passage is found in verse 21- “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” The principle I see here is I can never pay back God for my salvation — nor should I try to! Salvation is a free gift of the grace of God in giving Jesus for my sins. Gifts are to be received — and given thanks for. But never paid for by the recipient!
I suspect that many believers live out their lives trying to repay God. And that’s not the Christian life! In perhaps their best-intentioned response to the grace of God, they nullify it. They live as if righteousness could be gained through the law. And the awful conclusion to that perspective is . . . Christ died for nothing!
Motivation is everything, and the reason I should live for the Lord is a grateful heart that wants to show my appreciation every day for His saving me. My best good deeds are not good enough to pay for my sins. But Jesus did for me what I could never do for myself. Payback or praise? It’s my choice. And yours.