September 20, 2019
CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A SELF-IMPROVEMENT COURSE The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia instructing them to be like executioners, dealing cruelly with their own sin. Our human tendency however, is to deal cruelly with the sin of others, rather than our own. For when we see sin in others, we do not hesitate… Read more »
September 16, 2019
LIVE IN THE SPIRIT, NOT BY HUMAN EFFORT The apostle Paul warned the believers in Galatia not to foolishly give up their freedom in Christ to be entangled once again under a yoke of slavery to religious rule-keeping. For if we are saved by faith, we must live and walk by faith. Self-effort neither saves… Read more »
September 15, 2019
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH IN CHRIST ALONE Justification is the doctrine that God pardons, accepts, and declares a sinner to be just, “made right with God,” on the basis of Christ’s righteousness. Justification is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ apart from works. Paul was concerned that the Christians at Galatia, who had received… Read more »
September 14, 2019
THE GOSPEL IS FROM CHRIST, NOT MAN The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in the Galatian churches to explain where he had received his gospel message. He wanted them to know that he had received it by personal, “direct revelation” from the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what it meant to be an “apostle,”… Read more »
September 21, 2017
Paul said that the Judaizers, those who insisted that Gentile believers must adhere to the Mosaic ceremonial law, “boasted” in the flesh. Yet, Paul had put away all boasting in worldly and fleshly things. He had counted all things, his Jewish resume, his desire for worldly wealth and position, as “loss for Christ” (Phil. 3:7). Why? Because he knew that the works of the flesh brought only death. But receiving the grace of God through faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross brings eternal life. Therefore, Paul boasted in the cross of Christ!
Where is your boasting today?
September 20, 2017
In order to be “led by the Spirit,” we must be “filled” with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). The Spirit is given to us when we receive Christ as Savior. This is the “Spirit of adoption” (Rom. 8:14-16), which identifies us as children of God. Being adopted, filled and led, we are enabled to “walk” in the Spirit. The Spirit-filled life is under grace. But the one who strives according to self-effort, which is the flesh, is still under the law and its curse, which is death. The Spirit works from the inside-out, leading and empowering the believer, but the law is external and has no ability to energize adherence. Concerning this, the author of Hebrews wrote, ‘But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them”‘ (Heb. 10:15-16). This new covenant of grace has already come in Christ Jesus!
September 19, 2017
It is faith, not the flesh, that takes hold of true righteousness. And it is the Spirit that makes faith effective and righteousness real. For the flesh strives to earn righteousness through law-keeping, which is a rejection of the grace of Christ. Those who live by the works of the flesh cannot produce righteousness. But those who live by the Spirit are enabled to bear the fruit of the Spirit by faith in the finished work and righteousness of Christ. As Edward Mote wrote in the first stanza of his famous hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!”
September 17, 2017
If the law cannot save, what purpose does it “serve?” Paul asked this rhetorical question after making the point that the “promise” of God was given 430 years before the law of God was added. The “promise” was given to Abraham that through his “Seed” all nations would be blessed (Gen.22:18). This “Seed” is Christ. So, since faith in the “Promised Seed” is the only way of salvation, why was the law given? It was given “because of transgressions.” The promise is for salvation, but the law is “because” of sin. Paul goes on in his epistle to the Galatians to give what some have called the three “R”s of the law, which answers his question, “what purpose does the law serve?”
THREE “R”s OF THE LAW:
1) Reflect our guilty condition (Like a perfect mirror).
2) Restrain our sinful behavior (Like a prison guard).
3) Reveal our need for a Savior (Like a pedagogue).
The law is good and useful, but it cannot save. Only faith in Christ saves.
September 16, 2017
God’s grace, as Paul speaks of it here, is that which saves and sustains the one trusting in Christ’s finish work of salvation. Grace is about God’s mercy, while “works righteousness” is about our merit. But grace is more than mercy, for mercy only withholds the punishment we deserve. Yet, grace gives us the opposite of what we deserve. This is not only saving and sustaining grace, it is scandalous grace. For it gives the one who deserves an “F” on life’s test, an “A+.” How is this just? It is just because Christ died in our place. He took our “F” and offers us His “A+.” When we attempt to add law-keeping to salvation, we “set aside” grace. And having nullified grace, we nullify the work of Christ on the cross with it. Grace (Greek: χάρις, charis) is God’s unmerited favor freely bestowed on those who having recognized their own inability to save themselves, put their trust in Christ and His finished work of salvation. Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone saves.
September 15, 2017
This was a pivotal meeting in the history of the Christian Church. The apostle Paul was moved both by a revelation from God and by his desire for unity with the other apostles concerning the matter of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Certain people had come behind Paul into Galatia teaching that the Gentile believers should essentially become Jewish, following Jewish laws and customs. Paul was confident that the gospel the Lord had given him by revelation was not just a reform movement for Judaism, but good news for the whole world. One could come to Christ without becoming Jewish. The apostles in Jerusalem affirmed Paul’s gospel as the same gospel that Christ had given them. The gospel was for every nation, tribe and tongue. It was for the whole world. And it still is!