If We are Christ’s

Galatians 3:23-29 ESV

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

The subject of law and grace can be a confusing subject for those of us who were born into this world after Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Thus, many people distort this to make it say that we no longer have to obey our Lord’s commandments, and that we don’t have to do what God says, as though God’s grace now frees us to do whatever we want.

So, we need to read this in the context of the whole of the book of Galatians, and in the context of the whole of the gospel message as taught throughout the New Testament. And, then we should have a better understanding of what this is saying and why it is being said the way that it is.

For, at the very beginning of this book of Galatians we read that Jesus Christ “gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (chap. 1, vv. 4-5).

So, if we are delivered from this present evil age, then we are delivered out of our slavery to sin, not given permission to indulge in sin as much as we want now that we are no longer under the guardian of the law. And, if this is according to the will of God, and for his glory and praise, then it is not carte blanche to do whatever we want now that we are no longer under the law, but under grace. For, it is God’s will that we should walk in holiness, purity, righteousness, godliness, uprightness, and in integrity, etc.

Next, in Galatians 1, we read what this letter is really all about. The people were deserting Jesus Christ and they were turning to “another gospel” other than the one they had been taught by the apostles. They were being led astray by those who were distorting the gospel message, and who were teaching a gospel contrary to the one taught by the apostles, which was a gospel of man (of human origin), not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of Christ

So, what is the gospel of Jesus Christ that the apostles taught? It was Jesus Christ crucified, risen from the dead, ascended to the Father in heaven, and coming again one day to judge the world and to take his own to be with him forever.

It was that Jesus died on that cross that we who believe on him might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. It was that Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. It was that he died on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God and that we might become God’s possession, and that he might be our Lord (owner-master), and that our lives should no longer be our own to be lived how we want but that they are to be lived for his glory and praise (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Co. 6:20).

It was that faith in Jesus Christ is of God, and it is divinely persuaded, and thus it submits to the Lordship of Christ and it walks in holiness, purity, etc. And, it was that faith in Jesus Christ means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin in order that we might live with Christ to his righteousness, for in Christ Jesus we were created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 2:10; Jn. 6:44; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

It is that Jesus died in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. And, it is that we who walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God have eternal life with God, and that those who walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh do not have eternal life with God, but will die in their sins (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

The gospel that the apostles taught, too, says that we must walk in obedience to our Lord and to his commandments if we want to be in relationship with God (with Jesus), be saved from our sins, and to have eternal life with God (Jn. 8:51; Jn. 14:23-24; Rom. 6:16; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 3:24; 1 Jn. 5:3; 2 Jn. 1:6; Jas. 1:21-25).

Law and Faith

So, what is the real concern here? It is that people were deserting the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the apostles and they were being led astray to a man-made gospel. And, in this case the man-made gospel was teaching the people that they still had to follow some of the Old Covenant rules and regulations regarding cleanliness and some of the Old Covenant rituals and customs and celebrations, too, and that they had to be physically circumcised (the males) as was required under the Old Covenant.

All of these were externals. For, people could do all of these things and never have a heart change towards God at all, which God often chided the children of Israel about in the Old Testament, and which Jesus often chided the Pharisees and teachers of the Law about, too. For, they would do the externals, but their hearts were far from God. They looked good on the outside, but they were filthy on the inside. So, God was not interested in their externals. What he wanted was for them to be circumcised of the heart. And, that is what many of them refused to do.

So, this is not saying that faith in Jesus Christ means we no longer have to obey God or do what he says. To the contrary! It is that we are not saved by merely keeping a bunch of rules while our hearts are still not given over to the Lord. Externals don’t save us. We can be religious people, and go to church gatherings, and be involved in ministry within the church, and tithe, and do good deeds, etc., but none of that will save us from our sins.

Only by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ can any of us be saved from our sins. But, that faith means we die with Christ to sin, and we deny self, and daily we take up our cross and follow (obey) Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ means we are no longer our own boss, to do what we want with our lives, but now our lives are given over to Jesus to be lived for his glory and praise. We are now his possession. And, he is now our owner-master.

So, don’t be caught up in the lie that says that faith in Jesus Christ means we don’t have to turn away from our sins and that we don’t have to obey our Lord. For, faith in Jesus, which is God-given, gives our all to Jesus to be lived for his purposes, and for his glory and praise, our all on the altar of sacrifice laid, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but now transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God (Rom. 12:1-2).

I Will Lift My Eyes

An Original Work / December 12, 2012
Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

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