Summary: This sermon addresses a common issue of legalism, trying to give those struggling with legalism a better understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I. The Common Conversion story
A. Rarerly, do we as a church here of an amazing conversion story, but those particular stories seem to overshadow most of our personal stories.
1. We have heard of people addicted to drugs and alcohol being converted by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. We have heard of people leaving lives addicted to lustful fornication.
3. We have even heard of people escaping the grasp of death to later become Christians.
4. They are placed before us almost as an example of true conversion, and here we set struggling with our seemingly unimportant and sellible conversion story.
B. Most of our conversions, though, are less spectacular, which creates a common story, they go something like this.
1. We lived a good life seeking to do the right thing in life.
2. We were extraordinary people that went the extra mile, smiled at people and helped the needy.
3. We did our best to to everything correctly; dotting every "i" and crossing every "t".
4. Their in lied our problem, a life of law abiding.
5. It wasn’t long that we figured out that we were not perfect and sinners just like the any other addict in the world.
6. We relied on self justification and hoping we could find righteousness on our own.
7. We found out we couldn’t and looked for another way.
8. The kicker is that we with common conversions question our conversion and dedication, because was not miraculous.
C. In retrospect, many faithful Christians struggle with a legalistic Christendom; they have never been able to find a way out of.
1. You may feel like you will never make it to heaven.
2. You may consistently say that you are incapable of doing everything right, so not confident about your salvation.
3. You’re afraid that you will make one last fleeting mistake before you die and be excluded for eternity.
4. It wasn’t until this question was posed that I understood my thinking.
5. If you committed a grievous sin directly before you die in a car accident, will you go to heaven?
II. The Galatian Christians struggled with the line of legalism also.
A. When Paul writes the letter to the Galatians, they are divided over the need of obedience to the law. Law = legalism
1. Some feel that the law must first be obeyed by all then the gospel be obeyed for anyone to be in a saved condition.
a. This cannot be correct because the Old Law was written for a distinct people and nation. It was never intended to be a law for the world, but for the Jewish Nation (Deuteronomy 4:1-8; Psalm 147:19-20)
c. The Old law was a law of death. (2 Corinthians 3:6-9)
2. Interestingly, the apostle Peter even struggled with the conjoining of Jew and Gentile.
a. In Galatians 2:11-16, Peter is confronted by Paul because he had stopped eating with the Gentiles.
b. By doing so, Peter’s actions developed a problem between the Jew and Gentile.
c. Peter acted as though he agreed with the Jews standing that they were a better people in God’s eyes.
B. So Paul writes and gives them four perspectives of the Liberty of Christ
1. Salvation cannot be attained by any man through any kind of service.
2. The Law instead of bringing righteousness brought death.
3. True Freedom is found by Christ living in you.
4. Salvation is not found in the letter of the law.
I. No man can buy heaven (v.17)
A. Though many may try, their false realization will lead them no where.
1. All of us have tried haven’t we…
2. How many of us patted ourselves on the back for a good deed?
3. How many of us made for sure of our good days in our prayer life?
4. How many have cleaned their rooms as a child for fear of the wrath of mom?
5. How many do right in fear of the wrath of God?
B. When we strive to find our own personal justification it leads us down a long and winding road.
1. Each of us may take a different path that may be longer or shorter, but they all lead to the same place.
2. We are unable to make ourselves righteous before God
3. Because, "all of have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23)
4. Even if we did claim to follow the Law today, no one would make it because their was no provision made for those who willfully broke the law. (Numbers 15:27-31)
C. So it is down that winding road that we find the crossroads of faith and we see the writing on the wall