NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passage: Galatians 2:11-21
— What are some beliefs or practices we might trust in or find identity in to which we must die in order to live for God more fully?
— How should remembering the Gospel of Jesus help propel us toward holy living?
— How can we help one another bolster a gospel-centered motivation for our obedience?
Food for Thought:
Read Galatians 2:11-21. Dying to the law is the negative; living for God is the positive. They both work hand-in-hand and show us the blessed catastrophe of the cross of Christ, the paradox of salvation. The way to life is through death. Christ made eternal life possible for us through His death, and we find life in Christ by losing ours.
Paul was not saying that in Christ we are dead from the need to obey God; he was declaring that we have put the wrong view of that obedience to death. We die to the notion that our obedience can save us. We die to the notion that we are identified by our obedience. We die to what the Jewish men from James argued to Peter that led him astray (see Galatians 2:11-14).
We are certainly not dead from looking to the law to understand God’s character and heart better and allowing that to frame how we live each day. The law shows us what it looks like to love God and love other people, and so, out of gratitude for what Christ has done and with joy, we live out the eternal truths of the law without relying on that obedience to save us, define us, or sustain us.
Because Paul died to the law and to himself, he experienced the positive aspect of those deaths — life. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (v. 20). Obviously Paul wasn’t referring to his physical life, as if he had died physically when he trusted in Christ; he was speaking of the spiritual reality that guided his life. He explained this clearly in the next sentence: “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” (v. 20). Christ had indwelled Paul, given him new life, and continued to empower him to live a life of holiness for the glory of God. The Gospel that saves us is the same Gospel that sanctifies us as we grow in our faith.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students, and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject .