Monday, November 29, 2010
Galatians Chapter 3
- The church in Galatia had started to follow the Judaizers. They knew the truth at one point... and then let themselves be led away from it.
- What was the truth? The truth was found in the death of Christ. The Holy Spirit came through faith.
- The Judaizers were teaching that to be holy, to be righteous, the law of Moses had to be followed... So Paul asks, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? NO! It was through FAITH.
- After starting their walks with Christ, living in the Spirit, they were now trying to live the perfect life on their own strength. All they experienced, all they saw... and now? Had they forgotten? Did they forget the feeling of Grace? Did they forget the love and forgiveness they felt from Christ? Did they forget how they'd struggled to meet all the requirements for righteousness?
- Romans 1:21-23, 28-32, 2:17-29
- Psalm 50:7-23
- you know... a couple years ago, I wasn't where I needed to be with God. I was planning on going to grad school and planning all these things that I wanted to do with my life, and God was very specific in telling me no. And I got mad. I wanted to go to grad school, I wanted to go live life the way I wanted to... so I rebelled. I shut God out, and life just went downhill from there. I applied to grad schools knowing that they weren't going to accept me. Applied and was accepted, only to have to write the letter stating I wasn't coming because of the lack of finances.
- And by the end of my little fit, I was literally at the end of myself. I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, food was tasteless... My body literally felt like it was dying. I felt myself fading. I was suffocating. I needed God, but didn't want to ask for help... didn't want to admit I had been wrong... I was in a situation that I needed to get out of... and couldn't... not without help... I didn't have the strength or the backbone to get out on my own... And I felt that, if I didn't change something... I wasn't going to last out the year. So I tried to change things... but it didn't work... cause you can't change it on your own... but I tried anyway... desperately... to no avail. Every step I took forward ended in more backwards...
- So my mom came in my room one morning and was like... look. I don't know what's going on, but you need to fix it. And it broke me... just that little statement... broke my heart. Tore the hardness out. Crumbled the wall. And I sobbed and cried and wept before God for like 2 hours. Totally gave in. Totally gave up. And you know what I found to be so incredibly cool in all of this? I experienced Grace for the first time in my life. It was real. And you know? All that happened in that time period of rebellion... I don't remember... I remember, but it's like watching a movie of someone else's life. I'm not connected to it. I'm not a part of it. It doesn't haunt me at night. I don't wake up feeling guilty. It's almost like it never happened... it was someone else that went through all the pain and all the frustrations...
- Psalm 51, 32, 86, 103 (I lived in Psalms for a while after this... these are 4 that, at the time, were some that were very... close to heart.)
- Taking my experience as it was... and looking back at this verse... knowing that in coming to Christ, these Jews had to have felt something at least similar... and to be able to feel that it was real, to know that GOD was THAT real in YOUR life... and then to turn around and try to go back to doing it on your own? WHY IN THE WORLD!?
- Did I do something incredible to receive Grace? NO! How did I get it? Because God loved me SO much and SO greatly, that when I cried out, He gave it to me freely. No strings attached. I gave my life to Him, and in return, I received Grace abundantly. All I had to do was ask for it.
- Now after all that, why, knowing where I was, knowing I was at the end of myself, knowing that there was no hope for me without outside help... WHY would I try and do it on my own?
- Footnote- “The Galatians knew that they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed, not when they obeyed the law. People still feel insecure in their faith because faith alone seems too easy. People still try to get closer to God by following rules. While certain disciplines (Bible study, prayer) and service may help us grow, they must not take the place of the Holy Spirit in us or become ends in themselves.”
- Acts 15:7-11
- Romans 11:5-6
- Ephesians 2:1-10
- Abraham had faith in God. His faith was counted as righteousness.
- The Jews were claiming that because they were Abraham's children/descendants, they were special. They were following the TRUE way because they were following the law.
- Paul states however, that TRUE children of Abraham, are those who put their faith in God. Not those who are sons by birth... but rather those who are trusting in God... faithful and true.
- Side note... The law, was not put in place until the time of Moses... So what law did Abraham follow? Now I know he was upright and righteous and so on... but what law was he following? If we are saved by the law, then all those who lived BEFORE the law... what about them? The founding fathers of our faith would be counted as unrighteous sinners damned to hell! They had no law to follow! And yet... God ACCEPTED them, loved them, called them RIGHTEOUS!
