Key Verse: “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Justified – to declare or to be made just; righteous; to be freed. Sinner – not free from sin. Transgressor – one who violates a command or law.
This week we enter into a new unit which gives us a glimpse of God’s Redemption. Last week’s lesson showed us how God saved and rescued his chosen people, this week we are allowed to see how we have been justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians is one of the Pauline Epistles which was written to the church at Galatia. Let’s see what’s in store for this week…
JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (v. 15-18)
As Galatians 2 opens, Paul is giving some history about his missionary trip to Jerusalem. It is no doubt that Paul’s testimony and his apostleship was in question, so he began to defend his position. The Apostle Paul states a very important fact at the onset of this outline, salvation can only come through faith in Jesus Christ. Men are not justified by works of the Law, the Jews knew this important fact, this is why Paul continued to use the inclusive term “we”. Verse 17 shows that in God, there is differentiation, both the Jews and Gentiles has to come to God in the same way to receive salvation. With this understanding, Paul had to tell the Gentiles that if believing in Christ would save them, then submitting to the Jewish circumcision would undo all that he taught them about being accepted as Christians without observing the Law. Justification can only come through faith in Christ Jesus.
BROUGHT TO LIFE BY FAITH (v. 19-21)
The concluding verses of this lesson speak of how Paul experienced a “death” to the Law so that he could have life in God through Christ. Paul uses verse 20 to show forth his identification with Christ. Three days after his Damascus Road experience where he was converted, he was baptized according to Acts 9:7- 19 and he used this to show forth how he died and rose with Christ. Because of this experience Paul had a new life in Christ. Paul closes by saying that he does not frustrate the law with the grace of God, because if there was any other way to experience new life in Christ and if righteousness could come from the law, then Christ died in vain.
This lesson gives us great hope because it is a powerful reminder that we have been made right with God through the sacrificed life of His only Son, Jesus Christ. Just like Christ experienced a gruesome crucifixion and death on the cross, we too must crucify ourselves daily if we are going to be able to identify with him. The good news is, although we are crucified with Christ, He has the power to make us alive once again.
**Correction: In last week’s review, I wrote that Miriam was Moses’ sister, I intended to write Aaron’s sister.**
Reverend Rodney C. Griffin, Jr., B.A. Associate Minister Mount Vernon Baptist Church Dr. Johnny L. Miller, Pastor