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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 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!”—Galatians 2:19–21 (NIV)
Imagine you committed a crime and were declared guilty. Now you’re facing the death penalty. But right before your execution, someone stepped forward and was killed in your place.
At that point, the file would be stamped completed. There would be no need for any further legal action, because your crime was paid for, the penalty took place, and the law was satisfied. It is finished. And they would never be able to come after you again, because you can’t be punished for a crime that was already paid for.
In this passage, Paul declares, “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.” This means that in the eyes of the law, the case of sin is closed for anyone who believes, because the punishment of death has already taken place. Our crime was paid for when Jesus died on the cross!
Now you might be thinking, When did I die? I’m still alive. Well, as a believer, Galatians 2:20 declares that you “have been crucified with Christ.” You see, when He died, we died to sin, because God nailed our sins on Him.
So literally and legally, Jesus already paid it all. The law was satisfied and Christ’s innocence has been transferred to us. So, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, He only sees Jesus!
Now look at verse 20: “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.” I love this! When we give our lives to Jesus, our old self, our old nature, dies, and we are born again into life in Christ, with Christ, and through Christ. We then live with the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead within us!
However, when we add requirements to this amazing work of Christ, it’s like saying Jesus’ death wasn’t enough. By adding to the grace of God, it’s like saying Jesus suffered, was tortured, and died a horrible death for nothing. And that’s what the Judaizers were doing, and sadly, that’s what Peter’s actions were saying to the Gentiles. That’s why Paul strongly rebuked Peter and was so staunchly against the Judaizers.
Friends, let us remember that Jesus paid it all and all to Him we owe. Let us be careful to never add anything to grace, because when it comes to grace, if we add anything to it, we completely ruin it.
DIG: What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?
DISCOVER: Why is it a problem to add anything to the work of grace?
DO: Today, thank the Lord for His grace that solely depends on the work of Christ and not your own effort.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.