Returning to our next phrase in Galatians 2:20, “… the Son of God who loved me…” We can never overemphasize or overadvertize the love of God. It is the essence of God’s off-the-charts character. It is a love of overwhelming depth, compassion, and power. It is literally who God is, as the Scripture simply but boldly says, “God is love” (I Jn 4:8).
So how does the “Son of God who loved me” intersect with living by faith? When I dwell on the depth of God’s love, I am energized to live the life of faith that I wrote about last time. Realizing that God rescued me totally on the basis of His great love – not on anything I have done – frees me to live by faith; not by self effort, or self saving, or self made rules that prove my worthiness to Him.
When we underestimate God’s love, we sense a need to work for His approval and acceptance. We sense a debt that we need to repay. We live in fear of whether or not we have done enough. We might call it living by faith, but we are really living by fear; striving to hit a moving target of God’s approval.
But God’s love erases all fear. His love strengthens my faith in this way. Because I know how deeply God loves me, I know that He would never lie to me. I know that all of His promises are true. I know he would never send harm to me. I know He would only have my good in His mind and plan.
Do you see how understanding the depth of God’s love strengthens your faith in Him? It energizes your faith to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God will keep His promises; not just because God is not a liar, but also because He loves you. And one of those promises is that Christ has come to live inside you and me.
“… and delivered Himself up for me.” As we come to the last line of Galatians 2:20, we find that God’s love is what sent Jesus to rescue us. Christ delivered us by giving Himself in our place. He is our substitute. Christ, our substitute, is what the atonement is all about.
Christ dying in our place, “bearing our sins in His body on the cross” (I Pet 2:24), put us in right standing with God. His death in our place justified us and we have been declared righteous. But did you know that this concept of Christ our substitute extends beyond our justification? It is a radical concept that we will discuss next time.