This week, Pastor Chris continued in our series through the book of Galatians. In Galatians, the apostle Paul was preaching to a group of Christians believing in a man-made, works-based gospel. Paul continued to preach the simple, transformative truth that salvation only comes through the free gift of grace. There is a difference between a Biblical relationship with Jesus and the man-made religions of the world. We don’t need to strive to prove or save ourselves, we simply need to open our hearts to receive the free gift of grace and salvation in Christ Jesus.
New Creations in Christ
Galatians 1:11–12 (ESV)
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
- Permeated with works righteousness
- Born of man’s pride
- Infused with Satan’s deception
- Informed by tradition
- Interpretated humanly
- Permeated with grace
- Born of the Lord’s love
- Infused with God’s truth
- Informed by Bible
- Interpretated Biblically
Romans 1:16 (ESV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
2 Corinthians 5:17–20 (ESV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Acts 9:4–6 (ESV)
4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
- Are you a new creation in Christ?
Grace or Legalism?
Galatians 1:13 (ESV)
13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.
Acts 8:3 (NLT)
3 But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.
- Legalism: the list of to-do’s for God instead of a relationship with God.
- Legalism loves external obedience at the expense of internal relationship.
- Legalism adds its own rules to God’s law and treats them as divine.
Mark 7:8–9 (ESV)
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
- Is your life marked more by grace or legalism?
Tradition or Relationship?
Galatians 1:14 (ESV)
14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.
- Do you have a relationship or tradition with Jesus?
Called and Qualified by Grace
Galatians 1:15–16 (ESV)
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;
Galatians 1:17–21 (ESV)
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
- When God calls you, He qualifies you.
This World Needs the Good News
Galatians 1:22–24 (ESV)
22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.
Luke 2:10 (NLT)
10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
1. What are the main differences between human religions and the gospel of Jesus?
2. How would you describe yourself before the Lord made you into a new creation?
3. Pastor Chris said, “legalism is living by the letter of the law without the spirit of the law.” What does this look like practically?
4. Look at Galatians 1:15-16. What does Paul say is the reason Christ saved us?
5. When people look at your life, do they recognize that God has changed you?
1. Is your life more marked by grace or legalism? If your answer was legalism, ask the Lord to do a work in your heart this week, softening you to the reality of grace.
2. Do you struggle with striving to prove yourself in order to be saved? Get prayer from a friend this week who can intercede on your behalf, breaking off any religious forms and replacing them with grace and truth.