Category Archives: Ramblings

A ramble through the week.

Consent

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve…
So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. http://esv.to/Luke22.3-6

What’s the back story; certainly behind the story is a real person with a past and a hoped for future. We know he killed himself after the event. To pity or to scorn?

He chose: something consumed him. Was it a false hope? Whether we believe he was on an inevitable path or was destined to betray Jesus, Judas consented and Jesus gave himself up to be killed. By welcoming Judas as his friend, discipling him and sharing his bread with him, Jesus prepared the way.

Judas was there when Jesus spoke of his death. He heard the voice of God. He consented to Jesus being given up as a sacrifice but this time no angels stepped in to prevent the sacrifice. No lamb was provided; Jesus died. He was slaughtered for our sakes and bore the sin of the world and the wrath of God at that sin.

Judas died. He betrayed his saviour. I find myself emotionally conflicted over this pitiful man.

God it’s a mess. God, how wonderful to be human and have this care at our hearts pointing to a love beyond understanding! Help me today not to betray you Jesus; lead is not into temptation. Save us from our selves.

Walk

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. http://esv.to/1John1.5

Grace is the free gift of God. The free gift is that Jesus takes upon himself our sin. Christ is our sin bearer. In him bearing our sin, we are made righteous, not of our own doing but through faith in the work of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus is our only hope and it is by grace we are saved from the slavery of sin. We are redeemed through his death. We are saved from pursuing a life of futility and pride. We are subject to futility and pursue violence listening to the lies of the Satan. This is the wide way we all travel that leads us away from goodness.

The narrow way is to be found in Christ, strengthened by hope in him. We all wander, we all miss the mark, but God in his divine mercy seeks each of us out and offers us the way of life. As we turn to the ways of life we are purified. We choose life and know forgiveness.

In Christ sin and death are no more. Jesus in his humanity has defeated the power of death on the mess of the cross. The innocent victim has paid the price of pride and violence and bears all of our sin.

From the beginning God creates this space for love to be poured out. In the beginning he poured himself out to create this space where love might dwell. In Jesus he pours himself out for us so that we are forgiven.

All creation is in God and he is in everything, shining his light in everyone. He is the light that shines in everyone. Each is loved; all life is sacred. All life is blessed; choose life. The cross opens the way for us to return to God.

In creation God opens the way through prayer. Prayer is the way through which God acts. Each person through prayer is called to partake in the divinity of God. This is our purpose. Jesus, fully human and fully God prays. Jesus’ authority is exercised through prayer and he calls us to follow him. He has shown us the way. He is meek and humble. In him we know God is our Father and we can walk with him.

Formed

20 The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise. http://esv.to/Isa43.20-21

We are free to live and breathe and have our being and to choose life. This is God’s gift to us all. We are free to walk into God’s arms or to turn our backs and walk away. God is here to receive us, be with us and if necessary bring us back. This is his overflowing love in the face of our sin. We experience this abundance despite the wilderness we sometimes create.

Sin is ravaging creation but blessing restores: prayer forms a people in the midst of the devastation. Beauty rises from ashes. Prayer forms us together as a people of praise and God acts to bring blessing and salvation. This work is revealed fully on the cross.

The cross is the place and the time where the depths of God’s love and the means of his forgiveness are glorified. This happens in the midst of sin; in the mess of human evil, the One who knew no sin becomes sin for us. By faith in the One on the cross to save us from sin, we receive grace upon grace and walk free in resurrection life. Jesus is alive and death is defeated; the sting of death, its power, is destroyed.

In a dying world we become light as he is the light and the darkness does not overcome. We pray, Lord as you lead us, save us from our selves and deliver us from the evil one. Form us into a people for your praise.

Known

O LORD, you have searched me and known me! http://esv.to/Ps139.1

In the good news of Jesus we see the faith of the Church that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is the Son of God, One with the Father and the Spirit. In Jesus humanity has seen, heard and touched God.

