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the gospel of grace

Galatians 20:20 BIBLE STUDY NOTES

REV. DEAN F. COURTIER

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Contents The Gospel of Grace

A Message of Grace A Messenger of Grace The Manifestation of Grace

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What Grace is not! 7

The Gospel of Grace Is NOT Enslaving The Gospel of Grace Is NOT just Spiritual or Physical The Gospel of Grace Is NOT Discriminatory

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Continuing Grace 12

To grow we must continue on in Grace

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The Gospel of Grace Galatians 1:1-24 Imagine a man and his wife go hiking and they get lost. Darkness is coming soon and there is a bad storm approaching. You are part of a rescue team that is sent out and as night falls and the temperature drops, you find them and begin to lead them out. As you come upon one of the last legs of your journey out, you tell the man and his wife that there is a shelter and fire and food just up ahead. But instead of going in that direction, they begin heading the other way.

What would you think and do at this point? 1. Wondering what they are thinking. 2. Asking them what they are doing. 3. Urging them to continue to follow you to safety.

You know that you know the only way to safety and they are not following you. The way they are heading is straight to their destruction. This happens to be the situation in Galatia, Paul had gone to Galatia and set up churches there on his first missionary journey (Acts 13-14). He told them that salvation was by grace and that there was no other way. But there were some who came after Paul who were confusing the Galatians by preaching something different to Paul. In Galatians 5:1-4 we see that the people who were confusing others were claiming people must become Jews first to then become a Christian - the same thing is recorded as happening in Antioch. Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1) Paul writes to the churches in Galatia because many there are starting to believe these false teachers and question what Paul was teaching. In this study we are looking at the beginning of his letter to the Galatians and to understand what was going on there and look at the implications for each of us today. Paul, an apostle-sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead- 2 and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: 1

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 3

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 6

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 10

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. 13

Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles-only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me. (Galatians 1:1-24) 18

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A Message of Grace Grace alone is good news Paul preached that salvation is by grace and grace alone, why is this good news to us today? The Gospel message is a message of grace. Jesus Christ paid for your sins. He died and 3 days later rose again. He took our punishment and He gave us His righteousness. You didn’t deserve it. I don’t deserve it. That is grace. He has blessed us with what we do not deserve. That is the good news and this is what Paul was preaching to the Galatians. Then some others came and were saying that Jesus’ death and resurrection made it possible to have salvation but first you had to become a Jew and be circumcised. Paul explains that is not the gospel I preached.

Grace+ anything is bad news Paul says the gospel you are turning to is no gospel (good news) at all. If we add something to the work of Christ to receive salvation, we are saying that Christ’s work on the cross is not sufficient - that it is not good enough. All we do is receive the grace of Christ by believing in Him as our Saviour and in His work on the cross; Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

What gets us into Heaven? Believing in Christ and receiving Him as Saviour is the only thing that gets us into heaven, not going to church, not reading the Bible, not doing good things. Don’t misunderstand me - we should be doing those things and as we do them, we grow stronger and glorify God more - but, they will never get us into Heaven.

When was the last time you told someone about the good news of grace through Jesus Christ?

A Messenger of Grace The Messenger Delivers A messenger delivers something from someone to someone else. Paul is delivering the message of grace that He received from Jesus to the Galatians. Who a message comes from is important. Paul is reminding the Galatians that this message is from the Lord. He did not get it from any man. He got it from Jesus Himself and that message was authenticated by many miracles. At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of His grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. (Acts 14:1-3) The Lord confirmed that the message they spoke was from Him. We speak this same message today. Each one of us are messengers of the gospel of grace. Your message today is confirmed by God through His word. That is how God authenticates His message today. God uses individuals to convey his message.

