for if i rebuild what i tore down, i prove myself to be a transgressor. [galatians 2:18]
paul had spent so much of his ministry taking salvation that had once been reserved for the jews and declaring it to the gentiles. taking an old covenant and showing how it had been made new in Christ Jesus. offering life through the Messiah who had come to fulfill the law so that all might have freedom in him.
paul had torn down the people’s bondage to the law. through months and months of explaining, debating, and expositing the scriptures, churches had begun and been established on the firm foundation of eternal life in Jesus Christ. however, the opposition that continued to creep into these churches was teaching that salvation was only available through Christ AND the law! they had been offered righteousness through Christ, and they wanted to cling to condemnation under the law! hadn’t it been made so clear that no one can keep the law? no one is made righteous through the law!
but this false teaching is not unique to the early church. we too often fall into thinking we have to be a certain way, act a certain way, or sound a certain way to be made right before a holy God. don’t hear me say that life in Christ means living however we want. on the contrary, life in Christ causes dramatic change in our behaviors as God molds us into something that looks more and more like his Son. but this is not what saves us. learning more of the bible is not what saves us. attending church or lot family consistently is not what saves us. cleaning up our language, forgiving our grumpy neighbor, and speaking gently to our children is not what saves us. we are transgressors in every area of good works, because we cannot perform them perfectly. only through Jesus can we have freedom from sin and condemnation.
and so we, along with paul, along with Jesus himself, are tasked with continuing to tear down this bondage to the law. speaking out freedom in Christ. teaching the joy of living life with the Spirit as our guide and not the law. are you preaching this to others? are you preaching it to yourself?
Father, help me to believe i am fully forgiven in your eyes. help me to believe that Christ’s blood is fully sufficient for my righteousness before you. help me to live for the joy set before me of eternity in your glorious presence. thank you for your steadfast love and unchanging truth. amen.
~ arwen eastman