4 Life Lessons from Galatians Crucified. 5. The human body is not sinful, but neutral. As we exit Chapter 4 and enter Chapter 5, Paul has effectively argued that Law is not the means to our salvation. Jesus wants us to produce fruit…more fruit…much fruit – John 15:2, 5, because this is the way we glorify God. 25-26. The coming day will burn them up,” says the Lord who rules over all. The Spirit Enables Us to Fulfill the Law of Love – Galatians 5:13-15 Paul explains 3 ministries of the Holy Spirit that enable the believer to enjoy liberty in Christ. The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays—probably because I come from a military family. When you live by grace, you depend on the power of the Spirit. Paul says if we have died with Christ to the Law, then why act as if such restrictions still have power over us? Hatred means enmity, the attitude of mind that defies and challenges others. Scripture Mastery—Galatians 5:22–23 To help students memorize Galatians 5:22–23, invite the class to recite it one word per student at a time.For example, the first student would say “but,” the second student would say “the,” the third student would say “fruit,” and so forth until both verses are completed. He is free from the guilt of sin because he has experienced God’s forgiveness. [Compare the contrast in Galatians 3:2; Galatians 3:5. a. E.     Paul changes the figure of speech from athletics to cooking for Paul introduces the idea of yeast (leaven). He is free from the penalty of sin because Christ died for him on the cross. This church knew these things at one point in the past, when Paul taught them originally, but they have since slipped back, This church was running well, Paul says, but someone hindered them from obeying the truth, Like a foot race, our spiritual life is a test of endurance requiring effort and leading to reward if we persevere. Verse 5. Clearly, such a lifestyle is not only unnecessary, It is also sin, because it testifies to a lie that Christians must keep the Law, This is why Paul taught earlier in this letter that we do not have the liberty to place ourselves back under Law in a systematic fashion, We may have liberty to enjoy on occasion certain memorials or other rituals taken from the Law, But we do not have liberty to reimpose a lifestyle of slavery to Law in an attempt to mimic or recreate the Jewish lifestyle, Doing so is an affront to the work of Christ on the cross, Instead, Paul gives us a command to keep standing firm and not be subject to a yoke of slavery, Paul’s command is in the active imperative voice, which means we must continuously make effort to keep this command, We must actively protect our freedom, standing unwaveringly in the confidence that we do not need the Law for anything, Men will come along from time to time, trying to convince us that slavery to Old Testament rules and regulation is necessary for our righteousness, But Paul says we must continuously resist such men and their teaching, The English phrase “do not be subject” in Greek means to fall into entanglement, The sense here is being caught in a trap from which we cannot escape, So we cannot allow ourselves to become entrapped by clear argument, twisted use of scripture, debates over meanings of words or an appeal to tradition over the word of God, Legalism, whether to the Law of Moses or some other set of rules, can sound seductive and become a persuasive trap, It is set by those who do not understand our freedom in grace, They often have very deep and convoluted arguments, usually based on twisting Hebrew or Greek words, emphasizing history and the Old Testament commands to the Jews, If we are not prepared to stand firm in the Bible’s teaching, we can easily find ourselves taken away by the arguments, leading us to fall into the trap, Paul calls the burden and restriction of the Law of Moses a “yoke”, We are like that slave voluntarily re-entering slavery even after freedom has been purchased, If we are ever fooled into thinking that Law has a place in our Christian walk, we place a yoke of slavery on our necks, Remember from our prior studies in Exodus that the Law is a single, indivisible entity, We cannot divide the Law into parts, like ceremonial or moral law, We cannot divide the ten commandments out from the rest, It is all or none, and Paul says we owe it nothing because Christ has met it all, So either you wear the entire yoke or you throw it off once and for all, Having set forth the principle of Christian freedom, Paul now addresses the first error of attempting to unite Christ and Law together in the Christian experience, Paul gives clear and bold direction to the church (I, Paul, say to you…) in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Judaizers, Paul says to receive circumcision means that Christ was of no benefit to you, These verses are often a source of some confusion or bad doctrine because we fail to see the nuances of Paul’s argument, But when we examine the text carefully, it comes together properly, Paul teaches a conditional cause–and–effect relationship, The condition is if someone (a man, obviously) receives circumcision, Paul’s verb conjugation implies a willing acceptance on the part of the man to receive circumcision along with all that circumcision represents, A person who receives circumcision is agreeing with all that the Judaizers were teaching concerning Law, He agreed that salvation was by means of the Jewish Law and lifestyle, He agreed that the death of Christ was not sufficient to save, He was demonstrating that his trust for eternal life resided in the    keeping of Law instead of trusting solely in the work of Christ, So for that person, Paul says Christ is of no benefit, If we add anything to the work of Christ, we nullify belief in Christ, Many people have tried to “roll their own” formula of salvation, They take a little of religion “A” and some of religion “B” and concoct their own recipe for salvation, Paul says if you have added Christ to such a recipe, you might as well subtract Christ from your recipe, because He’s of no benefit under such circumstances, There is no point in adding Christ to a formula that includes other steps or requirements, because grace doesn’t work that way, The Gospel declares we are saved by our trust in Christ alone, And if we place our trust in anything else – whether works of Law or other gods or acts of the flesh – then it demonstrates we haven’t placed our trust in Christ, Therefore, Christ does nothing for our salvation in such a situation, So Paul says adding circumcision to Christ effectively denies Christ in the process, Just as when the Catholic Church teaches that salvation is a combination of faith in Christ plus doing penance, it denies Christ, Just as when the Mormons teach that salvation is a combination of Christ plus good works and temple observances, they deny Christ, Just as when so-called Messianic Christian movements require adherence to the Mosaic Law as a