Athlete, We Are Dead and Alive
Galatians 2:19-21 (NIV)
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 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. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
There’s a lot of living and dying going on every day. And while so much of it is crushing, so much is beneficial too. We live to die but also die to live. It’s irony. It’s mystery. It’s true.
I felt it watching “The Last Dance” documentary series recently. Understanding and embracing the end of the Chicago Bulls championship run in the ‘90s brought death to their dynasty but life to their finish.
And I feel it fresher still as my beloved mother recently passed to Glory’s side, a crossing over from death to life that Jesus talks about in John 5:24. Her life has now led to death, but her Galatians 2:20 death (as a teen) has now led to life eternal.
In life as in sport, death must occur in order for life to come. It’s not just the other way. My mom knew this even though she never really did sports (her left leg was paralyzed since a toddler). In fact, today’s Scripture became her “life verses.” Her life story grew out of this.
Notice how the apostle Paul develops this dead/alive theme in Galatians 2:
*The standard is perfection. (God calls it righteousness. That’s a very high bar a holy God sets.)
*If keeping all the rules is the path to perfection, I’m in deep trouble. (It becomes death to any hope I might have to reach it.)
*Comparing myself to others is not an option God ever gives me to earn my acceptance before Him either. (I sure want to and am tempted to compare all the time, but He says it’s a dead end street.)
*Living by the rules shows me how much I need to die to that system. (I cannot live for God without being dead to living a self-justifying life. Living for God cannot happen without this death.)
*If living by the rules is the right system, Jesus’ death was pointless. (But if living by faith in accepting what God did in Christ to establish my forever righteousness, then Jesus’ death and resurrection for me becomes my life … and ignites my endless worship of Him.)
*Dead to me means alive to God. (My death becomes His life in me. This is the way to really good living.)
*Never set aside the grace of God. (It’s too crucial. The death it brought to Christ becomes my life. Paul couldn’t set grace aside. His understanding and captivation by grace only grew. So he gave it tons of playing time. So should we.)
*Grace alone by faith alone gets me home. (The Son saves. Grace delivers. Not me. Faith in His finished work does.)
Reflect: Where does your righteousness, your full acceptance before God come from? Have you crossed over from death to life? Have you died to live?
That’s a wrap. My mom pinned her life to this. She’s so glad. I’m so glad. I pray this is your rock-solid conviction too.
A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of righteousness given by grace through faith in Christ. His death leads to my life. My death leads to His life in me. He died. He lives. I died. And I live. Hallelujah for all this great connecting!
Spirit of God, seal these truths in me. Amen.