Sunday, September 11, 2022

Galatians Words ~ Word 6: Live


Galatians Words ~ Word 6: Live

“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! If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

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.Galatians 2:17-20

The beginning verses of this passage can be confusing. To simplify it, Paul is responding to his critics who have misunderstood the gospel of justification They seem to think that if the law is eliminated then people will be encouraged to live any way they like, without moral standards. They think that because Paul and other Christ-followers are no longer observing the laws, such as observing the Sabbath, circumcision, not eating certain foods, they are living like sinners. Therefore, by their way of thinking, since they were justified by Christ, then Christ led them into sin. Paul addresses this same issue in Romans chapter 6.

Paul responds with “No way!”. His critics, the Judaizers, have failed to understand that union with Christ results in a changed life. He goes on to say in verse 18 that the law can no longer be used as a guide for judging the life of Christ-followers. Why? “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God.” (2:19) Paul stopped trying to meet the requirements of the law, he ceased to be under its supervision, and instead turned to Christ for justification. He now lives for God. Justification through faith in Christ leads to a new life and a  transformed way of living.

Paul shares how this new life takes place in the next verse with the use of resurrection language - a death and a resurrection must take place. Let’s walk through verse 20 and break it down.

In the Greek, the sentence starts with “With Christ…”. Putting the emphasis of this sentence on Christ.

With Christ I have been crucified”. For Paul, to die to something is to have no further relationship with it, to no longer identify with it. I can’t help but look to Romans 6 to help us understand this verse. What has been crucified? Paul says in Romans 6:2 that “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” So, our faith in Christ resulted in our sin and our old way of life being crucified with Christ on the cross. And notice that Paul says, “I have been crucified”, it was an act in the past that resulted in this crucifixion of sin. Let me be a bit of a grammar nerd here. ‘Have been crucified’ in the Greek is one word and it is a verb. All Greek verbs have a tense, a voice, and a mood which help us gain deeper understanding of what it means for us. This verb in verse 20, ‘have been crucified’ is perfect tense, its voice is passive, and its mood is indicative. So, what does that mean and why does it matter?

Perfect tense means that something happened in the past and is complete, once and for all. It does not need to be repeated, and the results of it continue. What happened in the past? Our crucifixion to sin and our old way of life.  Again, here is how Paul says this in Romans 6:6-7,” For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.When did this crucifixion to sin take place? When we put our faith in Christ. (Galatians 2:16)

A passive verb means that someone, an outside agent, performed the resulting action. In this case, we did nothing to crucify ourselves and die to sin and our old way of life. In his death on the cross, Christ took on our sin and our old way of life was crucified with him.

An indicative mood means that the statement is a fact. When you put your faith in Christ, you ARE crucified with Him, you HAVE died to sin and your old way of life. There are no doubts about this fact. So, believe it and live it out.

Paul goes on in verse 20, “I no longer live”. Meaning my old self no longer lives. Just as Christ was raised from the dead to His resurrection life, I now live a new life. How? “Christ lives in me”. His Spirit resides in me and as Bruce Hurt says, “I am no longer self-centered but now Christ-centered.”.

Paul goes on. “The life I live in the body [the flesh, my time here on earth], I live by faith in [though union with] the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (We’ll look at this last phrase of the verse in our next word!)

'Live' is key to this passage, appearing five times in verses 19 and 20, and putting an emphasis on the new life we have in Christ. The word 'live' is present tense meaning it is a continuous action – we continually, day-by-day, live by faith in the Son of God. Let me point to Romans 6 one more time to expand on what this means.

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.Romans 6:8-11

Because we have been crucified with Christ, we no longer live in our old ways, but rather we live for God by faith in Christ. Because He lives in us we are dead to sin and no longer a slave to it, therefore we are able to consider ourselves as we are – dead to sin and enabled to live the life of God through Christ.

Share how you respond in the Words Challenge Facebook group. You can also share on social media using #galatianswords.










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