Why do all of us need to be faithful in delivering the message that the Lord has given to us, the message of salvation through Grace? How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14)

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The Messenger Matters Does who is telling you something make a difference on whether you believe them or not? This is not some package that is being delivered from point A to point B. This is not a job that Royal Mail could do. This message has to be delivered from person to person. Paul is someone who the Galatians have known. They know how he lived, what kind of person He was, if he was a man of integrity or not. He lives his life in accord with what he speaks. Paul is not trying to win the favour of man, but of God. He is certainly not winning the favour of the Jews. And yet he was a Jew of Jews before he met Christ on the road to Damascus.

Do you live your life in accord with what you speak and what you say you believe?

What kind of messenger are you? Maybe you think you are not a messenger. If you are a Christian you are delivering a message to those who know you and are around you. Even if it isn’t with words. Francis of Assisi said “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

What message are you delivering with your actions? Are you delivering a message that people will respond to by saying, this person really believes what they say because their life shows it? Are you delivering a message that people will respond to by saying, they talk about Christianity, but their life doesn’t match what they say? This is a question that is important for every Christian but especially those who have been called to preach or teach the Word. How we live our lives matters. The life of the messenger matters in how well the message gets received.

The Manifestation of Grace Grace changes a person Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17) Paul persecuted the church and tried to destroy it, but when He experienced God’s grace, He was changed by it. Paul tells us, For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them-yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 ) God’s grace had great effect in Paul’s life. He was changed to the point where people were reporting that “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy”. That is a pretty remarkable change.

How has God’s Grace changed your life? Maybe you have had some remarkable changes in your life, maybe you have seen remarkable changes in other people too.

Why do those changes seem to stop in some of us? Paul tells us that the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

If God’s grace is sufficient for us, why does it seem to lose its effect after a while? 5


Why do we sometimes fail to experience the power that God’s grace promises to us as Christians? Why is it that some of us just experience the weakness of ourselves and not the power of God? When we first believe, we are often filled with such joy and wonderment and everything is new to us and there is an excitement that is contagious. Then, things seem to settle down and just plod along. I think part of it has to do with the fact that when we first accept Jesus as Saviour, we understand that we are in desperate need of a Saviour. As we continue on and understand more of how the Lord would have us live, we begin relying on our own strength instead of on the grace of God.

We are saved by the grace of God. That grace is good for all eternity to save us and keep us saved. However, in terms of our growth in the Lord while we are here, we require continued reliance on God’s grace. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. (Acts 13:43) Those times of weakness in our lives, are times when we have begun to rely on ourselves or are in danger of it, and God uses that to help us to rely on Him and not on ourselves. What happens in our lives often is that things get going well, and we take over. We turn to God when the going is tough, but once we get past the rough spots, we say thanks God, but I’ve got it from here - then we find ourselves right back in one of the ruts of life.

How can you stay out of the ruts of life while continuing on with the Lord? By receiving His Grace everyday. We need to fill up on His grace each and every day. When we don’t, we start working in our own strength, we start thinking we know what God wants us to do so we just need to follow His rules; that’s when we start becoming legalistic in our ways. If we lose the joy of living the Christian life, because we aren’t growing in our relationship with the Lord but are only doing our duty - that is when the Christian life, at least as we are living it, becomes stagnant, boring, burdensome. Don’t become like the Pharisees - rule followers who miss the presence and grace of Christ because we are so concerned about following the rules instead of being strengthened to walk in relationship with the Lord.

How can we receive God’s grace for living each day? By meeting with Him and being with Him in prayer and meditation and through His word, we will have our focus on the Lord, we will have the strength to live each day joyfully in spite of a bad day at the office or bad news from the Doctor or a bad hair day. It is then that we will be able to continue to experience the Grace that has saved us and made us a new creation. Receiving God’s grace will not be only an event that changed us, but it will be a daily Presence that continues to change us. Fill up each day at the spring of living water and receive the Grace for living that God wants to rain down in your life.

