“For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God”
Paul uses himself as an illustration again. He contrasts himself, who operates in grace, to Peter, who reverted to legalism.
through the law
The law shows the standard for entering heaven – perfection. The standard for going to heaven is God’s righteousness. None of us is that righteous, so we need Christ to deal with our sin.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).
Paul died to the law through the law. The law itself put him to death. The law asks no more than death. Once the law puts the condemned to death, he or she is free from the law. The person is legally dead. God’s legal system closes the case. We died to the law through Christ’s death. It was the law that demanded Christ’s death for our sins because God cannot tolerate sin of any kind.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)…” (Galatians 3:13).
The Christian is legally free from the law through Christ’s death on the cross.
Jesus took the eternal death we richly deserved. Jesus took that death I deserved on the cross. God paid the legal penalty through Christ’s death on the cross. Our death in Christ freed us from the penalty that the law demanded. The law convicts every person as a transgressor of God’s righteousness. Christians stand dead to the law in God’s eyes (2:20). The law lost its claim on us at the cross. It is only then that we begin to live to God.
As soon as Christians put themselves under the law, they are dead to God. The law condemns us to death and kills us. The law was not dead to us but us to the law. The best thing that the law did to us was to kill us. Until we come to Christ, the law kills us. The standards of the law killed Christ. There was no way we could have proper standing in God’s eyes until God settled the sin issue by Christ’s death.
Some of us suspect that we can keep some sizable percentage of the law. This is because we are unaware of what is involved in keeping the law. We must keep the law 100% to be acceptable to God.
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
Because we cannot keep the standard of the law, it becomes a sledgehammer against us. We think that the law saves us, but it only condemns us. Only trust in Christ’s death on the cross can save us.