Proof (Galatians 2:18)

For if I rebuild what I have [once] destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.

Galatians 2:18

This verse caught my attention this morning.

It is part of Paul’s opposition of Peter. In front of it is the truth that we are justified by faith, not works, and the rhetorical question of whether or not Jesus is a minister of sin if we are found to be sinners. Behind this verse is some pretty heady stuff about having been crucified with Christ and now living by faith. Paul’s writing can be densely packed and this passage is one of those places.

Sandwiched between justification by faith and walking by faith in grace is this comment that my sin does not change Who and What Jesus is. My transgressions; my willful rebellions do not make Him any less my Savior or any less the payment for my sins. In fact, God’s revelation of Himself to Moses (Exodus 34:6-7) includes the statement that He forgives iniquity, transgression and sin (v7). Even transgression is forgivable if I repent. So my transgression only proves one thing: I am a transgressor.

Why did this catch my attention? Because I, like everyone else, am guilty of knowing that something is wrong and doing it anyway; transgressing. Transgress is a great word, it comes from two roots: (1) “trans-“, which means “across” and “-gress” which means “step”. Put simply, transgressing is stepping across a known boundary. When God says “This far and no further.” and I keep on walking is when transgression happens.

Father, teach me repentance for those things in which I transgress. I know that transgression is present in me and that it does not nullify Your grace, but does reaffirm my need of a Savior and to repent.


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