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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

Week 7, The Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith? Romans 7:7-17 and Galatians 1:1-3:5

Romans 7:7-17 Continuing from the study last week on Romans 7, we will look in depth at how the law combined with the flesh stirs up sin.

7:7-8 Romans 7:7 - What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” The law Paul is talking about is not the ceremonial law or the killing of animals or the law concerning the seven feasts in the Old Testament. The context clearly tells us that the “law” is the Ten Commandments: “I would not have known coveteousness unless the law had said, you shall not covet.” The law had a purpose before Jesus came, but it also had an expiration date! (Hebrew 8:13) If we are “Ten Commandment conscious,” we are demand conscious, and sinful passions are aroused. Romans 7:8 - But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. It does not say that SIN BY ITSELF produced in me all manner of evil desire. It says sin “taking opportunity BY THE COMMANDMENT” produced in me all manner of evil desire. The law is like wood on fire. The more I try not to covet, the worse off I am! Here’s why people fall into sin: first there is temptation. It can come as a thought, something you saw, something you remember... then before it becomes a sin, there is another stage. You never go directly from temptation to sin. There is an in between: temptation joins CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH - self effort. This is the conception that gives birth to sin. Paul says, Philippians 3:3 - We put no confidence in the flesh. When there is confidence in the flesh, you will fall into sin and indulgence because we fall back into the law: “I can handle this thing.” And the problem after sin is guilt. And with guilt, you make new resolutions. For example, “From now on I will NEVER turn the computer on again... I will NEVER look at the opposite sex... From now on I won’t even talk to the opposite sex!” You start getting into extreme rules. When you say, “NEVER again!” the devil says, “Yahoo!” He loves our resolutions because they presume on our strength. Once you’re in guilt and you put in resolutions, you now have a propensity for fresh temptations. When you fail, know this: He says, “I don’t condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” He is our empowerment.

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

Turn to the Lord and receive His love. Turn your Savior, your Husband, and say, “Thank you for Your forgiveness.” But after you receive His love and forgiveness, don’t go back to Mr. Law and put confidence in the flesh again: “Ok. I’m forgiven, but now I am determined that I will do better.” If you go back and forth, it’s spiritual adultery. Just live with one husband - Mr. Grace, Jesus Christ. Let Him be the one who loves you, prompts you, and supplies you. If you think grace is a careless lifestyle, it’s because you only have one side of grace: we are delivered from the law. But the other side of grace is being married to Jesus Christ and walking in victory. Romans 7:8, cont. - ...For apart from the law sin was dead. Here’s a suggestion: keep it dead! Do not fall from grace back to law. (Galatians 5:4) Who do you think is using the law today? Who stands to gain from the church never knowing who they are in Christ and never knowing that they are free from the law? The accuser of the brethren! Where did the devil get the power to kill? The authority to kill is in the letter that kills: the law. That’s why the devil uses the law. Satan's main plan is not to try to get you to sin. His main plan is to try to get you to keep the law in your flesh! Why? Because the law is the strength of sin (1 Corinthians 15:56). The law is not of faith (Galatians 3:12), so he tries to get you to be a law keeper. Knowing good from evil and trying and doing more good than evil to be “godly” LOOKS GOOD for food (it’s mighty satisfying!); it’s PLEASING to the eye (others will be quite envious of your beautiful fig leaves!); and it’s DESIRABLE for making one wise (people will be very impressed with all that knowledge!). (Genesis 3:6) Think of two kinds of fruit from two kinds of trees: • Good works from the Tree of Life - the fruit of walking in the Spirit out of completeness in Him. • Dead works from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil - the fruit of trying to perfect yourself in the flesh. What was the #1 deception that the cunning serpent used with Eve: “I can be like God - do good WITHOUT God. If I just have the knowledge of right and wrong, I don’t need God.” When Adam and Eve ate from the fruit of that tree, it became the DNA of the flesh of every man born since Adam. That is the power that still operates in the flesh today. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 - For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. This passage IN CONTEXT in the NLT: 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, 13-15, 19-20, NLT - For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. 3 But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. 4   You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed... 13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. 14   But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15   So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. ... 84


Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

19 After all, you think you are so wise, but you enjoy putting up with fools! 20 You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face. Who is behind all of this? The devil! In Hebrews the devil is called “hasatan” which means prosecutor. He’s an expert on the law. If you use the law, he’ll nail you! How? The law always points at your flesh, but grace always points at Jesus!!! Colossians 2:14-15 - ...having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. We are forgiven of all our sins: past, present, and future. All of our sins were put on Jesus Christ. God nailed the hand-writing of requirements against us to the cross. He took His own hand-writing out of the way. Why? To disarm the devil. That means that at one time the devil was armed with a weapon. In the context, what was the weapon? The law! The hand-writing against us!

7:9-13 Romans 7:9 - I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. When the commandment came, the power of sin was stimulated. The power of sin is the nature of satan that was imparted to fallen man that says, “I can do this. Give me the rules, and I will keep them. Give me the knowledge of good and evil, and I can do this thing.” The thoughts arise: “I can run this business without God.... I can choose a spouse without God’s wisdom.... I can beat this disease - I’ve studied up on all the latest cures. I don’t need God... I can make a turkey sandwich without God.” In truth, we can’t do anything without God! Jesus said, John 5:30 - “I can of Myself do NOTHING.” The power of sin in the flesh which says “I don’t need God” was countered by the Son of God’s divine nature which says, “Without God I can do nothing.” That’s the nature of the new man that we are in Christ! The Tree of Life is the tree of the Spirit....grace. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the tree of the flesh....law. Romans 7:10 - And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. The power of sin is deceitful and uses the law to try to kill us. How does it “kill” us? Guilt, shame, burnout, depression, sickness, and death! Have you ever said, “The Holy Spirit is convicting me of sin”? Sounds correct, doesn’t it? Here’s what we think: the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin by making us feel guilty or uncomfortable. So we repent, which means we turn from that bad behavior. Right?

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

First of all, “repent” is not changing your behavior. It’s change your mind. Repent, “metanoeo” (the verb) or “metanoia” (the noun, repentance), in the Greek means “to change one’s mind” or “ a change of mind.” Change your mind about what? About who you are in Christ! Are you a sinner or are you a new creation? You still sin, but believe by faith that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, and you will be transformed outwardly by the renewing of your mind. You have the mind of Christ! The Holy Spirit actually convicts us that we are righteous (John 16:10). The word “convict” means to convince as in a court of law. Because of the cross, you have been declared forever righteous with all of the justice of heaven’s court. The devil is afraid of grace because he has no defense against it. When he comes at us with accusations, we can say with all confidence, “Yes, I sinned, but God is not assessing me on my performance. He is assessing me based on the perfect performance of my Mediator, Jesus Christ! I did break the law, but the curse is not over my head. Christ has redeemed me.” It’s all about Jesus. Romans 7:12-13 - Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. The law itself isn’t sinful. Law-haters, known as antinomians, have been misinterpreting the Scriptures since the days of the early church by saying that the law is evil and people can just go about living any way they want. Paul corrects this heresy by declaring the law to be holy, righteous and good. The law in its intended severity shows how terrible sin is. So there’s nothing wrong with the law by itself, but when combined with human effort, the results are always failure. The law is perfect, but it can’t make you perfect. In verse 14, Paul begins to describe the battle that rages in our minds.

7:14-17 Romans 7:14-17 - For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. Paul places the blame on something that was NOT him. Sinful thoughts come from the source called sin. We sin, but sin is not who we are. Sin acts in you and may even feel like you, but it is not you.

Galatians 1:1 - 3:5 In studying Galatians, context is very helpful. Who was Paul speaking to? Why was he saying it? What was going on at the time? The apostle Paul founded several churches in cities in a territory called Galatia (such as Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe) which includes modern day Turkey. The Galatians were mostly Gentiles. After Paul would go in and evangelize an area, men would come in behind him and teach “another gospel.” Paul wrote Galatians to the combat false teaching that they had to DO something to BECOME something that they already were: righteous. He came to set them free AGAIN from the bondage of the law.