The Church is those gathered as witnesses to this truth that Jesus is Lord and are a people who embody this truth. All come to know the Father through this mystery. It is a work of the Spirit; its foundation is the work on the cross wrought in Jesus made sin who knew no sin. The life of Jesus is the revelation that forgiveness is found in Jesus and through him we are restored to righteousness before God.

Our Faith is in Jesus who is the Kingdom of God made present: the message that God is the One who saves and restores. This is now, always has been and always will be true.

This faith transforms us. In the knowledge of the Holy we become wise.

Our ever word and thought is known by God and he has prepared a way for us. He has known us from before our formation from the dust of the Earth. In every moment of the day, in every choice we make, God goes before us calling us to choose life. Even in the depths of our running from him he calls. Even in the fury of the assault of the evil one God has formed a path of blessing leading us to calm.

God knows and has purposed that there is life in every choice made in Christ. We are in Christ as we proclaim Jesus is Lord.

Psalm 104

33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD! http://esv.to/Ps104.33-35

Beauty calls us out to wonder at the works of the Creator. As we rest, still on the presence of the one who formed us in the womb we know our needs. For a moment we can push these away and allow space for the LORD to breath his Spirit into us, to take us to a place of Light and Life. Then we are awakened to the world, beacons of peace and gentleness, in imitation of Christ.

Bless the LORD for our bodies and our voices to proclaim his holiness.

Bless the LORD who provides enough for each day.

Bless the LORD who is almighty and humble of spirit.

Bless the LORD who heals all flesh and does wondrous works.

May we be protected from ourselves and delivered from the evil one. We long to see sin consumed from the earth and sinners transformed to become worshippers of the Living God so that wickedness ceases. Begin with us first LORD!

In Jesus we have seen the proud scattered in their thoughts and the mighty brought down from their thrones.

Bless the LORD who fills us with good things.

Incarnation?

The Nicene Creed, a touchstone of Christian orthodoxy states of Jesus,

For us men and for our salvation,

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

Having a science background, this has been an article of faith for me and I have written of my position elsewhere[1]. But recently I have become aware that some recite this creed but believe that the Virgin Mary is an historical title, a tradition, not a fact about Mary of Nazareth[2].

This in mind, I decided to buy a book that would let me understand the full argument and was from a perspective I would not hold to be true. The book I chose was a recent publication by Kyle Roberts which he has summarised through the blog post, Virgin Birth or Incarnation? Why You Can’t Have Both (December 23, 2017)[3].

I found the book very informative. I realised that yes, historically we have a problem with philosophy invading our faith, with extra scriptural traditions based on pagan thought, and an inability to accept the humanity of Jesus. I understand the reason for Greg Boyd’s podcast which recommends us to think more of Jesus,

…from the perspective of “God as Human” rather than “God and Human.”[4]Do we struggle with Jesus eating and defecating, vomiting, feeling ill, experiencing sexual attraction and basically being human? Do we hold true to the Gospel of Jesus?

… we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it. (Hebrews 4, GNB)[5]If we do, then we are at that point where we too join with the Fathers and Mothers of the church who created traditions to cover up the subversive nature of the historical birth of Christ.

We might build ideas that include the perpetual virginity of Mary who was not only a virgin at conception, was also preserved as a virgin through the birth of Christ and remained a virgin after the birth of Christ. The Virgin Mary’s birth canal becomes so important to some, Mary is believed to have been impregnated by the Holy Spirit through her ear[6]. Some have decided it is best to side-line Mary all together and avoid the questions.[7]

I have looked at all of this and, despite all, I still hold that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Surprisingly what I wrote at Easter 2017, I still hold to.

[1]https://memlynhumphries.me.uk/2017/05/03/easter-2017/

[2]https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/24/story-virgin-birth-christianity-mary-sex-femininity

[3]http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unsystematictheology/2017/12/virgin-birth-incarnation-cant/

[4]http://reknew.org/2017/12/podcast-jesus-god-human/

[5]https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/read/eng/GNB/Heb/4/

[6]https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/22-december/comment/columnists/angela-tilby-letting-the-virgin-birth-mystery-be

[7]http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/2017/12/22/protestants-dont-know-mary/

God said… Part 2

 

The opening of the meaning of scriptures is a spiritual event. We can devise all manner schemes to know the meaning of the words but only true insight is gained through knowing the Word, Jesus. It is right that we have sound doctrine but the message for life is in the whisper, as well as the whirlwind and thunder, and rooted in Jesus. For many this mindset is difficult as it seems to undermine our understanding of authority.

It is not clear on mount Sinai whether God spoke or thundered and Moses wrote. In both cases Moses was the mediator of the “voice” of God; the human who responded to God’s message. There is an ambiguity in the word. For the Jews, the tradition and the text become a means of encountering God because of this ambiguity. Study, doubt and debate about what happened on the mountain become an act of worship. In listening to one another, what God is saying or thundering becomes a living encounter.

Jesus enters this tradition. In his anguish, Jesus called out to his Father to glorify his name and God thundered. Some heard thunder and some an angel. Jesus heard, “I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.” The message to the people was, “Now is the judgement of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out…” Jesus interpreted the event and the message was mediated through him. The thunder became words.

God thunders and whispers in the scriptures and we are commanded by Jesus to respond in grace, mercy and peace with faith. Jesus is the fount of our understanding and without love our interpretations become a noise and a clang. Without love, we close-down the voice of God in others and stand between God and his children.

Basing our faith in Scripture commits us to perpetual reformation[1]. In scripture, Jesus teaches us that every jot and tittle of the scripture is to remain and points us to him being the accomplishing of it. He talks about the random distribution of the seed and its generous and wasteful throwing out, of sun and rain falling on all, of treasures old and new being brought out and of new wineskins and old wine. He speaks of a small seed becoming a tree and providing shelter, a miracle of faith we can only watch and wonder at. The seed of God’s word is planted and we watch and wonder as it grows into a tree. God provides the rain and the sun; mountains are moved.

John says no one has seen the Father except the Son and we are left to ponder the scriptures that say otherwise. Paul takes the roar and rumble of scripture and compiles them into meanings hard to follow but rooted in tradition not the scripture and makes them scripture with gay abandon. No word of scripture is to be abandoned, it is breathed by God for a reason. One of those reasons may be to challenge our mindset and perpetually renew our thinking.

The rigour of our mindset that brings us to a scientific understanding of everything is disrupted by the words of scripture. We approach them subjectively needing certainty and a firm foundation. Jesus says faith in him is the firm foundation. The very words we would set our foundation on, on the tongues of men, shift their meanings like sand. Some rail and rant at us and call us to abandon reason or what we feel to be true. They label us as filthy and baying wolves, dehumanise us, because we dare to question their precious tradition or interpretation.

The scriptures throw is into the arms of Jesus. In the roar and rush of life, the power-plays of humanity, Jesus pulls us up out of the anger and violence of humanity, into the embrace of the One who walks on water and stills the storm. We have one Mediator, the Holy One, Jesus Christ crucified.

We need to listen to the doctors and luminaries to hear the foolishness of the good news of Christ. We need to be those who are learning and are teachable. Our faith in scripture is because we see Jesus and are saved. In the preachers’ and teachers’ words we hear the truth and can be set free, because we know Jesus and are lead to worship him and him alone. Scripture and teaching digs the hole but the rock and foundation is Jesus.

It is faith in who Jesus is that is the rock on which the Church is built. Yes, our faith is in scripture, but only read through the eyes of the knowledge of the crucified Christ. Jesus sets the words on the page alight in a consuming fire burning up our pride and arrogance so that we can live forgiven and forgive and live generous lives full of hope and love. In Jesus, we are enabled to live life in its fullness without fear.
[1] The Crucified God, Jurgen Moltmann, SCM Press, 2015, page 118

God Said…Part 1

 

Genesis 22:1-14

What if it is, as some would say, that the whole of human history is to be viewed through the lens of the cross? If the cross and Christ crucified is what brings meaning to our reading; what do the scriptures become?

