Sermons

Sun, Mar 11, 2018

Awkward Moments

Series: Set Free Text: Galatians 2 Speaker: Mike Osthimer View the sermon notes here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HJ52kalM9-_CbM_0bfs2zfKKpqwQT5V-LD9gqvT1ATk Join us! Service times are: Sun: 08:30 am / 10:30 am Wed: 07:00 pm What We Believe http://ccbakersfield.com/index.php/about-us/bible-readings Our weekly sermon podcasts can be found here: iTunes https://pcr.apple.com/id1137464790 Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/CCBakersfield/ or http://ccbakersfield.com/
Series:Set Free
Duration:56 mins 30 secs

Galatians 2 intro 

 

Galatians 2:11-13

 

No Return to the Law

11 Now when Peter  had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 

 

 

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to find Jesus as we study Your Word today, and by Your Holy Spirit show us individually how we can apply what we learn to live our lives proclaiming like the apostle Paul, the life that I live now each day I live by faith in Jesus who loved me and gave Himself for me! 

 

4 lessons along the way.

1. It takes faith to live free, and to live by faith takes courage 

2. Falling down is inevitable getting up is optional

3. Hypocrisy is contagious 

4. To pretend God hasn’t told you something when he has is to live a lie.

Galatians 2:1-21 

1  Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 

2  And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 

3  Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 

4  And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 

5  to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 

6  But from those who seemed to be something--whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man--for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 

7  But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 

8  (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 

9  and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 

10  They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do. 

11  Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 

12  for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 

13  And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 

14  But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 

15  We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 

16  knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. 

17  But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 

18  For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 

19  For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 

20  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which 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 set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." 


Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to find Jesus as we study Your Word today, and by Your Holy Spirit show us individually how we can apply what we learn to live our lives proclaiming like the apostle Paul, the life that I live now each day I live by faith in Jesus who loved me and gave Himself for me! 



(Verses: 1-2) 

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.


Because the church began at Jerusalem, and the apostles more or less made Jerusalem their headquarters, certain Christians felt that the church there was "the mother church."



Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem: In Galatians 1:18-19, Paul described a trip he made to Jerusalem three years after Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. Here he describes a second trip to Jerusalem, fourteen years later.


Remember Paul’s point from Galatians 1. He demonstrated that his gospel came by a revelation from Jesus and not from man, not even from the apostles in Jerusalem. Two visits to Jerusalem over 14 years demonstrated that Paul did not sit at the feet of the disciples of Jesus to learn the gospel.


With Barnabas, and also took Titus with me: Traveling with Paul to Jerusalem were both Barnabas, Paul’s best friend at this point and who was well respected among the leadership in Jerusalem according to Acts 4:36-37 and 11:22) and Titus (who was a Gentile convert who Paul enjoyed having him serve along side him. 


And I went up by revelation: The idea is that Paul went to Jerusalem by God’s prompting. No one called him to come; He went because God told him to go.


And communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles: This trip to Jerusalem is most likely the one mentioned in Acts 11:27-30, when Paul brought a gift from Christians in other cities to the Christians in Jerusalem who suffered under famine. When Paul was in Jerusalem at this time he assured the leaders there that he was obedient to God in his presentation of the gospel to the Gentiles.


At this time, there was a contention rising over the place of Gentiles in the church. God used Peter to welcome Gentiles into the church in Acts 10. But some Christians from a Jewish background said that Gentiles could indeed be saved, but only if they made themselves Jews first and brought themselves under the Law of Moses. 


Their idea was that salvation in Jesus was only for the Jewish people, and Gentiles had to become Jews before they could become Christians.


The believing Jews were struggling in believing that circumcision was not necessary for salvation. The false teachers fueled that belief so the leaders wanted to know what Paul taught. 


But privately to those who were of reputation: Paul knew he had the true gospel; but he didn’t know how everyone of reputation in Jerusalem would receive it. Perhaps some of the apostles themselves were wrong on this point, and needed to be corrected! But if there was any confrontation to be done, Paul did it privately to those who were of reputation. He did the best he could to not publicly embarrass those who were of reputation in Jerusalem.


Where the love of God is present so is His kindness


Paul was sensitive the Spirits leading and showed God’s love in that it would be easy to confront the error publicly. He knew that being right didn’t give you the privilege of being rude.



Lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain:  There was a danger in that the false teachers – if encouraged in some way by the leaders in Jerusalem – might undo Paul’s work in planting churches and raising disciples for Jesus, and therefore would make Paul’s work in vain.



(Verses: 3-5) .

Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.


Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: Paul’s point is that the leadership in Jerusalem accepted Titus (a Gentile convert) even though he was not circumcised in accord with the Mosaic Law. This shows that the Jerusalem leadership accepted the gospel of grace as Paul understood it.


“Of course, if any man was going to live a life in obedience to the law he must start by being circumcised.” (Morris)


“Paul did not condemn circumcision as if it were a sin to receive it. But he insisted, and the Jerusalem conference upheld him, that circumcision had no bearing upon salvation and was therefore not to be forced upon the Gentiles.” (Luther)


Its no little matter that Paul calls these men false brethren – a severe title. They did not think of themselves as false brethren. They thought they were the true brethren. But because they opposed and contradicted the gospel revealed to Paul by Jesus Christ Himself, they really were false brethren, according to Galatians 1:6-9.


Galatians 1:6-9 (NKJV) 

6  I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 

7  which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 

8  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 

9  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 


Paul realized that if the message of the gospel was compromised, it wasn’t just bondage for the Gentiles, but it was bondage for everyone who named the name of Jesus.


We did not yield submission even for an hour: In response, Paul remained steadfast. Some might react this way out of pride or just plain stubbornness. But Paul did it so that the truth of the gospel might continue with you (the Gentile Christians like those in Galatia).


Paul was deeply moved as he wrote and was not greatly concerned with the niceties of grammar.” 


3. (Verse: 6) 

But from those who seemed to be something; whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man; for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.


Though Paul had been independent of the other apostles, and had not been taught by them, yet the gospel they preached was exactly the same as his own. ( I get goose bumps when I read commentary from others who came to the same conclusion I do about a particular passage of scripture and we have never met or talked before)



But from those who seemed to be something: Paul knew there were leaders of high reputation – “famous” Christians. But they did not overly impress or intimidate Paul; whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man.


Those who seemed to be something added nothing to me: Even though Paul met with influential and famous Christians a few times, they did not give him the gospel he preached. The leaders in Jerusalem added nothing to the gospel Paul preached or to the apostolic authority he possessed.


Paul didn’t wait for someone else to make him a great Christian. He knew that it came down to a personal relationship between himself and Jesus. 



4. (Verses: 7-10) 

But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.


When they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me: The leaders of the Jerusalem church (James, the brother of Jesus; Cephas, also known as Peter, and John) accepted Paul and his ministry to the Gentiles, knowing that Paul did not require the Gentiles to come under the Mosaic Law to find favor with God.


The gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter: Paul’s main ministry was to Gentiles, and Peter’s main ministry was to Jews. These distinctions were not absolute; each did minister to the other groups.



The distinction between Peter and Paul’s ministry is interesting, especially because Roman Catholics claim that the Pope is the successor of Peter – but where through history has the Pope’s ministry been to the Jews? 


John Calvin made an interesting point about the distinction between Peter and Paul’s calling. 


But if Peter’s apostleship pertained peculiarly to the Jews, let the Catholic Church ask by what right they derive from Peter their succession to be the voice of God to the entire world. If the Pope of Rome claims his voice is more important than other religious leaders because he is Peter’s successor, he ought then to exercise it over the Jews as Peter didPaul is declared to be the chief apostle to the Gentiles; yet the Catholic Church denies that he was the bishop of Rome. Therefore, if the Pope is truly the successor to Peter, let him assemble Churches from among the Jews.



They desired only that we should remember the poor: The only caution from the leaders in Jerusalem was that Paul should remember the poor. In this case, these were probably the poor saints in Jerusalem, whom Gentile believers should not forget.


Where the love of Jesus is, the kindness of God is, as they go hand in hand. 


When Jesus saves your life, His love will fill your heart. 


Revival is breaking out as the Gospel is going out. 


Love God, Love People… it doesn’t get any harder than this… If it was easy everyone would be doing it. 


The love of God was evident in that Paul certainly did remember the poor in Jerusalem. He put a lot of effort towards gathering a contribution among the Gentile churches for the sake of the saints in Jerusalem.



(Verses: 11-13) The reason for Paul’s public rebuke of the apostle Peter.

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.


Now when Peter had come to Antioch: Peter approved of Paul’s gospel and ministry when Paul came to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9), and God used Peter himself to welcome Gentiles into Christianity without the precondition of becoming Jews (Acts 11:1-18).


