Summary: Exposition of Galatians 5:1-6 where Paul turns the corner of his theological argument with practical steps to living out this great faith
Text: Galatians 5:1-6, Title: Don’t be a Grace-Faller, Date/Place: NRBC, 5/6/07, PM
A. Opening illustration: story about me putting my foot in my mouth about the charismatic pastor assistant coach about women pastors and a slide toward liberalism, b/c I expect our Pentecostal and charismatic brethren to be committed to the bible—the doctrinal commitment to the bible dictates certain behaviors…
B. Background to passage: After Paul’s culmination of his theological argument with the OT story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, he turns the corner toward the practical implications of such a theology. He assumes that right doctrine should produce right living. And is saying that since justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, here are some ways this should affect our lives.
C. Main thought: We have three exhortations in our text tonight.
A. Stand firm in freedom (v. 1)
1. This verse constitutes a banner or a slogan for the entire book. This is one that you ought to memorize. In the verse “in freedom” is placed in the front of the verse in the Gr. for emphasis. Salvation by grace creates freedom. And here we are commanded to hold tightly, to persist, to retain ground, and to be firm about the freedom that we are given. He states it positively and negatively. Don’t become caught in the trap of earning your salvation through works of The Law or anyone’s law. Paul realized that there would be people (especially religious people), circumstances, groups, and obligations that would attempt to secure our bondage to their ideas, rules, and social standards.
3. Illustration: Patrick Henry, one of our Christian founding fathers said, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” “no guilt in life, no fear in death,” modern psychology has come up with a whole category of disorders called codependency to describe those who live in fear of man and under others’ control, Jason Boothby’s ordeal with Jeff Kramer and tattoos, the conversation with Erika the other night over appropriate attire,
4. Christ’s will for our lives that we live in freedom. In regards to our righteousness, avoid rules to attain it. In regards to God’s will, realize that freedom is what you have been given. In regards to guilt, all your sin has already been paid for. Therefore you should not feel compelled by outside forces, people, or rules, but only by the inside force of the Spirit. Do you take the command to be free seriously? We are all the time feeling guilty about this or that. We seem to shape our lives and order our world in part based on the expectations of others. Live a life of no regrets with a clean conscience toward God, because you are free not to live under any other person’s expectations. Again, let me remind you that this freedom is not “free to do what I want,” but “free to serve Christ to the fullest.” Our liberty is not license to sin, but a freedom to love and serve Christ our Lord and Master. Balance is the key to Christian liberty: freedom of the individual weighed together against the welfare of others. Don’t allow your sin to cause others to stumble.
B. Look out for debtor’s ethic (v. 2-4)
1. Paul begins these verses with a call to “listen to what I am about to say.” He is explaining the full ramifications of taking the right of circumcision (by the way this was the first time it was clearly identified as the pressing point of conflict). He is trying to show the tragic consequences of trusting in anything other than Christ alone. He is saying, not that a true believer can lose their salvation, but that any effort we try to offer to earn God’s favor toward us is an insult to grace and the sufficiency of the cross of Christ. He wants to clarify that if they are taking this step to earn favor, they have not trusted fully in Christ. Again, it is not that circumcision itself is wrong, it is the motivation behind it—to earn God’s favor. You can’t earn it; your righteousness is like filthy rags! His favor is steadfast and solid because it is based on His will, His love, His grace. He says that those that trust in circumcision will have no benefit with Christ. They are in bondage to the whole law. The word “estranged” means freed from or cut off from or made ineffective. The word “fallen” means to loosen one’s grip. He is saying an attempt to earn favor insults Christ, and rejects grace.
2. James 2:10, Rom 4:4-5, 11:6, Luk 15:29-30,
3. Illustration: “whoever wants to have a half Christ loses the whole,” –Calvin, at Christmas time one of the things that always comes up with people that are acquaintances is whether or not they are going to get you a gift, so you will know whether or not you need to get them one…