The scriptures are God breathed. The scriptures are written by humanity in all its flawed nature, each word inspired by God for a purpose- the revelation of Christ. This is the self-attesting truth of the scriptures. Every word and sentiment is a literal and intentional presentation of Christ and him crucified.

When Jesus was taken up to heaven he opened the scriptures to his disciples. Before that he had opened them to disciples on the road to Emmaus. In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, for followers of Jesus, the Bible becomes plane.

Here the hard work begins as we embrace the truth. The truth is that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are what the scriptures reveal and their meaning and the character of God is revealed in the life of Christ. Jesus is the mystery from the beginning, glimpsed in every word; the truth that sets us free. Our experience of Jesus- the relationship we have with him – is our anchor. Our rock is faith in Jesus and obedience to his commands; Jesus, born of a virgin, crucified, victorious over the evil one in life and in death and raised from death to life on the third day.

We are secure in the knowledge of the Holy One, who died in our place, taking upon himself our guilt and the wrath of God at sin, so that by faith we are washed clean and clothed in righteousness and holiness. It is not us in our old natures that live, but Christ lives in us and through us. We become partakers in God’s nature, adopted into his family. In Christ, we are predestined to eternal life.

So, the hard work begins. Our one true source of knowledge of God is Jesus; Christ crucified.

When we gaze into the scriptures, often, what is reflected is ourselves. Jesus warns us of this and says that in our studying, what we should see is him. Paul says that all prophecy is a glimpse of God. Moses encountered God, as did Gideon, David and Solomon but what is it of God we see in their story? Paul himself heard God and persecuted Jesus’ followers. God intervened and he received a new revelation which meant that his zeal became the knowledge of Jesus and his energies were transferred into battling against principalities and powers not flesh and blood. The new revelation took him from a way of violence to a way of peace.

God, in his humility stepped into Paul’s life and spoke. God, in humanity, steps in and speaks in Jesus. This is the mystery. God himself steps in and brings holiness into the mess of who we are. God is pleased to dwell with humanity.

There was dissent in the camp and Moses saw the purposes he had been shown by God, the future that was possible, being denied. He was angry. God was angry that the people failed to see his loving kindness and how they would be blessed; how he would stand in their place and fight in their battles. Moses heard God and demanded that the rebels were flayed alive and set before God to avert God’s anger. This was the demand, Moses heard- God said…

Are we to think God was more immediate in Moses’ times? We know Christ and have the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are more privileged than Moses. Would we expect God to be speaking more then that now? If Jesus is the truth, we can expect to know the truth and to hear his voice. That is what Jesus’ says. Jesus, the Son of God says we will hear and know his voice.

Do we think that God spoke more clearly before the revelation of Christ than after? Do we accept that Moses knew God in a more real way?

I have spent time with those who claim direction from God and call their gift prophecy. I believe they are attentive. If they demanded I went into the streets and slaughtered all those who claimed to be Christians but fell short of the virtue expected, the high calling of Christ, I would listen but I would hear their voice and seek to discern Jesus’ voice. I could not claim they had no example in the scriptures, but the whole Bible and Jesus in the Bible would say they were wrong. But God does inhabit their voice and he is glimpsed in the truth behind what they say. They have heard God but they have not found Jesus in fact they have spoken sin.

I have been around those who profess supernatural and close encounters with God. I have witnessed diverse and incredible physical manifestations. In these they may have heard God’s voice. But if they then called me to rip the children from the wombs of my enemies, rape their young women and not rest in my slaughter, but persevere until all are dead, I would be disgusted. Yet such are the words of the Bible.

Jesus came and taught the way of passive resistance, standing up for the poor and needy, dying for others and bearing persecution. He taught us to love our enemies. And this truth is glimpsed even in these abhorrent scriptures- tenderness and loving kindness are found and we are called by God to allow him to fight our battles. The life of Jesus is the message.

The cross reveals that God himself stands before the community and is flayed alive. God himself stands before God and averts his anger. Moses missed this. We may think we have found God in the raging of the God saids…, but as on the cross, there is Jesus, the Son of God, speaking to us amid the mess.

