Living Crucified

There is a temptation that comes to many of us to think that our salvation is granted to us on the basis of our efforts and works.  That we have todo something to earn God’s favor.  Paul says that this is not even the case in Galatians 2:11-21.  Paul accuses Peter of hypocrisy in this passage because Peter separated himself from the Gentiles in Antioch after eating with them previously.  Peter was more worried about what others thought of him than he was about what God thought of him.  Paul said that Peter “was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group” (Galatians 2:12, NIV).  Those who wanted the Gentiles to be circumcised in order to become Jews first before becoming Christians were influencing Peter.  Perhaps Peter didn’t want to confront them about their errant view of the Gospel of grace.  Maybe he was worried about what they thought of him.  Whatever the reason, Peter was being influenced by those who were arguing for circumcision.  The problem is that circumcision was a work of the law.  Paul argues that the law cannot save humans because we cannot possibly keep it.  We must not be deluded into thinking that we can somehow be good enough to earn salvation through our efforts.
Paul says in Galatians 2:20 (NIV):

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.

When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His death and buried with Him (Romans 6:1-6).  We are spiritually crucified with Christ and our old selves are put to death.  When we come out of the waters of baptism, we are raised with Christ.  We are brand new.  We are new creations.  The old has gone and the new has come.  Now we live for Christ and not for ourselves.  This all happens by God’s wonderful grace.  On our own, we are sunk.  We cannot be good enough to merit salvation.  It is only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus that we can be saved.

Galatians 2:11-21 (NIV)

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 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, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”


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