19 “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

A. Man’s Laws of Behavior

There is in every culture, a code of ethics, a law of acceptable behavior.
A system which governs the way people live.
An idea about living that describes what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

It varies from culture to culture.
People do not necessarily have to be religious to have a code of ethics.
Even criminals have certain codes of ethics.
Their rules for acceptable behavior contrast greatly with what society accepts.
But even within criminal circles, certain things are tolerated, other things are not.

Within cultures, codes of ethics vary from age group to age group.
Within our own homes, there are different ideas of what that code of ethics should be.
Parents have one idea of how things should go, children have another idea.
Even spouses can disagree on a code of acceptable behavior.

We all live according to some kind of set of laws which we feel is right.
It is built into each man, woman, and child, that there are certain things that are fair, and there are certain things that are not fair.

This is best illustrated with children.
They will make up rules about certain games.
Rules that were never dictated to them by their parents.
Rules that were developed as the need arose.
As the game is played, and someone feels cheated, a rule is either re-enforced, or made up, to deal with the problem.

Some people resist the idea of a code of acceptable behavior.
They will say that they have the right to do anything they want.
That no one should ever tell someone else that something is or isn’t right.

They will fight to push that idea upon you, until such a time that they feel their rights have been violated.
Then they will tell you, “Hey, you can’t do that!”
It is at that point that they violate their own system of belief.
They tell you it is wrong to dictate other’s behaviors, and then they tell you not to treat them a certain way.

It gets even more ridiculous than that.
If people believe that no one should tell anyone else what to do,
Then they violate their own beliefs by even mentioning it to you.
If they really believe that to the greatest extent possible, they would never bring it up.

So we see that EVERY human being has a system of right and wrong that they espouse.
They may not even realize it, but they have one.
It is built in to us.

God’s Laws Of Behavior

God created man, and put within man the innate feeling towards some kind of system of rules.
Call it conscience. Call it whatever you want.
But God has a put within man the desire for and the ability to see that some kind of order was needed.

The Apostle Paul was aware of this need for order.
He was aware of this need for right behavior.

He was especially aware of this need for right behavior as it related to God.

The Apostle Paul grew up as a Jew.
Beyond that, He was a Pharisee.
Pharisee comes from parash, “to separate”).
In the time of our Lord they were the popular religious party.
They were extremely accurate and minute in all matters appertaining to the law of Moses.

For example, in tithing, the giving to God of 1/10 of one’s income.

Luke 11:42 (NIV) you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs…
They were religious conservatives, very zealous about keeping the laws of God.
Yet they were known as being self righteous.

Luke 18:9-12 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:
10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

As a Pharisee, Paul believed that he was accepted by God b/c Paul believed that he carefully obeyed the written laws of God.
He saw himself as righteous by his own works and accomplishments.

In Philippians, Paul speaks about his former mindset concerning righteousness through one’s obedience to the Law.
Phil 3:4-6 (NIV) If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

As a Pharisee, Paul saw the Law of God as the agent which made him right with God.
Paul viewed the Law as the means that gave him access to God.
Paul believed that he could successfully keep this written code of behavior.
Paul believed the Law could save him, b/c he believed he obeyed it perfectly.

Paul discovered that he was not innocent concerning the Law.
When Paul met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he was born again.
He began to realize that the Law did not make him innocent with God.
He began to realize that the Law condemned him.
A spiritual rebirth came upon Paul, and now realized the truth of his own sinfulness.

Paul realized that one might keep the law in an external fashion.
But he realized that in his heart he was guilty of breaking God’s laws.

Matt 5:19-22, 27-28 (NIV)
19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ ( 5 th Commandment)
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.
Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ “empty-headed,” is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!'( a godless, moral reprobate) will be in danger of the fire of hell.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery. ‘ (6 th Commandment)
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ( 10 th Commandment)

It was easy for Paul to focus on the outward obedience to the Written Laws of God. In his mind, he was O.K., he was acceptable to God.
The Pharisees were desensitized to the fact that God’s laws also dealt with their hearts and attitudes.

When Paul was born again, God showed Paul that he was guilty of breaking the laws of God.
His spiritual sensitivity came alive.
He was convicted in his heart about his sin.

The Law, which he formerly trusted to save him, now condemned him.
Paul realized he was a guilty man.
It destroyed his whole sense of security with God.
It undermined his self-righteousness.
Paul finally saw himself as being the sinner that he was.

Before being born again, Paul thought himself to be alive to God b/c in his mind, he obeyed the law.
After his conversion, the law that he depended upon was the thing that condemned him.

The law that he thought would save him, was actually the thing that pronounced him guilty before God.

The Law that he trusted to name him as righteous, pronounced him a sinner.

The Law that he believed would bring him eternal life,…
Actually pronounced him guilty of everlasting punishment.
In that sense, Paul dies b/c of the Law.

But there is another way that Paul died to the Law.


Paul’s Change of Direction

Paul now says that instead of living for religion, and self-help,….
He now lives for God, and to God.

Paul says that he died to the law that he might live to God….
What does that mean?
Paul quit trying to find acceptance w/God based upon obedience to the written code.
But he says something more than that.
Gal 2:20 (NKJV) “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;

What does that mean?


The law says that lawbreakers are to be cursed.
The breaking of any law calls for punishment.

Romans 6:23 (NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To miss the mark, to miss or wander from the path.

Paul, through his self-righteousness and pride, had missed the path of a right life w/God.
The result of that was to be death and separation from God.

WHEN A CRIME IS COMITTED, a sentence is pronounced, and a debt is owed.
We speak of a person “paying their debt to society.”

Guilty Paul owed a debt to God.
He owed God his life.
Paul was guilty of his sins.

But Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
What does he mean?

Mark 10:45 (NIV) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

1 John 2:2 (NKJV) And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
In this passage, propitiation means that sins have been paid for by the suffering of Another.

Spiritually speaking, when Jesus died for the sins of mankind, his death was a substitutionary death.
It was as IF Paul were dying, as IF I was dying.

Spiritually, Paul was already guilty of death, and his sins were put on Christ.
Spiritually, my sins, Paul’s sins, your sins, were put on Christ.

Did we die physically? No.
Did Paul die physically? No.
Judicially, according to the courts of heaven,…
Was Paul the Apostle guilty anymore?
Was he worthy of death any longer?

B/c he was identified with the one who dies for him, Jesus Christ.

God had so ordained and designed salvation to be accomplished this way….

That Jesus would give His life for yours.
Jesus would suffer in your place.
He would suffer in such a way that the counsels of heaven would be satisfied.

Any court has the right to say what debt is owed for one’s crimes.
The High Court of Heaven was satisfied that Jesus died for the sins of the world

When Paul say that he has been crucified w/Christ, he means that…..

As far as God is concerned,…

The punishment Paul deserved was put on Jesus, and poured out upon Jesus.

The debt that Paul owed was paid not by himself, but by Jesus Christ.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;

The connection between the guilty sinner and the willing substitute is so close, that they are essentially one.
As Jesus takes on the sins of the sinner,…
So the sinner takes on the righteousness of Jesus.

So complete is the forgiveness of the sinner,…
It is as though he no longer lives.
Spiritually speaking, he doesn’t live.
Spiritually speaking he died, and was then born again.

That is why Paul says….
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;

In the eyes of God, the guilty Paul didn’t exist any longer.
There was now a born again Paul.
A forgiven Paul.
An innocent Paul.
A righteous Paul.

Not only was the guilt of Paul taken away,…
But the righteousness of Jesus was put onto Paul’s account.

2 Cor 5:21 (NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


Depending upon his own works?

Depending upon being good to win God’s favor?

Galatians 2:20 and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, ….

Paul was not altogether dead.
He would still go on to live, make decisions, etc.
But instead of having faith in his own works for salvation,…
He would have faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

who loved me and gave Himself for me.

What was the motivation of Jesus? Love.

Love for the self-righteous, etc.
Love for the one who had no hope in self, etc.
“I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”