This is the lens we must use when reading the scriptures. We must gaze into them and see the folly of flawed men and their words, their violence and hypocrisy. Does God demand human sacrifice to avert his anger? Really? But in it God reveals his purpose. God exercises his sovereign power and we gaze and glimpse Christ. On the cross Jesus was sacrificed once, for all and for ever and we live a new reality.

We must stand true to the revelation of scripture as followers of Jesus and do the hard work of finding him. The life of Jesus is the message and we are his followers.

 

Failure and doubt.

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
(Romans 6:6, English Standard Version Anglicised)

The phrase “brought to nothing” translates a verb and,

“…means … to make ineffective or inactive, and is used of unproductive land and unfruitful trees. They are still there. They have not been destroyed. But they are barren. When this verb is applied to the devil, to our fallen nature and to death, therefore, we know they have not been completely destroyed… it is not that they have ceased to exist, but their power has been broken…not…abolished…overthrown. (Stott p280, The Cross of Christ)

 

We are here talking about the nature of our justification, how we are made right with God through Christ dying in our place so that we might live by faith. Grace is never set aside and it is our privilege to be witnesses of the grace shown on the cross.

Sin is the antithesis of life, gives birth to violence and ends in death. The wages of sin are death. God’s judgement is that in sin we are separated from life and the sting of death is separation from God. This can only be known by faith in God’s goodness and a revelation of the depth of our sin. Death’s dark veil separates us from knowing what this means as we can only glimpse what is on the other side of death. As we encounter the knowledge of the Holy we find ourselves loved but broken by the evidence of our own sin. We hold the treasure in earthen jars or in today’s language plastic bags.

How is it we receive faith to repent and know life? How is it that in our contrition and poverty of spirit we are enabled to grow in faith?

The cross is the answer. Evil demands death. Evil is violent and merciless. Jesus engages in the battle. As a person, where he encounters evil, it is defeated through faith. He teaches non-violent opposition and self-sacrificial living. He teaches virtue that exceeds the demands of compliance- a heart washed trust in the righteousness and mercy of God. He teaches us to love our enemies and to forgive, over and over again. He calls us to be perfect as God is perfect who in sending the sun and rain to all, is good to all, whether they are good or evil.

God is the judge. God bears the pain of allowing sin to bear fruit for the sake of love. God is not indifferent to suffering but for the sake of love he allows evil to flourish.

There is a spiritual battle in the heavenly realms, a battle in the hearts of men revealed in the life of Jesus as he disarms evil in the world. We live in the realm of the prince of darkness who corrupts all things. He sows evil in all things but through love, forgiveness and healing Jesus fights back. This is an understanding we can only see by faith. Improbable, and hard to believe, but with the eyes of faith, the eyes of Elijah, it is evident that God is in the battle and in Jesus we see how.

God in his holiness is wholly other and in himself he is completely separate from evil. We understand his relationship to evil in human terms as wrath, jealousy and warfare. The cross shows us that he does not do this through violence. The battle gown of Jesus is already covered in blood, the blood of the cross, the saints are in white and Jesus’ sword is in his mouth not his hand.

God sets aside his wrath by forsaking Jesus on the cross and allowing evil to destroy itself in the fire of his love and forgiveness. In the life of Jesus and on the cross we can see how God’s wrath and judgement are propitiated- averted- and we are ransomed from the realm of the prince of darkness, freed to live in the kingdom of light. As evil rages, it is consumed on the cross.

Again, this can only be seen with the eyes of faith and appears absurd and heartless, especially in the light of the collateral damage we see in the suffering of the innocent that God’s forbearance allows.

On the cross, God in Christ allows himself to bear the fullness of the violence of evil and God withdraws in the Father, so that all sin and evil encounters absolute purity in Jesus and is extinguished in the cry of anguish of the Son. All sin and evil is poured on God in Christ through the violence of men and the enmity of the spiritual powers as God in the Father forsakes Jesus and he dies. A way of God’s judgement is revealed throughout the scriptures in him withdrawing his hand and giving humanity up to their sinful ways or the havoc of the spiritual powers humanity has trusted. Is this what we see on the cross? Before he dies, Jesus proclaims, it is finished.

