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Summary: Having left the bondage of sin, the Galatians seem ready to go into the bondage of the Law. This message contrasts the ways of the Law and Gospel

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Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray once informed a man who had appeared before him in a lower court and had escaped conviction on a technicality, "I know that you are guilty and you know it, and I wish you to remember that one day you will stand before a better and wiser Judge, and that there you will be dealt with according to justice and not according to law."

Some time later the same man was surprised while burgling a house in Antwerp, Belgium, the thief fled out the back door, clambered over a nine-foot wall, dropped down the other side, and found himself in the city jail (Oops: The Book of Blunders, 1980).

Having escaped bondage, the thief found himself drawn back into crime and back into bondage.

In our passage from Galatians today we find the Apostle Paul dismayed that His Galatian friends having been set free from the bondage of sin, were so willing to head into bondage of another sort--the bondage of the law. Because of his deep concern about them he tries to help them understand the difference between the way of the Gospel and the way of the Law.

Transition: .The passage breaks down neatly into three paragraphs each contrasting a different aspect of Law vs. Gospel. The first is the...

1. Contrast of Freedom

vv. 8-11 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

Actually we have a comparison of three states here: The state of these gentile believers before their conversion, as pagans serving other gods; their state after conversion, trusting in Christ for salvation; and their state if they should choose to follow the teaching of the new teachers to follow the Law of Moses.

For those of you joining us for the first time in this series of sermons, it’s important that you understand that the occasion of Paul’s letter to the Galatians is that a group of Jewish teachers, that we know as the Judaizers, have been telling these non-Jewish Christians that if they really want to be acceptable before God they need to follow the Old Testament teaching of the Law and basically that they must first become Jews to be good Christians.

Paul on the other hand is arguing that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the price for their sins and that the only way to be acceptable to God is to accept His sacrifice, to trust in what Jesus did. That is, we are saved by faith alone, we don’t earn it by following any set of rules, it is a gift of God in response to our trust in Jesus Christ.

This is the message that Paul preached when he was in Galatia, the message that the Galatians had received and trusted in. Paul makes it clear that they had left a life of Idolatry. In verse 8 he says "when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods."


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