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May 9, 2021 | Chris Baselice
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This past weekend, we continued our “Live Free” series through the Book of Galatians as we dove into Galatians 3. In this message, Pastor Doug Sauder showed us how the gospel is enough for salvation, why faith, and not works of the law, is what makes us righteous, and the purpose of the law and validity of God’s promises.
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The Gospel Is Enough (Galatians 3:1–5): Here, we see the apostle Paul ask the Galatians a series of four questions to bring them to the point of realization that this works-based mentality they were being deceived into brings nothing of value or merit and actually cuts them off from experiencing the full benefits and blessings of their salvation.
The questions are . . .
The purpose here was, as a parent often does with his or her child, to ask these questions that should have very obvious answers to help them arrive at the obvious conclusion that their actions were leading them down a dangerous path. He is trying to get them to see the error of their ways, to see the very obvious deception based on the truth of how they entered into faith in the first place.
This lesson, this truth, that we never graduate beyond the gospel, that the gospel is what gets us going and it’s what keeps us going . . . it’s as true today for us as it was for the Galatians. We must never allow ourselves to fall prey to this legalistic mentality where what was begun in faith must be perfected by works. It’s either Jesus only or no Jesus at all.
The Gospel Is About a Promise God Has Kept (Galatians 3:6–14): No one is justified before God by the law. Righteousness is not imputed based on personal merit or works. The Bible makes it very clear that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10 NIV). You see, the scary part of the Bible isn't that God judges our wickedness, it’s that He sees our righteousness as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Compared to the holiness of God, it’s your goodness that falls short. It’s not just our wickedness that condemns us, even our mightiest attempts at goodness fall embarrassingly short. Do you see why we need the gospel so badly? Do you see why we must put our hope on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness? Because all your righteous acts are filthy before Him. And the law can only reveal that truth to us. It has no power to save or impute righteousness, it can only shine a spotlight on our filthiness.
Righteousness, or right-ness with God, comes only by faith in His Son. That’s why Paul states in verse 11 (NKJV): “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’”
If we rely on the law, we are still under the curse. But if we receive the gift of God through Jesus Christ by faith, our sin is exchanged for His righteousness. And so now when God sees us, He only sees the righteousness of Jesus, and we are declared righteous by faith.
We Find a Life in the Gospel We Can’t Find in the Law (Galatians 3:15–25): In our walk with God, legalism is the deadliest honey trap of all. We can get seduced into this new way to approach our faith that’s not just dependent upon Jesus, but upon our own performance. And before we realize it, we’re in bondage to it; we’re in chains.
Now, why would that be so seductive? Why is that so lure so irresistible? Because we all love to feel the sense of accomplishment of earning something—then we believe we deserve it; it’s owed to us. But not only is that way of thinking the exact opposite of the gospel, it’s also a road that leads us to nothing but misery, disappointment, bitterness, and shame. How so? Because we are weak, imperfect, and we will fall short and fail. We will sin . . . a lot.
But when we forget that lie and humble ourselves before the Lord and receive His grace through faith in the perfect and finished work of Christ, do you know what He does? He breaks our yolk of bondage, He bestows His righteousness upon us, and He gives us the amazing and abundant life that we were born to live and enjoy! He finished the work on our behalf, He paid the debt, He fulfilled the law. And because of this, we can walk through this world with our heads held high because, though Jesus, we are no longer slaves to sin, to the law, or to death! We are free indeed!
Quote to Remember: The gospel is not a defibrillator, it is a heart transplant.—Pastor Doug Sauder
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
1. Why does Paul ask the series of questions he does in the first five verses of chapter 3? What does he hope to accomplish by asking these questions?
2. Can you think of a time in your life when someone—a parent, teacher, coach, mentor, leader/authority figure—asked you questions regarding your behavior to help you see the error in your ways? How did that help?
3. What is the purpose of the law? Why was it given by God? Why can we not rely on the law for salvation?
4. What is the promise of God?
5. What makes legalism so dangerous?
6. How can you avoid falling prey to the lure of legalism?
AN OVERVIEW OF GALATIANS
Check out this featured article where Danny Saavedra explains the background and significance of this extremely profound and relevant letter! To read the article, click here.
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In the sixth and final week of our Seasons of Life class series, Pastor Fidel and Theresa Gomez will discuss what it means biblically to leave a lasting legacy.
Then, at our weekend services, we’ll dive into Galatians 4. In this message, Pastor Doug Sauder will help us understand why we must fight to hold onto our freedom in Christ, what it means to have sonship in Christ, and the joy we can experience.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.