(Special thanks to Jay Guinn for his work on “Scary lessons of Galatians”. This lesson is largely from his study. Thanks Jay.) (Not all of this is Jay’s material… I have added quite a bit of my own thoughts. jhejr.)
a.) We studied Romans 14-16 ‘Backwards’, and noted that Paul wanted us to
“mark” (watch out for) certain ones who were DIVISIVE, acting contrary to
Paul’s teaching on GRACE and UNITY.
b.) Paul called the two ‘issues’ – “disputable matters” Rom. 14:1 (“disputes over
opinions” RSV)(“passing judgment on their scruples” TCNT).
i.) Eating meats
ii.) Holy days
c.) Paul’s judgment on these things are found in phrases like “accept him”,
“must not look down”, “must not condemn”, “each should be fully convinced…”,
“not put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way”, EVEN IF YOU
d.) Key verse: Romans 14:17 Paul’s focus = UNITY, PEACE, MUTUAL EDIFACATION.
e.) Galatians = much different
1. The Galatian problem
A. Galatians 4:9-11 “But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how
is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish
to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and
months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted
my efforts on you.”
1.) What is the difference bet. Romans and Galatians
a.) Romans (Paul is indifferent) Galatians (Paul is not indifferent!)
I.) Romans = a matter of the weak and strong brother and personal
preferences. Galatians is about adding to the Gospel of Christ certain
requirements not commanded by Paul.. (Gospel plus…..)
B. Paul’s explanation
1.) Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and
do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2.) Remember Israel wanted to RETURN AGAIN TO SLAVERY IN EGYPT
instead of PROMISED LAND.
3.) Galatians = preferring the familiarity of LAW (do’s and dont’s) instead of the
challenges and responsibilities of being free!
4.) Galatians 5:4 “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been
alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”
5.) PROBLEM: Galatians didn’t just want to CELEBRATE holy days…
They wanted to be JUSTIFIED by keeping their holy days.
C. “Justified” = “declared righteous” – Legal term – “acquittal” – a finding of not guilty/
a DECLARATION of God’s forgiveness.).
1.) This is a one time for all time action which takes place when a person is born
again of water and Spirit (John 3; Acts 2:38-39). By the way, a Christian
doesn’t need to re-justified (re-born) every time he sins.
2.) “Justification removes the guilt of sin and restores the sinner to fellowship with
God.” (“Grace in which we stand” Eldred Echols, Pg. 51).
3.) “Sanctification removes the effects of sin (moral corruption, spiritual pollution)
moves the Christian increasingly toward identifying with the image of
Christ” (Eldred Echols). Thus sanctification is what we grow in. Set apart for
“good works which He before prepared for us”.
4.) Now these Galatian Christians are being told, that they must show their
salvation by OBEDIENCE and CONFORMITY to certain ‘boundary markers’ or
fellowship. (Ie If you don’t see things this way or that and do this or that, I
have no fellowship with you.)
5.) “I can’t find any difference between this idea of essential boundary markers
and “marks of the church” or “tests of fellowship” that are added to the Gospel
today. (Dad listed 95 issues over which the church has argued over, been
disturbed by). It’s the exact same approach to Christianity. And Paul
declares that insisting on any boundary marker other than faith in
Jesus causes one to fall from grace.” Galatians 5.
6.) One coin – TWO SIDES or just TWO COINS.
a.) If you treat HOLY DAYS (or something else) AS INDIFFERENT/
TAKE IT/LEAVE IT… THEN IT IS! If you treat those who honor holy days as
brothers and those who don’t as brothers, then you will stand, because
God will make you stand.
b.) If you treat HOLY DAYS (or something else) AS A MARK OF THE
CHURCH THUS added to the Gospel THEN the blood of Christ is NOT
SUFFICIENT to save from the “sin” of NOT OBSERVING HOLY DAYS…
THEN YOU HAVE bound yourself to live perfectly and keep the entire law
c.) Which of these two points (above) best describes the church today? What is
the only ‘boundary mark’ that Paul mentions to the Galatians?
D. “Faith in Jesus” includes acknowledging “Lordship of Jesus” – Within this..
some kept special days “unto the Lord”, and some did not. God honors both.
Whenever a Christian refuses to work on Sunday (considering it a “Christian
Sabbath”, God accepts the worship. He does not accept behavior that violates
Galatians 5:13-14, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But
do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another
humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
a.) Principle for Christians: (Holy Days, like so many other things) are neither
loving nor unloving. They are indeed ‘indifferent’. But if we separate from our
brothers by declaring the ‘indifferent’ a mark of the church, then that is very
unloving — and may well separate us from God’s grace.
b.) Galatians 5:15 “IF YOU KEEP ON BITING AND DEVOURING EACH
OTHER, WATCH OUT OR YOU WILL BE DEVOURED BY EACH OTHER.”
Grace is truly amazing, along with our freedom in Christ. It demands that we all THINK FOR OURSELVES. We have a challenge with this because we don’t really study as much as we need to, and apply scriptures and principles to our lives as we should.
Always remember, WE HAVE BEEN FREED IN CHRIST, BECAUSE OF CHRIST, THROUGH CHRIST, FOR THE PURPOSE OF BEING FREE! Take your freedom seriously (Gal. 5:1), guard your freedom courageously (Gal. 5:2-12) and use your freedom lovingly (Gal. 5:12-13).
The idea that Tithing, Circumcision, Rules on worship styles, can be bound as law, and become lines of fellowship is wrong. Prefering to tithe on your own, is fine, but it is not necessary for salvation…. never will be. It’s the same circumcision and styles of worship etc… The Gospel is simple, and marvelous… “faith working through love” solves many problems. The division and strife among brethren, would be solved quickly with more understanding of grace and freedom in Christ… Fellowship of conscience is one thing and seems ok, but dividing the church over matters of opinion and drawing ‘lines’ is another.
Grow in Grace brethren…