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

How can we know if we have been seduced into a perversion of the Gospel? Ask yourself the question: WHO is the focus of the teaching? Jesus or you? In the mixture of law and grace that Paul talks about in Galatians, YOU are the focus because you have to do something to be righteous.

1:1-6 Galatians 1:1 - Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead) God Himself had called Paul. Paul attributes his authority to Jesus Christ Himself and God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead! Paul wasn’t called or ordained by man. He was called by God. Galatians 1:2-6 - and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4   who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5   to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 6   I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. The phrase “turning away” in verse 5 is the Greek word “metatithemi,” and it means “to transpose two things, one of which is put in place of the other.” In other words, grace was being removed and replaced with another doctrine in the church.

1:8-16 Galatians 1:8-12 - 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.10   For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. 11   But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Again, Paul is saying that Jesus gave him this Gospel directly. Galatians 1:13-16 - For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14   And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15   But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,... Paul said he had been called and set apart by God by His grace before he was even born! While he was in his mother’s womb, before he had done any good or any bad, he was chosen. In the same way, before we are even a figment in our parent’s imagination, God calls us. Ephesians 2:10 - For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

Paul was a notorious Christian-hater who threatened murder against the disciples of the Lord (Acts 9:1). Acts 8:3 - “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” And yet he was called to be the apostle of grace who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament that we read today! God calls us by His grace, not by our family heritage, our education, our achievements, or our looks. He sets us apart by His divine, unmerited favor. In fact, 1 Corinthians 1 tells us the way God chooses us by His grace: 1 Corinthians 1:27-30 - God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29   that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. When God calls us by His grace, He puts us in Christ, and Jesus Himself lives His life through us.

1:16 - 2:4 Galatians 1:16-17 - ...I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. There was a three year period of Paul’s life, often called “his time in Arabia,” during which he was given the Gospel by the Lord Himself. Paul called it “my gospel.” Even today when the scriptures become real to you by revelation, you will take ownership of this Good News. No one can convince you otherwise! You know what you know what you know! What you have seen, you can never “unsee.” (See also Galatians 1:18, Romans 2:16 - “my Gospel”, Romans 16:25 - “my Gospel”, 1 Corinthians 15:1 - “the Gospel which I preached to you”, 1 Timothy 1:11 - “the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust”, 2 Timothy 2:8 - “my gospel”.) Galatians 1:18-2:1 -   Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20   (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.) 21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24   And they glorified God in me. 2:1 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),... This second trip to Jerusalem is referring to the “Council at Jerusalem” in Acts 15 where they hashed out a question that had been brought to Paul’s attention while he was in Antioch. Here is a reference to that meeting in Acts: Acts 15:1-2 - And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined 88


Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. These false teachers were saying that the Gentiles were not saved if they were not circumcised, therefore, adding to salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Peter, Paul, and Barnabas shared their testimony of the true salvations they had witnessed among the Gentiles including the baptism in the Holy Spirit and many signs and wonders. (Acts 15:7-11) James, who was an elder in the church at Jerusalem, went on to suggest how they might instruct the Gentiles. After the apostles and elders discussed the matter, they wrote a letter which they sent back to Antioch with Paul and a chosen delegation. In the letter they said, Acts 15:28-29 - For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. These false brethren had made inroads to the degree that they were even able to convince believers that circumcision was necessary for salvation! At that Jerusalem Council in the LEADERS’ meeting, it says that “some of the sect of the Pharisees WHO BELIEVED rose up, saying, ‘It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.’” (Acts 15:5) These were BELIEVERS who wanted to keep the law! Paul was up against leadership in the church who had bought into the lies that false brethren were teaching. “False brethren” were people who pretended to be Christians. These people would slip in the back door and infiltrate their meetings in order to enslave them again to the law. Today we see the spirit of religion still at work in the church through legalism. Legalism “comes in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus.” Legalism causes some to infiltrate under false pretenses instead of enjoying the freedom themselves. What is the motive? Control and manipulation. If we buy into any form of works-based religion, control will sneak in to steal our liberty in Christ. How can we know if we staying in a place of freedom from religion? You can tell when you are under grace, living in freedom, because you will have certain qualities about you. You have nothing to hide, nothing to prove, nothing to gain, nothing to lose, no one to convince, no one to impress. You don’t need followers. You don’t need man’s approval. You are marked with joy and peace and security. You are free to serve and free to love. You don’t need a position or a title. You are free to succeed because you are free to fail. And the biggest one is this: YOU ARE FREE TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD FOR YOURSELF! The Gospel of grace transforms religious robots into eagles who sore without any of the constraints of the law.

