Galatians 1:4


Tuesday, 1 February 2016

…who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, Galatians1:4

The opening clause of this verse lays out the tone for the rest of the epistle. It is the very thing which those in Galatia had forgotten or had intentionally set aside. They were given the gospel and then along came Judaizers who were intent on watering it down through a works-based religion. This is contrary to what God has set forth as being pleasing to Him. It was Christ “who gave Himself for our sins.” As this is so, then what could be added to that? If Christ has given Himself for our sins, then that is how our sins are atoned for. Adding in works of our own, of any kind, in an attempt to cover our sins is thus contrary to the gospel of Christ.

This is repeated numerous times in the New Testament, but several examples of note are:

“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all…” 1 Timothy 2:6

“…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:14

Christ is the only atoning sacrifice for our sins; He is the only One who could ransom us from the world of sin; and He is the only One who has redeemed us to God. When we fall back on the law, which was given to show us our sinful state and to show us how utterly sinful sin is, then we reject the very sacrifice which has redeemed us from that law. It is a self-condemning act. When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” He wasn’t saying, “It is partially fulfilled and so keep working hard…. you might make it to heaven someday.” Rather, He indicated that all was complete and all sin-debt was satisfied through His work.

Everything He did was so “that He might deliver us from this present evil age.”  Further, it was a voluntary act. He “gave Himself.” Therefore, if it was insufficient to save, then it was a horrific waste. When a person jumps on a grenade in order to save his friends, the intent is to fully save them. If he and those he tried to save died, then the death was futile indeed. But if the friends are saved, then the purpose for his death was met. If Christ died on the cross of Calvary to save His people but failed to save them, then what a waste! However, if He did accomplish this as intended, then for us to say, “I still need to do something,” is to reject the very thing He did.

The reason for His death was to save us from our sins, and the object of that salvation was “that He might deliver us from this present evil age.” If we are in this present evil age even now, then His death must have an effect of saving us through the entire age. If not, then He would save us and pull us right out as soon as He saved us. However, we are still here and thus we are to trust that His salvation has accomplished what it was intended to do. If we continue adding works into our life in order to be pleasing to God enough to be saved, then we do not believe that what Christ did was really sufficient to save us in the first place.

Finally, Paul says that this work of the Lord was “according to the will of our God and Father.” The Bible’s goal, from the very beginning, is to show God’s plan of salvation for man. Just after the fall, the Messiah was promised. The coming of Messiah then is a pre-planned course of action to redeem man from his fallen state. If the work of Christ wasn’t sufficient to do that, then not only was He a failure, but the God from whom He came was also a failure. If this is so, then He isn’t the true God. Further, man is still in his sin and there is no hope of ever being reconciled to God.

Rather, the work of Christ is wholly sufficient to save, in and of itself. Anything added to it as an attempt to reconcile ourselves back to God is to reject the entire plan of God. Either the law is fulfilled or it is not. If it is, then it is set aside. If it is set aside, then Christ’s work on our behalf is solely of grace and grace alone.

Life application: Trust in the grace of Christ alone.

Heavenly Father, may we never fall back on deeds of the law to be pleasing to You. Either what Christ did was wholly sufficient to save us, or it was the greatest blunder in all of history. Should a man fall on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers, and should they die in the process, then his sacrifice was in vain. How much more then would the voluntary death of Christ on the cross be a failure if it was insufficient to save us from the very law He came to fulfill? Cosmic blunder! Utter failure! – But No! Christ accomplished Your will and His work is all-sufficient to save and keep on saving. May we stand on the grace of Jesus Christ alone, never reinserting any precept of the law and thus offending You. Thank You for the work of Jesus – the Messiah of the Jews and the Christ of the nations. Amen.


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