Sacrifice Day 15 Demo Day: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
Check out Demo Day!

The Questions

1) What has Paul torn down that he ought not rebuild? (verse 18)

2) How was Paul crucified with Christ? (verse 20)

3) What does it mean to set aside the grace of God? (verse 21)

Galatians 2:18-21

18 If I rebuild those things that I tore down, I show myself to be a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Original Intent

1) What has Paul torn down that he ought not rebuild? (verse 18)
Paul is stating he cannot build his own bridge to gain access to God through righteous acts. He tried that approach before coming to faith in Christ. (Philippians 3:4-6) Galatians is a New Testament letter to the churches in the region of Galatia with an urgent reminder to cling to the true Gospel, for there’s only one. Paul highlights how “a different gospel” is budding among them and causing division as well as a return to a dead-end pathway of attaining righteousness by relying on self. (Galatians 1:6) In contrast to this “different gospel”, Paul explains the pure Gospel as God giving Himself for our sins (Galatians 1:3-4) and how, in this act alone, the work of salvation was completed in Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. (John 19:28, Hebrews 10:12-13) On hearing how Jewish Christians had come to new Galatian believers and began mixing the works of the Old Testament Law with the finished work of Jesus Christ as the way of salvation, Paul is outraged! (Galatians 3:1) Paul calls this a “different gospel”. Jews who had converted to Christianity still struggled with the mindset of following the Law of Moses. Peter, and other Jewish Christians, segregated themselves over keeping the works of the Law. (Galatians 2:11-14) This disunity of rejecting Gentiles’ new faith in Jesus stood in stark opposition to the gospel their lips preached of grace and faith in Christ. Paul, previously a devout Jewish leader, calls this out as hypocritical, stating God’s plan was to always build His kingdom on faith and not works. (Galatians 3:5-9) Therefore, Paul had been working to tear down old beliefs he held before accepting Jesus’ work on his behalf. He now understood salvation is only embraced through faith alone without added works of law. (Galatians 2:16) He spends the rest of his life pointing people to salvation through grace alone by the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

2) How was Paul crucified with Christ? (verse 20)
Correct, Paul was not up on the cross with Jesus. There is no clear evidence Paul even witnessed the arrest, trials, and whippings of Jesus. So, how does this statement of being “crucified with Christ” even make sense? Paul repeats this concept in Galatians 5:24, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” In Galatians 1:13-14, Paul provides a glimpse into three of his personal strivings before coming to Christ: 1) intensely persecuted God’s church 2) his advance in Judaism 3) (the heart of it all) he was, “extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors” (Galatians 1:14) Paul was striving in his own strength after personal passions without a relationship with God. When God “was pleased to reveal His Son in [Paul]” (Galatians 1:16), Paul became a new man. He was transformed and began living with his eyes on Christ, having become alive to Christ. His personal desires to please himself or his image were put to death. (Galatians 6:14) Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, God “condemned sin in the flesh”. (Romans 8:3) Paul is stating his own weaknesses, disobediences, and acts centered on his gains of status and wealth were condemned to death with Christ’s perfect sacrifice.  Those desires are dead, no longer taunting Paul’s desires away from Jesus. In Christ, his desires are new and reborn. Paul moved from death of his flesh to life in the Holy Spirit through Christ. Paul was no longer motivated by, or a slave to, concerns of social status, traditions, or opinions of the world. In Christ, he became free to live for Christ! (Galatians 5:1)

3) What does it mean to set aside the grace of God? (verse 21)
At the end of verse 20, Paul points to God’s grace, reminding Christians of their freedom to live by faith because of God’s love. Charles Spurgeon is quoted, “‘Who loved me.’ The verb is in the past tense. Jesus loved me upon the cross; loved me in the manger of Bethlehem; loved me before ever the earth was. There never was a time when Jesus did not love His people.” Out of God’s eternal love for His people and payment of Christ’s sacrifice flows great grace of salvation for the Christian. In verse 21, Paul reiterates that to be caught up in traditions is to “set aside the grace of God.” In Galatians 5:1 Paul states, “For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Paul is clarifying how one cannot be free in Christ while trying to attach anything else to Christ in the salvation of their soul. In attempting to add Old Testament Law onto salvation, Paul goes as far as saying this person is, “alienated from Christ” and “fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4) because they are choosing to be justified by the Law of Moses as a replacement for the sacrifice of Christ. Acts 15 summarizes the encounter of Paul’s rebuke to Peter, describing how these apostles soon revisited this hot topic of following the Law, specifically circumcision, in Jerusalem. But this time, it was Peter who stood up explaining that to circumcise the Gentiles is unnecessary, “We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.” (Acts 15:11)

