Monday, July 12, 2010

Needlessly - Galatians 2:21

"I do not nullify the grace of God;
for if righteousness comes through the Law,
then Christ died needlessly."
(Galatians 2:21)


Amazing Grace!

Marvelous Grace!

Wonderful Grace!

Grace That is Greater Than All My Sin!

Surely the Law kills and truly no man is justified by the works of the Law.

We know this is true because the Bible declares it to be true. Over and over and over Paul has driven this fact home in his letter to the Galatians. He has shot straight. He has spared no punches. He has not minced his words. "A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Jesus."

Here in Galatians 2:21 he is going to give us a slightly different twist on this exact same truth, though. Here, he is going to show us how the very fact that Christ died proves his point.

If there was ANY other way to be saved, then why did Christ come?

"If righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

If there was ANY other way to save us then Christ would not have been the way!! For us to fall upon our own merits to save us is for us to mock His!!

Looking to Luther:

"Did Christ die, or did He not die? Was His death worth while, or was it not? If His death was worth while, it follows that righteousness does not come by the Law. Why was Christ born anyway? Why was He crucified? Why did He suffer? Why did He love me and give Himself for me? It was all done to no purpose if righteousness is to be had by the Law.
Or do you think that God spared not His Son, but delivered Him for us all, for the fun of it?"
Surely it was not for the fun of it. Certainly it was due to the necessity of it. Most assuredly it was not for any reason other than it was the only way. Jesus Himself declared "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no once comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6).

Many of our hymn writers understand this truth.

"Not all the blood of beasts on Jewish altars slain,
could give the guilty conscience peace, or wash away the stain:
but Christ, the heavn'ly Lamb, takes all our sins away,
a Sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than they."
(Isaac Watts, 1709)

"Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy Law's demands;
could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone." 
(Augustus Toplady, 1776)

"What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Nothing can for sin atone - nothing but the blood of Jesus;
naught of good that I have done - nothing but the blood of Jesus."
(Roberty Lowry, 1876)

Friends, our redemption cost nothing less than the very Son of God's execution. If you think of sin lightly, think again. No "little thing" would cost so great a price!

I turn again to Luther who so beautifully sums all of this up:
"If my salvation was so difficult to accomplish that it necessitated the death of Christ, then all my works, all the righteousness of the Law, are good for nothing. How can I buy for a penny what cost a million dollars? The Law is a penny's worth when you compare it with Christ. Should I be so stupid as to reject the righteousness of Christ which cost me nothing, and slave like a fool to achieve the righteousness of the Law which God disdains?
Man's own righteousness is in the last analysis a despising and rejecting of the grace of God. No combination of words can do justice to such an outrage. It is an insult to say that any man died in vain. But to say that Christ died in vain is a deadly insult. To say that Christ died in vain is to make His resurrection, His victory, His glory, His kingdom, heaven, earth, God Himself, of no purpose and benefit whatever.
That is enough to set any person against the righteousness of the Law and all the trimmings of men's own righteousness....
Who would not detest his own vows, his cowls, his shaven crown, his bearded traditions, yes, the very Law of Moses, when he hears that for such things he rejected the grace of God and the death of Christ. It seems that such a horrible wickedness could not enter a man's heart, that he should reject the grace of God, and despise the death of Christ. And yet this atrocity is all too common. Let us be warned. Everyone who seeks righteousness without Christ, either by works, merits, satisfactions, actions, or by the Law, rejects the grace of God, and despises the death of Christ."
Christ didn't die needlessly, let us not live as though He did. Righteousness does not come from the Law, it comes from Christ. Look to Him. Live in Him. Believe on Him. Be made righteous by Him!

In His glorious grace,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Lori. Perceptive as always. And Luther hits the nail on the head rather forcefully too.

    It was your mention of Watts's "Behold, the Glories of the Lamb" that caught my eye this morning. (Today is the 336th anniversary of his birth.) That ground-breaking hymn was written around 1688, with many "new honours for His name" to follow.

    If you enjoy reading about our hymns and their authors, I invite you to check out my daily blog on the subject, Wordwise Hymns.