Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we considered the grace of God. In this message we come to Christ crucified. Christ crucified has a great deal to do with our enjoyment of God’s grace. The enjoyment of the grace of God is altogether dependent on the crucifixion of Christ.
In 3:1 Paul says, “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly portrayed crucified?” The crucifixion of Christ indicates that all the requirements of the law have been fulfilled by the death of Christ, and that Christ through His death has released His life that it may be imparted into us in His resurrection to free us from bondage under the law. This was fully portrayed before the eyes of the Galatians in the word of the gospel. How could they neglect this and be bewitched, drifting back to the law? How foolish!
Before the eyes of the Galatians, Christ had openly been portrayed crucified. Paul wondered how the Galatian believers could forget such a portrait. Those who go back to the law have nothing to do with such a crucified Christ. If God wants us to keep the law and if we are able to keep it, then there was no need for Christ to be crucified. For this reason, Paul declares in 2:21, “If righteousness is through law, then Christ has died for nothing.” Galatians 3:1 is the direct continuation of 2:21. Christ certainly was not crucified without cause. On the contrary, He was crucified for a very great cause. In fact, the cross is the center of God’s operation in His economy, just as Christ Himself is the center of God’s economy. In the carrying out of God’s economy, the cross is the center. Without Christ, God’s economy has no center, and without the cross of Christ the operation of God’s economy is without a center. Thus, the carrying out of God’s economy wholly depends on the cross of Christ. The cross is the center of God’s operation in the universe to carry out His economy.
This is the reason that in such a short book Paul many times refers to the cross. He constantly brings us back to the cross. In 2:21 Paul points out that Christ was not crucified for nothing. Then in 3:1 he goes on to remind the Galatians that the crucifixion of Christ was openly portrayed before their eyes. When Paul came to Galatia, he preached a crucified Christ. In order to be righteous, we need such a Christ. If we could have righteousness through keeping the law, then we would not need a crucified Christ. If this had been the case, there would have been no reason for Christ to die.
In 3:1 Paul brought the Galatians back to the cross. He wanted them to have a thorough look at the crucified Christ. In this message I am burdened that we also have such a view of Christ crucified. Therefore, let us consider the verses in Galatians which refer to the cross or to the death of Christ on the cross, and let us see all the important points in these verses.
In 1:4 Paul says that Christ “gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” Here we see that in His crucifixion Christ gave Himself for our sins. How foolish were the Galatians, and how stubborn and rebellious were the Judaizers! In returning to the law, they had no way to deal with their sins. In this book Paul seems to be saying, “You have committed many sins. What will you do about them? Apart from the death of Christ on the cross, there is no way to be redeemed from your sins.”
Although Christ was crucified for our sins, the goal of His crucifixion was to “rescue us out of the present evil age.” Sins are devilish, whereas this age is satanic. We have pointed out that the present age is the present section of Satan’s cosmos, his world system. As the Devil, God’s enemy is involved with sins; and as Satan, he is involved with the evil age. Even if the Galatians and the Judaizers could have been successful in keeping the law, how would they have dealt with the Devil, Satan? Can you overcome Satan? He is subtle, lurking behind sins and the evil age. Apart from the crucifixion of Christ, we have no way to deal with sins, behind which the Devil hides, or the evil age, behind which Satan hides. Christ was crucified for our sins that He might rescue us from this evil age. This indicates that only Christ can save us from the Devil and Satan. Both sins and the evil age have been dealt with by Christ crucified. He gave Himself for us on the cross according to the will of God.
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