Community Bible Chapel Podcast
7/21/19 Gospel of Grace –A Superior Promise – Gal. 3:15-
Let’s take a poll this morning.
-Would you rather go through each day knowing that God loves you
or would you rather go through each day having to earn God’s love for you?
-Where we would all rather go through life knowing that God loves us, we are all prone to live in the practice of our lives as if we have to earn it.
-Or worse than that, we put that on others and preach that they need to clean up their lives before they can become part of God’s family.
-We tell people that if they just stopped arguing their family would be better.
-We give advice that if they just went to church more often, their lives would be better.
-As if arguing less or going to church more is going to change their heart.
-But it’s not, they need the Gospel of grace – that’s where the heart changes and that is where life is fulfilled.
-That is the difference between living by faith and living by the Law.
-Living by faith means living in the love of God being so overwhelmed by the fact that God loves us, that our hearts are transformed and our lives are changed.
Today, we are going to continue our study of the book of Galatians.
-Paul has been defending the Gospel of Grace with the legalists in the church and in many ways, that speaks to how God’s love changes us.
I invite you to join me in Galatians 3. Page 824, youversion.
Gal. 1 He learned the Gospel directly from Jesus and not from the Jerusalem Apostles.
Gal 2 The Jerusalem Apostles endorsed his Gospel of Grace.
-The rest of 2, Paul is using the truth of the Gospel to stand in opposition to the failure of Peter to live out the truth of the Gospel.
-Gal 3 started with Paul helping us see that we received the Holy Spirit through faith, not by observing the Law.
READ Gal. 3:15-29
-In his defense of the Gospel of grace, Paul continues to answer their questions.
-In chapter 3, he used OT examples of Abraham.
-The Jewish legalists would have understood that Abraham came before Moses and the Law, and countered that the Law (Moses) came as the completion of God’s promise (Abraham).
-The legalists would have certainly asked him:
“If salvation is by faith, then why did God give us the Law at all?”
-You and I live in a day of license and I get asked this same question all the time.
-Most people in our culture want to know what kind of God gives us a law that He knows we can’t keep?
-In the process of answering that question, Paul speaks to the Superior nature of the Promise of salvation by grace through faith and the deficiency of salvation by keeping the Law.
Superiority of the Promise v. 15-18
-These verses help us to logically defend the Gospel.
Superior because it is unchangeable
-The term Paul uses speaks of a binding agreement similar to a contract today.
-Ordinarily in a covenant, there are responsibilities for both parties.
-In ancient days, the two parties would make an agreement and seal it with a ceremony.
-Gen. 15 lays that all out for us.
-They would sacrifice animals, split them in two equal parts and place them opposite one another.
-Both parties would have “skin in the game”.
-Then the two parties would walk between the sacrifice as a promise that they would hold to the covenant.
-But in Gen. 15, Abraham doesn’t make any promise, only God makes a promise.
-The obligation to hold to this covenant is on God alone.
-And he argues from the logic that we all know – since Abraham and God are listed on the covenant, a third party (Moses) can’t show up and change or add to the binding nature of the covenant.
Superior because it is fulfilled v. 16-17
-Paul speaks to the promise given to Abraham and his “seed”, that is Christ.
-And when Jesus shows up, He doesn’t change the original promise at all.
-From the time of Adam’s sin, salvation has always been by faith alone.
-The key to understanding the Bible and our salvation is written to us in Genesis 15:6
“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
-Righteousness is what is necessary to be accepted by God and self-righteousness is impossible for us because we all sin. (covered that last week)
-Our righteousness can only come to us by faith in Jesus, who paid for our sin and gives us his righteousness – fulfilling the promise.
-Paul states that the Law given to Moses in no way changed the promise given to Abraham and fulfilled in Christ.
Superior because it rests on God v. 18
-Paul argues that the promise is superior because it doesn’t rest on our ability to keep it, but on God’s.-I say all the time that if my salvation or sanctification depended on my ability to bring about, I would surely mess it up.
-So, God didn’t leave it up to us to earn either one – but through His power we are made new in Christ.
-Where I cannot keep all the Law to be righteous, God cannot fail in keeping His promise.
-So, our faith is in God rather than ourselves.
-Living by the Spirit (as we will see in chapter 5) is the only way we can grow into the son or daughter of the King.
“He who began a good work in you, will complete it on the day of Jesus Christ.”
-That is our hope and that is why we live by faith in the promise rather than by keeping the Law.
Now, after showing the superior nature of the Law, he also argues the inferiority of the Law.
Inferiority of the Law
Inferior to fix sin v. 19
-Paul answers the logical question that the legalists would have asked:
“If the promise was so great, then why did God give us the Law?”
-They would have held that the Law makes us righteous.
-But Paul argues that the Law was added to reveal the depth of our rebellion against God and that it cannot fix our sin problem.
