Cornerstone Community Church
Faith or Observance of the Law
Intro: Bob Grosso expressing concern about a friendship.
Big Idea: Faith rests on Jesus & receives the promised blessing of God.
Context: False teachers are leading the Galatian churches astray. Paul builds his argument.
I. We are prone to self-reliance resulting in a curse.
- “Foolish” or mindless. Paul thinks they have lost their minds. Ill. Brain Damage
- “Bewitched”- they have been deceived, had a spell put on them (evil eye).
- They are no longer looking to Jesus who has been crucified, but elsewhere.
- “Observance or works of the law”- ceremonial & moral law govern relationship w/God.
- Now trying to “finish or complete” their salvation thru the power of the flesh.
- They shifted their confidence: Jesus => themselves & their efforts ( vs. 3).
- Self-reliance & blame-shifting are the default mode of the sinful nature. Ill. Jadon
- Uses their argument against them- Cursed are all who don’t continue to work (vs. 10).
- Our obedience is flawed. Renewed obedience can’t restore failed obedience. Ill. Lamp
- The law cannot produce life in us- it only brings us under condemnation.
- Working for security, reputation, power, love etc. is dangerous. Ill. Social status
“Christians are not made righteous by doing righteous things, but being made righteous by faith in Christ, they do righteous things.” Martin Luther “The law requires works of human achievement; the gospel requires faith in Christ’s achievement.” John Stott
“Christians are not made righteous by doing righteous things, but being made righteous by faith in Christ, they do righteous things.” Martin Luther
“The law requires works of human achievement; the gospel requires faith in Christ’s achievement.” John Stott
Transition: We work hard to fit in, establish ourselves, but it is a dead end. Where is life?
II. Faith rests on Jesus for initial & on-going acceptance with God.
- Paul builds his argument from their experience, Abraham’s experience & the Law.
- A series of rhetorical questions about their experience make the point.
- Why did they receive these blessings? Apart from circumcision & lawkeeping.
- Faith brought these things to them. Faith would complete their salvation. Ill. $3 of Jesus
- Abraham was the Patriarch, the Prime Example of a Jew. How was he justified?
- Faith! He believed God & was accepted by God. He & Peter wavered at times (Gen 15).
- Abraham forsook his self-reliance. God walked through the animals- God saves, alone.
- What separates them from the false teachers? They returned home thru repentance.
- Just Abe? No, the righteous live by faith, from beginning to end, though it wavers.
- The strength of faith is not the issue, but the reliability/dependability of whom you trust.
- Jesus saves from the curse of the law we deserved by bearing that curse on the cross.
- Jesus is reliable, sufficient to save us; we are not reliable. Forsake your self-reliance.
6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. … 8 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” Genesis 15 (NIV)
“Because of this faith in Christ, God sees not my doubting of His good will towards me, my distrust, heaviness of spirit, and other sins which are yet in me.” Martin Luther
“Thus a Christian is both righteous and a sinner, holy and profane, an enemy of God, and yet a child of God.” Martin Luther
Transition: Faith looks to Jesus, whom Paul publicly declared to them as crucified for sin.
III. Faith receives the many promised blessings of God.
- Christ “has been crucified”- past act with present consequences. What does He offer?
- All who believe receive the Spirit. God grants the promised Spirit at Christ’s expense.
- The Spirit works to complete our salvation- a life in the Spirit. Continue in grace!
- He sustains us in hardship & persecution- even from false teachers.
- He works powerfully in us. Yes, they saw miracles, but not just miracles. Ill. Lee/Mayo
- Power is revealed in turning from idols to the living God- conversions! (1 Thes. 1)
- Power is revealed when we put our sin to death and walk in obedience (Gal. 5).
- All who believe, Jew & Gentile, are justified- righteous & accepted- as promised.
- All who believe are Abraham’s sons & heirs of the promise. Ill. Eli
- We earn NONE of these things- Jesus has earned them all for us. He’s worthy of love.
5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. … 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, … 1 Thessalonians 1 (NIV) “For faith only rests in the promise, it only apprehends and knows God, and stands only in receiving good things from God.” Martin Luther
5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. … 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, … 1 Thessalonians 1 (NIV)
“For faith only rests in the promise, it only apprehends and knows God, and stands only in receiving good things from God.” Martin Luther
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