Sun, Feb 20, 2022
Teacher: Yale Wall Series: Galatians Scripture: Galatians 1:6-7 & Galatians 2:11-21
This is how Paul responds to the Galatians:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all.
This is how Paul responds to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters
1 Corinthians 3:18
Do not deceive yourselves
1 Corinthians 4:14
I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children.
2 Corinthians 13:2-3
I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.
But with the Galatians, Paul opens the letter with: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting God
As the people of God, when we lose the Gospel, we lose EVERYTHING.
License is taking the Gospel, and subtracting a bunch of parts that you don’t like from it to “do it” your own way.
It’s the Progressive Christianity that is absolutely taking over our world today, that says that you can: believe whatever you want, do whatever you want, create your own rules… and still say you are following Jesus. It’s not true!
Legalism is taking the Gospel and adding a bunch of rules and regulations to it that distort the Gospel.
It’s sticking so close to the letter of the law, and going so far above and beyond obsessing over the little things, that we miss the heart of God in the midst of it. That’s the heart behind this next section, in Galatians 2:11-21 where Paul draws a line in the sand between Legalism and the Gospel.
A leader in the church named Cephas was spending all of his time with Gentiles, and sharing the Gospel with them, but as soon as the other Jews got there, he started to force the Gentiles to add Jewish customs onto the things they were doing in learning to follow Jesus.
11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
…and Paul continues describing his issues with him in verse 14 by saying:
14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
A line was drawn in the sand, but because Cephas had been following Jesus longer than Paul, all of the the Christians end up going on his side of the line:
13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
Paul's iintention is not to defame Cephas, it was to lovingly prove to him the error of his ways, and invite him back over to the side that looks a lot more like Jesus!
“You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
When you add to the Gospel, you aren’t making people more holy, you are taking the power AWAY from the Gospel. The very power of the Gospel is that Christ died for me, and my old self has died with Him.
If righteousness could be gained through: religious tradition, jumping through hoops, or faking perfection… then Christ died for nothing!
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