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What Grace is not! Galatians 2:1-21 In the first part of our study we began to look at Grace and the book of Galatians. We saw that Paul had started the churches in Galatia and then some people came in claiming you had to do more than just receive Christ as Saviour, that it was more than just grace. We saw that the gospel Paul preached was a gospel of Grace. Paul goes on in Chapter 2 to show by his actions and statements what the gospel of Grace is not and that is what we are going to look at in this study.

Why is it important to understand what Grace is not? This is important for us because we always need to have proper perspective and understanding if we are going to be effective servants and communicators of the gospel and to be able to live a life full of grace. Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 1

As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favouritism—they added nothing to my message. 7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised [Gentiles], just as Peter had been to the circumcised [Jews]. 8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised [Jews], was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Cephas [Peter] and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised [Jews]. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along. 6

When Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 11

When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas [Peter] in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 14

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. 15

“But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker. 17

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, 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 could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:1-21) 19

There are some powerful statements in this chapter of Galatians. Let us see if we can look at some of this and see for ourselves what the Gospel of grace is not and apply these things to ourselves.

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The Gospel of Grace Is NOT Enslaving (Galatians 2:3-5)

These are the Judaisers that Paul is talking about trying to enslave the people once again by the law. They were adding circumcision and obedience to the Law to the grace of God for salvation. It is only God’s grace that brings salvation and that sets us free apart from the law. He tells us we are free. Gods grace has set us free. We have already discovered that we need to tap into God’s grace everyday. While it is a one time event that saves us by his grace, it is a daily event to receive His grace for daily living. When we don’t do that, we tend to become enslaved again to working in our strength to try and please God. Draw close to Him everyday and experience that freedom everyday.

Why do we need to take time each day to just be with the Lord? Be with Him like you would be with a close friend. That is what relationship is all about.

What do you do to deepen your relationship with God? What could you do more? How can we experience joy in being obedient to God?

First you are going to be empowered to do it. Second the more we do it the more we enjoy it. This is what Freedom really is. Being obedient is not going to earn us God’s grace. It is drawing on God’s grace that will enable us to be obedient.

How does the experience of God’s grace bring freedom and joy everyday? We often don’t realise it but when we are in sin, we become enslaved to it. Peter tells us that “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” (2 Peter 2:19)

Freedom enables us to choose righteousness We only have this power when we are continuing in the grace of our Lord. We lose the power to truly be free in this life when we are not continuing in God’s grace and we become enslaved again by the deception of sin. Don’t be enslaved to the path of destruction. Sin is deceptive. It blinds us to the destruction it will bring and only lets us see the momentary pleasure it may bring.

Don’t be deceived, don’t be enslaved, be free Free to live righteously and enjoy its blessings by continuing on each day in the grace of the Lord.

Are you willing to set aside 15 minutes a day over the next 6 days and just be with the Lord? When you pray do you tell God how you feel? When you pray do you tell him your concerns? When you pray do you tell Him how much you need his strength? When you pray do you tell him you want to experience His presence? Be in relationship with Him and be free!

The Gospel of Grace Is NOT just Spiritual or Physical All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along. (Galatians 2:10) Have you heard the phrase that a person can be so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good? If a persons focus is truly upon the Lord and growing in Him, they will be living that out in their actions. The Gospel of grace changes us. It changes us inside first and then as we grow those changes manifest themselves in us physically, in the things we do and the way we do them.

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How has His grace affected you spiritually and physically? We create a false dichotomy sometimes between the spiritual and the physical. We are one person. We are spiritual and physical. Everything we do affects all of us. James tells us some of the same things. When we read James sometimes, we can think that He and Paul were preaching two different things, but they weren’t. James tells us that faith without works is dead. (James 2:26) Paul tells us that we have been created in Christ to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). There were those even in Paul’s day that said that he tried to create this dichotomy between the spiritual and the physical. And some that said we should sin more so we could get more grace. Paul said “By no means!” (Romans 6:2). We get more grace by continuing on with the Lord every day (Colossians 2:6) and that grace will bring us freedom to be righteous and leads to holiness (Romans 6:22).

