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Summary: Pentecost 6(C) - Believers are heirs according to God’s promise. We learn that God’s law makes sinners prisoners but it is our Lord that makes sinners his children.

BELIEVERS ARE HEIRS ACCORDING TO GOD’S PROMISE

July 16, 2006 - PENTECOST 6 - Galatians 3:22-29 (quickview) 

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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Friends in Christ:

Sometime during our lifetime we probably have received an inheritance. Maybe at this time in our lives we are looking at writing out our own will doling out those things that others might expect as their inheritance. Maybe we are still hopeful that we might have some inheritance that we don’t even know about. In any case an inheritance is something that many people often hope for. An inheritance can be very valuable according to the world, or it can be a very sentimental thing and not have much worldly value. In the end if anyone receives an inheritance, it means that they have gotten something that they probably did not deserve. In the least an inheritance means a person has gotten something that is more than what one had before.

Today, our text talks about the eternal inheritance that God has provided us. It is something that we have not deserved. It is an inheritance that we could not earn for ourselves. It is far greater than any inheritance we might receive on earth. Paul describes it in Titus when he says: "(God our Savior...saved us), so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:7 (quickview) ). That is our inheritance. We have, as God’s inheritance yet to come and which is guaranteed already, the hope of eternal life. That is what gets us through these tough days here on earth. We look forward to the inheritance that is stored up for each one of us in heaven for eternity. We want to consider these words in Galatians with that thought as Paul says at the end:

BELIEVERS (WE) ARE HEIRS ACCORDING TO GOD’S PROMISE. This is an inheritance for us. We remind ourselves that:

I. The law makes sinners prisoners, and;

II. The Lord makes sinners children.

I. THE LAW MAKES SINNERS PRISONERS

Make no mistake that what Paul writes here is to emphasize the difference between the devastating effect of the law and the power of Christ through the Gospel. So he says in verse 23: "Before this faith came, we were held prisoners of the law, locked up until faith should be revealed." A very vivid picture, isn’t it? Paul says we were held as prisoners, put into jail and locked up and the key was thrown away because of God’s law. The law is not able to save anybody. Instead, the law locks up people as prisoners when it says to people, "You are a sinner, and you can’t save yourself. Do this and don’t do that." The law has the world locked up as prisoners.

That is how our text began, too, in verse 22: "But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin." There is no escape from it. Everyone is born into this world with sin as part of his or her inheritance. Adam and Eve sinned. Since that first sin, they passed on that sin to everyone. Scripture reminds us that we are not born into this world as neutral, and even though babies are born so cute and cuddly, but as enemies of God, sinful from the very beginning. They are prisoners of sin. Why is Paul emphasizing that? Well, remember the conflict that was going on. There was the preaching of the Gospel that Christ died for the sins of the world, and that is all that believers needed. They are saved by grace through faith. That was a radical change in the church. The leaders of the synagogue had always emphasized the law: "You have to keep and obey the law. You have to do something to save yourself." They were called Judaizers. They wanted to mix the law with the Gospel. Paul writes that the law keeps you as a prisoner. The law locks you up and throws away the key. The law cannot save. Salvation is only by faith. So he wanted them to understand that. Even though these false teachers came into the church after he had left, it didn’t change God’s message. The law made sinners prisoners.


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