Chico Alliance Church
“The Living Dead”
II. Paul Teaches the 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
2. Argued Strongly 17-20
3. Held strenuously 21
B. The Gospel of Grace applied to the Galatians 3:1-6
This morning we continue a look into the core of the gospel message. In an age where the message of our freedom in Christ is so obscured and twisted, it is essential we understand the basic truths regarding the “good news”. What we talk about today is essential in regard to your own salvation. What we talk about today is essential to your daily walk and experience of your salvation.
This is an essential concept in 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 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 voluntarily draws the guilty sinner in right relationship with himself, not only by pardoning him or acquitting him, but warmly accepting him and actually treating him as righteous. This was accomplished on the basis of a substitutionary sacrifice.
Two views emerge 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
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.
In order to appreciate the work of justification, we must comprehend the gravity of the need. By works of law NO flesh could be justified. There is not other way. It is either God’s way or no way. He is God! He is Judge! He alone dictates the terms. It is not how I feel or think, it is the way God declares. The truth is, no one has ever been able to keep the law to the degree required to satisfy the character of a perfect and Holy God. God declares that our attempts at self-righteousness are as detestable as “filthy rags”.
Many people do not really want a restored relationship with God.
Escape from hell.
Freedom from adversity.
Deliverance from suffering.
But an intimate, dependent relationship with God who is God and not some celestial Santa Claus.
Paul and the apostles believed in Christ because of the confident knowledge, both at conversion and still at his writing, that any person is justified, not on the basis of the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul and the others believed in Christ Jesus so that they personally could enter into right standing with God in time and space by hearing God declare them “not guilty” by faith in Christ and not by the keeping the law or trying to keep the law. Paul uses the word “Justified” in the passive tense indicating an action done for them or to them.
Justification is what God does on our behalf. It is a judicial declaration regarding our status of guilt or innocence. We could affirm our own innocence all we wanted and try to make a case for it. Only the judge’s declaration would have any bearing on our legal status. In justification, God declares the sinner NOT GUILTY on the basis of someone else taking the guilt and someone else providing the innocence. No matter who you are, Jew or Gentile, there is only one way to become justified before God and that is through faith in the work of Christ on the principle of grace NOT keeping laws.
Paul declared in Romans 3 that “ALL have sinned and come SHORT (woefully) of the glory of God.” We cannot compare ourselves with others or even to the fact we have kept some laws. The truth is that NO ONE can come through the law or works gate. No one can open it because it is to heavy to lift!
Let’s say the way to life is found on the moon. If we can get to the moon we will be saved. You can see pictures. You can simulate trips to the moon. You can fantasize and pretend you have been to the moon. You can jump, climb trees, ascend tall buildings, fly and airplane. Some will get higher than others and compare their attempts with the lowly achievements of others. The truth is that close does not count. Only reaching the moon will bring life. There is only one way for frail human flesh to achieve such a feat. He must trust the rocket to do the necessary work. It is not personal training or works, it is the rocket. Abiding in the rocket allows for experience and achievement never before possible. You don’t have to build it, only abide in it. I am here to declare to you today that NO flesh shall be justified by the works of law. No one will reach heaven by self-righteousness or self-effort. Only Belief in Christ, the only one who perfectly kept the law, can bring you into right standing before God. Only in Him are we declared “NOT GUILTY by God Himself!!!!”
Stop trying to earn favor you cannot earn. Stop trying to pay a debt you cannot pay.
Only God’s mercy will release you from the debt you owe. Only God’s grace will grant you the favor you cannot earn. Put away your pride and come to God through faith in Christ on the basis of His mercy and grace. It is the ONLY hope for life here or hereafter.
In just this one verse Paul states the simple truth that man is justified only through faith in Christ not personal works.
Paul declares his own faith in Christ so that he too, along with the other apostles, could personally experience justification by faith in Christ and not by personal works since NO FLESH has been or ever will be justified by works.
Paul next anticipates an objection to the teaching of innocence by faith in Christ totally apart from any self-righteousness.
“BUT” If we ourselves have also been found sinners , while seeking to be justified in Christ. Then is Christ a minister of sin? May it never be!
Paul addresses the objection that such a teaching could promote more sin. If sin still remains even though I seek righteousness in Christ is it Christ’s fault? Is Christ the one who we blame for sin? Absolutely Not!
If I go back to a system of keeping law or self-righteousness that I have preached to strongly against, I only further confirm my inability to live righteously. Christ is not the transgressor! I prove myself to be the transgressor.
Besides, the whole reason I died to the law through the law was that I might enjoy restored relationship with God not live lawlessly. I really died in order to really live!
Romans 5 mentions the blessed results of justification. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ by whom we have our introduction into this grace in which we stand.”
The freedom that Paul preached is not freedom to do what WE want but the freedom to live to God. As long as we come to god on the basis of self-righteousness or self-effort there can be no relationship because the law continually condemns us and convicts us. The only way to enjoy relationship with the perfect Law Giver, we must die to the law. Law keeping must be taken out of the picture because no one can keep it!
If I am in debt to you for an impossible to pay sum of money. There is no way we can maintain a close relationship. Only by dealing with the debt can there be any hope of a close relationship. Jesus paid our debt and fulfilled every requirement of law for us in order to free us up to live for him. When law is not an issue, we can also be open about everything that is hurtful. King David could invite the Lord to search and know him (which he knew God already does) and see if there be any hurtful way in him.
Paul dealt with this issue in Romans 6 “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Paul then shares his personal application of God’s marvelous mercy and amazing grace.
I have been crucified with Christ (perfect tense verb indicating a past event carrying result into the present.)… Paul affirms that this new freedom from law is based on a radical life change. It is not just a cold, lifeless creed. This truth of justification by faith in Christ is a way of life. The law could only condemn and destroy.
Christ died so that not only might I live without condemnation but that He might live IN me. Just as faith brought new life and a righteousness not my own. So faith continues to be the way of life.
I live by faith in the same Christ who both loved me and offered himself up for me. Paul concludes his argument with a firm commitment.
I do not nullify the grace of God (by teaching salvation through the law)
If righteousness comes through keeping law, Christ’s death was pointless.
If it were possible to earn God’s favor by self-effort, we would find a way to do it and Christ would not have had to die. The point is, no one could. There had to be another way to escape the gravitational pull of the earth to get to the moon. All our fleshly efforts were futile. The law of sin and death reigns. The law of life in the Spirit is the only way to rise above it.
If we consider yourself right before God for any other reason than personal belief and surrender to Christ who died and rose for us – REPENT of such arrogance and pride.
We must not nullify the grace of God by living according to a system of works. Christ died to free us from the law so that we might enjoy restored relationship with Him. It is a relationship based on His mercy and grace. It is a life that continually lives by faith in the Son of God who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.