Why do we need to ensures both our spiritual and physical lives reflect Holy living? We need to ensure our lives are balanced. Our spirits draw close to God’s Spirit by His grace and our bodies seek to be obedient and do good things. We give to the poor, as Paul and Barnabas did when they took funds to the Jerusalem church in Acts 11. We could help out others in need with money, but we can also demonstrate God’s love by helping others by being there for them.

Why do we experience joy when you serve others? If we are doing things begrudgingly, that should be a warning to us that we are not drawing on God’s grace as we should be. This doesn’t mean that we have to be at the church 24/7. Or say yes to everything that is every asked of us. But it does mean we don’t say no to everything that is ever asked of us and that we seek the Lord’s counsel through prayer on what He wants us to be doing. Then there will be no difference between what is happening to us spiritually or physically because both will be glorifying the Lord.

The Gospel of Grace Is NOT Discriminatory (Gal 2:1-2, 6-9, 11-21)

Paul took Barnabas and Titus with him. Barnabas was a Jew and Titus was Greek. The Gospel is not just for the Jews or just for the Gentiles. It is for everyone that places their trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Not just some, but all. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2) Jesus died for the sins of everyone. Now for that to become valid for your life, you must receive the gift by receiving Christ as your Saviour, by believing in Him completely.

God does not judge by external appearance God does not discriminate based upon how we look or what colour our skin. He looks squarely at our hearts. Each human being has been created in God’s image. We look at the external appearance often and we see differences. God does not look at the external appearance.

When God looks at your heart what does He see? Does He look at your heart and sees His own image? Now it is distorted due to our sin, but his image is still visible in each of us. When Samuel was told to go and anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next King, Samuel began by looking at how Jesse’s sons looked, at their stature. But God said this to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Paul brings Titus the Greek and Barnabas the Jew and says God has worked in both of these peoples lives. They have been saved by Grace. God did not require Titus to first become a Jew, to receive God’s grace. It is the same today. God does not require blacks to become white. He does not require Asians to become black. He does not require old to become young. He does not require young to become old.

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Why does none of this matter when it comes to the gospel of Grace? We don’t have too much problem with those but we do have sometimes our own issues. He does not require one culture to become another culture. He does not require older people to like newer musical styles and does not require younger people to like older musical styles.

God does not discriminate and nor should we What matters is that our heart is prepared to receive Christ as Saviour. And it is prepared when we recognise our need. Let’s read the last part of this chapter again about the situation with Peter. When Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 11

When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas [Peter] in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 14

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. 15

“But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker. 17

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, 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 could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:11-21) 19

Peter is eating with the Gentiles but when some other Jews come, He becomes fearful that of what they may say. Peter. He can be so courageous at one moment and so fearful the next. We see Him walk on water and then sink. We see Him proclaim his allegiance unto death to Jesus and then later that night deny Him 3 times.

Do you ever have a little Peter inside you? Are there specific situations when he appears in your life? Many people are like that, strong at one moment and weak the next. This underlies the great importance of God’s grace. When we are not drawing on God’s grace each day, we begin working things out in our own strength, and we get fearful because we fail to leave God in control. When Peter was walking on water, he took his eyes off of Christ and sank. When Peter denied Christ, He was thinking only about how to save himself. When Peter separated from the Gentiles, He was thinking how to save himself some possible disagreements with the other Jews, not thinking of what He was saying with His actions. Many of us have probably done brave and courageous things for Christ, but the moment we take control from the Lord is the moment we set ourselves up to let Him down.

Do you discriminate between your brothers and sisters in Christ? When is it right to say to another believer “you can’t do this or that” if you are a Christian? Anyone who is a Christian has been saved by the grace of God and we all have issues that God’s grace covers. BUT, we should avoid doing or saying things that bring dishonour to God.

