I am amazed at how easy it is to leave the Gospel. The Galatians certainly did; someone came along and said, “Jesus? Sacrifice? Resurrection? Forgiveness? Neato…but what are you doing?” Paul’s response to this is incredibly direct (Galatians 3:1, 5:7-8). We do this: we are presented or reminded of the Gospel and are overwhelmed by the grace and freedom bought with Christ’s blood until we grow restless, or bored, or until the feeling that we should be doing more returns. What a great reminder of the Gospel in the song “Alive.” “I was lost with a broken heart, you picked me up, now I’m set apart.” We are holy, we are set apart, because of what Christ has done in us. He is alive and He is alive in us!
It is important to understand what all is meant by “nothing can take your place, You are all we need.” It is easy to read such a statement and think of it the way we always have, “sure Jesus, nothing else will make me happy, or satisfied, or fulfilled.” But look again. In the context of the Gospel, I believe such a statement is more than that. Nothing can take Jesus place on the cross, in the grave, or resurrected at the right hand of the Father. Not our works, not our performance, not our feeble attempts to fulfill the law, not our own judgments of ourselves and how we are doing. This is the truth that leads Paul to make statements like that in Galatians 5:2. Pretty severe.
How are we to know and become like Christ if we are fighting Him in us through our own pursuit of the law? Let us relent of our pride and our performance and revel in the work of Christ, accepting the gifts He gives so freely. Then we can truly understand: “You are my freedom…Your love never ending…Your love has set us free.” And Christ alive in us (through the Spirit) will lead us into all truth (John 16:13) and producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Amen!