God is not mad at you.
(Galatians 2:20-21) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
There is nothing you can do to make God love you more, and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you less. Your privilege to be righteous has been bought by the blood of Jesus. Don’t live under condemnation and accusation anymore.
Reject the lie that God is angry with you. And I am not enforcing the humanist denial of the problem of sin. [That deserves an entire series on that, just realize that you are “evil” that knows how to do good things (Luke 11:13) If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children..”
But now remind yourself that you were forgiven, receive peace of God and stop walking in condemnation.
Because of the finished work of Jesus, God’s wrath can no longer be upon us. All the wrath of God because of sin fell on the Lord Jesus on the cross. If all the wrath came on Jesus, then God cannot be angry with us. Today the Lord takes complete pleasure in us because of Jesus.
We have already been forgiven of all sin and all iniquity. Many confuse introspection with the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin.
We received the righteousness of God as a gift. The word “gift” means exactly that, a gift. It is not a stage of spiritual growth but a position that has been given to us by grace. Or you are righteous, or you are not. It is a binary principle. Righteous or guilty. There is no progression or growing experience.
(2 Corinthians 5:21) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Every time God looks at us, He sees Jesus. Just as He looked at the cross and saw, in Him, all the sinners, now He looks at the redeemed sinner and sees His Son. It was our sin and curse in His Son on the cross. Sin was judged, and God’s righteousness was satisfied so that this same righteousness could be transferred to everyone who believes.
Do not nullify the grace.
(Galatians 2:21) I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Anyone who claims that can be justified by the works of the law, by his good behavior, is nullifying the grace of God.
If I can save myself by my own works, then I don’t need a savior. To claim that is the same as saying that Christ did not have to come and die in my place. If we can save ourselves, then God’s grace and Christ’s death were completely useless.
Grace is an experience.
Now the gospel is not a mere doctrine or some intricate religious belief. We must discern the work of the Holy Spirit in our own experience. That is what Paul appeals to the Galatians in order to bring them back to their sense.
In the next chapters, we will deal with these appeals, or proofs that are clear evidence that the message of grace, the justification by grace through faith in Jesus, is the only way for salvation and victorious life. A summary is provided:
There are six arguments for grace as the only way to live a righteous life:
1. Our Experience (Galatians 3:1-5)
2. The Scriptures (Galatians 3:6-14)
3. God’s Promise (Galatians 3:15-18)
4. The powerlessness of the Law (Galatians 3:19-22) 5. The power of faith (Galatians 3:23-29).
6. Our inheritance in Christ (Galatians 4:1-7).
Grace is a powerful experience
(Galatians 3:1-3)1 O foolish Galatians!
Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Foolish and bewitched
That is the hardest exhortation Paul ever wrote in one of his letters. Foolish: not understanding, unwise.
He calls the Galatians to reason their experience and
consider that they might be under a demonic
Bewitched: baskainō, to charm, to bewitch.
Paul is saying: “Don’t you realize that you are under an attack from the devil?”
The devil’s persistent work is to keep people blind to the wonderful grace of Jesus.
(2 Corinthians 4.4) In their case the god of this world has blinded the
minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel [ verse 1. …It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified…] of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Demons try to create difficulty for the revelation of God’s grace. The message itself seems so simple, but how difficult it is to really let that truth set us free. There is a fascination, a kind of spell that draws us back to the merit-based relationship with God.
This is the reason why Paul always prays the same prayer in all his epistles. He always prays for revelation.
(Ephesians 1:16-18) I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious
inheritance in the saints
The devil tries to keep the believer from moving forward by keeping us bound to the works of the law. How does he do that? With our foolishness.
Like the Phillips Bible version says, “O you dear idiots of Galatia…” or Amplified Version, “O you foolish and thoughtless and superficial Galatians…”
So Paul has to use some strong arguments to bring them back into grace and maybe, bring some of us for the first time to the grace of God.
It is not a matter of doctrine. It is about an experience.
What is your story? I remember asking that to a Jehovah Witness one day. He was trying to bring one member of my church when I got in the house at the same time. We had a small discussion about some Bible verses when I asked him, “But, what is your story?” He said how the Jehovah Witness religion seemed so organized and correct in its regulations. But I insisted, “What is your experience with God? Tell me your story with Him.” He did not have it. He
had an association with religion. He never said he enjoyed a relationship with God.
What is your testimony? What is your story with grace?
The gospel message is not merely doctrinal. It is not teaching. It is a spiritual and real experience.
In this message, the sinner realizes that he cannot be justified before God because of his good works but only because of the work of Christ. It is not a matter of what man can do for God, but what Christ has done for man.
It is not a piece of good advice. Nor is it a set of rules for men to practice. It is the declaration of what God has already done. It is not a demand but a gift.
The Galatians had received this gospel, but now they were adding good works to the work of Christ as a base to be righteous before God. They knew from experience that they could only enjoy God’s blessing through his grace.
Works of the law versus faith
(Galatians 3:2) … Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law OR by hearing with faith?
Life under the law, under the merit-base, the bargain principle versus life by faith, by the unmerited favor of God, by the finished work of Jesus.
They are two mutually exclusive propositions of life. If we live by the law, we nullify grace; if we live by grace, we are no longer under the law.
The law demands human works; the gospel demands faith in the work of Christ. The law makes demands; the gospel makes promises. The law demands obedience; grace challenges us to believe.
The problem of the principle of the
As the foundation for your relationship with God, the law or self-righteousness will not require faith. But if you wish to live by grace, you must trust, or believe, the work of Jesus.
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever
would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Faith is the basis for the relationship with God.
Someone might say, “I need to understand before I believe.” I will say, “How can a finite being grasp all greatness of the infinite gracious being.” The very understanding comes as a result of our faith in Him.
