(915) 591-9330

Pastor Eddie Hon

Greetings:

- Galatians 1:3-5 "3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Prayer

Galatians 1 and 2: Paul's Ministry

Galatians is Paul's letter to a people who have been deceived into believing a false gospel. Paul shows his astonishment at the people of Galatia and how they so quickly fell away from the gospel they received from Paul during his last visit with them. We see this in Galatians 1:6-7.

- Galatians 1:6-7 "6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ."

It is plain to see that Paul is contending with false teachers, Judaizers who are trying to discredit the validity of Paul's message and authority. In fact, Paul spends the first two chapters of his letter addressing these issues by giving specific accounts of his own experiences.
  1. In Galatians 1:11-20, we see Paul give an account of his conversion (Acts 9) and his time shortly after. Paul doesn't seek approval. Instead, Paul spends the first three years immediately following his encounter with Jesus Christ  preaching about this revelation.
  2. In Galatians 2:1-10, we see Paul give an account of his private meeting with the other apostles. Paul here is seeking agreement with his fellow ministers. They may have different missions, but they agree on the same ultimate doctrine: salvation by grace.
  3. In Galatians 2:11-18, we see Paul prove his equal authority as an apostle by giving us an account of his rebuke against the apostle Cephas (Peter). In their time, who else but an equal could hold an apostle accountable to the Truth? Paul here proves his equality with the other apostles.

Paul completes his appeal to the Galatians with a powerful statement that acts as the chief message of the letter:

- Galatians 2:19-21 "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!”

Galatians 3 and 4: Faith and Law

Paul is writing to the Galatians from a place of astonishment (Gal 1:6-7)

- Galatians 3:1-3 "3 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?"

How often in our own experiences have we met with those (or been ones ourselves) who say "I have to clean up my life before I can commit to Christ."?

Hopefully our rebuttal to that sentiment is obvious: "That's not how grace works, silly!"

But how often, church, if we're really looking and really testing ourselves, would we find those who, even AFTER being saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ, then begin to "maintain" that salvations by the works of their own strength and their own understanding? How many of us might find ourselves in that same place right now?

Is the rebuttal still the same? "That's not how grace works, silly!" Or what if we exchanged the word "grace" with the word "faith"?

"That's not how faith works, silly!"

- Galatians 3:5-11 "5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

If we look throughout the Old Testament, we can find so many examples of faithful people who before there was ever a means of permanent salvation through Christ Jesus lived their lives by faith in God and the promise of a coming Messiah. Hebrews 11 is a powerful source of encouragement, giving us example after example after example of those who lived by a faith yet they never saw the keeping of that coming promise.

- Hebrews 11:38-40 "38 the world was not worthy of them... 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

- Galatians 3:12-14 "12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."

So why is there a law at all? If the law cannot bring salvation or righteousness, what is its purpose? Paul teaches us that:
  1. The law was set in place to reveal sin, as well as reveal the desperate need for a savior. (Galatians 3:21-22)
    1. The was this impossible requirement for righteousness and required constant atonement accomplished by temporary means.
    2. The law pointes to the need for a permanent substitutionary blood sacrifice, a permanent solution to this dilemma of sin.
  2. The law was set in place as a guardian/schoolmaster. (Galatians 3:23-29)
  3. The law was set in place until the "set time" had come for inheritance. (Galatians 4:1-7)

So are we to say that it's bad to follow the law or to do good works? Absolutely not!

- Galatians 4:18 "It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you."

Paul is encouraging zeal so long as the purpose is consistently good. A great way to test if our purpose is good is to remember Paul's words at the beginning of the letter:

- Galatians 1:10 "10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Paul's focus is the heart, the motives of our works. He reminds us that it's not about following rules in order to reach a standard; it's about walking out the new creation we become in Christ Jesus.

- Galatians 2:19-21 "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!”

Galatians 5 and 6: Application

Paul is very zealous about the gospel and the language he uses in this letter shows that he is deeply concerned for the Galatians to know and live by this Truth.

- Galatians 4:20 "20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!"

- Galatians 5:1 "5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

- Galatians 5:6-8 "6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you."

- Galatians 5:13a "13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free."

We see Paul begin to move from doctrine into application answering the question "What do I do now that I am saved?" Paul answers this questions by quoting the very words of Christ found in Matthew 22:34-40.

- Galatians 5:13-14 "13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'.”

Then next question then might be, "How do I love well?" Paul answers this too!

- Galatians 5:16-26 "16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."


Paul's words show us that God's Spirit can supply everything we need for fruitful lives! How do we love well? By walking and growing in the fruits of the Spirit. Through the fruits of the spirit we are able to:
  • restore relationships, make restitutions, and even seek reconciliation with on another.
  • stick with one another through difficult times.
  • stand against temptation.

Paul even shows us an example of what this could look like:

- Galatians 6:1-4 "6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,"

You see, church, our salvation has never been about our works; salvation is about Christ's work in us!

"The Christian life is not you trying to live like Jesus; the Christian life is you allowing Jesus to live His live through you!" - Tom Holladay, Saddleback Church

- Galatians 2:19-21 "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!”

- Galatians 6:14-15 "14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation."

Ministry Time

Benediction

- Galatians 6:18 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen."

Walk by His Spirit; walk in His new creation; love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Posted in
Tagged with

No Comments