Galatians Day 11- The problem with rules….

medium_205467442Have you ever noticed how impossible it is to keep all the rules?  I sure have.  If the only rules that existed had to do with just how we use our words then I would be in TROUBLE!  If we only had one rule we would break it.  Just ask Adam and Eve.  
With that being said, so many people are trying to get right with God by keeping rules.  They think if I keep enough rules and don’t break too many others then maybe God will accept me.
Paul had something to say about this way of thinking in our reading in Galatians 3:10-14-

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

  • If you don’t keep every law all the time then you have broken God’s law and are under the curse.

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

  • Paul quotes the Old Testament to prove that God has always taught that those who are made right with Him are made right because of their faith, and that if you try to be right with God by the law then you’ll be judged by the law.

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Say it in a sentence: Jesus kept the law on our behalf and took the curse of breaking the law for us so that we can live under God’s grace through faith.  
Action Points:
  • Which plan are you on- faith or works?  Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way any of us will be accepted by God.  Have you asked Him to save you in faith?  If not, do it now!
  •  Do you ever think that God will accept you or reject you because of your performance?  Stop this thinking!  God accepts us because of Jesus alone.  Do right because you are accepted by faith, not to be accepted!
  • Take some time to thank God today for His 

Galatians Day 8: Not more will power…More of God’s Power!

1117398599_b86f47800aDoes anyone else have a problem with will power or am I the only one? Have you ever tried to not eat an oreo that was staring you down? Have you ever said, “I’m not going to do it this time. I’m not going to do it this time. I’m not going to do it this time” and then walk into the situation and do the thing that you said you wouldn’t. We all have this problem!

The judaizers who had lead the Galatians astray were telling them that Jesus plus the good work of keeping the law is the way that they could be right with God. If that is true then we are in serious trouble, because we have to do that on our own. We have to use our will power. Thankfully, Paul obliterates this arguement in todays text.

16    Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

This is the best news we can receive. If it were up to us to fully keep the rules to be right with God then none of us have a shot. But everyone exhibits faith in something. The person that fully leans into Christ’s death and ressurection to be right with God will be justified.

17    But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

This is an understandable question. Since we’re justified by faith, does that mean we stop sinning? No. Then does this justification make the one who justifies us an enabler of our sin? Paul says, “May it never be!”

Why not Paul?

18    For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

When we sin after we get saved it is us doing that and not God, so God is not the author of sin. In fact, God does something totally opposite after we have been justified. Look at verse 19…

19    For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.20    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.21    I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:16–21)

When we are justified by Faith in Christ that is when Christ enables us to live in a way that glorifies Him. I’m crucified with Christ and I’m still alive. It’s not me that is alive by myself- Christ now lives in me and helps me to make right choices by changing my character from the inside.

If I could be saved, and if I could live rightly outside of Christ’s death and indwelling power then Christ’s death was for nothing.

Thankfully those who are in Christ have Christ helping us not only to be saved, but to also live to glorify God! Ask Him to help you live for Him today!

Galatians Day 5- The Gospel as a Compass

5374308475_619de16a0aWas the apostle Paul a great leader?  I submit to you that he was!  We see this in an incredible way in today’s text.  To make sure you get a context for this proposition, lets refresh our memories for what we have seen already.

So far in our Galatians study we have seen that Paul was…

– …startled that they had so quickly walked away from the Gospel that they had received of the Lord via Paul. (1:6-7, 11-12).   This “other gospel” that the Galatians had begun to receive is really summed up in Acts 15:1-2.

Acts 15:1-2  And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.  (2)  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Paul was also…

– …communicating that the adding anything else to the Gospel made it another gospel and should be rejected regardless of the messenger. (1:8-10)
– …communicating in the last couple of verses in Galatians 1 about the last time He had been in Judea (Southern Israel) and specifically near Jerusalem.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.  (19)  But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.  (20)  Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.  (21)  Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;  (22)  And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:  (23)  But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.  (24)  And they glorified God in me.
Galatians 1:18-24

Paul was communitating the Galatian believers, his readers, that He had virtually no personal (or political) relationship with the believers in Jerusalem.
He said:

– I spent around 15 days with Peter
– I saw no other apostles except for Jesus’ brother James (now a leader in the church at Jerusalem
– If the believers in Judea had seen me at the market they wouldn’t recognize me, although they did know my reputation as a persecuter of Christians turned missionary.

