Only What We Do for Christ Will Last
“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. O’ foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of Faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal. 2:20–3:5, KJV).
The Apostle Paul in defense of his apostleship to the Gentiles (i.e., uncircumcised, heathens, non-Jews) challenged the practice of those considered to be the pillars of the Faith.
They embraced his apostleship outside of the presence of the elite Jews, but withdrew themselves from the fellowship and freedom of being with others, requiring that certain Judaic rituals be honored in the presence of those Jews. A double standard was in practice that Paul called it out, and particularly called out Peter, who provided leadership in sharing the gospel to the circumcised (Jews) (Gal. 2:11-12). This action cost Paul the separation of his friend Barnabas (Gal. 2:13). “Peter you can’t expect the gentiles to live as the Jews do, when you don’t live accordingly.” There cannot be one rule for someone else and a different one for you under the gospel.
Through his personal conviction, Paul was willing to endure the cost that standing in truth would levy. He therefore offers the powerful statement in Gal. 2:20; which I have chosen to paraphrase in the words of Raymond Rasberry as penned in 1963: “Only what you do for Christ will last”.
There are tremendous advancements in technology, in global presence, in promotion of varying initiatives, etc., however, with all of these advancements there is an increase to eliminate the presence of Christ. As the world becomes more populated, it also becomes more polarized, and less spiritual (Rodney’s assessment). The concern is that the Church (The Body of Christ) appears to conform to popular society (Rom. 12:2). If we, the Church fail to hold fast the standard of the Faith, then what? These are the questions that Paul posed to the Galatians in chapter 3:1-5.
One of the stanzas of Raymond Rasberry's song, “Only What You do for Christ will Last,” states: “Tho’ your armies may control each hemisphere, and your orbits out in space cause men to cheer, your scientific knowledge may be vast, but only what you do for Christ will last.” How appropriate when the rich and famous have discovered a new playground in outer space and have created new toys (individual spacecrafts) to access that playground, The world stands in awe of this accomplishment and I, too, am amazed, yet I’m reminded that this is only a sampling of what Christ has already made available to those of the Faith.
The adventure of the rich and famous only lasts for a few minutes, those of the faith will last for eternity; the rich and famous must train to make their trip, we are transported through the faith of Christ. Only those of financial means can afford to make their trip, but whosever confesses with their mouth and believes in their hearts that God has raised Jesus from the dead (Rom. 10:9) has a guaranteed boarding pass to outer space, far beyond the playground of the rich and famous.
“Only what you do for Christ will Last!"
Gracious Father, in the name of your Son, we pray. Thank you for the gift of life given to us, and for the Eternal promise bestowed upon us through faith. Enable us to daily focus our adoration upon You, and to recognize that only what we do through faith -- and for You -- will stand the test of time. Amen.
Rev. Rodney G. Perry
Ministry and Mission Coach, Denver Area
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains