The early church was suffering from a big problem, one that Paul took so seriously that he addressed it 29 times across 7 letters. The problem was circumcision. On the surface this might seem trivial, but to Paul, this old initiation ritual was placing God’s people back under the Law for which Jesus had already fulfilled and died.
The problem of hollow ritual acts and law following is not a thing of the past. Our flesh is constantly pulling us towards a self-interpreted law with stilted rewards of self-importance. Our need for checklists and accolades pulls us away from grace. We forget that the Law was weakened by humanity because we did not use it as a tool to better understand the heart of the Law Maker; instead, from it we created a system that doomed us to failure generation after generation.
Paul’s argument in Galatians 2 is that faith is enough to be counted as sons and daughters of God. Faith in Jesus is what takes our sinful nature and replaces it with His spiritual nature. Our old lives of sin, guilt, and striving died on the cross with Christ. And now, in the same way that His death was our death, His life is now ours. Through the power of the Holy Spirit in our new lives, our faith is greater than our flesh.
To close, soak in these words from Martin Luther: “Read the words "me" and "for me" with great emphasis. Print this "me" with capital letters in your heart, and do not ever doubt that you belong to the number of those who are meant by this "me." Christ did not only love Peter and Paul. The same love He felt for them He feels for us. If we cannot deny that we are sinners, we cannot deny that Christ died for our sins.”
- Mikah Alge
1. Think about your old life and your new life after believing in Christ. What has been crucified to Christ in your life?
2. How does Christ live in you? Essentially, what is different now, and can you see the role of the Holy Spirit in that change?
*Parents: grab a glass of water, some cooking oil, and dish soap. Tell your children that God like the clean, pure water. Add the oil and tell them that we are like the oil. The oil looks really similar to the water but, no matter how much you shake or stir the mixture, they just can’t mix together. In the same way, our sin actually separates us from God. Now add the generous amount of dish soap and say, Jesus is like the soap. In this experiment, the soap breaks down the structure of the oil so that it can mix with the water, this is the only way these two liquids can mix. In the same way, Jesus actually changes us so that we can be with God. What do you think of that?
**Lord, you communicate your love for us in so many ways, and we are in awe. Thank you for sending Jesus to change our beings so that we can experience your love and presence for the rest of our lives! Amen.