Fullness of Life in Christ - Reflection on. the Epistle
In last week’s reflection I wrote about how St. Paul spoke to the believers in Galatia about how their faith sets them apart from the ordinary. He used his life as an example, how he had persecuted the followers of Christ and how, through the grace of God, he became a true believer in Christ.
St. Paul’s life was transformed. The one who was zealous about the Law and the Prophets, now understands how Christ came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. This understanding is what transforms his life. He finds freedom through the grace of the Holy Spirit to fully devote himself to Christ.
Finding himself as the voice of Christ to the gentiles, he comes to understand the relationship he shares with Christ. In today’s Epistle reading, taken again from his Letter to the Galatians, he proclaims, “For I through the law died to the law, 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.” (Gal 2:19-20)
This is a profound proclamation. He overturns his past, binds himself with Christ who offered himself for all through crucifixion, and most importantly, comes to the conclusion that his old life is no longer. His new life is found in his unity with Christ.
We too must overturn aspects of our lives that in the past have bound us to our earthly life, and, as St. Paul did, find our true being in our identity with Christ. This is not an easy task because we are constantly challenged by the cares of this life, what society tells us or encourages us to be. We are often taught that success is identified by our financial success, by the fashion we wear, or by the social circles in which we dwell. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be financially successful or have nice things or have an array of friends, but we should not calculate our identity by them.
As Orthodox Christians, our truest understanding of self is found in our relationship with Christ. The deeper we search, the more we come to understand that through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, our sinfulness dies as well. The fullness of our identity is found in Christ. When this revelation takes place, along with St. Paul, we can say, ‘it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.’