God in his being bridges the huge gulf between his holiness and our sinfulness and shows us love by taking upon himself the judgement against sin. Faith tells us that that the pain in this withdrawal in the ground of God’s being, is beyond our understanding. Faith opens our eyes to the deep love God holds for humanity as God in Christ takes upon himself our sin and caries it, taking it into death. God endures the pain of separation for our sake and we are forgiven.

In victory, God in Christ, sanctifies death and evil is defeated so that we are restored in God. God in Christ takes upon himself the separation of sin in death. By faith we are crucified with Christ and our ransom is paid. True love is revealed as God in Christ takes the cup of wrath for our sake so that we might live in the victory of new life.

Jesus teaches us that true love sacrifices itself for the sake of others. True love does not count itself more worthy than others. Indeed, love is revealed in pouring ourselves out for others, even to death.

Jesus’ victory was in the path of peace, the narrow way of non-violence and love for enemies. Evil was defeated by love. In our poverty of spirit, we inherit the righteousness of God through the cross. The power of sin and death is broken, becomes barren and is fruitless, not because of our own efforts, but because of the cross. Jesus took the judgement of God on sin, in our place, once and for ever. By faith we are crucified with Christ, and death and sin are brought to nothing, so that we are empowered to live our lives in Christ.

But how weak that looks in our lives. We can claim that God is within, dwelling as Father and Son, so that we are in Christ as the Son is in the Father but it doesn’t often look like that. We proclaim we are new creations. This is so audacious and in all honesty, it looks a pitiful and a messy delusion.

Are we fools to have such confidence? Are we totally deceived? Our lives in many ways are a mess and the facts speak of moderate to severe turmoil, occasionally just poor, but rarely moderate to good. Our failures and our inglorious experience of life should rightly lead us to crumble. Why don’t we just give up and say to our doubts-the facts seem to hold, you are right, this is a fiction?

My hope is in the fact that God loves me, and his love looks like the cross. In reading the scriptures I see this has always been so; God pours himself out to dwell with humanity and its crushing sin, staying the hand of judgement.

We hold the perfect within, yet we are only marginally different to those who do not. We look as hopeless as the criminal on the cross. The irony is, we are the criminal on the cross.

Our witness of faith knows the criminal to be God. This is the truth of the grisly cross. The context and circumstances, the mess of our being, holds within itself the knowledge of the Holy. Our trust in God and our resting in him brings peace by grace and not by the effort of works. This looks like defeat, but in dying to ourselves and taking up the cross we find grace upon grace and God in us, our hope of glory.

Peace does at times look like turmoil, but the humility of God means he steps into this turmoil and he comes and lives in the ugliness. We are being transformed by this indwelling faith.

Is this how we read our lives? Is this what the life of Jesus leads us to? The removal of the mask which enables us to depend on God, to trust in him fully, by trusting in who we are, is our salvation. God humbles himself to bear the mask of our lives because of the cross.

Our lives are transformed as we find God in the ugliness, not our own righteousness. The light of God shines and we find our strength in the cross. This is the source of our repentance. We are not justified because we repent, we repent because by faith we are justified by believing in God in Christ crucified.

The mess of the criminal executed on the cross is the person of God, who dies in our place and takes away our sin. Death loses its power and God is glorified in the mess and this is by faith and faith alone. Virtue in the eyes of humanity does not justify us, it is faith. It is by faith that we live to God, freed from the power of sin. So, doubt and failure are part of this faith because in our doubt and failure we need to have the faith not to rebuild what has been torn down. We may be ridiculed, but having faith we will stand and we stand against those who would enslave us once more to works. On the cross God shows us that he, through the Spirit, transforms us and he is pleased to abide in us.

But if, in our endeavour to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

(Galatians 2:17-21, English Standard Version Anglicised)