Remember that I said you would need to remember the work of the Holy Spirit in you? That is what Paul asks the Galatians to do.
Caution here. We should never establish a doctrine based on our experience, but every genuine spiritual experience should sustain the truth of the gospel.
No one has ever received a miracle from God because of good works and good behavior. Our experience with God is proof that the gospel is true. You had experienced salvation by grace, and you know that. It might be hard to understand or explain it, but that is your experience, and that is a fact.
Paul reminds the Galatians that only because they believed in the gospel, they were saved, and because of this, they could receive the Spirit. There was no external requirement on the time of salvation, and there was no requirement when they received the Holy Spirit. [We believe that Paul is making reference to the experience of being filled with the Spirit through the perceivable sign of speaking in tongues. Consider Acts 10]. It was such a remarkable experience that Paul appeals their memory on that moment.
.If you go to heaven, heaven can come to you.
Are you sure you are going to heaven? How do you know it? Your conviction must be based upon the grace of God. And that grace is what also allows heaven to come to you today, in the form of the filling of the Spirit, or a miracle.
The gospel is a person, and to believe the gospel is to receive that person into yourself. The gospel is not a doctrine we embrace but a person we receive. That is the great difference between grace and the law. The law was given, but grace came.
(John 1:17) For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came
through Jesus Christ.
The gospel message makes Christianity unique. It set the world apart in only two kinds of religion, so to speak. Those based on human achievement and the one based on divine accomplishment. A group says you can earn your way to heaven, but one says you must trust in Jesus Christ alone.
In Christ, we experience the greatest expression of God’s grace: Himself comes to dwell within us. We were united with Him in one spirit. Heaven came to us.
If we would walk in the law of self-righteousness and self-merit, then the Spirit could never have come upon us. Who can say it is perfect enough to have God inside of him? But the only condition to receive from God is to believe in His grace. No one will ever receive the Spirit because of his good works and good behavior. He is given to us by grace.
God is leading us to a new measure of faith, experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit like we never experienced yet. Miracles, signs and wonders. The only way for that breakthrough is faith. Simply, profound, grace-founded faith.
Keep it simple
(Galatians 3:3) Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
The Galatians were not completely turning to the law. They mixed grace with the law. That happens today as well. There are Christians who believe they are saved by grace, but after that, they think you must sanctify yourself by the law of self-effort and merit. They say that salvation is by grace, but all other blessings from God depend on our worthiness. “You have to earn it!” they say.
However, both justification and sanctification come exclusively by grace through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus.
Turn your eyes out of yourself and put them on Christ Jesus alone. When your confidence is in God’s undeserved favor and not in your performance, you will have faith to overcome all sin.
The problem is that many believe that the law has some power to make Christians overcome sin. In fact,
whenever we talk about grace, they are afraid that it will lead others to sin, but this is absurd.
(1 Corinthians 15:56). The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
The more you try to keep the law and not sin, the more you sin.
So here three principles to overcome sin with grace.
.Grace and victory over sin.
1.Consider the work of the Holy Spirit in you.
Just because you desire to overcome sin in your life, that is one of many proofs that you are born again. That indicates that your new nature is incompatible with that old sinful behavior. That is one of the works of the Holy Spirit.
After that, he empowers us into righteousness. He leads us in victory by convincing us of our righteousness in Christ. Today we no longer need to be convinced of sin because we have already been convinced of sin when we were saved.
(John 16:8-11) And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Today the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of righteousness. That is the revelation we need. When the Spirit operates, He convinces us that we are God’s righteousness in Christ even when we fail. He convinces us that we have already been forgiven.
You don’t need to develop more consciousness of sin. Yield to the work of the Holy Spirit that leads you into the conscience of righteousness. God sees the righteousness of Christ.
Meditate on the tremendous gift of righteousness you have received. Stop searching yourself for sin and start perceiving the presence of the Holy Spirit in you.
Grace and victory over sin.
2.Consider the love of Christ for you.
There is a great danger in introspection. Analyzing and scrutinizing yourself all the time will lead you to a pit of misery and defeat. That is not zeal and holiness. That might actually be your flesh trying to excuse itself without depending on the blood of Jesus.
Living under condemnation and guilt does not free anyone from sin, on the contrary. The law only incites the flesh to be more conscious of sin. And when you feel condemned, you end up sinning even more.
The key is to be aware of His love. The more we feel loved, the more we turn away from sin and seek to please God. It is a fact of life that children who feel loved will be more obedient than children who do not feel loved.
(Luke 7:47) Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Be like apostle John, call yourself the “the disciple whom Jesus loved”(Jn 19:26; 20:2, 21:7; 21:20). “Peter can be the rock, but I want to be reminded as the disciple that Jesus loved.”
Grace reveals Jesus’ love for us. Victory is given to us and not obtained by our own effort. If I conquered sin by my strength, I would have something to boast before God, but if everything is through Him, He will have all the glory.
Grace and victory over sin.
3. Consider temptation only as temptation.
Jesus was tempted. The temptation is not a sin. You don’t need to give in because you felt tempted.
(Hebrews 4:15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
The moment you are tempted, you receive a fresh dose of God’s forgiveness and grace. I say that
because some of you are trapped in condemnation before even falling into sin. Just see yourself as righteous in Christ, and this will give you the power to rise above the temptation.
Our faith is our weapon. Because even when you sin, if you believe right, you will be brought back in line with your belief.
Victory over sin comes when people experience God’s superabundant grace. Having started by the Spirit, it is ridiculous to try to perfect yourself by the flesh.
How to overcome sin then? Paul insists, “By grace though faith in Christ”. The way we came to Christ, we also walk in victory. By faith.