-That on our own, we can’t earn our way to God’s acceptance.
-The Law doesn’t make us sinners – it simply reveals that we are sinners.
-One result of the Law is that we understand that we don’t just do bad things that are wrong in a secular way, but that we rebel against our Creator and are in desperate need of forgiveness for sin.
-And that rebellion has spiritual and eternal ramifications.
-The Law does nothing to solve our sin problem.
Inferior because it is temporary v. 19
-The promise is eternal, but the Law only came about in history through Moses and faded away when Jesus came.
-Once Jesus died and rose again, the righteous demands of the Law are met in us through the Spirit of God.
-Keeping the temporary demands of the Law would not help us meet the perfection of a permanent faith in God’s Savior.
Inferior because a mediator was needed v. 20
-A mediator represents both parties of the agreement.-Thus, the Law is inferior because it needs a mediator between two parties.
-On the mountain, Moses was instructed to keep the people away.
-There was lightning and thunder and the glory of the LORD.
-But even with all that, the people quickly turned away – gold cows.
-That alone should have moved Israel to faith – but didn’t.
-That is so unlike the promise given to Abraham.
-It was face to face – friend to friend.
-A mediator was not needed because it was God alone who was making the covenant promise.
-That makes the Law inferior to the promise.
Now, as we follow the logic here, the next question that would have come up would have been: If the promise was so much greater, then why did God give both?
Why did God give both? V. 21-24
-Logically, God can’t contradict himself and to give two opposite ways to salvation would be contradictory.
-What was the purpose of giving the Law if it couldn’t bring salvation?
The Law can’t save v. 21-23
-Again, Paul continues with his logical argument.
-The Law can’t save us because we can’t obey it perfectly.
-The Scripture itself declares that we can’t keep the Law to earn our Salvation.
-On top of that our own experience tells us that we can’t keep the Law.
-So, if we are depending on the Law (meaning our own goodness) to be saved . . .
WE ARE DOOMED!
-Locked up in the deepest darkest dungeon awaiting judgment.-Thankfully, Scripture doesn’t leave us there.
-V. 24 brings the answer we have all been waiting for.
-Ladies and gentlemen – friends . . . . hear Paul – hear me . . .-The Law was given to lead us to the promise that through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our sin is forgiven and we are made righteous in Him.
-What an amazing God – He used the inferior Law to point us to our need for the superior promise that He has already provided.
-And that answers the question from the license ditch also.
-Why would God give us a Law we can’t keep?
-Because breaking the Law reveals our guilt and forces us to the promise that forgiveness of sin is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
-I don’t know about you, but to me, that shows me that God is a loving God.
-Not wanting me to perish but to come to Him in faith in His Son.
Living The Gospel of Grace
-If you have placed your faith in Jesus, then you have new clothes to put on.
-That should excite us all.
-In faith, we are stripped of the clothes of earning your salvation – self-righteouness.
-Those clothes are ineffective and defective to properly cover ourselves.
–The clothes we now wear are clothes of the King’s grace.
-We now have the ability to live like Jesus because we have been baptized into His life the moment we trusted in Him.
-The water baptism that we go through after we trust in Jesus is a visible testimony of what has happened in the Spirit.
-Baptism? First step of obedience not to earn, but because you are in Christ.
-When we trust in Jesus – our new clothes of grace cover us fully.
-They give us a totally new purpose, a new reason to get up in the morning.
-Rather than getting up to try again to earn God’s acceptance, we get to proclaim to the world that God has accepted us in His Son.
-We get to live in an intimate relationship with our Creator – our heavenly Father.
-Why would we ever go back and try to earn what He has already given and put those dirty rags of our efforts back on?
-But as children of God, we are led by the Spirit of God living inside us to live for God’s great glory.
-We now live out of God’s amazing love rather than trying to earn it.
-We now desire to have others learn about loving God.
-We now desire to live in the Spirit rather than our desires.
-That is an amazing journey that I pray you are on with me.
-The last take away from this passage that Paul gives us is that in the fulfillment of the promise, we are no longer divided, but unified in Christ.
-In the OT, the Law was given to Israel and it separated them from the world.
-In Christ, there are no longer National or human boundaries that separate believers from one another.
-That means that God is no longer standing with one nation or one denomination.
-Instead He stands with the people of His promise from around the World and from the church down the street.
-Christ has made all believers in Him – one in Him.
-We join with Paul in coming together as Jew and Gentile, slave or free, male or female, people of color or bland people, Baptists or Methodists, to live and worship God together in the Spirit.
-We will look more into what it means to be God’s child as we move into the last three chapters of Galatians.
-Living according to the Law is living in condemnation because we sin.
-But there is nothing more exciting than learning what it means to live by faith, because in living by faith, we get to live in the reality of the Joy of the Lord.