Summary: Message 10 in our Galatians series focusing on our freedom in Christ.
Chico Alliance Church
“Loosing our Grip on Grace”
I. Paul Possessed the Correct credentials 1-2
II. Paul Proclaimed the Correct Concept of Grace 2:15-4:31
A. The Gospel of Grace Introduced 2:15-21
B. The Gospel of Grace Argued and Illustrated 3:1-4:31
1. Faith Argued by clarifying interrogation 3:1-6
2. Genuine faith illustrated by Abraham 3:7-29
3. New life illustrated by sonship 4:1-31
a. Slavery verses sonship 4:1-11
b. Passionate Personal Appeal 4:12-20
c. Children of the flesh verses Children of the promise 4:21-31
By this point in his letter it becomes quite evident that there are only two modes of operation.
One – walk by the Spirit by a daily dependent faith relationship with Christ based on grace.
Two – walk by the flesh by daily independent ritual or works and ceremony based on law.
First Paul appealed to Abraham. Now he illustrates the truth of justification by faith through Abraham’s two sons. Paul aims this section to those wanting to live by a system of rules and ritual rather than faith and relationship.
Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?
The very law you wish to serve, actually hinders relationship with Christ. Paul proceeds to illustrate from history why you don’t want to live under law. A basic familiarity with the Old Testament story is helpful here. In this passage, which has been said to be the most difficult of the letter, Paul contrasts the two ways or systems life practiced today. Man either seeks to relate to God on the basis of proud reliance on personal performance or he comes to God on the basis of humble reliance on the promise of God. Like Ishmael, the flesh attempts to capture our heart. The flesh wants to inherit the promise without humility and submission. The flesh wants to demonstrate itself superior. The flesh fights against the spirit. These Galatian believers had fallen back into ritual and rules rather than relationship and faith. How about us?
God does not desire we merely follow rules but enjoy regular relationship with Him. My relationship with God must not be driven by doing the right thing, but being the right person who naturally does the right things. Doing right does not lead to being right. Being right always leads to doing right. My focus must center on the internal not the external. I must continually believe God to accomplish what I cannot. I am no longer bound by my inability but blessed His promise. I am then continually grateful and humbled by my progress. If you want to operate according to law you must listen to the law.
Cursed is everyone who does not abide by every law. Paul urges these believers to cast out the bondwoman’s son – the flesh - because we are children of the free woman.
C. The gospel of grace applied 5:1-12
Here Paul makes some very specific application to the Galatian situation.
1. Christ freed us to live in freedom 5:1
IT was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
All of us are yoked to something. Yoked to the harsh reality of the world, the flesh and the devil and the condemnation of law. Christ calls us to come to Him and put ourselves under His yoke. Jesus said
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." Matthew 11:28-30
Paul spent the first part of his litter demonstrating the wonder of identification with God’s family and living by the new law of the spirit of life in Christ. In comparison, this life is true freedom. Freedom is not the right to do whatever we want or the flesh desires, but true God-purchased freedom is the power and the desire to live according to how we were designed. Freedom is the ability to enjoy life as we were designed in the face of severe enticement and intimidation to suffer the consequences of living life contrary to design. Within the fence of God’s moral design is maximum freedom.
He created us to live life to its fullest capacity.
Without the string, a kite is subject to the whim of every wind that comes along. With a string, the kite uses the wind to soar and fly and turn and twist in the wind. Christ died that we might really live. “The life that I now live,” Paul said earlier, “I live by faith, not works.” Remember, by the works of the law shall NO flesh be justified in His sight. No one will live out from under devastating guilt. When we live according to the spirit of life in Christ, we instinctively live as we were designed. When we continually submit ourselves to the indwelling Spirit of Christ, we become more and more like Him. When we become like Him we automatically live like Him. That is the purpose of setting us free from the Law. The law can only terrorize and condemn. The spirit transforms and comforts. Christ gave his life that we might live free according to design.