Summary: Message 3 in our exposition of Galatians exploring our justification by faith.
Chico Alliance Church
“Justified by Faith”
I. Correct Divine Credentials 1:6-2:21
A. Reacted to such a quick departure from the gospel of grace vs 6-7
B. Condemned anyone distorting the gospel of grace vs 8-9
C. Affirmed his personal commitment to the gospel of grace vs 10
D. Confirmed the divine origin of the gospel of Grace 1:11-2:21
1. Adamant assertion “Gospel received from Christ 11-12
2. Life Before Christ 13-14
3. Initial experience with Christ 15-17
4. Discipleship and Training
a. Three years in Arabia & Damascus 1:17
b. Trip to Jerusalem (15 days) 1:18-20
c. Fourteen years in Syria and Cilicia 1:21-24
d. Return to Jerusalem 2:1-10
e. Encounter with Peter 2:11-14
II. Correct Concept of the Gospel of Grace 2:15-4:31
A. The Gospel of Grace Introduced 2:15-21
1. Stated emphatically 15-16
"We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from among the Gentiles”
Paul calls attention to a prevalent attitude among the Jews that they were a privileged people by birth as opposed to pagan Gentiles who had no knowledge of or history with God. They were banking on the fact that they had an “in” with the judge. Paul asserts in Romans 3 that when it comes to the issue of right standing before God, there is no difference between Jew or Gentile. Romans 3:9-20
Paul realized that on the basis of the impossibility of being justified by works, even those who considered themselves on the inside track with God deemed it necessary to come to God through Christ.
It is important to understand this most important word. It is the core of the gospel message.
If you miss this concept, you miss the point of the gospel and will continue to flounder in spiritual bondage. This is a legal term, borrowed from the law courts. It is the exact opposite of condemnation. To condemn is to declare somebody guilty To justify is to declare him not guilty, innocent or righteous. In the Bible, this word refers to God’s unmerited favor lavished upon sinful man by which he puts the guilty sinner in right relationship with himself, not only pardoning him or acquitting him, but warmly accepting him and treating him as righteous.
All this on the basis of a substitutionary sacrifice.
“God made him to who knew not sin to be sin our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of god in Him.” 2 Cor 5:21
Paul deals with the question of how a proud, rebellious-by-nature person can enjoy a restored relationship with a just and holy God who cannot overlook sin. The obstacles to overcome have to do with the fact that God is absolutely Holy and that man has completely failed to respond to God as HE requires. The dilemma is fairly simple. God is righteous and we are not! No one is! In order to relate to a righteous and Holy God, we must be righteous and holy according to His estimation and determination of what is righteous and holy. God considers the breaking of any law the same as breaking them all.
The issue of law keeping is not the law itself but the rebellious attitude and action against the law giver. Therefore, the breaking of any law demonstrates a rebellious attitude against the one who gave the law. Any violation of the law demonstrates an attitude of pride that questions the right of the Lawgiver to even issue laws. That is the offense of every man since Adam. We have all demonstrated proud independence and brought condemnation upon ourselves. Even if we have “lived a good life”. We have not related to God or honored God as God in our life at all times.
This brings us back to the question of how can we then be restored to a proper relationship with the Holy God who instructed man regarding proper approach to Him which man ignores or violates. There are two views expressed here in Paul's letter to the Galatians.
In fact, this is the very core of Paul's concern.
The false teachers or Judaizers contended that God relates with his creatures on basis of law and therefore personally keeping His laws is the necessary requirement for open relationship with him.
The Principle: God’s Law
The Practice: Keeping the Law
Paul contends that God now relates with people on the basis of grace and therefore faith in the work of Christ is the necessary requirement for open relationship with him.
The Principle: God’s Grace
The Practice: Faith in Christ’s law keeping and substitutionary sacrifice
Expecting God to accept a man on the basis of his works fails to appreciate the profoundness of Gods holiness as well as the extent of man's sinfulness.
Ever since the fall, man has diminished God’s holiness and glorified his own goodness. The religions of the world demonstrate man's failure to understand the severity of the gap between God and man and the means by which relationship and the restored. Every world religion bases relationship with Deity on the basis of some work of man.