- So all who have faith in Christ, are joined with Abraham by their faith. Not because of the law... cause technically... Abraham had nothing to do with the law.
- Everyone who tries to follow the law is cursed. (Deuteronomy 27:26) It says that “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey ALL the commands that are written in God's Book of the Law”. I don't know about you... but I mess up quite often. Whether in my thoughts or in my actions, it doesn't really matter... mistake is a mistake. If I had to ask God for forgiveness every time I did something... good grief... I'd spend my entire day on my knees crying in a corner! God forgives... and that's so wonderful...
- Footnote- “The law cannot justify and save—it can only condemn. Breaking even one commandment brings a person under condemnation. And because everyone has broken the commandments, everyone stands condemned. The law can do nothing to reverse the condemnation (Romans 3:20-24). But Christ took the curse of the law upon himself when he hung on the cross. He did this so we wouldn't have to bear our own punishment. The only condition is that we accept Christ's death on behalf as the means to be saved (Colossians 1:20-23).”
- but the law doesn't work that way... And Christ made the law harder! He said to look at another person with lust was to commit adultery. Forget actually committing the act... just to THINK about it... THAT'S sin... Have you been angry? You have committed murder. Have you coveted something? You have stolen. Have you been angry with your parents? You have dishonored them. Have you stretched the truth? You have lied.
- Can you handle it? Can you fix yourself? Can you make yourself righteous? How good is your control on your thought life... Do you control every thought that crosses your mind? How about the times you commit a sin and don't even know it? What happens then? Have you failed?
- NO! To all of the above NO! So how do you fix it? GOD! Jesus Christ! The minute He died on the cross, shed His blood in your place, in that moment, He took all your sins. He fixed it all. All you have to do is reach out and accept the gift.
- Hebrews 9, 10, 11
- Matthew 5:21-48, 6
- “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” ( Deuteronomy 21:22-23) Christ was cursed for us. He took on Himself the curse of mankind, the curse of sin... Washed it away. A one-time sacrifice. For ALL men. Not just the Jews, but for all the world.
- When I think about this... I think about a parent... who takes a bullet for a child. Or someone who is hiding a child from an abuser and takes the beating meant for the child.
- I had a friend in middle school who used to wear sweaters to school way up into June (with no AC) because his dad beat him all the time... why? Because his little brother desperately wanted to play basketball... so he told him to stay after school and stay for practice... and his dad wanted them home on time all the time... so every night his brother was late, dad would get mad and my friend would take the beating then... and also when the brother got home finally... He'd always step in. He felt it was important that his brother get to do what he wanted to... His brother hardly ever got anything. His dad would get so mad at him for interfering that he'd wear himself out on the older brother... and then fall asleep on the couch or whatever and forget about the little one...
- Is God not the same? He stepped up and took our place. Why? So we could have life... and life ABUNDANT. Not just live... but live GREATLY. Live to our fullest. So that we too could partake of the promise of Abraham. So that we too could receive the Holy Spirit. So that we too could become heirs.
- He was beaten, crushed, torn, cut, all so we could have a better life... How great the love of God...
- I'm assuming that at least most of you have seen the Passion of the Christ movie by now... Honestly... I had never thought of the death of Christ quite so... gory and bloody and horrible til that movie. You always see these paintings of Christ with a halo around his head and looking up to the sky praying to God with this serene look on his face... I don't think it hit me until I saw the pain etched in the actor's face how terrible my God actually suffered for my life. It hit me so hard. Here am I, little ol' me... and what do I do in return? How do I repay that love? Do I love back with the same passion and earnestness? Have I earned that love? Have I lived up to the expectation He had for my life? I mean He gave His life, suffered brutally... so I could in return do something with my life, for Him. What potential did He see in me?
- You know... there's a lot of times that I meet people and I'm like, WOW! There's so much potential there! They could be a pastor or a missionary, or they have this way about them that they could be great leaders and speakers and witnesses for Christ... and yet... they don't use those gifts. Sometimes I meet non-Christians and I think wow, if God could get a hold of that heart and that life, wow what amazing and great things He could do with it. And then I think wait... He got a hold of me... is someone looking at me and saying the same thing? Wow... if only she'd realize how much more for God she could do or be.
