Dead, But Very Much Alive

The Galatian church was having "issues." People had crept into the church and were trying to persuade the believers to retain some of the old beliefs from which the Gospel of Jesus Christ had freed them. Paul called them on their drift back into the old and unproductive paths of believing that obedience to the law could save them. He even went so far as to call them "foolish" (Galatians 3:1).

He recalled the uneasy meeting that took place between himself and the apostles in Jerusalem. The leaders of the early church were uneasy because in those early days after Paul's conversion, the believers were not entirely convinced that this "conversion" was another more than an elaborate hoax to trap them. Some of the Jews were still struggling with the entrance of the Gentiles into the Kingdom. Paul's claim to be an apostle to those Gentiles made him even more suspect to some.

Paul was equally uneasy, uncertain about the reception he would receive from the Jewish leaders of the Christian revolution. As you read through the first few chapters of Galatians you might even call him a little defensive. Paul reported back regularly to these leaders and even time did not dull some of the tensions between him and the others. Paul was not an easy person to deal with. He was forceful, demanding, and unafraid–a "High D" on anyone's personality scale.

For some, getting along with Paul would have been a challenge. But when those who did have to deal with him peeled back the layers that made up his personality, they quickly found a man whose only desire was to know Christ and to serve Christ for the sake of the Kingdom. Tucked away in his rebuke and instruction to the Galatian church are little gems that reveal the diamond God saw in the middle of the lump of clay that others might have seen.

He writes in Galatians 2:19 (NIV): "I 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." This statement is part of the apostle's argument against thinking that obedience to the law is a means of salvation. But at the same time it shows us the desire of a man saved by grace to glorify his Saviour because of that grace.

I wonder what Paul's daily routine looked like. Did he get up every morning and lay himself on that cross again, thanking God for the grace that saved him and then asking Christ, who lived in him by the Spirit, to make his day one lived out in faith and Christlikeness?

It would certainly be a good example to follow.


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