Monday, May 14, 2012

Galatians 2

     The question Galatians is addressing is pretty simple: can I earn my way to heaven. Is it possible, through my good behavior and adherence to the rules, to earn God's favor? Is it possible, through my own efforts, to ever be good enough to put God in my debt. The answer of the gospel and the answer from St. Paul is a resounding no. Jesus came to break the bonds of religion. In Bill Hybel's explanation: religion is spelled DO. Religion is about all that I have to DO to make myself acceptable to God. Christianity should be spelled DONE. Our faith is all about what God has already DONE to make us acceptable to him.
    Paul's answer to the long debate with the legal camp is that one cannot ever be good enough. It is not possible to justify one's self through trying to be good enough or through our own efforts. The Christian answer is not try harder, the Christian answer is to surrender -- that is to put your trust in what God has already done through Jesus. Paul puts it this way: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives i me. And the life I now lie in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:19b-20)." To paraphrase: just as Jesus died on the cross so I died to my own belief that I could ever, through my own efforts, save myself. I had to be rescued and that rescue came when I surrendered my life to Jesus and put my whole trust in his death and resurrection for my salvation.
    When I understand this and stop trying to earn brownie points with God I am free. I am free to recognize God's love has been poured out into me. I am free to now live into the kingdom of God that Jesus came to proclaim. I am now free to declare this freedom to others and, together, to begin to build a better world. Imagine.

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