Summary: Galatians 3:1-9, By faith, from start to finish
By Faith, From Start To Finish
* Most people enter the Christian life with the emotions of joy and freedom.
- It’s even difficult to put into words the feeling of being forgiven.
- "It’s like having a heavy burden lifted off of you"
* To accept God’s forgiveness through Jesus is a liberating experience.
* Usually, we are pretty good at staying in fellowship with God the first few months, and for some the first few years of their relationship with God.
* But then something ominous often begins to happen in our relationship with God.
* We begin to see that we are really much worse than we realized.
- We begin to fail in our Christian walk more than we thought we ever would or could fail.
* In our own foolish and subtle way, we attempt to earn God’s favor by working harder at being a better person.
- We somehow believe that doing more or working harder will cause God to smile on us again.
Illus. – We are sometimes like the purchasers of a new automobile. There is just something exciting and thrilling about driving a brand new car. Most of the time when you purchase a new automobile it will come with a full tank of gas. What if, when it ran out of gas, you just decided to push the car. It would be much cheaper to operate that way. Wouldn’t that be ridiculous? Yet, we as Christians operate that way. We begin the Christian life with a full tank of gas. We begin living off the fuel of the Holy Spirit. But then when we run out of gas, we turn to our own energy and strength to live the Christian life. And the harder we try, the more we fail… the more exhausted we become.
* We gradually turn from a life dominated by faith in God to one that is legalistic.
* We lead lives that are more performance based than they are faith based.
* We become legalistic in our approach to God.
Charles Ryrie - What is legalism?
"Legalism is not the presence of laws, otherwise, God would have to be charged with promoting it since He has given man innumerable laws during human history. Neither is legalism the imposition of law on something else, for if it were, God would be a legalist of the highest order. Furthermore, legalism is not the opposite of liberty, meaning that a person can live a lawless existence. Christian liberty does not give the believer the option of living any way he pleases; it is not license. It places him in a position where he can live as God pleases, something he was unable to do as an un-regenerated person. Liberated living is not unrestricted living. What is legalism then? It is a wrong attitude toward the code of laws under which a person lives. Legalism involves the presence of laws, the wrong motive toward obeying that law and often the wrong use of the power provided to keep the law, but it is basically a wrong attitude. Thus legalism may be defined as ’a fleshly attitude which conforms to a code for the purpose of exalting self…" It cannot be emphasized too strongly that having to do something is not legalism, but the wrong attitude toward doing it is."
*Quote - "In the first two chapters of the epistle Paul established the divine origin of his apostleship and his message. Then he turned to the Galatians who were being urged to add works to faith, to keep the Mosaic Law in addition to placing faith in Christ as the grounds of acceptance before God. The Galatian Christians would receive, the Judaizers thought, a more complete salvation and a greater sanctification if they would obey the Law.
Paul reproves the Galatians rather sharply when he calls them “fools, bewitched, and disobedient.”
"O Foolish Galatians" -
Luther, Martin –Commentary p. 85-86 - A certain distance and coolness can be noted in the title with which the Apostle addresses the Galatians. He does not now address them as his brethren, as he usually does. He addresses them as Galatians in order to remind them of their national trait to be foolish. We have here an example of bad traits that often cling to individual Christians and entire
congregations. Grace does not suddenly transform a Christian into a new and perfect creature. Dregs of the old and natural corruption remain. The Spirit of God cannot at once overcome human deficiency. Sanctification takes time. Although the Galatians had been enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of faith, something of their national trait of foolishness plus their original depravity clung to them. Let no man think that once he has received faith, he can presently be converted into a faultless creature. The leavings of old vices will stick to him, be he ever so good a Christian.