Almost every parent has felt it to some degree. You know. The jolt of shock over a child who has, despite clear teaching and instruction, run in front of a car, climbed a dangerous object, or done something to place themselves or others in harm’s way. Teachers experience it too. Disappointment when a student strays far from the discipline and soundness of what they were taught in school.
Such parents and teachers can feel what the apostle Paul felt when he had poured out his heart and teaching to the Galatians. He taught them that justification/eternal salvation was obtained as a free gift of grace from God, by the empty hand of faith, with no promises to perform on their part, no adherence to the Law of Moses. Faith alone in Christ alone…plus nothing!
Now Paul learns that his clear gospel, presented with such simplicity and purity that a child could understand it, is being tossed by the Galatian churches. They still believe in salvation by grace thru faith in Christ… plus the addition of keeping the Law of Moses. Including circumcision for the men. They’ve been presented an argument from Judaizers that they must add the keeping of the Law to make their salvation sure and complete. And they are convinced.
They had believed the true gospel and were and are saved. But by letting loose their grip on that and clinging to faith plus works, they’ve fallen away from grace as the reigning principle of salvation and life. Their growth is halted and they are a danger to unbelievers. The Galatians are placing themselves squarely in the sights of God’s discipline and may suffer the loss of reward before Christ at the Bema.
Their “gospel” is to God’s judgment what pumping gasoline through a hose is to a huge refinery fire. Fuel to the fire; It only makes it worse!
Worse yet, they’re becoming convinced that since Paul’s gospel of free grace was proven “wrong” that Paul himself must not really be an apostle of Jesus Christ. It’s going to be an unmitigated disaster, unless the truth is reestablished in their minds and lives.
His letter to the Galatian churches is a frontal assault on this false gospel, which damages and inhibits the spiritual growth of these baby Christians. Furthermore, if they preach it to unbelievers, it will give the hearers false hope of salvation and further embed them in fleshly works of the Law for their justification. A dead end if there ever was one!
Paul carefully lays out his defense of his true apostleship from the Lord. Then he dismantles their reliance on the Law and points them to their co-crucifixion with Christ and their death to the Law. It’s not that the Law died, it’s that Paul, the Galatian believers and every Christian has been co-crucified to the Law and any principle of law and there is no aspect of Paul or any believer that is now alive to be condemned by or even to interact with the Law as such over them. We died to the Law… period. Forever. Full stop! Not merely dead to the penalty of disobeying it, not dead to the Levitical priesthood aspect. No, dead to The Law and all principle of law, because we are now alive in Christ, and Christ alive in us. Since nobody can resurrect themselves, any attempt to place oneself under the Law for any purpose is futile. One might as well try to give commands to a dead body.
The Galatian letter then lays out the fact that true spirituality, which the Galatian Christians are seeking but have been side-tracked from, is in the realm and power of the Holy Spirit. It is not in the works of the Law either before or after salvation. They have been placed in Christ who is the very source of real life, and the Spirit He sent to indwell the believers is more than adequate to produce the beautiful fruit of the Spirit. Something obedience to Law could never do and never promised to do.
- Is the once dead, now risen, ascended, glorified and heavenly seated Lord Jesus Christ subject to the Law now? Can someone command Him with it now? No. He is Himself, Lord over the Sabbath.
- Is the believer in Christ Jesus now in the glorified, ascended and heavenly seated Lord Christ Jesus, and is that Christ alive in him? ie, is the believer a new creation in Christ? Yes.
- Since the believer is positioned in the heavenly seated Christ, and that Christ is alive in him and is the source of his spiritual life, he being a brand new creation, and he having died to the Law, in Christ. What aspect of the believer is now alive to the Law as such?
And we have the mind of Christ… Think on these things!