“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain“. (Gal. 2:19-21)
Those who live to the law, that is, they who still expect to obtain salvation by the works of the law, have never felt the strength of the law. They know nothing of death and condemnation to which they are subject, and therefore they are neither hungry nor thirsty for the righteousness of Christ (Mat. 5:6).
Therefore, they are before God as if they were dead — as the Pharisee who praised himself, trusted in himself, and condemned others (Luke 18: 10-12). For God desires and welcomes contrite, troubled, and oppressed hearts who feel their poverty, destitution, and sickness (Mat. 9:20), in order that He might comfort, refresh, enrich, and heal them with the riches of His grace in Jesus Christ (Mat. 11:28).
Consider, for example, the rich young ruler who claimed to have kept all of God’s commandments from his youth. He lived according to the law (Luke 18:18-24); therefore he was dead unto God. However, the woman who was a sinner and washed Christ’s feet with her tears, received the grace of God in Christ through a steadfast faith and heartfelt trust (Luke 7:37-50). She was dead to the law and therefore she lived unto God.
– Petrus Dathenus, “The Pearl of Christian Comfort” pg. 41
Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.
Thy work alone, O Christ, can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God, not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest, And set my spirit free.
I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom. Amen
– Horatius Bonar