Summary: We are to live by faith. Paul tells us how, through the Holy Spirit.
Last week we saw that God does not call us to be good people, God calls us to be faithful people. We saw that, not only do we come to know Christ by faith, but we also grow spiritually in Christ by faith
By faith we come to know Jesus Christ, by faith we grow in Jesus Christ.
We do not grow in Christ by works. We do not grow in Christ by being good people. We grow in Christ by faith. Faith is what we need to concentrate on. If we come to salvation by faith alone and not by works, then it logically follows that we grow in Christ by faith also….not by works.
Paul told us that if we are attempting to fulfill our Christian life by being good people, we are missing the boat. Instead of trying to be good people, we should be concentrating on being faithful people.
Today Paul tells us that there is a better way to live than by trying to follow rules, not only is there a better way, but, it is THE way God designed for us to live as Christians. He starts to tell us how we are to live as faithful people.
I hope you have you bible open to Galatians Chapter 5, so you can follow along.
Starting right at the first verse we see that Paul tells us to stand firm. Why should we stand firm? We should stand firm because they way we used to live is not how God wants us to live now. He wants us to live in a new way. God wants us not to be good, rather God wants us to be faithful.
I know that to some of you, that still doesn’t sound right, but hang in there, there is a difference between being good, and being faithful.
In the past, we centered our life around attempting to be good people, but now we are to center our life around being faithful people. See, we understand very well what it means to live as a good person, and because we understand that so well, we will very easily fall back into living life as a good person, rather than moving on to our new life, living as faithful people.
Being a good person revolves around doing good works, being a faithful person revolves around my relationship with Jesus Christ.
If we return to a life of trying to be a good person, that is as Paul describes it, living under the law, Christ will be of no value to us at all (verse 2). If we return to trying to be good people, then there is no point in following Jesus Christ. In other words, if we return to a life of trying to be a good person – we live like we have no need for Jesus Christ at all.
Do you see that?
Remember last week we saw that we all know all kinds of people who a good people, but are not Christians. We saw that if we want to just be good people, we really don’t need Christ at all – anyone can be a good person, with or without Jesus Christ. But the reality is, God calls us not to be good, but to be faithful. You know, street gang members have their own idea about what being good is and mafia members have their own idea of what being good is as well. But their idea of being a good person, and other people’s idea about being a good person, are not the same, even by a long shot. Everyone has their own idea of what is good don’t they? So, for us here today, if we were to return to a life of being a good person….how would we measure what is good?
Well, we would use the law, as found in the Scriptures.
So if I want to be a good person, then I need to live up to the rules imposed upon me by the law. Now, Paul warns us in verse 3 that we are obligated to follow the WHOLE LAW. When Paul says the whole law, he means more than the ten commandments, he means all 613 laws demanded.
In Paul’s day, many rabbis believed that a gentile (those not born Jewish) might be saved by keeping the seven laws given to Noah in Genesis chapter 9, but once he became a part of the covenant, once that gentile converted to Judaism, he would have to keep all 613 laws. That is a lot of detail. Paul is well aware, as are his opponents, that no one can fully keep the law.
Understand that even if one was able to fully keep the law, they still would not be able to overcome the effects of sin; Even if one was able to be a perfectly good person, still they would not be able to overcome the effects of sin either. Only God can overcome the effects of sin on our lives, and God accomplished that through Jesus Christ, who was and who is God with us. This is why Jesus Christ enters into the world, to deal with sin.