Summary: It was for freedom that Christ has set us free!


GALATIONS 5: 1 ~ 13

1. Introduction: Mindset

God has given His salvation freely to every one who believes in the atoning sacrifice and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the enemy, whom the Amplified Bible aptly describes as the evil genius of this world does his uttermost to persuade you and me to come away from our position of grace to having to work for our salvation. I guess with the mindset of this world that you get nothing without having to work for it, is so easy to persuade us to walk in the flesh after being given God’s gift of salvation. But we could never by our own efforts deserve salvation, that’s why the only way we can have it is by God giving it to us freely. The enemy just loves to confuse us; he will try to play games with your mind, even mis-using scriptures (remember he tried to get Jesus to jump off the highest point of the temple by misquoting scripture to Him!), or using incorrect teaching to push you off course. Don’t let him!

Perhaps a Royal example will help keep you on track. The Queen’s children have never ceased to be her children, even when they have messed up badly in public and in private. They are her’s. Her children have been brought up in a privileged background and although at times they have not lived up to expectations they have not ceased to have royal blood running through their veins. Of course they have had a choice, to live up to all the honour and privileges they have or waste their inheritance. We too are a royal priesthood ~ lets not waste the inheritance Jesus paid such a costly price for us to have.

2. Who Cut In On You?

We should be very grateful that the “Circumcision Group” is not with us today! We think we have problems! Pity those poor Galatians being compelled to be circumcised in order to obtain salvation. According to the Circumcision Group both Jewish and Gentile male believers had to be circumcised. Good reason to be very nervous wouldn’t you say!

According to the Apostle Paul these Galatians believers had started off well but who had cut in on them? Well a powerful group of influential people with their own deathly definition of salvation had got to them. But salvation comes by no other name than Jesus. (See Acts 4:12). It’s not a case of Jesus plus; i.e. Jesus plus circumcision or Jesus plus any other condition you care to think of. It’s always Jesus full stop. God has no other plan of salvation but through the costly sacrifice of His dear Son.

3. Their Joy had gone

Not surprisingly these new conditions for salvation had led to a total loss of joy. “What has happened to all your joy?” Paul asks them. Do you ever feel like that? You have started off well but before you know it something, or often someone, has got in your way and spoiled your walk of peace and joy in Jesus. It can be that certain someone in your life who has a tendency to flatten you, to put you down, or off what you know in your heart God wants you to do.

Sometimes it can be a simple misunderstanding that leads to a devastating loss of joy. A dear friend with a Jehovah Witness background before becoming a Christian got very tied up in knots with seemingly contradictions in Scripture. (Maybe it was the way he had previously been taught to study by the JWs who as you may know are very good at tying you up in knots with Scripture. In fact our dialogues with them in the past have been like a game of tennis ~ volleys back and forth!). Anyhow, one day our friend was struggling with understanding why the Bible said Jesus would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Now bear with me as I explain to his despair he could only account for Friday day and night, Saturday day and night and Sunday ~ day only; to his calculation a night was missing.

Well being ever the helpful one when someone was losing their peace and joy I did a long careful study in the four gospels, analysing each account (by the way I was coming up with new contradictions of different numbers of angels, names of women) to the point where I was now desperate. How could I reassure him? Get him back to where he was before all this had cut in on his walk? Eventually I felt a verse put on my heart: “ I know Whom I have believed” (2 Tim: 1:12). Oh what a revelation. It wasn’t a case of What I believed it was Whom. It was enough ~ well for me! So I joyfully passed on the “Revelation” rather than some very smart theological answers.

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