Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Freedom #12: Bewitched

As we continue our study of Galatians we come to chapter 3.  In the first two chapters we saw Paul defending his apostleship before his gentile converts in the churches of the region of Galatia.  Judaizers had been attempting to corrupt them by teaching them that faith in Christ was not enough; that if they wanted to be true Christians, they had to observe the Jewish ceremonial system, including circumcision and the observance of the Sabbath and other Jewish holy days.  The Judaizers approach was to discredit the Apostle Paul by teaching the people that Paul was not a true apostle. So Paul defends his apostleship in those first two chapters.

  

Now in chapters 3 and 4  Paul defends his message of salvation by grace plus nothing. He starts out in chapter 3 by reminding the Galatian converts that they had experienced the joy of salvation by grace alone and he asks them what on earth is going on in their minds that they should embrace legalism when they had already been saved by God’s grace.

  

Paul is speaking with a mixture of anger, disappointment and amazement; as in deep love for his converts,  he attempts to bring them to their senses. 

  

Do you know why people are led away from the truth into false doctrines? They don’t think. They tend to follow their whims and their feelings.  They fail to test what they hear by the standard of God’s Word.   They are drawn away from the truth by their emotions.  Listen to the warnings of Scripture.  In Ephesians 4:11-14 we learn that the role of the pastor is to feed his flock God’s Word, strengthening them from the subtle assaults of Satan. Verse 14 says, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning  craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”    Verses 22 and 23 warn us to turn from lust and uncleanness and “be renewed in the spirit of our minds.”

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul urges believers to present their bodies to God and be not conformed to the world’s thinking, but to be so saturated in the Scriptures that  it affects our thinking, enabling us to prove to ourselves “what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” 

Christianity is an intellectual apprehension of Biblical truth.  Emotion is given as a by-product as we grasp the truth of our personal, intimate relationship with Christ and with the family of God.

In Galatians 3:1  he reminds his hearers that they had experienced the reality of salvation as they listened to Paul preach the historical, life-changing facts of the  crucifixion of Christ to them.  They understood that Jesus had died to save them from the penalty of power of sin in their lives.  That life-changing event of the first century still affects us today in this 21st century.  His blood shed on the cross continues to cleanse us from sin,  according to I John 1:7.   We are identified with Christ today in His crucifixion and resurrection, according to Galatians 2:20.

In Galatians 3:2 Paul continues to deal with our experience of the reality of salvation as we consider the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  When we put our trust in Christ who died for our sins, God sent His Holy Spirit to live in our hearts.  According to Ephesians 1:13-14  the Spirit of God sealed us, marking us as God’s possession and assuring us that we belonged to God and that He was going to see us through life all the way to Heaven.  In fact, Romans 8:9 teaches us that if we do not have the Spirit of God living in us, we are not  Christians.

In Galatians 3:3 Paul asks us to consider a foolish thought.   If the Holy Spirit now lives in our hearts, perfecting us and seeing us through all the way to Heaven, are we not stupid to think that what God is doing, we can further perfect through our fleshly efforts?

Do you remember that in Romans 7:18 Paul says that in our flesh nature is no good thing?  If that’s the case, and it is; why do we think that we can perfect our salvation through fleshly efforts?

Certainly good works are related to salvation.  Ephesians 2:8-10  and James 2:14 make that clear.  But good works are not the cause of our salvation; rather they are the results, the fruit of our salvation.

Next time you are approached by a well meaning, but confused Christians who asks you, “Wouldn’t you like to have more of God? Wouldn’t you like to have a deeper experience with Him?”   you can answer,  “No, I have Jesus and Colossians 2:8-10 tells me that “I am complete in Him.”   

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August 31, 2007 - Posted by | Freedom

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