Everyday Application

1) What has Paul torn down that he ought not rebuild? (verse 18)
Most of us pondering these questions today didn’t grow up being held to strict Old Testament laws, but maybe we grew up with other rules we have internalized as components of our salvation belief system. What about following society’s rules or having perfect manners? Is my hope to bring peace and harmony with others, or do I fear punishment if I don’t measure up properly? What about my good deeds and giving? If God has my plate full at home, do I feel guilty not volunteering for all events? Can I trust God to love me while I rock babies, cook meals, and have a house less than organized? For some of us, we might rest more in the completion of sacraments. After all, they were given to us by God Himself. Is salvation complete if I do not participate in communion? What about the person who repented and turned to Christ but passed away before being baptized? God’s word would definitely commend and support any of these thoughts and actions in the appropriate placement and manner. God’s word tells us to be at peace (Psalm 34:14), treat each other with gentleness and thoughtfulness (Philippians 4:5), and to be generous (2 Corinthians 9:6), even outdoing each other in good deeds (Romans 12:10). God intends His Holy Spirit to flow through us in these things as a witness to Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

2) How was Paul crucified with Christ? (verse 20)
Christ used language similar to Paul’s, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) Does this mean I need to live in a small house and give up my extracurricular activities to follow Christ? Rather than decisions over material matters, Scripture appeals to our hearts with an explicit list of works of the flesh that show up in our everyday lives. (Galatians 5:19) A few Paul calls out are sexual immorality, selfish ambitions, jealousy, divisions, and envy. These may sound like “big” sins and thus we deceive ourselves into believing we have evaded sin, but we might be guiltier than we think. In pondering our emotions when we get dressed, wade through hot political topics, or debate a spouse over that spot of tension, can we spot divisiveness or jealousy? Paul further points us toward marks of the Spirit growing His fruit in us. (Galatians 5:22) My human spirit is challenged when joy is drowned by envy because the clothes in my closet all look the same. Kindness is hard to find when anger boils as my children argue. Words of peace and gentleness can be slippery to grasp when Christian unity is uprooted in political division. In Galatians 5:17, Paul warns that the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Sprit are opposed. Therefore, following Christ definitely does not come naturally to our flesh. But, oh dear Sister; Christ! With our eyes on Christ, our own flesh is overcome as it is crucified in Him! When my eyes are lifted to God’s purposes, suddenly my lack of style is fine, my heart finds it easy to walk children through their own hearts, and God’s plan of redemption is stronger than my pandemic decisions. Christ overcame the world. With our eyes on HIM, we will, too!

3) What does it mean to set aside the grace of God? (verse 21)
The balance of “works” and “faith” in the Christian life can feel quite muddled. After all, throughout Scripture we read of God calling people to obedience, to hide HIS words in our hearts, and to outdo one another in good deeds. (Deuteronomy 11:18, Romans 12:10). But Paul is a loud horn declaring salvation by grace alone, through faith alone throughout his letters like Galatians and Ephesians. Christian Sister, let your heart be glad to rest in Christ. As we read fellow Christian blogs on parenting, loving our spouse, being a quiet servant in the church, and keeping our home, let us be stirred up to do good works for Christ’s honor. Yet, at the same time, let us not place a heavy yoke around our necks, nor the necks of our neighbors, to wrongly emphasize that we somehow earn God’s favor or a righteous credit because of these good works. May our hearts be stirred to encourage one another to follow Christ fervently with the energy, finances, health, and understanding God imparts to each of us. May we hold fast to the pure Gospel of grace and lovingly push each other to lift our eyes up to Christ crucified and raised again. Matthew Henry explains, “God’s grace cannot stand with man’s merit. Grace is no grace unless it is freely given every way. The more simply the believer relies on Christ for everything, the more devotedly does he walk before Him. (…) Christ lives and reigns in him, and he lives…by faith in the Son of God, which works by love, causes obedience, and changes into his holy image. Thus he neither abuses the grace of God, nor makes it in vain.”

What do YOU think?! Share Here!
Missing the connection to our other Journey Study today?
Catch up with Demo Day!

Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

Digging Deeper Community

Share What You’ve Learned!
Pray Together!
Join us in the GT Facebook Community!

Our Current Study Theme!

This is Sacrifice Week Three!
Don’t miss out on the discussion!
Sign up
to receive every GT Journey Study!

Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

Memorize It!

Download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!
Tap and hold on your mobile device to save.