Galatians 2:15-21 – And then I went on to explain (to the apostle Peter, who during a visit to Syrian Antioch ate with Gentiles until the arrival of Jewish Christians from Jerusalem caused him to stop) that we, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, know that a man is justified not by performing what the (Jewish) Law commands but by faith in Jesus Christ. We ourselves are justified by our faith and not by our obedience to the Law, for we have recognized that no one can achieve justification by doing the “works of the Law”. Now if, as we seek the real truth about justification, we find we are as much sinners as the Gentiles, does that mean that Christ makes us sinners? Of course not! But if I attempt to build again the whole structure of justification by the Law then I do, in earnest, make myself a sinner. For under the Law I “died”, and now I am dead to the Law’s demands so that I may live for God. As far as the Law is concerned I may consider that I died on the cross with Christ. And my present life is not that of the old “I”, but the living Christ within me. The bodily life I now live, I live believing in the Son of God, who loved me and sacrificed himself for me. Consequently I refuse to stultify the grace of God by reverting to the Law. For if righteousness were possible under the Law then Christ died for nothing!”
I was reminded of this today, and it was the punchline, the conclusion, the closing statement to the last 10 days of living and struggling with my “life”.
This morning, while I was reading the news as I do most mornings, I read a book review about a young girl named Maya who set out to follow the social and fashion advice from a 1951 book written by Betty Cornell, here. Maya’s book is here. The article I read about the book is here. Maya was a young teen and at the bottom of the social ladder in her school when she set out to write this memoir. I was inspired by this story and decided to write (or blog) my own ‘memoir’, and the book I chose to follow to the letter was the new testament of the bible. Already in the last hour and a half, the tracks are switching and this train is headed in a slightly different direction.
Maya states that in her quest to live out the instructions in the 1951 book, she would follow it to the letter and in essence ‘marry’ herself to the advice of Betty Cornell. Maya would get to know Betty well, as a close friend. So, this would be my course in following the new testament closely. Would I get to know Paul better? Peter better? But in more than one place, Jesus is called the Word of God…from beginning to end, the whole Word…the bible. It is inspired by God. It was written down by men. The Word is embodied in Christ Himself. It is Jesus I will be getting to know better. It is Jesus I will be following to the letter. So, today, I suddenly remembered that I am dead, crucified with Christ many years ago, as though the statement was spoken audibly.
“God, what should *I* do?” I asked.
“*YOU* are dead.”