Galatians 2:19
Paul proceeds in the exposition of Peter's mistake to show that it is only when through the Law we die to all legal hope, we can live unto God. When legal hope has died within us, Christ has room to live and be the source of our spiritual energy.

I. CONSIDER THE DEATH OF LEGALISM. (Vers. 19, 20.) The idea of self-righteousness or Pharisaism was and is that we can live through the Law. But the more careful analysis of sin leads us to see that the Law can only condemn and slay us. The same experience became our Lord's when he became our Representative. Though obeying the Law in every particular, he found that, in consequence of our sin, for which he had made himself responsible, the Law demanded his death in addition to his obedience, or rather "his obedience even unto death." Not until he was crucified had he satisfied the demands of Law. In his crucifixion, therefore, he died to the Law. It had after that no more claim upon him. When he said on the cross, "It is finished," he died to the Law. Now, it is only when we enter into this purpose of the crucifixion, and die to all hope from the Law, that we are in a position to live unto God. "The death of legal hope" is "the life of evangelical obedience." The legalism must die within us before we get into the large place of new obedience. Among the many purposes of our Lord's death upon the cross, this was a prime one, viz. to wean us away from all idea of winning life by law-keeping, that we may gratefully receive it as the gift of free grace.

II. CONSIDER THE LIFE UNTO GOD. (Vers. 19, 20.) Though legal hope has died, so that Paul is "dead to the Law" like Christ in Joseph's tomb, he is at the same time enabled to "live unto God." In truth it is then that the life unto God begins. For life by the Law is life for self; whereas when we die to all legal hope, we are delivered from the self-life, and enabled to live the life of consecration to God. And when does this life of consecration to God come? By inspiration Christ comes and lives literally within us by his Spirit, so that we become in a real sense inspired persons. Consequently, Paul declares that it is not he himself who lives the consecrated life, but "Christ liveth in me." He abandoned himself to the Spirit of Christ, and thus made way for the life of consecration. Nothing is more important, then, than this self-abandonment to the Spirit of Christ, who is the Spirit of consecration. This is the holocaust of the Christian life, the abandonment of every faculty and power to the Divine fire, that all may rise in sublimity to heaven.

III. CONSIDER THE LAW OF THE NEW LIFE. (Ver. 20.) Paul has abandoned himself to the Spirit of Christ. His life becomes in consequence one of simple dependence upon the Son of God: or, as it is here put, "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God;" or, as the Revised Version has it, "And that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God." The self-abandoned life is the life of constant dependence upon the Son of God. But this being so, the law of Christ's life necessarily becomes the law of the life of consecration. What, then, is the law of Christ's life? It is the law of love leading to self-sacrifice; for of the Son of God it is here said by Paul, "Who loved me, and gave himself for me." Christ, in consecrating himself to God, dedicated himself to our salvation. He became the voluntary victim; he died that we might be redeemed. Hence self-sacrifice is the law of the new life. Now, no other system but Christianity secures such self-abandonment and self-abnegation. The Hindu self-abandonment to Brahma, for example, is abandonment to a desireless condition. "He remains," it has been said, "stupidly still (immobile), his arms in air. Brahma is his death, and not his life." Again, Mohammedan self-abandonment is crude fanaticism. "It is true," says the same writer, "that Allah does not kill all the faculties of the soul as Brahma does; but he renders them fatalistic, fanatic, and sanguinary. He is for his adorers the fire which consumes them, and not their life." The Jesuit, again, has a self-abandonment to the chief of his order at Rome; but in renouncing judgment, affections, will, and conscience to his superior, he allows his true life to be killed, and his obedience is only the galvanism of spiritual death. It thus turns out that all other self-abandonments but that to Christ are counterfeits, and his only stands the test of experience. He rouses us to action, to intelligent self-sacrifice. He teaches us to "live not unto ourselves, but unto him who died for Us, and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:15).

IV. IN THIS ARRANGEMENT THERE IS NO FRUSTRATION, BUT A MAGNIFYING OF THE GRACE OF GOD. (Ver. 21.) If righteousness came by ceremonialism, if ceremony were the secret of salvation, then assuredly the grace of God would be frustrated, and Christ have died in vain. If legal hopes are still legitimate, then the crucifixion of Christ was a mere martyrdom by mistake. On the other hand, when we have seen clearly, as Paul did, that the Law cannot save us, but must be given up as a ground of hope, then we gather round the cross of Christ, and we adore the devotion which thereby secured our salvation, and we magnify the grace of God. Legalism is the antithesis and frustration of Divine grace; whereas the life of consecration, which the death of all legalism secures, is the tree exaltation of God's grace manifested in a crucified Saviour. Let us make sure, then, of the crucifixion of the legal spirit within us, and then the consecrated life which the contemplation of Christ crucified inspires shall be found to be the true way of magnifying the grace of God. - R.M.E.

