What is the Gospel? – Part 2 – Greg Albrecht
When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
We who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker.
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 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!—Galatians 2:14-21
In What Is the Gospel?—Part 1 we studied Romans 1:16-17, and we found that the gospel is the power of God, and that a righteousness from God (not from a human source) is revealed in the gospel. All the power we need as Christians is found in the gospel, all the righteousness we need as Christians is revealed in the gospel.
We noted that Jesus is the gospel. We concluded that God uses the gospel to deliver an invitation to us, an invitation to his house, his eternal dwelling place. He’s inviting us, via the gospel, to a banquet, a wedding party at his heavenly mansion. The invitation comes with a request that we respond. God wants to know if we accept his invitation.
There is no way on God’s green earth (or in his eternal heavenly home) that we can make our way to this gala celebration on our own. We don’t know the way, we don’t have adequate transportation, we don’t have enough spiritual gasoline in our tank to get us there.
Everything that needs to be done for this party, the transportation we need to get there, the robes of righteousness, the wedding garment we are given by his grace, the Bread of life that we eat—everything is provided by the power of God. The power proclaimed by the gospel is the basis of our decision to accept or reject this invitation.
If we feel that we will be able to get to this celebration on our own spiritual steam, if we feel that God needs our help in getting us there, then that belief is a de facto admission on our part that we are rejecting the invitation.
We are considering eight verses in Galatians—Galatians 2:14-21. The book of Galatians is a sustained argument, an insistence about the truth of the gospel, while at the same time a prolonged and passionate diatribe against the insidious virus of legalism.
In the first chapter, here’s what Paul says, in Galatians 1:6-9, about the gospel: