Posted by: Jim Black | August 16, 2010

“Don’t Shoot the Messenger!”

That’s what I feel like saying every time I preach from Galatians. We are in week three of our study through this great letter of Paul’s and what a challenge it has been! Written two thousand years ago, it is so fresh and relevant today. Galatians exposes our legalistic tendencies… wanting to make laws where Jesus has not… wanting to earn merit where we have no merit to earn… wanting to achieve salvation… where it is only ours to receive. Even all these years later we find ourselves wrestling with the same struggles that the Galatian Christians did. I hope that our time in this great book has been both challenging and rewarding for you. This week we are going to look to 1:11-24 as Paul reminds us a bit of his story. It’s a story of a former legalist who has also been set free by the gospel of grace and a story in which many of us can relate.

Why is Galatians such a challenging book to preach from? Why is this message of freedom looked upon with skepticism and concern? I can’t tell you how many encouraging comments I’ve received these last two weeks from people who tell me that speaking on this subject is “brave” or “gutsy”! Why is that? Why do we seem afraid of this message of freedom? I think it is because we are genuinely concerned that we might swing to the other end of the pendulum and take the gospel of grace for granted. That was certainly going on in places other than Galatia in the first century. The audience that Jude writes to has been dealing with this opposite concern. There were those who had come in to the churches and were teaching a false “grace” in such a way that it led to licentiousness… and a permissive attitude toward sin. That is not at all what Paul was advocating in Galatians and we would do well to remember this. We cannot, in Paul’s own words, “go on sinning that grace may abound.” (cf. Romans 6) No, if we truly understand the grace of God… if we truly understand the incredible COST of that grace (to God, not us) we would truly appreciate it and certainly would never take it for granted! That would be to cheapen it in a way that would be unthinkable! We would never see God as weak or tolerant of our sin and it would break our hearts to know that we had abused the most precious gift we could receive… his forgiving grace that cost him his Son.

So, as we read through this great book again (let me remind you of your homework to read Galatians this week!!!) … let us remember that while God’s grace is offered freely to us… it is offered at a great personal sacrifice and cost to God. And let us live in such a way as to make that sacrifice worth it for God! Just some more thoughts on Galatians… Please join the discussion on my blog at https://jamescblack.wordpress.com this week by commenting for yourself.
Have a blessed week,
-Jim

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Responses

  1. THE GRACE OF GOD IS SO FREELY GIVEN AND REACHABLE EVEN TO THE DARKEST OF HEARTS, THANK YOU FOR THIS WORK ON THE GALATIANS.


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