Yet now, He withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision: 


Peters behavior changed when some guys from Jerusalem showed up and then Peter did exactly what the Pharisees do. He separated himself from the Gentiles.


Don’t forget the word...“Separated”


That’s what the name “Pharisee” means. Pharisees are “separate ones”


Peter was acting like a Pharisee.


And its for this reason the apostle Paul will confront Peter face to face. 


Though Peter was previously in agreement with welcoming Gentiles into the church without bringing them under the Law of Moses, when Peter came to Antioch (Paul’s home church), it was another story. He refused to associate with Gentile Christians once certain Jewish believers from Jerusalem came.


These men were Christians of Jewish background. Paul called them certain men . . . from James and those who were of the circumcision. Knowing their background, Peter knew they would be offended at his fellowship with Gentiles who had not come under the Law of Moses. In their eyes, these uncircumcised Gentiles were not really Christians at all. Therefore, to please them and to avoid a conflict, Peter treated these Gentile Christians as if they were not Christians at all.


Peter had known that God did not require Gentiles to come under the Law of Moses for salvation. He learned this from the vision God gave him in Acts 10:10-16. He learned this from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles who believed (apart from being circumcised) in Acts 10:44-48. He learned this by the agreement of the other leaders of the church in Acts 11:1-18. 


Peter fell to what we all must face from time to time, PEER PRESSURE. 


Did Peter forget that Jesus ate ‘with publicans and sinners’, which can scarcely mean that he conformed to strict Jewish practice.” (Morris)


Sadly, others would follow Peter’s lead. 


Paul says, “I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed: This shows how serious the matter was to Paul. He had a public confrontation with Peter over the issue (I said to Peter before them all, Galatians 2:14).


Peter and Paul are having an awkward moment


Paul is wondering about Peter. Why are you living like Jesus never rose from the dead? 


Paul is saying, Why would we impose rules on them that never worked for us?


We were never able to “separate” ourselves as hard as we tried and that is exactly why God sent Jesus to save us.


If they received a Savior that worked for us why would we add on things on them that never did work anyway?




Awkward Moments: 


Ever had an awkward moment in your life? 


1. Waving at someone who you think is waving at you but then you realize its the person next to you. 

2. When you attempt to shake someones hand or give them a fist bump or high five and they leave you hanging. 

3. Your response to someone who says “Hi” in passing and you respond saying, “great, you too”

4. You hold open the first door of a double door. You open the door for them only to have them hold the door open for you at the second door.” 

5. Holding the door open for someone far away forcing them to almost run to get there. 


Lesson #1. It takes faith to live free, and to live by faith takes courage. The Christian life is not for the faint of heart. 


Why? If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything 


Some actions require a swift response. Paul couldn’t wait to have a private meeting of such a public matter. 


As much as your sin is public it must be confessed publicly. 


Fearing those who were of the circumcision: It takes courage to lead. Out of fear, Peter acted against what he knew was right. “Peter perhaps felt that these men of reputation went back and told the Jerusalem church that he was eating with Gentiles it would somehow hurt his ability to lead the church. 


If we knew how little people think of us we wouldn’t worry what they thought of us. 


It is easy to criticize Peter; but every person knows what it means to do something that you know is wrong. Everyone knows what it feels like to go against what you know very well is right. Everyone knows what it feels like when social pressure pushes you towards compromise in some way.


The flesh dies hard. This was the kind of behavior that dominated Peter’s life before he was transformed by the power of God. 


1. This was like Peter telling Jesus not to go to the cross, 

2. Peter taking his eyes off of Jesus and sinking when walking on the water, 

3. Peter cutting off the ear of the servant of the High Priest when soldiers came to arrest Jesus. 


We see that the flesh was still present in Peter. Salvation and the filling of the Holy Spirit did not make Peter perfect; the old Peter was still there, just seen less often. Thank you Jesus!



Lesson #2:  Falling down is inevitably and regrettable but get back up. 


Proverbs 24:16, “For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.” 


We might be surprised that Peter compromised even though he knew better; but we are only surprised if we don’t believe what God says about the weakness and corruption of our own flesh. Paul himself knew this struggle, as he described it in Romans 7:18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.


Luther writes, “No man’s standing is so secure that he may not fall. If Peter fell, I may fall. If he rose again, I may rise again. We have the same gifts that they had, the same Christ, the same baptism and the same Gospel, the same forgiveness of sins.” 


Fearing those who were of the circumcision:  Even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. When these men from James came, even Barnabas treated the Gentile Christians as if they were not Christians at all.


This was amazing. Barnabas was Paul’s trusted friend and associate and he too failed the test. 


The rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him: 


Leadership is influence and here we see the negative effects. This was bigger than just Peter and Barnabas. Peter first made the compromise of acting as if the Gentile Christians were not Christians at all. Then Barnabas followed him. Then the rest of the Jews at the church in Antioch followed Peter and Barnabas.


Satan knew that if he could make Peter take the wrong path, then many others would follow him.


Played the hypocrite . . . carried away with their hypocrisy: The word hypocrite, in the original language of the New Testament, means “one who puts on a mask,” referring to an actor. 


Peter, Barnabas, and the rest of the Jewish Christians in Antioch knew that these Gentile believers were Christians. Yet, because of the pressure from the certain men from James, they acted like they were not Christians at all.



Lesson #3: Hypocrisy is contagious. Barnabas goes along with Peter. God is looking for worshippers who are sincere in their faith. 


Be yourself as people would rather follow a leader who is real than one who is always right



But there was more to it than this. Peter withdrew and separated himself from Gentile believers, when before he would eat with the Gentiles. In fact, he used to eat with them often.


(Verse 14) 

But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all.


Paul didn’t see the problem as if we are talking about table manners and being a good host. It wasn’t even about being sensitive to another brother’s conscience. Paul saw the issue for what it was; it was about the truth of the gospel.



Lesson #3To pretend God has not told you something when He has, is to live a lie. 


Acts 10. Don’t call unclean what God calls clean. 3 times Peter had to have this revelation shown to him.


When the certain men from James, and Peter, and Barnabas, and the rest of the Jews of the church in Antioch would not eat with Gentile Christians, they declared those Gentiles were unsaved unbelievers. They said loud and clear, “You can only be right with God if you put yourself under the demands of the Law of Moses. You must be circumcised. You must eat a kosher diet. You must observe the feasts and rituals. 


Peter didn’t say these Gentiles were unsaved but he sure acted like it. His message was loud and clear. 


“Actions Speak Louder Than Words”


I said to Peter before them all: What a scene this must have been! There they were, at the Antioch Christian potluck. The Gentile Christians had just been asked to leave, or were told to sit in their own section away from the real Christians. They also weren’t allowed to share the same food that the real Christians ate. Peter – the honored guest – went along with all this. Barnabas – the man who led many of the Gentiles to Jesus – went along with all this. The rest of the Jews in the church at Antioch went along with all this. But Paul would not stand for it. Because this was a public affront to the Gentile Christians and because it was a public denial of the truth of the gospel, Paul confronted Peter in a public way.


It must have been difficult and a very awkward moment, knowing who Peter was. Peter was the most prominent of all the disciples of Jesus. Peter was the spokesman for the apostles, and probably the most prominent Christian in the whole world at the time.


On the other hand it must have been hard, knowing who Paul was. This was before any of Paul’s missionary journeys; before he was an apostle of great prominence. At this point, Paul was far more famous for who he was before he was a Christian – a terrible persecutor of the church – than he was for who he was as a Christian.


It had to be awkward as Paul was in the minority on this issue – it was him and all the Gentile Christians against all the Jewish Christians.


Awkward or not, the apostle Paul did it because he knew what was at stake. This wasn’t a matter of personal conduct or just personal sin on Peter’s part. This was a matter about the truth of the gospel; proclaiming, “This is how a man is right before God.”



(Verse:14) 

“If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?”


If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews: Paul first reminded Peter that he himself did not live under strict obedience to the Law of Moses. Paul told everyone there that Peter didn’t live under the Law of Moses, and the certain men . . . from James looked amazed. Their faces showed surprise. “What? Peter – the most prominent of all the apostles – Peter doesn’t live under the Law of Moses? Peter loves pork rinds! Peter and I had pulled pork sandwiches for lunch yesterday. And we enjoyed ham and crab legs last week! 



Why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? Paul is making his argument very simple, Why would we impose rules on them that never worked for us?


2. (Verses: 15-16) 

“We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”


We who are Jews by nature . . . knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ: “Peter, we all grew up as observant Jews. Yet we know very well that we were not considered right before God – justified – by the works of the law that we did. We know that we, even though we grew up as observant Jews, are considered right before God by faith in Jesus Christ.”


Not justified by the works of the law: This is Paul’s first use of the great ancient Greek word dikaioo (justified, declared righteous) in his letter to the Galatians. “It is a legal concept; the person who is ‘justified’ is the one who gets the verdict in a court of law. Used in a religious sense it means the getting of a favorable verdict before God on judgment day.” (Morris)


Even we have believed in Christ Jesus: Paul knew that even a strictly observant Jew such as he was could never be considered right before God by what he did under the Law of Moses. Instead, he, Peter, and every single Christian must have believed in Christ Jesus.


To believe in Jesus means to “believe in, to act upon and to trust in” and its in the present tense. We keep believing and keep trusting and keep relying on Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the Cross. 


c. That we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law: This was a clear emphasis. “Peter, we were not justified by being under the Law of Moses, but by faith in Jesus.” By refusing fellowship with Gentile Christians, Peter said in his actions that we are – in part – considered right before God by the works of the law. Paul couldn’t stand for this, because it wasn’t the truth.


d. For by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified: Here, Paul emphasized the point in the strongest way possible. No flesh – not Gentile, not Jewish, not anyone – will be considered right before God by the works of the law.


Psalm 143:2.” (For in Your sight no one living in righteous).



People will often times respond to the question “How do you know if you are going to heaven when they die, Often times they respond, “I’m going to heaven because Im a good person… I have never robbed a bank, I have never cheated on my husband or wife. I haven’t murdered anyone…” 


(Verses: 17-18) 

“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.”


If justification by Christ alone isn’t enough and we need to add something else in order to be saved, then Christ is not a perfect and sufficient Savior. If we go to Him to have our sins forgiven, but then have to go elsewhere in addition, is not Christ a minister of sin in failing to fulfill His promises?

.

As the men from Jerusalem saw it, the idea that we are made right before God by faith in Jesus alone wasn’t “real” enough. After all, Christians still struggle with sin. How could they have the “accepted by God” issue settled if they still battled sin? In their thinking, this made Christ . . . a minister of sin, because Jesus’ work of making them right with God apparently didn’t make them right enough.


Certainly not! Paul’s answer was brilliant. 

First, yes, we seek to be justified by Christ and not by Jesus plus our own works. 

Second, yes, we ourselves also are found sinners, that is, we acknowledge that we still sin even though we stand justified by Christ. 

But no, this certainly does not make Jesus the author or approver of sin in our life. He is not a minister of sin.


Martin Luther wrote, “To give a short definition of a Christian: A Christian is not somebody who has no sin, but somebody against whom God no longer chalks sin, because of his faith in Christ. This doctrine brings comfort to consciences in serious trouble.” 


c. For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor: Paul said, “There is more sin in trying to find acceptance before God by our law-keeping than there is sin in everyday life as a Christian.” 


What Paul was saying is putting themselves under the law again they were sinning worse than ever.


No one is set free through guilt, but grace! 


It’s saying to God, Jesus death is not enough. It’s not Jesus + nothing = salvation. It must be Jesus plus circumcision  and the law of Moses. 



(Verses: 19-20) 

“For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”


 

Isaiah 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” 


God laid on Jesus the inequity of us all!


The believer is identified with Christ in His death. Not only was Jesus crucified on Calvary, I was crucified there as well—in Him.


 For I through the law died to the law: Paul made a bold statement, saying that he had died to the law. If he was dead to the law, then it was impossible for the law to be the way that he stood accepted by God.


Notice that it wasn’t the law that was dead. The law reflects, in its context, the holy heart and character of God. There was nothing wrong with the law. It wasn’t the law that died, but Paul died to the law.


ii. How did Paul die to the law? I through the law died to the law. The law itself “killed” Paul. It showed him that he never could live up to the law and fulfill its holy standard. For a long time before Paul knew Jesus, he thought God would accept him because of his law-keeping. But he came to the point where he really understood the law – understanding it in the way Jesus explained it in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) – and then Paul realized that the law made him guilty before God, not justified before God. This sense of guilt before God “killed” Paul, and made him see that keeping the law wasn’t the answer.


To die to the law is to die to seeking to keep it as a means of justification before God. 


In Philippians 3 Paul boasts of his commitment to the law before coming to Jesus as Savior and Lord and his denunciation of it as justification for salvation. He traded the law in for something better, faith in Jesus Christ. 


Philippians 3:3-9 (NKJV) 

3  For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 

4  though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 

5  circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 

6  concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 

7  But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 

8  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 

9  and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 



How good are you going to have to be before Jesus really accepts you? 


