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                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

                  The Life Which I Now Live (2:20-21)

INTRODUCTION

1. Much that we know of the Christian life is dependent upon the apostle
   Paul...
   a. Who wrote half the books of the New Testament
   b. His conduct and attitudes are set before us as an example - 1Co 
      11:1; Php 3:17
   -- But what principles governed Paul's life as a Christian?

2. In our text (Ga 2:20-21) we find Paul expressing some of the
   principles...
   a. That guided his life as a disciple of Christ
   b. As he speaks of "the life which I now live in the flesh"
   -- What kind of life was that?  Are we governed by the same
      principles?

[Notice first of all that Paul says his life which he lived in the flesh
was...]

I. A LIFE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST (20a)

   A. HOW IS "CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST" POSSIBLE...?
      1. We can't go back in time and join Christ on the cross!
      2. But we can be united with Christ in His death when we are
         baptized! - Ro 6:3-8
      3. Note that baptism into Christ is...
         a. A baptism into His death - Ro 6:3-4
         b. Being united together in the likeness of His death - Ro 6:5
         c. Crucifying our old man with Christ - Ro 6:6
         d. Dying together with Christ - Ro 6:8
      -- If we have been baptized into Christ, we can say together with
         Paul:  "I have been crucified with Christ"

   B. WHAT DOES "CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST" MEAN...?
      1. For some it means a death "to the Law" - Ga 2:19
         a. Paul wrote of himself as a Jew who was at one time under the
            Law of Moses
         b. Those who have been crucified with Christ have died to the
            Law - Ro 7:1-6
      2. For all it means a death "to self" - Ga 2:20
         a. "It is no longer I who live"
         b. As Jesus taught, we must be willing to deny self to follow
            Him - Lk 9:23-24
      3. For all it means we have crucified "the flesh" - Ga 5:24
         a. Which occurred in principle at our baptism - Ro 6:6,11-14
         b. Which occurs in practice as we continue to "put to death"
            the deeds of the body - Ro 8:12-13; Col 3:5-9
      4. For all it means we have been crucified "to the world" - Ga
         6:14
         a. Before our obedience to Christ, we were in bondage to the
            rudiments of the world - Ga 4:3,9
         b. But now, Christ is our rule and authority in life - Col 2:
            8-10,20-22; 3:17
      -- Any external (Law, world) or internal (self, flesh) controls
         have now surrendered to the authority of Christ

[One who has been baptized into Christ and is letting Jesus be his or
her authority in all things is living a "life crucified with Christ".
But note that Paul also wrote "the life which I now live" is...]

II. A LIFE IN WHICH CHRIST LIVES IN ME (20b)

   A. HOW DOES CHRIST LIVE IN ME...?
      1. It is like electricity
         a. I may not comprehend how it works
         b. But I know how to get it working!
      2. We are taught how to make sure that He will abide in us
         a. By Jesus Himself - Jn 14:21-23; 15:9-10
         b. By His beloved disciple John - 1Jn 3:24
      -- As we keep the commandments of Christ, we are assured that He
         lives in us!

   B. WHAT BENEFITS COME FROM CHRIST LIVING IN US...?
      1. The wonderful love of the Father and the Son - Jn 14:21
      2. There is fulness of joy - Jn 15:11
      3. There is peace, even in the midst of tribulation - Jn 16:33
      4. There is the hope of being with Jesus and beholding His glory
         - Jn 17:24
      -- These are just a few of the many blessings of a life in which
         Christ lives in us!

[Paul has more to say about "the life which I now live".  It should
be...]

III. A LIFE LIVING BY FAITH IN CHRIST (20c)

   A. WHAT IS LIVING BY FAITH IN CHRIST...?
      1. The word 'faith' implies trust
      2. Living by faith in Christ means constantly trusting in Jesus
         a. E.g., for the forgiveness of our sins
            1) Trusting in His blood to cleanse us from our sins - 1Jn 
               1:7,9
            1) Trusting in Him as our Advocate - 1Jn 2:1
            2) Trusting in Him as our Propitiation - 1Jn 2:4
         b. E.g., that His words will provide a solid foundation for our
            lives - Mt 7:24-25
         c. E.g., that He will never forsake us - Mt 28:20
      -- Trusting in Jesus, not in self, not in the Law, not in the
         world!

   B. WHY SHOULD WE SO TRUST JESUS...?
      1. Because He loves us! - cf. Ga 2:20
      2. Because He gave Himself for us! - Ga 2:20
      3. Shall He not do more if we continue to trust Him? - cf. Ro 8:
         34-39
      4. Such love naturally compels one to live a life of faith in Him
         - cf. 2Co 5:14-15
      -- Does such love should compel us to trust in Jesus, living by
         faith in Him?

[Finally, the life which we now live should be...]

IV. A LIFE WHICH DOES NOT SET ASIDE GOD'S GRACE (21)

   A. WE MUST DILIGENTLY KEEP JESUS' COMMANDMENTS...
      1. As a true indication of our love for Him - cf. Jn 14:15
      2. As a true indication that we really know Him - cf. 1Jn 2:3
      -- One cannot ignore the commandments of the Lord

   B. YET WITHOUT GOD'S GRACE, ALL IS VAIN...
      1. We cannot nor dare not try to earn or merit our salvation - cf.
         Tit 3:4-5; Ep 2:8-9
      2. After all is said and done, we are still unworthy servants
         - cf. Lk 17:10
      3. If not for the grace of God...
         a. Our faith would be useless
         b. Our repentance would meaningless
         c. Our baptism would be fruitless
         d. Our salvation would be impossible!
      4. And so, from beginning to end...
         a. We must look to God and the Word of His grace
         b. We must trust in His mercy offered through Jesus
         c. We are totally dependent upon Jesus and His death on the
            cross for any degree of true righteousness
      -- If we think we have earned or merited salvation on our own,
         Christ died in vain!

CONCLUSION

1. Such was the life Paul lived in the flesh...
   a. A life crucified with Christ
   b. A life in which Christ lived in Him
   c. A life living by faith in Christ
   d. A life that did not set aside the grace of God

2. Can the same be said of us...?
   a. Have we been crucified with Christ (in baptism)?
   b. Is Christ living in us (manifested by keeping His commandments)?
   c. Are you living by faith in Christ (trusting His blood, His Word)?
   d. Are you trusting always in the grace of God (not your own goodness
      or obedience)?

May the words of Paul move us to live the kind of lives becoming of
those who call themselves Christians...

   "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,
   but Christ lives in me; and the life which 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 set aside the grace of God; for if
   righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."
                                                       - Ga 2:20-21
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