- It's like the kid that goes to college and the parents scrimp and save and pay for everything only to have the kid flunk out. Or change their major 20 times. Or graduate... and then decide to live in the basement off the parents... How much of their own lives did they sacrifice, only to have it thrown back in their faces? How much time and effort were spend investing in a life that threw it away?
- What have you done lately to warrant Christ's sacrifice for your life?
- Isaiah 53
- Matthew 27:26-56
- Mark 15:15-41
- The word used for “Descendants” in Genesis is a singular word in the original “seed”. Paul is saying that Christ was the seed meant here—that it was a prophecy of His future coming through Abraham's line (not physically only, but also in spirit and in faith).
- Paul is saying that the covenant with Abraham couldn't be broken... not even with the addition of the law 430 years later. If the inheritance was something that could be received by keeping the law, then the promise made to Abraham, first of all wouldn't have been necessary, and secondly wouldn't result in an inheritance.
- Then why give the law? What purpose did it serve? Was it just to make things difficult? If inheritance was achieved through promise... why was the addition of the law needed?
- It was given to show the people their sin. How do we know what is right and wrong unless we are taught? And some things... if you've never experienced them... how do you know which category to put it in? (gray areas)
- A child who has never been shown anything physical from another person except abuse doesn't know how to categorize a hug when first given one. They don't know whether to run or to accept what sort of feels good. Most flinch or pull away at any sort of human contact. They don't know which is which. All of it to them is bad.
- “Little” sins like lying and so on... if we aren't taught that they are wrong... how do we know they are? They benefit us. They get us out of situations. They further our own gain... so why would they be bad? Our natural instinct is for personal gain and selfishness... So if they are “helping” us... why would it be wrong to indulge in them?
- The law was given to not only give guidelines, but to show us that all have sinned. No one can live up to the standard set by the law. The law is perfect. It's there to show us that we needed something else outside our own effort. We can't ever measure up.
- This is also why Israel had the sacrifice for all the sins committed during the year that they didn't know about... the ones they had committed without realizing it. (Leviticus 5, 6:1-7, Numbers 15:22-29)
- The law was designed to be in place until the coming of Christ.
- Paul makes this comparison... and I hadn't ever really thought about it ... but the law was given through Moses—the mediator for the people between they and God. However, when the promise was given to Abraham... there was no mediator... it was just God and Abraham... wow... Awesome much? The promise... the most eternal of the two... was made directly between God and Abraham. Direct communication. No in betweens. Just he and God.
- I Timothy 2:3-6
- Does the promise made to Abraham and the law given to Moses conflict with one another then? No! They just accomplished a different purpose. Two parts of a whole.
- If the law could make you right with God, then all we'd have to do is obey it.
- But even in obeying all the law, we are still prisoners of sin. Which is why a rescue plan had to be put into action. We can follow all the rules implicitly... but it still doesn't change the fact that until Christ is in control of our life, we are still slaves in sin to Satan, the god of this world. We are still very much human living with spiritual soul... and we have no authority over the... “spiritual realm”. Not until we have backup.
- It's like sending a page boy out to duel a knight. What's he gonna do? He has to have the armor and training to beat the opponent!
- David didn't take the armor of Saul when he went out to face Goliath. It was too big and heavy and it was going to be an encumbrance. He didn't need to take it anyway... He had something much greater on his side... : ) The other men there? They needed all the armor they could get... why? Because they didn't have what David had.
- When we are living without Christ... we have to use the law as that armor. It's what keeps our heads above water. But... when we have to face the giant of Satan and all his armies? It's not enough. We have to have a relationship with Christ to be ready to face all that comes. We're bound to fear, death, etc. But when Christ comes... we don't need the armor anymore. If God wants us to walk out and kill a giant (our sin and bondage) with a sling and a stone... we can.
- Romans 8:1-17, 9
vs. 26- 29
- We are all children of God through faith in Christ.
- We are all united in one family.
- It's like... a family who adopts. They're all the same family. The kids belong in this family. And whether or not there are biological kids present... they are all considered part of the family. Members. Equal. Having a part. Heirs. They get to do chores just like the rest of the family... live, work, play, together. Get to go to the zoo and the mall and church... and get to be disciplined... just like the biological kids...
- Jews, Gentiles, joined together... heirs to the same promise, through the same God.
- Romans 8:15-17
- Ephesians 1:3-14
- Hosea 2:14-23