For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who lives, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:19-21 NRSV)
No one is justified through fulfilling the law, because none of us are capable of fulfilling the law. Jesus fulfilled the law on all counts so did not deserve to die, but he did to break the hold of sin on everyone else.
Each of us was crucified with Christ, not because by doing so makes his death more effective, but because all our sinful nature must die so we can truly live our lives with Jesus, or more correctly so he can now live his life in and through each one of us.
Our whole lives should be lived ‘by faith’ in Jesus who died as a substitutionary sacrifice in our place. If we think, live or act as if anything we do can justify us then we are living hypocritical lives and saying that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was worth nothing and has no power. But this is not true, Christ’s death is totally efficacious in every way and is powerful as here the hold of sin on each of us was broken if we only accept the finished work of the cross in our lives.
We are justified by faith in Christ alone!
Also if we live as if we are justified by our own efforts then we make the gospel of no effect and will not be able to proclaim it with power and authority, if we proclaim it at all!
Heavenly Father, help me always to remember that we are only saved by faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross, and by that alone. Help me never to fall into legalism, the hypocrisy that goes with it and so cheapen your work on the cross. In your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.
… they only heard it said, ‘The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me. (Galatians 1:23-24 NRSV)
People who were once like Saul, and most adamantly against Christ, when they come to know the Lord, and some of his most powerful proclaimers.
This is the future for Richard Dawkins. God is after him as he was after Paul. If I look back at my own life I can see a time when God was pursuing me even though I resisted him. Eventually all I could do was run to the one I had once run away from.
If you are reading this then please stand with me and others around the country who are praying for Richard Dawkins to be saved.
Lord Jesus, give Richard Dawkins a Damascus road conversion experience, where you break in and shine your light on him and open his spiritual eyes as you opened Paul’s. Amen.
(The Apostle Paul was known as Saul before his conversion. It is quite possible that Paul was one of the three names he would have had as a Roman citizen. It was possibly taken as a name by his father (or forefather) when he was freed from slavery or sponsored for citizenship and was part of their former owner’s or sponsors name.)
But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accused! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed! (Galatians 1:8-9 NRSV)
Preaching or proclaiming the gospel is a great responsibility. What we preach is important, especially if we proclaim the gospel publically. As Paul says elsewhere we are to watch out life and our doctrine closely (1 Timothy 4:16). It all needs to stack up, what we preach and how we live. This is not because of what man may think of us, but because of what God thinks of us.
We are each responsible and that holds for people and for angelic beings.
We must expect that God will judge our workmanship and measure it by his standards.
If we are found wanting then we shall not know eternal salvation, but eternal damnation.
Preachers and teachers beware! You may fool men, but you cannot fool God!