Peter's Rebuke (2.11-21) 3/3
"I have been crucified with Christ; 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 gave Himself for me." (). This verse is so packed with meaning that it is impossible to do it justice in such a forum as this. Nevertheless some comments are in order.
"Living by faith" as Paul expresses it is the defining difference between the Law of the Old Testament and the Law of the New Covenant. The difference is not in the existence or lack of existence of law; both old and new covenants have law involved. Rather, the difference is in remedy, remedy for sin. The Old covenant was temporary in nature and was intended to demonstrate the futility of man in seeking remedy for his sin-condition through his own perfect obedience to a set of ordinances ("so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful" ). Once violated, a law of obedience can never be "un-violated." The Law of Christ takes that fact into account and provides an actual (not theoretical or potential) remedy for the sin-condition. To live by faith is to reject the concept of justification through our own deeds and to accept justification that results through the provisions entirely made possible through the work of another!
Had Paul allowed the Judaizers to lead him one step backward toward the system of the Old Covenant, he would have surrendered the concept of living by faith; that former system stood in sharp contrast with the system of faith that Jesus died to establish. Hence Paul affirms that the current life in which he was engaged ("the life that I now live in the flesh") was totally devoted to the concept of Christ living in him; no longer would he depend upon his own merits but entirely upon the merits of the One who loved him and gave Himself for him. is Paul's Pledge of Allegiance, if you will, to the faith of Jesus. He will give no quarter to anyone (Peter or whomever) who attempts, consciously or otherwise, to lead him back to the former covenant; rather, he will exult in the blessings of the gospel and reject out of hand anyone or anything that makes void cross of Christ!
The text in today's message is the Golden Text of Galatians. It is the line of demarcation that is drawn between truth and error, between Paul and those who opposed him, as well as between the Judaizers and the teachers of truth; this text expresses the hope of every Christian in Jerusalem, Galatian, and the entire universe for all time. The "living by faith" principle is the difference between self-righteousness and the righteousness to which God has appointed believers. Every other system is false! Every other system makes the cross a meaningless event! Jesus did not die there because it was a way; He died there because it was THE way. Anything or anybody that negates that truth stands in stark opposition to Paul and to God!
Paul is the equal rank apostle who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, penned this Pledge of Allegiance. All who pass this way must utter that same pledge; there is no other way!!
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