So for the last several weeks we have been meeting and going through the Book of Galatians. And I am seeing this young man being transformed before my eyes. As he grasps the Gospel deeper and deeper, he is being set free more and more. In fact, at our last meeting, he literally ran out of our meeting dancing and laughing.
- All of our conduct is to be in the Gospel. Gal 2:14 says, "But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel...". Here Paul is telling the church that their conduct was not in step with the Gospel. Their personal lives and the rules they were putting on others was not Gospel living. Their lives were marked by something other than the Gospel...legalism. Everyday we must remember the Gospel so it saturates our lives and becomes our conduct. We must remember the "now power" of the Gospel for our daily lives. Tim Keller says it like this: "The Gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter into the Kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the Kingdom."
- All growth then is by the power of the Gospel. Gal 3:2-3 reads: "Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" Re-read this passage! Do we understand it's implications? Paul asks a very easy question of believers in verse 2: "How did you become a believer? Works or faith?" The obvious answer is by faith! Once we settle is truth in our souls he then asks, "You began with faith, why are you now being sanctified but works [flesh]?" He is telling us that our growth in Christ is by the very same power that brought us to Christ...the Gospel. Paul tells us a few verses later in verse 11 that "the righteous [note that we ARE righteous] shall live by faith." We are to live and grow by faith!
- Because our position is secured in Him and by Him we are sons. In chapter 4 Paul then goes on to tell us that living by the law is like living as a slave or an orphan and living by faith is believing in our position, through the reality of the Gospel, as a child of God who can say, "Abba Father." We read this: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." We are an heir and we have an inheritance. What the law promised but could not deliver, the Gospel gives and demands nothing in return. We don't have to live like someone who has no future or must work to earn that future! It is ours. Our inheritance was purchased for us by Christ.
- We are to live by a new law! Paul writes in chapter 5: "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" You see living by the law creates a very selfish, narcissistic person. It has to! It demands performance for self so save self. It creates a person no one wants to be around. Someone who is either so self-absorbed or so critical of others (asking, "how am I doing?" or looking to see how you're doing) that they can't really love others. Thus Paul sums up the freedom we've been given as freedom to love and serve others! You see when we take our eyes off of ourselves we can place them on Jesus and others. We are really free to serve, fail, take risks, be burned, get hurt and more because our results are not our measuring stick...Jesus gave us all the results we will ever need...Himself.
- The Gospel fruit is not ours. Paul continues in chapter 5 by telling what walking by the flesh looks like and it's not very pretty. He then tells us what is already in us...the fruit of the Spirit! The fruit is the "fruit of the Spirit" and we were told earlier that the Spirit is in us! We are just a branch abiding in the vine which will produce His fruit ["I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing".] The Gospel will not allow us to take credit for anything. It is all God!
As this young man and I walked through Galatians, his countenance started to change until he started jumping for joy. He found freedom...real freedom in the finished work of Christ. His chains were taken off to serve and love others. He is not bound by the chains of "how am I doing?"