For I through the law am dead to the law.
I. Those who are justified are QUALIFIED FOR THE HIGHEST SERVICE — "living to God."


1. The aim of crucifixion was the death of the body.

2. Its means: the Cross.

3. The death painful and protracted. So

(1)the aim of soul crucifixion is the death of sin (Romans 6:6).

(2)Its means: the Cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14).

(3)The death,

(a)painful (Matthew 5:29),

(b)protracted (Romans 7:23).As Jesus lived to God by dying on the cross, so Christians live to God by dying to sin.


1. By faith.

2. By the indwelling of Christ.

3. By the inspiration of Christ's love.

(W. Harris.)

I. WHAT IT MEANS — freedom from its dominion in respect of —

1. The accusing and condemning sentence (Romans 8:1).

2. Its power (Romans 7:8).

3. Its vigour.

4. The obligation of conscience to conform to its ceremonies.

II. THE INSTRUMENT — the law itself.

1. It accuses, terrifies, condemns, and thus urges us to fly Christ who is the cause of our death to the law.

2. The law goes before, and effects an entrance for law-killing grace.

III. THE END — living to God (Titus 2:12), which may be urged by the facts:

1. That through Christ we belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20);

2. That the purpose of our justification and redemption is. practical godliness;

3. That heaven hereafter depends on godliness here.

4. That this is the supreme end of the ministry.

(W. Perkins.)

Sir Walter Raleigh to find a gold mine at Guiana for the king, went out on his last voyage under an unremitted sentence of death that had been passed upon him fifteen years before. No wonder that the magnetic consciousness of a sword dangling over him by a hair should benumb his brain, distract his faculties, and turn his enterprize into a long tangle of blunders and calamities. Pity the adventurer who goes out on an evangelistic enterprize under the unremitted sentence of the law, a preacher of Christ crucified who has himself to be crucified; alive to the law and dead to God.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

When he said "I died, lest any one should say, "How then dost thou live?" he subjoined also the cause of his life, and showed indeed that the law killed him when living, but that, Christ taking hold of him when dead, quickened him through death; and he exhibits a double wonder, both that Christ had recalled the dead to life, and through death had imparted life.

( Chrysostom.)

What a collection of paradoxes might be made from St. Paul's Epistles.

I. Let us examine THE STATE IN WHICH THE APOSTLE DESCRIBES HIMSELF TO BE — "I am dead to the law;" but what can he mean by this? that the moral law of God has no longer any authority over him? We dare not say so. That moral law is the law of God's universal empire, of heaven and earth, and of all the worlds that are. The believer continues under its dominion as long as he is a creature. He must escape from existence before he can escape from the law of God. He means that he is dead to the law as a covenant between God and himself. The law in its relation to us is more than a simple authoritative declaration of God's will Besides commands, it consists of a promise and a threatening. This gives it the character of a covenant. He is dead to all hope from the law, to all expectation of salvation from it; he has no fear of condemnation from it. A man in his grave is free from every relationship of his former life; the servant is free from his master. So the believer, dead to the legal covenant, rests from it.

II. THE MEANS WHEREBY THE APOSTLE HAS BEEN BROUGHT INTO THE STATE HE DESCRIBES — "I through the law am dead to the law." This excludes a great number of those who call themselves Christians; who as regards their own feelings are utterly dead to it. They are dead to the law, to God, to Christ, to everything but the petty affairs of this life. But the apostle's deadness was brought about by the law itself. The extent of the law and its unbending denunciations render it impossible for us to make our way to God by it. It penetrates within a man; it reaches to the affections, the will, the thoughts, the whole mind and heart. You say this "is hard and unreasonable." Holy angels do not think so; they live under this law in happiness. But who, with a law like this before him, can hope for salvation from it? But this only partially accounts for St. Paul's deadness to the law. It explains how the law itself robbed him of all hope from it, but it does not tell us how he was saved from the fear of it. He was crucified with Christ. "I have endured in the Person of my Redeemer the curse of the law, the chastisement of my sins has been laid upon him; and now when my faith is firm I no more fear the law than a debtor fears the bond which has been cancelled."

