Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

The Sin of Building Again

For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.     Galatians 2:18

Paul’s use of “destroyed” in Galatians 2:18 is a reference to his rejection of the law as a means of righteousness. His “build again” speaks of “returning to law as a means of righteousness.” He says that returning to law would make him a transgressor.

In Galatians 5:17 Paul had written:

But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 

Possibly, some Jews were saying that Jesus was a promoter of sin because receiving Jesus for righteousness meant rejecting the law as a means of righteousness.—which was a sin. In the mind of the false teachers this makes Jesus a promoter of sin.

In verses 17 and 18 Paul is saying, “It is not a sin to reject the law for grace, but it is a sin to reject grace and return to the law.

In Galatians 2:19 Paul establishes the finality of his rejection of the law and his embracing of grace.

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

In Romans 6:3-5 Paul explains the believer’s union with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.  In Romans 7:4 he writes that in experiencing crucifixion through his union with Christ, a believer experiences death to the law.

Paul’s statement that through the law he died to the law is best explained in Romans 7:7-14.

In that passage Paul testifies that in his attempt to keep the commandment not to covet, he was filled with all manner of covetousness. This failure drove Paul to grace.

In Galatians 2:18 Paul indicates his resolve not to commit the sin of turning from grace to the law.

May all who now live in grace make the same resolve.