condition of righteousness, they deny that Christ is sufficient to bring us righteousness, And to emphasize his point, Paul repeats himself in v.3, He says that if someone receives circumcision, they show they place their trust in the Law to obtain righteousness, Such a person is expecting to be granted eternal life on the basis of their works under the Law, beginning with taking circumcision, Paul says if you choose that route, you had better be prepared to keep the entire Law and to do so perfectly forever, Because there is no credit to be gained for partial compliance with the Law of Moses, God designed His Law to be an all-or-nothing standard for good reason, He wanted to demonstrate to us that we are unrighteous and in need of grace, So we get no benefit for keeping even 99% of it, To break one Law, James says, is equal to violating all the Law, So the Law’s standard is unforgiving and impossible, Therefore, Paul says the one who receives circumcision is obligated to keep all the Law since they are placing their trust in it for righteousness, And of course, this is an impossible standard, which God designed to be futile, Therefore, every man or woman who places his trust in Law will be disappointed in the end, They will find that neither their justification nor their sanctification will have been achieved by that method, Certainly, trusting the Law for salvation reveals the absence of saving faith in a person’s heart, but a believer relying on the Law for sanctification is equally wrong, Christians who have been deceived into thinking that following some or all of the Mosaic Law will achieve greater holiness have also missed the point of the Law, God is not pleased with partial obedience, Even if a Christian should keep 612 of the 613 Laws of the Old Testament Law, they would still have failed to please the Lord, Because even jut one violation of the Law leaves us guilty of all the Law, Technically, we are just as sinful had we failed to keep all the Law, But partial obedience to the Law is the only thing possible, as God has intended, The temple and Jewish priesthood have been destroyed, So it is literally impossible to accomplish most of the Law’s requirements, Therefore, if we place our trust in the Law for our sanctification, we will always be frustrated, For the same reason Jews of today are frustrated in their attempts to seek justification by Law, The writer of Hebrews tells us God took away the ability of men to keep the Law so that we would understand He had provided a better way, To sum up, Paul says in v.4 that anyone who takes circumcision in the belief it will make him more righteous has been severed from Christ and fallen from grace, Because they have placed their trust in the Law, they benefit none at all from knowing of Christ and the Gospel, Some have read these words and concluded Paul was describing a believer losing his salvation, But the context of Paul’s argument (to say nothing of the rest of the New Testament) precludes that interpretation, Paul is speaking of someone who has never come to faith in the first place, Look back to the description in v.2 where Paul said that taking circumcision means you have not benefitted from Christ, Christ doesn’t provide benefit when combined with other sources of righteousness, It’s like adding a useless ingredient in any recipe, You might as well leave the ingredient out, So Paul said such a combination is pointless, and demonstrates the person is still relying on works rather than on faith alone, Therefore, Paul says that when we depend on something other than Christ, we are forfeiting any benefit from Christ, We are severed from Christ in the sense that we gain no benefit from adding Him to our recipe of salvation, We have fallen from grace in the sense that we have come up short of accepting God’s grace on its own terms, Like someone who leaves his fiancé at the altar, They got close to a lasting relationship, but in the end they came up short of a true marriage, The writer of Hebrews speaks in similar terms about someone who fails to embraced the Gospel in faith, The writer says that some may “come short” of the grace of God, which is similar to the phrase Paul uses here in Galatians, Coming short of something implies not fully receiving or accepting it, They hear the message, perhaps joining themselves for a time, but eventually something reveals their false heart, Like when the Galatians willingly receive circumcision and accept the teaching that Law was a necessary part of the Christian experience, In contrast to falling from grace, true Christians depend upon faith exclusively, Paul says, In vs.5-6, Paul says we (the Christians) are those who by the Spirit are content to wait for the righteousness to come, through the faith we have been given, But we don’t seek to obtain it through the works of our flesh by following a Law we know we cannot keep in the first place, Instead, we hope for righteousness, trusting it will be ours one day in the future, by God’s grace through our faith, We understand that our faith will bring us righteousness in a future day of God’s choosing, We will receive a glorified body by His power, And the moment of our glorification will be our moment of true righteousness, And that in the meantime, we depend on the Spirit to lead us toward sanctification, We don’t fool ourselves concerning our ability to become righteous through our works, We know we continue to fall short of God’s glory each day, Yet each day we move closer to Christ, knowing we are promised better things in the future, Simply put, nothing a Christian accomplishes by flesh moves us a step closer to our ultimate righteousness, It is not as though our righteousness is a tank becoming a little fuller each day by our works, Our spirit tank is already filled by Christ’s righteousness, While our flesh tank remains as bankrupt as ever, So we are not to waste time trying to fill our flesh tank with righteousness, Because we simply cannot fill it enough to please God, So keeping Law does nothing to bring us closer to sanctification, Whether we are abstaining from certain foods or not, Whether we are observing certain festivals, days of rest or whatever, These things are not our path to righteousness, Neither for justification nor for sanctification, The recipe for sanctification must be the same as for justification, It comes by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ, This is the recipe for godliness and pleasing God, This is the full sense of freedom and liberty, God has already done the work of righteousness, He has already granted us a spirit of righteousness, And one day in the future, He will grant us a body of righteousness, So we are freed to serve Him without concern for recovering from our sin or achieving righteousness, Those things are settled, so now we just serve Him freely, All our worries for righteousness have been settled at the cross. 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