If you are honest with yourself, in the light of God’s grace and His word, what do you do or say that you should not?

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Paul goes on to ask rhetorically “if God’s grace covers sin, does that mean that we are encouraged to sin?” Absolutely not, Paul says. We have no encouragement to sin and yet none of us are free from sin. That is why Paul says that he does not set aside the grace of God. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. (Romans 7:24-25) None of us can attain righteousness by our actions. If we could, then Christ died for nothing.

How can we not discriminate against others? Don’t be enslaved. Let God’s grace seep out in your actions. Don’t expect people to conform to YOUR cultural standards. Recognise that it is only by God’s grace that each of us have been saved. And live each day by “continuing on in the grace of God.”

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Continuing Grace Galatians 3:1-3:25 Grace is more than just a prayer you say before dinner. Grace in its ultimate form is God giving us heaven when we deserve hell. But grace is more than that too. It is God desiring and working to be part of our life every day even though we often don’t listen to Him or follow His ways. In our studies so far in Galatians we have discovered, that the gospel is a message of Grace. We have also seen what the gospel of grace is not.

What do you find most amazing about God’s Grace? In this study we are going to focus on how the gospel of grace continues to work in our life after salvation. You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing-if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? 1

Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 6 7

All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. 10

Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 15

What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. 19

Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 21

Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. (Galatians 3:1-25) 23

In beginning this chapter Paul is just flabbergasted by the Galatians. He begins by saying “you foolish Galatians.” When he is calling them foolish, he is not saying they lack intelligence. This word implies that they have intelligence but are failing to use it. They are not thinking as they should or are capable of. Instead of thinking like they should Paul asks who has bewitched you? Who has put you under a spell that you are not thinking like you should?

Does anything stop you thinking like a Christian? What from the world gets in the way of what you know God expects you to do? 12


Then in the next verse and a half he says “Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?” Paul is basically recapping that salvation is by grace. He is saying you are Saved by grace through faith: By faith you accept Jesus death on the Cross (Galatians 3:1) By faith you receive the Spirit (Galatians 3:2). You know that your salvation was totally an act of God. You trusted in the work of Jesus by faith and by the grace of God He gave you eternal life and gave you His Spirit to indwell you. It was not by anything that you did to earn it. It was because you believed by faith.

By Grace through faith we grow Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing-if it really was for nothing? Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? (Galatians 3:3-5)

You accepted Christ as your Saviour because the Spirit drew you to Him and you believed in faith so how are you trying to grow in your faith? Why do people think they can be sanctified if they try real hard to be good? For some their attitude is “if you do all the right things, God is going to have to bless you” . The bible is clear that the “good things” that are done in our own strength look like Filthy Rags to God - Isaiah 64:6 says “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Trying in our strength to be obedient to the Law or some rules will never be good enough. That is why our growth has to be by God’s grace also. We couldn’t save ourselves in our own power, it is only by God’s grace that we have been saved. You can’t grow yourself either. Your own strength being used to grow yourself will produce nothing. But, by God’s grace, He can empower you to accomplish awesome things for Him. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, writes about these awesome things we can accomplish for God and how that can occur. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:4-6) What is the difference is between Filthy rags and fruit? Filthy rags are produced by us in our strength. Fruit is produced through us in God’s strength. Fruit is produced when we are serving in the new way of the Spirit.

What are some of the components of growth that will occur in our lives as we live by faith in God’s grace?

By Grace through faith we receive blessings Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 6 7

All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:6-14) 10

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Through faith we receive not only the blessing of salvation, but also His Spirit by which we gain myriad of other blessings that God bestows on His people.

