September 30, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you for being willing to pray specifically for our prodigals and for revival each Wednesday. We greatly appreciate your partnership in prayer. Jerry Bridges, now with the Lord once said, “To live by grace is to live solely by the merit of Jesus Christ. To live by grace is to base my entire relationship with God, including my acceptance and standing with Him, on my union with Christ.” Wow, is that ever good! Incredible! Go ahead, read it again!
This is the theme of Galatians. As we continue in our freedom series through this book, consider the amazing words of Paul in chapter-two, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but 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 righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (Gal. 2:20-21). There are three thoughts that surround our life in Christ, and they center around the words, grace, union, and freedom.
Firstly, grace is the basis of our life in Christ. We needed grace when we were in the ugliness of our sin and incapable of doing anything to make ourselves presentable to God. According to Romans 5, our sin was great but His grace was much, much greater. Right in our chapter, we are told, “We know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law” (Gal. 2:16).
Grace was not only the basis of bringing us to Christ but also the present principle by which we live. We cannot maintain a relationship with God by doing. It is only through faith in Christ Jesus. Remember the series of questions asked at the start of Galatians 3? Grace started it all. Grace enables us to live in Christ. And grace will bring us safely into His eternal presence.
Secondly, union is the reality of our life in Christ. This is what Christ did for us in His death and resurrection. Galatians 2:20 reminds us that we not only have a Savior who died and rose again for us, but a representative who did the same. Meaning - when He died, you died, and when He arose, you arose in Him. This is the wonderful truth of union in Christ. We are inseparably linked with Him both in death and resurrection. The words of verse 20 are so personal and poignant, “Christ who lives in me.” As to our position before God, we live in Him. As to our union with God, Christ lives in us.
Thirdly, freedom is the enjoyment of our life in Christ. It is one thing to know and accept what Christ has done, but it is altogether different to live in the fullness of it. Living free was a big concern for Paul as he wrote to the Galatian believers. There were false brothers who were secretly slipped into their midst to spy out their freedom and thus plug them back into the slavery of law-keeping (Gal. 2:4).
This slavish type of thinking can creep into our lives as well and we need to strongly guard against it. It has been our default for so long in our unsaved days, and even in our Christian lives, it has been taught that performance-based Christianity is what God approves. It is false! Paul had to meet Peter face-to-face in order to correct his false ideas of siding with the law-keepers (Gal. 2:11-14). Even Barnabas got caught up in the hypocrisy of that way of living, which is so contrary to the principle of grace and freedom. It does not produce freedom and it is not in step with the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:14).
Freedom to live united with Christ is God’s desire and our honored privilege. If we lived by the law, grace would be canceled, Christ’s death would be for nothing, and our life would be slavery — such horrible thoughts. But as you live in God’s freedom, keep grace at the forefront of your thoughts, appreciate the work of Christ on your behalf, and enjoy the freedom He has provided for you.
Thanks for praying.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel