Summary: Challenges the listeners to live a life that is crucified with Christ.
“LIVING THE CRUCIFIED LIFE” Gal. 2
INTRO – Memorial Day is a time of remembrance of those who gave their lives in the service of our country, paying the ultimate price for what? Our freedom. Whether in the frozen forests of Europe, the windswept islands of the Pacific, the mountains of Korea, the sweltering jungles of Vietnam, or the deserts of Iraq, hundreds of thousands of men and women have fought against the enemies of freedom. Many of them died. And we owe a great debt of gratitude to them.
One author wrote about Memorial Day:
"These heroes are dead. They died for liberty-they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadow of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or storm, each in the windowless palace of rest. Earth may run red with other wars-they are at peace. In the midst of the battles, in the roar of conflicts, they found the serenity of death." (website www.jeannepasero.com)
The book of Galatians shares something in common w/ these heroes. It is a book about freedom. In fact, it is often called the charter of Xn freedom. All throughout this powerful book, P proclaims the reality of our freedom in X – freedom from the law and the power of sin, and the freedom to serve our living Lord.
Written in about 49 AD, Galatians emphasizes 2 major doctrinal issues:
- Justification by faith in X
- Justification in X enables believers to serve G, others, and themselves with love in the Spirit.
Our justification by faith in X is the heart of the Gospel message. This powerful doctrine tells us of the completeness of X’s work on the cross. Our sin problem was dealt with completely on the cross. We can have perfect assurance of our sins being completely forgiven b/c of the cross. We are new creations b/c of the cross. This salvation is available to anyone b/c of the cross. When we believe that Jesus X died on the cross and place our faith in Him and Him alone for our salvation, we are declared justified in the eyes of G. Joe Shelton song: “Just if I’d never sinned.”
Our justification in X sets us free to serve G, others, and ourselves in the Spirit by love. Now that we have been pronounced justified by G, we are freed to be new creations that produce the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit enables us live as G desires for us to live, to be the people that G desires for us to be, and frees us from the powerful grip of sin. We are free to serve G w/out being encumbered by guilt b/c we’ve been justified. We are free to serve others b/c we have the fruit of the Spirit available to us.
P also emphasized some other important subjects:
Believers should love people even when they are caught in sin. Gentle, loving confrontation of a fallen brother or sister who has fallen into sin is done so that the Gospel can be defended.
Believers should seek diligently to understand the fundamental and foundational truths of the Gospel and the Xn life. P led out in this letter by defending major truths that centered on the worth of the crucifixion of X.
Believers should speak up vigorously for the truth. We need to be trained so that we will know what the truth is. We need to be studying so that we will know what the truth is. We need to be ready so that we will be able to speak up for the truth and against the false teachings that the world’s system is preaching every day.
In ch.1, we’ve already seen P’s personal testimony of the power of the changes that X brought to his life. We’ve seen his great concern that the message that will change a person’s life forever not be changed or altered in any way. He has come out swinging against those who would take the true Gospel message – “it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of G – not by works so that no one can boast” – and add to it the requirements of adherence to a set of rules and regulations that are burdensome and useless.
As we move into ch. 2, P continues his defense against the claims and attacks of the Judaizers, that group of false Xns who were attempting to add to the message of the Gospel by saying that the Gentiles who were being saved had to be circumcised and follow all the Jewish laws and customs in order to be saved. Basically, they were saying that any Gentile who wanted to be a Xn had to first become a Jew.