Can you name some of the blessings that are yours through faith in Christ? We receive: n

Spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)

n

Guidance from the Spirit - when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. (John 16:12-13).

n

Power from the Spirit - you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. (Acts 1:8)

n

Peace and joy - the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

n

Wisdom and revelation - I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. (Ephesians 1:17)

n

The Lord pours out blessing on us by His grace - From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17)

As you live in and continue in His grace, do you desire to glorify Him in obedience? Blessings increase not because of our obedience, but because we continue in grace. It is when we begin to rely on works that we are no longer continuing in grace and we miss the blessings that result from God’s grace. Continue in grace and receive the blessings of the Lord.

By Grace through faith we are freed from the Law Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 15

What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. (Galatians 3:15-20) 19

Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. (Galatians 3:23-25) 23

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

Do you ever have moments in life when you say, I have got to start doing something for the Lord? Do you ever say I am going to start living more for the Lord? Do you ever say I am going to start reading the Bible everyday? Do you ever say I am going to be pray more each day? Do you ever say I am going to be the person that God wants me to be? In our last study I asked “Are you willing to set aside 15 minutes a day over the next 6 days and just be with the Lord?” Did you? Were you relying on yourself to do it or did you ask God to help you to do it? Were you too proud to ask God? 14


Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unploughed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors. (Hosea 10:12-13) Too often we reap the fruit of deception. We’re deceived into law and rule following instead of Christ following. We begin well enough but then we fall back into working at keeping the law in our own strength just like the Galatians were doing. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Instead have victory as you continue on in the Grace of Christ.

By Grace through faith we gain righteousness Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:21-22) Righteousness is not going to come by keeping rules. We are not going to be obedient enough to be declared righteous. When we receive Jesus as our Saviour, we are declared righteous in terms of our salvation. That is the beginning. But we need to continue on in righteousness that is by grace, not for salvation, but for living the abundant life. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

Do you live by faith as often as you should? To continue on in righteousness means to continue on in grace. As we do that we gain righteousness and as we gain this righteousness, we do the acts of a righteous person. We don’t do them out of obligation, we do them out of love. When we are in love with someone, we find it enjoyable to do things for them. Things we would not even normally do sometimes. While it is still a choice for us to do it, we do things gladly because of our relationship with that person. It is the same way with God. When we are living in grace and we are realising how much God truly loves us, we find ourselves desiring to do things that will glorify Him. There are still going to be choices that have to be made, but when we are walking in His grace we are doing things in His power as a result of His grace rather than in our power as a result of a certain rule we think we should follow.

To grow we must continue on in Grace We receive blessings which continue to help us grow in Grace. We are freed from the law which continues to help us grow in Grace. We gain righteousness which continues to help us grow in grace.

Don’t become a slave again Once we were slaves to sin. The law is there to show us our sinfulness and lead us to Christ. Once we have come to Christ, we do not need ever to go back to law keeping or rule following. Instead, we become Christ followers who continue on in His grace.

Continue on in His Grace Receive His blessings. Be free from the law and gain a righteousness that grows as you continue on in His grace.

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About the 20:20 Bible Study Series There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change – our understanding of the truth changes as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds. The 20:20 Bible Studies are not about opinion, they are about learning truth, the truth contained in the Bible. The focus is on how we apply God’s truth, black & white in a grey world; to set godly priorities; to grow in Christian character; and live according to God’s standards as dynamic disciples of Jesus.

About Estuary Elim The Estuary Elim Group of Churches are three Essex based Elim Pentecostal Churches in Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend on Sea with a shared Leadership team. We are a group of people responding to the love of God and the life changing message of Jesus Christ. Our services are lively with contemporary music, worship and preaching and teaching relevant to the 21st Century. To find out more about us visit www.estuaryelim.church Whether you are new to church, someone with questions or a committed Christian, we want to serve you and help you discover and fulfil God’s purpose for your life. If you would like an opportunity to talk to one of the team email your details to info@estuaryelim.co.uk and we will contact you.

www.estuaryelim.church The Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend Elim Pentecostal Churches are branches of The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance (Registered Charity No. 251549)

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The Gospel of Grace  

Bible Study in the book of Galatians