III. THE DESIGN OF THIS DEADNESS TO THE LAW IN THE CHRISTIAN'S SOUL — "That I might live unto God." Naturally we know nothing of such a life as this. Through the influence of education, or the power of conscience, there may be some reference in our lives to God; it is but occasional and slight. Self is the ruling principle of our lives. This living to God dethrones self within the soul. The origin of this Divine life is that deadness to the law, which I began with describing. It is not a mere accompaniment of the deadness, but the effect of it; a life proceeding out of that death. His renunciation of his self-righteousness has gradually brought on other renunciations of self. The law driving him to Christ has been the happy means of driving him out of self altogether. It has brought him into the sphere of the gospel, and among those soul-stirring feelings connected with it. I can serve my God now, for He has set me free to serve Him. I can obey Him now and with delight, for He has brought me to love Him. It is not so much I who live this heavenly life; it is the God who dwells in heaven, who in condescension dwells in my soul. Learn:

1. to think more, in the first instance, of the law; to endeavour more to understand its character, and to be brought under its power. There is no greater mistake than to imagine that the gospel has destroyed the law; the gospel is indeed based on it; you will never rightly estimate the gospel till you have rightly understood the law, as a covenant of condemnation.

2. Are we amongst those who have taken refuge from the condemnation of the law in the blood and righteousness of Christ? Then the law has done its work in us.

(C. Bradley.)

Suppose a man anxious to pass from one country to another, from a dangerous and wretched country to a safe and happy one. Directly in his road stands a mountain which, it would appear, he must pass over, and which he at first imagines he can without much difficulty climb. He tries, but scarcely has he begun to breast it, when a precipice stops him. He descends and tries again in another direction. There another precipice or some other obstacle arrests his course; and still ever as he begins his ascent, he is baffled, and the little way he contrives to mount serves only to show him more and more of the prodigious height of the mountain, and its stern, rugged, impassable character. At last, wearied and worn, heart-sick with labour and disappointment, and thoroughly convinced that no efforts of his can carry him over, he lies down at the mountain's foot in utter despair; longing still to be on the other side, but making not another movement to get there. Now ask him as he lies exhausted on the ground, what has occasioned his torpor and despair, he will say, that mountain itself; its situation between him and the land of his desires, and its inaccessible heights and magnitude. So stands the law of God between the Christian and the land he longs for. At first he thought he could obey it, so obey it as to find his way to God by it, and he made the effort, made perhaps many and long-continued efforts, but the result of them all has been disappointment and despair. The law itself has stripped him of all hope of getting to heaven by means of it. He is exactly in the situation of that traveller by the mountain's side, whom you can no longer prevail on to move. "Of what use is it?" he says. "I will try no more. I know the difficulty of the work, and I know my own weakness too well." Here lies the difficulty, or rather the impossibility to such creatures as we are, of making our way to God by means of the law, here in these two things — the extent of that Jaw's requirements, and the unbending, inexorable character of its denunciations.

(C. Bradley.)

1. They are dead unto the law in the matter of justification, as it holdeth forth the condition of the covenant of works; in this respect they are dead unto the law (Romans 7:3, 6), for, by obedience to the law in their own persons, they are not now to expect justification by the works of the law.

2. They are dead unto the curse and condemning power of the law, whereby it adjudgeth all that transgresseth it unto death, and the wrath of God. The law threateneth death to all that transgress it, and bindeth this wrath on all that are alive to it, and not yet delivered from it. "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." Hence it is, that he that "believeth not is condemned already," and "the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:18, 36). For there is now no "condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

3. They are dead unto the law, as to its libels, indictments, and accusations, tending to bring them again under the lash or curse of the law, and sentence of its condemnation; and this clearly floweth from the former; for from it they are delivered from the sentence of death in the law; they are delivered from all accusations tending thereunto (Romans 8:33).

4. They are dead to the law, as it exacteth full obedience, under pains of breach of the covenant.

5. They are dead unto the law, as it exacts full obedience in their own strength, without any help from another, in whole or in part; for, now, help for them is laid upon one who is mighty (Psalm 39:19), and God worketh all their works in them (Isaiah 26:12), and worketh in them both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13), so that in Christ that strengtheneth them, they can do all things (Philippians 4:13), and in Christ do they bring forth fruits (John 15:5).

6. They are dead to the law, as to its rigid obedience in their own persons; for the law, as such, doth not point out a contrary way; nor doth it positively admit of one, though it doth not positively exclude or refuse one. Adam, and all his posterity, were bound to personal obedience; but now the believer is freed from that rigidity, and has a cautioner, with whom he is one in law, to fulfil the law, and answer all its demands; and, by his obedience, they are made righteous, and attain to justification of life (Romans 5:15, 19), so that they "are complete in Him" (Corinthians 2:10).

7. They are dead unto the law, as to its rigid exacting full and actual performance, not regarding any sincerity of intention.

