When Christians realize that their justification comes simply by following Christ, then they begin to seek Christ and not ways to meet religious tenants. In the early Church, the Jewish Christians were a bit resentful that the Gentile Christians did not honor Jewish laws including circumcision, dietary or festival and sabbath. It was a constant issue and even surfaced among the leadership. Paul, the rule follower of rule followers understood that for the Gentiles, those rules had no relevance. So instead, Paul focused on the transformation of becoming like Christ. When we join with Christ, we become a new person. Paul likened it to joining Christ in the crucifixion. The old us dies and the new us lives through Christ.
In our own lives, we have to learn that it is no longer us that lives, but, Christ lives within us. We are not called to meet a rigorous religious standard, but instead, we are called simply to follow His lead. It is an amazing transformation where we become selfless and not selfish. We walk humbly and with purpose seeking to honor God with our lives. As we do that, the rules lose their power to control–they are replaced with a lifetime devoted to God. Like Paul, we are crucified with Christ. We are no longer in the lead–but, instead happily allowing God to lead and transform us into His image. It is an eternal plan that is irreplaceable.
God Bless You
When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ and not by the works of the law because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”[e]