Week 03

Step 01: Pause and Prepare

Find a quiet place and quiet your mind. Pause. Take a couple of deep breaths. This biblical practice is taught throughout the Psalms. Hit the mute button on all the other voices in your life. Clear your thoughts so God's Word can fill them. If you feel like rushing past this part that's how you know for sure you need to do it!

Think upon our foundational scriptures, then go to Step 02.

"For the word of God is alive and powerful."

Hebrews 4:12, NLT

Remember you're about to encounter the living God in His living Word!

"...train yourself in godliness." 

1 Timothy 4:7b, ESV

Our discipline to create time for devotions is essential. But it doesn't change our lives. It is God's Spirit alone that transforms us. Open your heart to God and read the scriptures! 

Step 02: Read the Scripture Passage

Galatians 2:15-21, NLT

“You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. 16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”
17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Want to read today's passage in a different version? Visit Bible Gateway and choose your favorite!

Step 03: Answer Four Questions

Grab your notebook and write down your answers to these four questions. It will help you engage with the text, process what God's Word is saying to you, and encounter God in your devotional time.
* If you find it difficult to figure out what the scripture passage is about we highly recommend getting a Study Bible. For now, we have provided the kind of notes a Study Bible utilizes to help you understand the text below.
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Question #1

What does the scripture say?

In your own words, what you think the scripture passage or story is about.

(Touch the dots for more questions.)

Question #2 

What does the scripture say to me?

What do you feel the passage is speaking to you in regard to your life or current situation?

Need a little help? Click here.

Question #3

What do I want to say to God about the text?

What emotions and thoughts does the text create in you? Communicate them in prayer.

Question #4

What difference will this text make in my life?

In what way does this text help you live for God?

What is Galatians 2:15-21 about?

To follow Paul's line of thought in this passage it's important to define a term he uses several times: justification. It means to be made in right standing, or right relationship, with God. Paul is going to address how this happens for Christians. His answer is straightforward enough, it happens through faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to our old sinful self being "crucified with Jesus" so that we are now spiritually alive in Him, and not dead in our sins. The issue Paul is working through is that some people in the churches, who were Jews, wanted to act like the fact that they had been given the law as Jews, and then obedience to the law beyond that, was what made them right with God. Paul says in effect, "NO WAY!" If we could receive the law and obey it all on our own then Jesus died for nothing. Becoming right with God on our own is impossible. The Jews did receive the law, and they were God's people. But all they did was break that law Paul says. Jews needed a savior just as much as "Gentile sinners". Thankfully, Jesus came to save His people Israel, and to truly be what Israel was meant to be all along: God's light and salvation to all the other nations of the world (Gentiles)! So, there is only one people of God made up of Jews and Gentiles who trust in Jesus death to forgive their sins and justify them to God.
TIP:  When you get to a tough passage like this from Paul, go to the end where Paul summaries and concludes his arguments—verse 20 in this case—and then work backward through the argument he's making to get there. Once you know his clear conclusion it's easier to see what he's getting at in the steps of his argument. And even if you don't quite get every step at first you're at least getting the conclusion!

Want more? Watch this overview of Galatians, or a video on The Law, from The Bible Project below.

The Bible Project

The Law

Paul's Letter to the Galatians

Recommended Resources

ESV Study Bible

Life Application Study Bible