Summary: Today we begin one of the most exciting and rewarding journeys that any follower of Jesus can ever take...a journey through Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia.
The Cry For Freedom!
An Introduction To Paul’s Letter To The Churches in Galatia
There is a struggle for freedom that is taking place today that affects the lives of every man, woman, boy, and girl. There is a cry for freedom that rings out from the human heart all across the planet. If you will listen quietly then you can hear the cry coming from the plains of Africa, it can be heard in the Outback of Australia, in the jungles of Southeast Asia, flowing from the mountains of Central and South America, swirling in the desert of the Middle East, and ringing out from the countryside and cities all across America. And yet, even as the cry for freedom rings out, there are many voices urging us down dead-end roads that will never lead to the righteousness that God intends for those who live in freedom.
Even as men and women from our nation are fighting side-by-side with those from other nations who are seeking the liberation of the nation of Iraq there is another battle being waged. The battle I am speaking of has not received a moment’s notice on CNN or the Fox News Network. The war that has taken a greater toll upon lives than all of the world’s wars combined has never been mentioned by Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, or Dan Rather. The battle that I am referring to is not being waged in the theatre of the desert or urban settings, but in the human heart. The battle for freedom is taking place in this very sanctuary this morning in some of our hearts. I pray that by the time we end this study that the Lord will open your eyes to the path to freedom and bring about your own liberation.
Today we are beginning one of the greatest journeys that any follower of Jesus can ever take. The journey that we will take over the next few months is a journey that, the pages of history reveal, has been taken by many who have gone before us. Our journey can be a freedom march for you and for me. If we will approach this little book with the utmost reverence, read it as if our lives depended upon understanding and implementing its truths, and if we will refuse to surrender to the world’s cry to abandon its foundational truth that freedom is found in Christ alone -- then we will see the gates of captivity swing open wide and we will be free at last! With every step we take through the pages of this powerful little book we will experience more and more of the precious freedom that only Christ can bring.
Wherever the book of Galatians has traveled a line in the sand has been drawn and people have been confronted with the truth. In Galatians there is no middle ground, there are no focus groups to “work out” a compromise, and human efforts, accomplishments, and aspirations are deemed worthless in the quest for freedom. Those who have chosen to reject the truths of Paul’s letter to the Galatians have continued to try and free themselves from the shackles of sin. They have sought to please God by their own good behavior, by keeping the Law, and by following legalistic paths to righteousness, but they have without fail, failed.
The only path to freedom runs directly to the cross and crown of our glorious Savior and King! Wherever this glorious truth has been proclaimed and claimed, freedom has flourished, and in its wake societies, the Church, and many human hearts that were shackled in the chains of Church tradition, legalism, and the Law have been freed! Let freedom ring!
Let me warn you, this is not a journey for the faint of heart. Throughout history there have been numerous debates, Church battles, excommunications, and even the loss of lives for those who chose to cling to Christ alone rather than traditionalism, legalism, or the good works of human hands and hearts to try and please God and gain a right standing before Him. To cling to Christ as our sole justification means that we must renounce all human effort and aspirations to justify ourselves in the sight of God.
As we begin this journey it is important for us to know that freedom comes with a great price. Our freedom does not come cheaply. Our liberation does not come by means of human effort. Our freedom is not to be taken lightly for it comes at the highest cost the world has ever known – the sacrifice of God’s own Son. We cannot, will not, nor has anyone ever won his or her own freedom. Our freedom was won at the greatest cost, but it can’t be bought or negotiated. It comes as a free gift from the gracious and Sovereign hand of Almighty God.