Galatians 2: Made Alive in Christ

Have you heard this riddle before?

They have not flesh nor feathers, nor scales nor bone; but they do have fingers and thumbs of their own.

How about this one?

This household object used to be alive but now is dead but can come alive again.

Answer?  A glove.  A leather glove for the second one (though leather doesn’t work with the first riddle).  A leather glove used to be a cow, and it “comes alive” when a hand is placed inside it.  Some of us who work together only have to think back to last year’s chapel theme and a friend’s use of this same glove image.

I grew up singing a song based pretty much word-for-word on verses 19-20.  Maybe you did too.  I love scripture songs.  They plant God’s word in my heart.  At the same time, they pose a problem for me, as I discovered again today.  I find a song more easily divests the words of their meaning and I forget what the passage is about.  I guess the passage just becomes too familiar.

So I enjoyed reading Wright’s rendering of 2:19b-20 because he made these words fresh again with meaning.

I have been crucified with the Messiah.  I am, however, alive — but it isn’t me any longer; it’s the Messiah who lives in me.  And the life I do still live in the flesh, I live within the faithfulness of the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I go back to the image of the leather glove.  I am dead, crucified.  This isn’t my life, or at least it is not supposed to be.  So whatever life one does see in me is really the life of Jesus who is in me.  My strength is not in my own power to do good (what so much of the latter half of chapter 2 is about).  My life doesn’t even rest in my own faith, rather I have my assurance because of the faithfulness of Jesus (a major theme in Wright’s theology).

Oh, to be more glove-like!

What struck you in this diverse chapter?

Categories: Galatians | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Galatians 2: Made Alive in Christ

  1. Eddy Efaw

    I was struck by they fact that in verse 10 Paul Verse 10 says that the one thing the leaders of the church asked Paul and Barnabas (missionaries to the Gentiles) to have in common with the Jewish Christians was “remembering the poor.” (KNT) This was “the only extra thing they asked” after “giving us the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles.” This reminds be of 5:6 “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”(NIV)

    • Eddy Efaw

      Sorry for the typo in that comment. I’m typing in my iTouch and the comment screen hid some words on my proof read and I typed them twice. 🙂

    • Good point! I have really been struck this year by how helping the poor within the church was a central concern for the early church. It was an action of immediate concern. I am afraid growing up I have often thought of benevolence as an add-on to the much more important tasks of preaching and teaching.

  2. “We are not set right with God by rule keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it – and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen!”

    I am afraid it is too easy to believe that the Law was corrupt. That following the Law was this silly, futile project. That following the Law was light years away from faith in God. When I think about it I see the fallacy in that, but when working fast, this is an easy trap to fall into, I find. So Peterson’s words here really helpful. In fact, following a law that was given by the God that is Jesus IS the second best option there is. The OT laws are not the precepts of the Tao or the sayings of Buddha. God’s Law is not as incomplete and selective as the laws of a country. These are the very words of God! They do reveal something about the best way to live.

    Still, a “personal faith in Jesus Christ” that says I can’t do it, that refuses to turn discipleship into a self-improvement project, is superior still.

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