So now as we examine today’s text we see Paul elaborate on his further relationship with the churches in Jerusalem and we see why he is talking about this:

Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

It had been 14 years of ministry among the gentiles since Paul had been to Jerusalem and he said he took 2 men with him:

– Barnabas- Paul’s partner in ministry who had been instrumental in the believers accepting and trusting Paul after his conversion.
– Titus- a product of Paul’s ministry among the gentiles, and at this time evidence that God was bringing gentiles to the Lord.

To get another narrative of this circumstance that Paul is talking about, check out Acts 15:1-35.

(2)  And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

Paul states that he went “by revelation” meaning he was lead by God to go to Jerusalem to share the gospel message to the Jerusalem church that he was teaching to the gentiles.  He also stated that he went first to some of the leaders of the church, “them which were of reputation”.  Paul was talking to these apostles, Peter James and John, first so that he could make sure not to have a public problem with one of the apostles that could be avoided and impact the gospel ministry that was happening among the gentiles.  It’s important to understand here that Paul was not looking for approval of the message to make sure that His message was correct.  Rather, Paul was looking for support from the apostles so that His ministry of the gospel would be supported by the believers and not undermined by the false teachers who were teaching the false gospel that someone should believe in Jesus and practice Judaism to be right with God.  This is his point in the last 3 verses of todays text:

(3)  But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:  (4)  And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:  (5)  To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. (Galatians 2:1-5)

Application from today’s text:

– Our commitment to the gospel should be greater than our commitment to popularity or public acceptance.  Paul was not concerned about being accepted as an individual.  His popularity among people who were teaching a false gospel was at the bottom of his priority list.  In fact it wasn’t even on the list.  Proclaiming the gospel won’t necessarily make you popular, especially with some crowds, but it should be our unwavering commitment.
– Our commitment to the gospel means that we seek alliances with people in  the defense and promotion of gospel ministry. Paul sought to make sure that His relationship and message with Peter, James and John were supported privately before the public conversation about the gospel.  Paul was shrewd in this circumstance.  Private conversations lead to public support.  What a great leadership model!
– What governed Paul’s actions was this statement:  “that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”  Paul’s focus was unwavering.  It governed every decision, every interaction, like a compass to a sailor.  Paul knew exactly what the wise actions were once he had made this priority.  The gospel should be our priority as well.

How could a commitment to the gospel be a compass for your decisions?

Galatians Day 4- Not Man Made

medium_5653503758Have you ever seen an incredible sunset? What about a moutainscape that just took your breath away? My wife is from Boise, Idaho, and so when we go there every year usually during the summer. A couple of times we’ve gone to McCall, Idaho- this incredible moutain town- and the drive from Boise to McCall is incredible. There are mountain scapes, and scenic rivers. It’s so beautiful, especially to this south Florida guy whose drives down our interstate are all billboards and trees on either side. My point is, some things are so beautiful it’s obvious that man didn’t make it. Whenever I see those sights I am  in awe of what God did with His Words in Creation.

It is obvious with creation, but it’s also obvious with the Gospel!

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me. (Galatians 1:10–24)

In today’s text Paul makes 2 arguments.

1. The Gospel isn’t a man made message.
“The gospel which was preached of me is not after man…”
Paul goes over his history with the Galatians. He spoke of how he received the revelation of the gospel from Christ Himself, and how that He did not confer with any men to try to come up with this message.

2. The Gospel finds its’ source in Jesus Christ.
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood…”

Paul says that God had an incredible plan for his life to share this incredible message with Him so that He could share it with those who he used to despise. Incredible!

Why are these arguments so important?
If the Gospel comes from God, is about God, and should glorify God then I don’t have a right to change that message.

How do we change the message?

  • When we keep it to ourselves we are saying it’s not for everyone.
  • When we try to earn it by good works, we’re saying the Gospel is not enough.
  • When we add something other than Jesus to the gospel it becomes another gospel.

Today, Pray that God will give you the opportunity to share His meessage with someone!