This week I started studying Galatians in the mornings and I’ve been using Timothy Keller’s book Galatians for You as a tool to help shed some light on the text. In the book, Keller says something about Galatians 1:4 that gave my heart fodder for praise. Let me quote the text, then Keller:
“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver (or rescue) us from the present evil age…”
Commenting on what it means that Christ gave himself to “deliver” us, Keller says,
“[Jesus] did not merely buy us a ‘second chance’, giving us another opportunity to get life right and stay right with God. He did all we needed to do, but cannot do.”
Do I have to say how profound this is? What would have become of us if the gospel was simply a second chance to “get life right”? We would fail miserably again, running from God in rebellion as we claim our own independence and worth! The truth is that we lack the capacity for obedience altogether. Even if God gave us a million second chances, we would never reach God’s standard. It is true that time along with trial and error is what Thomas Edison needed to invent the electric light bulb, but time for us, left to ourselves, will only result in more sin.
This is why we needed Jesus to rescue us. We are spiritually unable to get life right so we could save ourselves, so Jesus had to get life right for us so he could save us. It is common for Christians to say that we serve “a God of second chances”. To that we should ask, “Second chances to do what?” Is it second chances to get life right or second chances to prove ourselves? If so, we need to be reminded of the gospel which says, “We would use second chances the same way we used the first chance, therefore, we need Jesus to rescue us – the one who does not need second chances; the one who got life right the first time… for us.”