September 19

Galatians 2:19-21 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

When Peter came to Antioch, he laid aside his strict Jewish customs and ate with the Gentile Christians. Later, when men were sent there from James, Peter ate only with the Jews for fear of being reprimanded by the law keepers. Other Jews followed his example. Paul confronted him, reminding him that they were made right with God through faith in Christ Jesus, not in keeping the law. They received the Spirit because of faith in Jesus, not because they kept the law.

Paul went on to explain that it was through the law that he died to the law so that he might live for God. The law promised a new covenant and the indwelling Spirit of God. The law promised the coming Messiah who would reign in our hearts. Paul died with that Messiah, Jesus, on the cross. His life was the life of Christ in him. He lived that life not by the law, but by faith in the Son of God who loved him and gave Himself for him. It was no longer Paul trying to obey rules, but Paul yielded to the life of Christ in him. The righteous things he did were not his effort, but the life of Christ manifested in his mortal body.

Many Christians today try to please God by doing the things that good Christians should do. It is not so different from the Jews trying to please God by keeping the Jewish laws. We can never please God by our own efforts. The way to please God is to die with Christ and let the life of Christ reign within. Remember that God said He was well pleased with His Son. Are you in Christ? Then God is well pleased with you. Just let His life be expressed through you as He directs moment by moment.

Consider: If we could please God by trying, why did Jesus go to the cross? He died as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we might receive the Spirit. Let His life, in all its goodness and holiness, be expressed through you. Is He living through you?