When starting this reading of Galatians, I decided to change my practice of reading for the RUF study program. This may or may not change after this, but I wanted to spend more time sitting with the Scripture I was reading. So, instead of reading Galatians a chapter at a time and praying (which would take me six nights), I read this letter “section” by “section,” practicing lectio divina for these readings and times of prayer. This took me much longer but helped me spend time communing with God as I read His Word.
Like other New Testament letters, Galatians begins with a greeting and ends with a benediction—the middle consisting of the main themes and arguments, including sections of commands. This letter seems to care for defining the gospel, separating out from these “other gospels” being preached in and near Galatia. The way Paul does this in the epistle to the Galatians is by outlining justification, faith, and adoption.
Paul reminds his readers that one is not “justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16). For, if we were justified by the law, then no one would be saved. We receive the Spirit not by the works of the law, but by “hearing with faith” (3:2). Humans are not perfected by the flesh but saved by grace through faith. The one who trusts the law with his justification is cursed. The Law says, “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deuteronomy 27:26). None of us can keep the whole law. All of humanity, every individual and every facet of human life is corrupted by sin. So, if justification comes by the law, we are doomed to death. Praise God that we are justified through faith in Jesus Christ who makes us right with God! Nothing else, no one else, will or can make us right with God.
Not only has Jesus made us right with God, but also, he has made us sons of God. Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, we are brought into the family of God. We, “like Isaac, are children of promise,” children of the Covenant (Galatians 4:28; cf. Genesis 12:1-3). Not only are we sons of God, but we are heirs with Christ: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (3:29). In Christ, we are God’s, and God is ours. And more than this! What is Christ’s is ours: his righteousness and his glory!
As I was writing this and reflecting on Galatians, my mind immediately went to a song I know by indie rock band Cold War Kids. The name of the song is “Mine is Yours.” After reading and writing about Galatians, looking at the lyrics became extremely illuminating to me, especially one stanza:
All my stones become your pearls
All of my trials are your treasures
All my debt you inherit
All of my clumsy lines will shine
This made me consider that not only does Christ give us all that he has and deserves, but he takes all that we have and makes that beautiful. He takes our stones and makes them pearls. He takes our trials and makes them treasures. He takes our debt for us on the cross. He takes my clumsy lines and makes the shine.
I will add two postscripts to this last reference. First, I am taking these lines out of the song in order to illuminate the truth of the gospel. Cold War Kids did not have this meaning as their intention when writing these lyrics, as far as I know. Second, I only make this claim from these lyrics, knowing that that the story of Scripture and specific passages I have not referenced support what I have stated. Finally, I know that, like all analogies, this reference will break down somehow. Nevertheless, I thought this song allowed me to contemplate the love of Christ.