8. They are dead unto the law, as to its enslaving power, keeping the soul in bondage for fear of the curse, and pressing obedience on the unwilling, with arguments only taken for fear of the curse; for, now, though all fears are not fully removed, yet are they under sweeter and milder motives and encouragements to obedience — the love of Christ now constraineth them (2 Corinthians 5:14). Thoughts of the benefits of redemption lay on strong and sweet ties, and oil the wheels of the soul; so that obedience now is sweet, filial, and kindly, not forced and constrained; for the heart is willing, and the soul delighteth in the law of the Lord after the inner man, and duties now flow out more natively.

9. They are dead to the law, in respect of its being the strength of sin, as the apostle terms it (1 Corinthians 15:36), so that they are now more free from sin than formerly, both as to its guilt and dominion; the law cannot now so charge home guilt upon them as formerly, Christ being now accepted of as cautioner (Matthew 12:18), and having made full satisfaction for the sinner of his own, the law cannot require double payment, or payment of both the cautioner and principal debtor; and therefore the believer is free of making any satisfaction to justice.This lets us then see what a change is made on the state of believers from what it formerly was.

1. A great change, from being alive to the law and under its power, to a being dead unto the law.

2. It is a great change, and no imagined but a real change, having real effects, though it be a relative change; and this believers experience in themselves.

3. It is a necessary change, for, without it, no life nor salvation is obtained.

4. It is an honourable change. From slavery to freedom (John 8:36).

5. Therefore it is a most desirable change; for every one would desire to be free of a heavy yoke of slavery, and from under tyranny. How desirable, then, must it be to be free of this spiritual yoke, and this soul's tyranny,

6. It is a most advantageous and profitable change: For(1) There is much inward peace, quietness, and serenity of soul had hereby; the soul is now freed of these tossings and perturbations of mind that it was obnoxious unto before, by being under the restless and continual challenges and accusations of the law, and dreadful fear following thereupon; for the mouth of the law being stopped, the man is dead thereunto.(2) This change yieldeth much joy and consolation to the soul that formerly was tossed with tempest, and had no comfort, but filled with heartbreaking sorrow and grief, as seeing no outgate, but living in the fearful expectation of the terrible sentence of the law, which was as water to their wine; but this sorrow is now abated, by this freedom from the law.(3) This change is accompanied with a lively hope, which keepeth up the head, while before the poor soul was drowned in despair, sinking in that gulf, crying out, undone I and that it was cut off for its part, and so refused to be comforted! But it is not so now when dead unto the law.(4) It addeth courage to the soul that was before heartless for any duty, and casten down with despondency of spirit; for now the law is removed out of the way: And so,(5) It emboldeneth the soul, and gives it confidence in approaching to God.

(J. Brown.)

I. WE SHALL SHOW WHAT IT IS TO LIVE UNTO GOD, by pointing out some principal heads of, or ingredients in, as requisite to a living to God.

1. A reconciliation with God. Enemies cannot please one another.

2. A new principle of life. A dead man, as such, cannot live to God.

3. A hearty complying with the law of God as their rule.

4. It includeth a walking by the guidance of the Spirit of God.

5. It taketh in a holy life in all manner of conversation, and the study of sanctification.

6. It taketh in a lively, holy, divine, and spiritual manner of performing commanded duties.

7. It taketh in an eying of God and His glory, with singleness of heart in what they are doing.

8. It includeth a fixed, stayed, and constant walking thus, not by fits and starts.


1. They are yet married to their old husband, and not brought out of that state of enmity wherein they were and are (Romans 7:4).

2. They have no principle but the old principle of nature, helped a little with some education; for they are growing still upon the old stock of nature.

3. They are not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can be (Romans 8:7), their will, ease, pleasure, etc., is all their care, with this their heart complieth.

4. Their guide is the flesh; for they walk after the flesh (Romans 8:4).

5. Instead of holiness, they are yielding themselves servants of unrighteousness unto sin, and sin is reigning in them, and being the servants of sin, they are free from righteousness (Romans 6:13-20).

6. All the service they do is in the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6), and not in newness of the Spirit; it is carnal, vain, and selfish, every way corrupt.

7. Their ultimate end is themselves; their own peace, quiet, ease, profit, esteem, to get a name, or to make a price to buy heaven to themselves, that they may have whereof to boast.

8. Their constant trade of life, is either to serve Satan, by following vile affections, their own lusts and pleasures, or the world; and thus their days are spent.

(J. Brown.)

"That which tells," says Professor Henry Drummond, speaking of Mission work, "is the Shepherd's life, his daily moving in and out amongst the people, and what is now wanted for Africa is a great many white men, with gentleness and kindness, and Christ-like. ness, to simply go there and do nothing but live. If they can educate the people, so much the better."

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