If we don’t use the law to determine how to live, then how should we live? By faith! Galatians 2:20 says it so well: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
We’re back to the picture of picking up our cross. The penalty for each and every one of our sins has been fully paid by Jesus’ death. Now God bases His relationship with you and with me as His sons whom He accepts perfectly. There is no sin to stand in the way of our relationship with Him. God counts us as righteous because of our faith in Jesus. And there –at our cross, where we submit to Him and let Jesus take over– is where we can begin to understand freedom. Until that point, our relationship with God is founded on fear of punishment for our shortcomings.
Living by faith, as expressed in the following passages, depicts a new way of life. It’s trusting God to have made us righteous (completely pleasing to him) because we are “in Christ” and nothing else.
Faith brings forth the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Faith in Jesus is what makes us righteous.
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference . . . (Romans 3:22)
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
Faith brings grace and peace with God.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
It’s by faith that we draw near to God.
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:18-19)
Now love is our new way of life; and it can only be accomplished when we abide in Christ.
Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:16-18)
And that love unites us with Him and with one another.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)
Living by faith is the only thing that pleases God or even matters to Him.
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6b)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)