“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
~ Galatians 2:20
Hi James and Ellen,
Ask your dad and/or ma why they go to a church service on Sundays. Ask your dad and/or ma if they believe that God will judge them as being unfaithful Christ-followers if they do not go to a church service on a Sunday. About 1970 years ago and on a Sabbath Day, a Judaizer headed for a local synagogue in strict obedience to Old Testament laws to do so. Old Testament laws are the laws that God gave to Moses when he met with God about 1500 years earlier on the top of Mount Sinai to pass on to His specially chosen guys and gals to faithfully obey. About 1970 years ago a new faith based belief paradigm was challenging the works components that Old Testament laws were perpetrating. An incarnate man had introduced this faith based belief paradigm into the Judaizer’s world . The incarnate man was Jesus. Judaizers were Jews who had internalized that a guy or gal who was a Jew had to strictly adhere to the works driven Old Testament laws or they would be eternally condemned by God. The Judaizers were not happy when Jesus introduced a new faith norm to His band of twelve guys who He personally handpicked, to large crowds of guys, gals and kids who followed Him and then through His agonizing suffering and death on a cross. When a guy, gal or kid today accepts this faith norm as absolute truth – with the one caveat being that God must first be asked to forgive him or her of his or her sins, God freely gives an eternal life gift to the guy, gal or kid.
By the time that Paul sent out a letter – the very first letter that Paul scribed, to the emergent churches in the Galatia land area, a tension was growing between old line Judaizers and new Gentile Christ-follower guys and gals. Paul wrote his Galatians Letter fourteen years after becoming a Christ-follower. Before Paul was struck by a flash of extremely bright light – which was sent by God – as God the Father, to wake Paul up to the absolute truths of a new belief paradigm that was being adopted by guys and gals who were Jews who had become Christ-followers. Paul had really believed that his life calling was to find, persecute and kill any and all Christ-follower guys and gals. While Peter was making Jews his outreach focus, Paul was making Gentiles his outreach focus. Paul in his Galatians Letter affirmed Peter in his outreach to the Jews. Jews though had a real arrogance issue. Jews understood that they were God’s specially chosen guys and gals. Jews really thought that they had the only direct link to the Supreme Being – Who is God. A Gentile was any guy, gal or kid who was not a Jew. Jews really thought that a Gentile guy or gal was not destined to ever having the same hope that they had – which was to one day make it to heaven because of his or her obedience to Old Testament laws – unless a Gentile guy or gal intentionally applied Old Testament laws to his or her life. Old Testament laws mandated that a guy needed to do certain things in order to fulfill or meet the requisites of Old Testament laws. Paul – in Galatians 2, communicates to the guys and gals in Christ-follower communities in Galatia’s land area his frustration with some guys – including Peter, who through their actions were implying that the need to observe Old Testament laws was still a player for all Christ-follower guys and gals – including Gentile guys and gals, to literally apply in their lives. When his buddy Titus – even though he was a Greek, was compelled to follow through on an Old Testament law mandate, Paul’s patience with the Judaizers – who Paul called false, spying bros, was really tested. When Paul saw Peter being drawn back into the Judaizer crowd – taking another good buddy of his – Barnabas, with him, Paul had had enough; Paul told Peter that what Peter had done – by acquiescing to the Judaizers and not eating with the Gentiles, was clearly a wrong thing to do. Your grandpaa is still trying to reconcile why Paul did what he did years later in the city of Jerusalem – when he went along with James’ request that he honor Old Testament laws by going through with a couple of Jews a works based purification ceremony.
Paul makes it very clear that Old Testament laws are not to be depreciated – that they are to be seen as holy, righteous and good. Paul also makes it very clear that the faith that a guy, gal or kid has today cannot ever be seen as having been generated by Old Testament laws; that the faith that a guy, gal or kid has today is to be seen as having been justified by God – as God the Son or as Christ, for a guy, gal or kid to freely claim by believing in what God – as God the Son or as Christ, did for him or her on a cross. Paul says in verse 20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Paul explains to guys and gals in Christ-follower fellowships in Galatia’s land area that Old Testament laws help to explain the impact and influence that sin has on the lives of guys, gals and kids and the futility that works based laws have in rectifying and eliminating the effects and controls that sin invariably has in the life of evert guy, gal and kid. If you are crucified in Christ, you know that your sins have been forgiven. If you know that Christ lives in you, you know that Christ directs your lives. It is through your faith in Christ – which clearly magnifies God’s grace towards you, that you know the reason why Christ died – which is that He literally died for you. Because of Christ’s death, guys, gals and kids have access to the gift of eternal life.
Galatians 2 (758)