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When life hurts, don’t make this foolish choice!⇦Tweet that!
Her life was a mess and Judy and I were trying to help her. It seemed she was on the precipice of a deeper understanding of the gospel, a closer walk with Jesus, and the healing only He can bring.
And then, someone gave her a book that promised blessing and healing if you would just “get your Christian life right.”
She was hooked and the teaching reeled her into the false hope that there’s another way outside of trusting Jesus and those who love you with the pain and disappointments of life.
It’s a lie that has been hooking Christians since the beginning, and it’s the lie Galatians 3:1-5 exposes and argues against.
The point of today’s podcast and notes is clear: Don’t be a fool! Only the power of the Spirit you received when you believed can rescue you.⇦Tweet that!
The Fool’s Choice
Only a fool who has been bewitched by legalism would abandon what always works—deliverance from the penalty and power of sin by faith in Christ, to embrace what never works—righteousness by works of the flesh (Galatians 3:1-5).
In an emotional appeal, Paul asks the foolish Galatians who bewitched them to stop obeying the truth of the Gospel of Christ—that we are declared righteous and live righteous lives by faith in Christ—the same Gospel he clearly preached to them (3:1).
And then, in a series of rhetorical questions, Paul exposes the folly of mixing law and grace by reminding his readers of their own experience of deliverance from the penalty and power of sin by faith alone. Each question assumes a “yes-to-grace” answer (2-5).
- How did your Christian life begin? Did you receive the Spirit (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13) when you heard and believed the Gospel of Christ, or was it by works of the law? (2)
- Are you foolish enough to actually abandon the Spirit’s work in your life up to now and start trying to move toward maturity through self-effort? (Later in Galatians 5, Paul will contrast walking in the Spirit with walking in the flesh.)
- Have you experienced all of this new life in Christ (including even suffering for Him) for nothing? I can’t believe it was all for nothing (so that you now are turning back to works-righteousness).
- Did you receive the bountiful, miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit by the works of the law or by believing the Gospel of Christ?
The Fool’s Vulnerability
My 30-plus years of pastoral ministry have taught me to warn believers that we will be vulnerable to these lies telling us to “just get your life right and then God will bless you” teachings. Beware of these times when the works-righteousness crowd will tempt you to abandon trusting God and His people who love you with your life:
- When you’re disappointed in God’s plan, and you begin to wonder if you could manipulate God into a better plan by performing better.
- When you’re dissatisfied with God’s provision, and you begin to wonder if you could get Him to provide for you a little better if you just performed a little better.
- When life hurts, and you just want the pain to stop. The false teachers will tell you that you can get rid of the pain by performing better for God.
It’s not about getting life “right,” it’s about trusting Jesus.⇦Tweet that!
As you listen, please keep in mind this conversation has the potential to protect you from the disappointments that cause many Christians to lose all hope.
Question: Can you remember a time when the “get your life right and everything will be okay” crowd turned your eyes from Jesus and His grace to your performance?