I through the law died to the law that I might live to God: When Paul died to the law, then he could live to God. As long as he still tried to justify himself before God by all his law-keeping, he was dead. But when he died to the law then he could live to God.


Quote by Martin Luther: “Blessed is the person who knows how to use this truth in times of distress. He can talk. He can say: ‘Mr. Law, go ahead and accuse me as much as you like. I know I have committed many sins, and I continue to sin daily. But that does not bother me. You have got to shout louder, Mr. Law. I am deaf, you know. Talk as much as you like, I am dead to you. If you want to talk to me about my sins, go and talk to my flesh. Belabor that, but don’t talk to my conscience. My conscience is a lady and a queen, and has nothing to do with the likes of you, because my conscience lives to Christ under another law, a new and better law, the law of grace.’ ” 


I have been crucified with Christ: Paul anticipated a question from those who disagree with him. 


The believer is identified with Christ in His death. Not only was He crucified on Calvary, I was crucified there as well—in Him. This means the end of me as a sinner in God's sight. It means the end of me as a person seeking to merit or earn salvation by my own efforts.


It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me: Since we died with Christ on the cross we have a different life. Our old life lived under the law is dead. Now we are alive to Jesus Christ and Jesus is alive in us (but Christ lives in me).


Paul knew that on the cross, a great exchange took place. 


If you were guilty of murder and were sentenced to die but someone died for you you couldn’t be tried for the crime you committed. 


Double jeopardy


And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith: Paul can only manage the new life Jesus gave him by faith. You can’t live the new life Jesus gives on the foundation of law-keeping. You can only live it by faith.


Jesus Christ did not die for me in order that I might go on living my life as I choose. He died for me so that from now on He might be able to live His life in me.


“Faith connects you so intimately with Christ, that He and you become as it were one person. As such you may boldly say: ‘I am now one with Christ. Therefore Christ’s righteousness, victory, and life are mine.’ 


In the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me: Not faith in our faith but faith in Jesus!Faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ – who loved me and gave Himself for me.



Before, Paul’s relationship with God was founded on what he could do for God – his faith was in himself. 


Who loved me: Paul can confidently give himself to Jesus because of the love Jesus has demonstrated in the past. Spurgeon writes, 


“It is true that he loves us now, but Paul also wrote truly, ‘Who loved me.’ The verb is in the past tense. Jesus loved me upon the cross; loved me in the manger of Bethlehem; loved me before ever the earth was. There never was a time when Jesus did not love his people.” 


Who loved me and gave Himself for me. The past tense is important. William Newell, in his commentary on Romans, speaks to the importance of the past tense in the word loved. “It is this past tense gospel the devil hates . . . Let a preacher be continually saying, ‘God loves you, Christ loves you,’ and he and his congregation will by and by be losing sight of both their sinnerhood and of the substitutionary atonement of the cross, where the love of God and of Christ was once for all and supremely set forth.”


What has the law done for you latley?  Martin Luther writes, “Did the Law ever love me? Did the Law ever sacrifice itself for me? Did the Law ever die for me? On the contrary, it accuses me, it frightens me, it drives me crazy. Somebody else saved me from the Law, from sin and death unto eternal life. That Somebody is the Son of God, to whom be praise and glory forever.” 


“Take these blessed words of the apostle, and put them in your mouth, and let them lie there as wafers made with honey, till they melt into your very soul: ‘Who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ ” (Spurgeon)


Have the congregation say, “Jesus gave Himself for ME”



(Verse: 21) 

“I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”


William MacDonald in his commentary on Galatians writes, “The grace of God is seen in His unconditional gift of salvation. When man tries to earn it, he is making it void. It is no longer by grace if man deserves it or earns it. Paul's final thrust at Peter is effective. If Peter could obtain favor with God by Jewish observances, then Christ died for nothing; He literally threw His life away. Christ died because man could obtain righteousness in no other way—not even by law-keeping.”



I do not set aside the grace of God: Paul concluded his public confrontation with Peter with strength. For these Jewish Christians from Jerusalem to require for themselves or anyone else to live under the Law of Moses to be right with God was to set aside the grace of God – the very thing Paul does not do.


“To nullify grace would be to put your trust, not in salvation as God’s free gift, but in your own efforts. 



If righteous comes through the law: then Jesus died in vain 



Jesus + nothing = salvation. 









 

 

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