Summary: Intro to Galatians. Grace and peace go hand in hand. Grace produces peace. Jesus moves us though one are, the present evil age, to the next, the future era, by grace.
Helen brought her car down to the repair shop to have the mechanic fix her car. It seems that her car was slowly losing power and she was afraid that soon she would not be able to accelerate onto the freeway. It turned out to be this little electronic part that needed to be replaced, but the shop had to order the part they would need to keep her car for a few days, so, the automotive repair shop leant Helen the garage’s loan car.
The next morning Helen was driving past the supermarket when she saw an old woman waving at her. The woman was surrounded by shopping bags and was frantically waving Helen to pull over. Helen, slowed down and rolled down the window and the woman quickly asked her to drive her to her house.
It turns out that the woman’s house was quite out of Helen’s way, but she agreed, and they filled up the car with bags of groceries. The woman sat in the car and spoke not a word. When they arrived at the house, the woman asked Helen to help her with the shopping into the house. Once again Helen agreed.
There were a lot of groceries and the woman’s kitchen was up two flights of stairs. Still, the woman said nothing. By her fifth bag, Helen was getting a little frustrated and when the last bag had been put on the counter in the kitchen, the woman turned around and abruptly said ’thank you’ and shut the door in her face.
Helen, was shocked, she was infuriated, she felt so used. As she drove home and went over the recent events in her mind, she only became more angry. Finally, 45 minutes later, Helen arrived at home, got out of the car and slammed the door of the car shut….and written on the side of the vehicle were the words ’free courtesy car’.
The woman had assumed that the car was for her benefit. She was ignorant of the sacrifice Helen had made for her.
Here in our passage today, the Galatians are ignorant of the true sacrifice Christ had made for them. They do not understand that Jesus’ sacrifice was all they needed. In their ignorance, the Galatians take the Gospel lightly and we see that Paul is alarmed that they are in the process of trading in the one true Gospel for a false gospel. They are trading in the truth for a lie. False teachers have arrived in their area and are teaching the churches a lie, and the people are buying it.
Now do you suppose the Galatians knew they were trading in the true Gospel for a false gospel? No of course not. Do you think that the false teachers knew that they were being deceptive and teaching a false gospel? No, they were sincere in their belief, they truly thought they were correct. In our day, those who move away from the Gospel into another gospel, do they know what they are doing – I would say no, I would say those in our day who are teaching a false gospel are, in fact sincere people, and in fact their conscience is clean.
As we dive into our Scripture this morning let us keep two things in mind: First those who participated in genocide in Rwanda were sincere, so were the communist who purged the ranks of the intellectuals in Peking and so were the legislators of Alaska who took money from Veco – my sincerity in my belief is irrelevant; Second, 1Cor. 4:4 says, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” Our conscience will lie to us. Our conscience will fool us. Having a clear conscience is not how we as Christians guide our lives – rather we guide our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
The book of Galatians was written about 48 AD, by the Apostle Paul. In the 18th century some scholars claimed that this book was written much later and that it was written by someone else, it is no surprise those men were not believers. Today, such ideas have been proven false and are considered archaic at best – This book you hold in your hand is actually by the hand of the Apostle Paul, translated from very reliable manuscripts, translated by distinguished scholars with accuracy – in short, the claims made in this book are very real, very applicable, this is very much the real thing.
Who was Paul writing to? Galatia is part of what we today call Turkey. Who were the Galatians? Roman writers give a clear picture of the character of the Galatians Paul is writing to, they were know for their quick minds, their prompt action and for their thirst for knowledge. They were also quarrelsome and treacherous in their dealings, but most of all they loved change. Julius Caesar complained that without exception, the Galatians were driven by the desire for change. The Galatians would love our current election with both Obama and McCain claiming to be the one who will bring us change. You know, in some way, we as Americans share this desire for change like the Galatians – what that means is that we could be vulnerable in the same way the Galatians are.