In many places in the New Testament we see that as Christians we have been set free from sin and set free from the law. This freedom in the truth is one of the primary purposes of Jesus coming to the world and dying for our salvation.
For many Christians though, they find it a challenge to accept the freedom that is freely given under the grace of God.
And it isn’t all their fault because too many churches do not teach the mechanisms by which their flock can be set free. They speak the words of freedom, but do not know how it works or how to receive it. Thus too many people after coming to Christ continue submitting to sin when it is not necessary. Paul explains this issue in these verses.
Is Christ An Agent Of Sin?
Paul begins this section asking a very pertinent question. He says in verse 17:
But if, in our endeavour to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not! (Galatians 2:17)
How many Christians believe they are still under the power of sin, even though they know the message of salvation that Christ has set them free from sin? John the Baptist made this point quite bluntly saying:
Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Jesus Christ has taken away the sin of the world, for those who have faith. Those who believe in Christ are no longer under the power of sin.
So all of those Christians who call themselves sinners, have missed one of the key points of the coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that we are no longer under sin and that Jesus took away the sins of the world.
Which leads us back to Paul’s question, is Christ an agent of sin? If we are all still sinners, then was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ insufficient to achieve the total, utter and complete freedom from sin promised in the Bible? And when we look at John the Baptist’s words above, we see it goes deeper than simple forgiveness. Jesus came to TAKE AWAY the sins of the world, not just forgive them.
When something is just forgiven there is still the memory of the wrong in the mind of the forgiver, in this case, the mind of God. But because Jesus came to TAKE AWAY the sins of the world, there is no remembrance of the wrongs we have done. Our sins have been removed and not just forgiven but forgotten as if they had never occurred in the first place.
So, as Paul answered his own question, No…Jesus is NOT an agent of sin. If Christians still believe they are sinners it is not the fault of Jesus Christ because He did and gave everything to set us free from sin.
So that raises the question, if Christians still believe they are sinners, in spite of Christ’s sacrifice, then who is responsible? Where is this “power of sin” coming from, because clearly it is not coming from Christ. He is not condemning us and in fact He has already set us all free!
The Power Of Sin
We are told in Corinthians that the real power of sin is the law. It says this in the following verse.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15:56)
So Christians could readily argue that because they have to keep the law, they are under the power of sin. But anyone thinking this would be wrong again.
When Jesus died His freedom was complete and total. He didn’t just take away our sin, He took away the law as well as we see in the following verses.
4 Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit. (Romans 7:4-6)
We Christians have died to the law through the death in the body of Jesus Christ. He has freed us from the law as well as freeing us from the power of sin.
And it was essential that we be removed from the law. Since we see in the verse in 1 Corinthians 15:56 above that the power of sin is the law, then if Jesus’ death only removed our sin, as soon as we break the law again, we become sinners again. And to keep us clean, Jesus would have to die for us all over again, and again, (and again…again…ad infinitum!)
This was never God’s intention for our salvation that Jesus would suffer death over and over. So what God had to do in the death of Jesus was to BOTH get rid of our past sins AND make it possible that we CANNOT sin again. And because we see that the power of sin is the law, then to prevent us from future sin, God had to remove the law. He did this by allowing us to take on the death of Jesus Christ as our own (through faith), so that we can “die” with Christ & be “resurrected” as new creations who are set free from sin and set free from law. And if we are no longer under the law, we can no longer sin because you cannot break a law you are not under.
So why do so many Christians still call themselves sinners? Even the ones who say they are “sinners saved by grace” have got it wrong, because in the one statement they are saying they are both “sinners” and “not sinners” at the same time. You can’t be both. You are either under sin or set free from it. And this is what Paul is driving at in these few verses in Galatians 2:17-20.
Submitting To Sin
Paul explains the problem that is plaguing modern Christians today who believe they are still under the power of sin, and he tells us clearly who it is at fault.
18 But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:18-20)
Verse 18 points the blame where it belongs: “If I…”
Those Christians who are holding onto their sins by calling themselves sinners are doing it to themselves. Jesus does not condemn them as sinners and I can imagine Him tearing His hair out seeing people doing this to themselves!
If you think you are a sinner and if you believe you have to keep the law, then you are doing it to yourself.
Jesus tore down the power of sin by removing the law in His death and He took away all of our past sins at the same time. But if YOU call yourself a sinner, then it is YOU who have rebuilt the walls of law and the power of sin in your own life. When you put yourself back under the law that Jesus died to set you free of, you have made yourself a sinner.
How do you overcome this? Go again to the rest of these verses in Galatians 2 where Paul shows that he (and we) have died with Christ, and in Christ’s death we have “died to the law.” We have received the free gift of righteousness by faith and we can now live without sin and without the law. But we live in this state by faith, not works of the law. (To gain a better insight into some of these matters go back to Romans chapters 6 and 7).
So if you are thinking you are a sinner, you are submitting to the power of sin and YOU have rebuilt again the power of the law in your life that condemns you as a sinner. Sorry to say it, but it’s your fault, but don’t panic! Jesus is the answer to all of these problems. When you were baptised into the death of Jesus Christ, that is when you died with Him to sin and to the law, and when God in His grace gave you the free gift of righteousness by faith. The process is simple and logical, and if you want to know more go to the “Finding Jesus” item on menu bar and as you answer the questions in that process, you will find the way defined.
So do this and remember that Jesus has set you free and STOP submitting to sin in your life. You are free!
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