Galatians 2: Dead in Vain?
Galatians 2 gives us a look into an early church debate between Peter and Paul. After recounting what went down between them as early church leaders, Paul has this to say.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
If we can get to heaven in some other way apart from Jesus Christ, then all that Jesus did was in vain. After all, what would be the point? The entire purpose is that Jesus was the only one who could be the perfect sacrifice. He was the only one who could bridge the gap between God and humanity that had been broken by our own decisions.
As a result, Paul made the decision to be crucified with Christ. He was going to live by faith in Jesus who loved Him first. Paul has a good perspective on what a valuable gift he had been given. He understood that he was going to follow Jesus because Jesus was the only way, and He was the answer.
I think this should mean a lot to us as well. It is important that Jesus is the only way. It is a fact about the world. If there was a way to work our way to heaven, then Jesus would not nearly be as significant. I don’t want to reduce Jesus to economics by any means, but if you think about the value of resources, scarce resources are more valuable. If Jesus is the only way to God, then He is by default the most valuable resource in the universe. If there are many ways, then He still might have some value, but it would be greatly reduced because He would not have that exclusivity.
Of course, this brings up the question. Can we indeed find righteousness in the law? I think our own consciences can testify that we are not righteous on our own. If it seems to be the case that we cannot find righteousness in the law, then there was a reason for Jesus coming to earth. He was reconciling what we were not able to reconcile on our own.