Summary: Paul has laid forth the truth in the book of Galatians of liberty in the Lord Jesus. When we receive Jesus as our personal savior, we are set free from the bondage of sin.
Galatians at 5:7 -- 15. 01/16/05
Paul has laid forth the truth in the book of Galatians of liberty in the Lord Jesus. When we receive Jesus as our personal savior, we are set free from the bondage of sin. But there were those who came into Galata teaching heresy. They were saying to the people, “you have been set free from sin, but you have to keep the law to fully be saved. You have to keep the law. Paul has been combating this and maintaining his stand that believers are free in the Lord.
When the false teachers came into the congregation, they caused a disturbance in the fellowship. The members were at one another’s throats. That’s what he means in verse 15 where we read, “but if you bite and devour one another.” They were arguing and fussing with one another. That’s what false teaching had caused in the fellowship.
In the verses we have tonight, Paul gives three possible lifestyles for Christian believers. There are three ways Christians approach the Christian life. Everyone here tonight that is saved you are living your Christian life in one of these three lifestyles. our approach tonight is to see which lifestyle identifies our own.
Paul lies before us first, A LIFE OF LEGALISM. Let’s see what legalism does. Paul uses two figures of speech, two illustrations that are familiar to us. The first picture he uses is in the world of athletics. We are aware of athletics.
Look at verse 7,”you did run well.” Do you see the picture? Here is the picture of a runner, running a race. Paul said you had a great start. But look, “who did hinder you?” The word hinder means to cut into your lane. If you have ever run track, then you know some dangerous things can happen if someone cuts into your lane. A number of years ago a young lady named Mary Decker fail in the Olympics because someone cut into her lane. It caused some problems in the Olympics. Now Paul is saying these false teachers cut into your lane. They have cut in and have you off track. That’s what happened because you had a good start. You aren’t making progress anymore in the Christian life. You are over in the ditch of legalism.
Let me tell you what happens when you fall into the trap of legalism. You get lined up by rules and you begin to put special emphasis on the things you do not do.
I have talked to people about church and Jesus. I have had many say preacher I am getting there. I don’t drink alcoholic beverage anymore. I have quit a lot of the things I use to do. They judge themselves and you on what you do and don’t do. How about that? Can you imagine anyone judging others on what they don’t do? You have and still do the same.
Now the second picture is from the kitchen. Look at verse 9, “a little leaven leaven’s the whole lump.” The word leaven is our word for yeast. You women know what yeast is. You put it in flour to make your sourdough bread that taste so wonderful.
When yeast is used in the New Testament, it refers to something evil. When you put yeast into the flour, it leaven’s the whole lump. When you get a little of legalistic error in a fellowship, it begins to spread. There becomes a legalistic spirit in the fellowship. Then people become proud of what they don’t do. They began to set up rules by which they judge everybody. That’s not to say we don’t have standards in church. The New Testament have standards for preachers and deacons and leaders. We take a stand on moral issues. We have strong convictions in our life. While convictions are good, I am saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus.
The life of legalism is one lifestyle but there is another and that is A LIFE OF LICENSE. This is the opposite extreme of legalism. Look down at verse 13. We read, “for brethren you have been called unto liberty. Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh.”
A license means something that gives you the authority to do what you are doing. You have a license to hunt the deer. That means you are authorized by the license to hunt. Some Christians view Christian liberty as a license to sin.
Listen, if you think that liberty in Jesus means you can live your life any old way you want to, then you have totally missed what Christianity is all about. Did you not read we have been called? Jesus has set us free, but not free to sin, but freed not to sin. We are not to use the liberty we have in Jesus for an occasion to the flesh. Now when Paul uses the word flesh, he is talking about our old sinful nature. You do not lose your fleshly nature when you get saved.