Archive for July 12th, 2012

I recently participated in a discussion of Galatians 2. While the discussion narrowed in on 2:20, it was 2:18 that caught my eye.

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified[b] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.1But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 1For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 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. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.  

This chapter cycles through some of Paul’s relationship with the other Apostles and the leadership of the Jerusalem church.  It begins with their acceptance of the Gospel message that God had commissioned Paul to deliver but then moves into a point of contention between Paul and Peter.  As I read through the chapter and came to verse 18 I was reminded of a TV show that I watched as a child, The Six Million Dollar Man.  The main character had been physically destroyed in a horrible accident, those of you who are old enough will remember the tag line, “We can rebuild him, we have the technology.”

Paul called Peter out for being a bionic Christian.  When we commit our lives to Christ our human nature, our sinful nature is destroyed.  In this process we hand over everything that we are, will be and hope to be over to God.  But our nature strongly opposes this process.  Just as the scientists were driven to use their technology to rebuild Steve Austin physically, we are tempted to rely on our own abilities to justify ourselves before God.  The corollary is that we often believe that we have arrived and need to hold others accountable to this standard also.  Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Christ we rely on ourselves to rebuild us; hoping to achieve an improved model.  We become bionic Christians and so end up mired in sin so subtle that we believe we are headed in the right direction.  When we rely on our own understanding and abilities we negate the very core of the Gospel. We rebuild the very thing that separated humanity from God in the first place, our will over His.


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