Summary: Paul uses rhetorical questions about the Galatian Gentile Christians experience of salvation to remind them about how they need to return to the Gospel of Good News and its message of faith.
Galatians part 3: Sermon
“I have some questions for you about your experience in Christ!”
Thesis: Paul uses rhetorical questions about the Galatian Gentile Christians experience of salvation to remind them about how they need to return to the Gospel of Good News and its message of faith.
Read Galatians 2:17-21:
17“If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Play the Passion slideshow -- Upon completion of the slide show re-read verse 21.
Emphasis: “Has Christ died in vain?”
Paul ends chapter 2 asking the profound question “Has Christ died in vain, was his death meaningless and pointless?” Of course he is trying to awaken the Judaizers and the Galatian Christians up from there deceptive mindsets. Jesus did not come to earth and go through His death and resurrection for no purpose! His life-death and resurrection had a very important purpose – Salvation by faith alone! The gift of righteousness (right standing with God) came as a result of having and placing their faith in Jesus Christ!
Teachers Commentary notes this about Galatians 3
In Galatians we have Paul’s first powerful defense of the Gospel. Some from the Pharisee party in Judea who had trusted Christ apparently retained their zeal for the Mosaic Law. They traveled to the churches Paul had founded, and taught that the Gentile Christians must be circumcised and must keep the Law of Moses to be saved. In essence, they said that to be a true Christian a Gentile must become Jewish in lifestyle, and live by the Old Testament’s code.
Paul confronted this view, insisting that what these men taught was a different gospel from the Gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Paul insisted that there can be no mixture of Law and grace in the Gospel of Christ without robbing the Gospel of its power.
Now, in the extended and carefully argued bulk of Galatians, Paul explained why the Law is not for Christians now. Paul’s argument emphasized three points:
a. The Law is opposed to life (3:1-18).
b. The role given Law in Scripture is a limited one (3:19–4:7).
c. The Law is an inferior path which leads to spiritual disasters (4:8–5:12).
Bible Knowledge Commentary states this about our text:
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. But, Paul argued, to supplement the
work of Christ is to supplant it. There can only be one way of salvation, and that
is by faith in Christ alone. (Paul addresses the Galatian Christians by appealing to their own personal experience of the Gospel. 3:1. Paul’s tone was direct and severe as he remonstrated, You foolish Galatians! To embrace a doctrine which declared the death of Christ unnecessary was irrational (cf. 2:21). It would almost appear they had been
bewitched, cast under some evil spell by a malign influence. For this they were,
however, without excuse because the Savior had been clearly portrayed as crucified before them. Paul had vividly and graphically proclaimed the crucified Christ to the Galatians; yet their eyes had been diverted from the Cross to the Law. They were without excuse.
The sad fact is there are still many today within the community of Christ who still believe that salvation is attained by good works, by human effort. But this is not the case at all as Paul points our clearly in Galatians. He paints a clear argument against this false teaching in this book and especially in this chapter. He uses the example of Abraham to show that he attained righteousness by believing not by following the Law. He shows how the Law is outdated and no longer necessary because of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ fulfilled the promise to Abraham and that promise is for Jew and Gentile alike. He also seeks to awaken them out of their deception by pointing them back to their salvation experience. He then hits them with 4 revelatory questions about their experience in Christ.