Sunday, June 17, 2007

Musings on Galatians

I didn't go to church today, because I'm having car trouble and don't want to risk going cross-county. I'm getting it into the shop first thing tomorrow morning; hopefully my poor chariot will make it into town.

So, instead of going to my usual service this morning, I watched a Catholic service on television. My ears perked up at the second reading:

Galatians 2:15-21

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

All of Americans would have been held in contempt by most first-century Jews and Christians. We're pretty much a mongrel bunch of gentiles, and the Jews are hardly better, with strains of European, Asian and other Middle-Eastern blood mixed in. Sinners, all.

The Archbishop of Nigeria and his cohorts would not fare any better. Perhaps Peter Abuja should think about this.

For, we "do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing."

So if we think we're to be elevated by the purity of our blood, our self-glorifying works and strutting about on the streets proclaiming our piety, our social status, our sexual orientation or any of those other things that shall pass away, we nullify Christ.

If we live the best life we can, holding onto the grace of God and the love of Christ, we are justified. If we live through the law, and tear down everything not of the law, then even as we proclaims ourselves protectors of the faith, we make Christ meaningless.

Remember, Satan is a legalist.


Hedwyg said...

I hope your car is doing better, Pat. Should I come down and lay hands on it for you? :-) Meanwhile, I have something for you, to get you back for tagging me last week.

You've been tagged to play this meme. It's from John Smulo's blog and it goes like this:

1. Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
2. Those tagged will tag 5 people.
3. Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted..

Let me know if you play!

KJ said...

Agreed with your thoughts.

I am often dismayed how Paul is rolled out as such an archconservative, since at his time, he was a major radical.

I've been hanging out at Stand Firm recently, engaging in conversations regarding GLBT folks, and recently, regarding the ordination of wimmin (The horror!). Though I grew up in an evangelical setting, I never encountered the degree of "building up what has been torn down" as I have there. Anglican fundamentalists! Who knew?

Is a Gospel that liberates just too scary for some? I have to remind myself of the hope that such types can minister to those whom I cannot.