Summary: How were you saved by the works of the law or by hearing the gospel?
Galatians 3:1 -- 5. 10/24/04
The first two chapters of this book, we find Paul sharing his personal testimony. He does this in many of the letters he has written. I just believe whether it is by letter or by voice a Christian will share what the Lord has none in his life. Paul has a remarkable story to tell and he told it. You and I have a remarkable story to tell and we ought to tell it. We have been reading the personal testimony of Paul. But listen, the same power of God that saved Paul was the same power that saved every lost sinner in this building. The same God that loved Paul and apprehended Paul’s life is the same God that apprehended you and me. Jesus has been saving people the same way for 2000 years and if the world stands, He will continue the same way. He saves us and sets us free from the bondage of sin.
Now in chapter 3 and 4, Paul gives us some doctrinal teaching. It is doctrine that under girds our faith. Some say I don’t like doctrinal teaching. I hope you will get to think more of it, because doctrine is what gives the foundation for what we believe and how we behave.
Paul starts off rather bluntly in chapter 3. “Oh foolish Galatians.” He isn’t saying they are stupid. He is a little gentler than that. One translator puts it this way, “oh believed idiots.” He says who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth? He is referring to the truth of the gospel that he mentioned two times in the second chapter. He says let me ask you a question. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Basically, he was asking how were you saved by the works of the law or by hearing the gospel? After all that you have been through, are you going to turn from the truth of the gospel?
All preaches basically tell about one of two ways to go to heaven. Preachers either teach a works salvation or they teach a Grace salvation. Paul makes it very clear that a person is saved by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He really brings his message to a climax in the last verse of chapter 2 when he says if you can be saved by something of your own doing, then Jesus coming to the Earth to die for man’s sin was a waste of time. There was no point to it. It would be a failure in the history of the world.
Actually there are three lessons to learn about salvation. No. 1, you cannot do anything to save yourself. No. 2, God doesn’t expect you to do anything to save yourself. No. 3, God has already done everything necessary for you to be saved. When you learn these lessons, it brings a great deal of comfort to your Christian life.
Those men who flew those planes into the World Trade Center did so believing that this gave them an automatic entrance into heaven. They felt that was the work they needed to do to give them entrance into Paradise. You say preacher how can anyone believe that? Well let me ask you, what are you depending on to get you to heaven?
Now Paul gives them several appeals to not let those false teachers lead them to a works salvation. I want to give you the same appeals Paul gave the Galatians.
First of all, there is THE APPEAL OF A COMPELLING SAVIOR. Look again in verse 1. Who has bewitched you? The emphasis is not on the who but on their intelligence. He is more concerned with their falling for the false teaching than with the false teachers. Especially since Jesus has been preached so clearly to them. It is like our today billboard with their advertisement. Paul is referring to his preaching that all could understand. Paul did not preach using big words but the simplicity of salvation.
Sometimes it seems preachers preach where people cannot understand but not Paul. Paul just preached the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus and by trusting His finished work upon the cross of Calvary a person can and will be saved.
I hope I preach Jesus so simple that a child can understand and respond to the message. Jesus is the one to be lifted up, not the preacher or anyone else. I just want you to go to heaven when you die.
There is the appealing of a compelling savior but also THE APPEAL OF A CONTINUING SALVATION.
In verses 2 and 3, Paul raises a couple of questions. Here is what he is asking; how were you saved in the first place, by works or by what you heard and responded in faith? Well, I want to tell you they probably had never heard about the law before they were saved so it must be about what they heard.