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

These false teachers in Galatia were trying to bring the LAW INTO GRACE. They were saying, “Grace is fine. Jesus is fine, but you still need to DO certain things to be saved and stay saved. This is the mixture of grace and law! And Paul wouldn’t put up with it for a moment: Galatians 2:5 - ...to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. When it comes to the Gospel of grace we cannot compromise even for a moment! Why do we accept sermons and read books that present Galatianism, the mixture of law and grace? Paul wouldn’t tolerate it. He was so strong in his commitment to the truth that he pronounced a double curse on anyone who did not preach the Gospel of Grace. Why? Because he loved the people of God so much and wanted them to be able to receive the God’s promises and freedom without condemnation. Galatians 2:6 - 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. Once again, we see that Paul had no fear of man. You have to be free of people’s opinions of you to truly help people. Because of his many human achievements, Paul had something to boast about before men, but he chose to boast in his weakness that the power of Christ might rest on him. He found that God’s grace was sufficient for him (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul goes on to say in Galatians, Galatians 2:7-10 - 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 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. Paul was called to the Gentiles. Peter, James, and John were called to the Jews. All were agreed concerning their particular callings and these apostles who had gone before Paul publicly acknowledged him and Barnabas at the Jerusalem Council as fellow-laborers. The only thing that Peter, James, and John asked of Paul and Barnabas as they set out to evangelize the Gentiles and set up churches was that they keep on giving. Paul was more than willing to send money back to the poor in Jerusalem and instructed the churches in Galatia to do so (1 Corinthians 16).

2:11-14 From verse 11 to the end of Galatians 2, Paul shares something that might seem shocking to those of us who believe there should not be open confrontation in the church. Paul told the Galatians of his public rebuke of Peter for compromising the Gospel. Galatians 2:11-12 - 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.

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

Peter was wrong and it is documented for us in the scripture! Billions of people have been exposed to his error. Wow! When it comes to sins of the flesh, obviously all is forgiven and forgotten. But when it comes to not believing the Gospel, it will be uncovered. It’s amazing that Paul was the one to rebuke Peter: • Who walked with Jesus during His time on earth? Peter or Paul? Peter. • Who got saved first? Peter or Paul. Peter. • To whom did Jesus say, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah....on this rock I will build My church...”(Matthew 16:17-18) Peter or Paul? Peter. • Who preached on the day of Pentecost and 3000 people got saved? Peter or Paul? Peter. • Who got saved later? Peter or Paul? Paul. • Who was the persecutor of the church? Peter or Paul? Paul. Paul had such assurance of who he was in Christ as an apostle of grace that he confidently rebuked Peter, the most prominent apostle and the oldest apostle in the church at that time, for compromising the Gospel and walking in hypocrisy. Galatians 2:13 - And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. Wow. Paul condemns the hypocrisy of them all! For context: the early church celebrated what became known as “agape” (love) feasts where they would have dinner and then share in the Lord’s Supper together. It was sort of like a “pot luck” where everyone would bring food and they would fellowship together. If there were any poor among them, they would get a decent meal. Peter would share in these feasts and eat along with the Gentiles. You may recall that Peter at one time had a vision from God where he saw a sheet with all of the “unclean” animals on it being lowered from heaven and the voice from heaven telling Peter to Acts 10:13-15 - “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” By the direction of the Holy Spirit, Peter went from there to preach the Gospel to Cornelius and his family who were Gentiles. Peter said to them, Acts 10:35 - “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality... Through Peter the Lord began to break down some of the barriers between the Jews and Gentiles. Peter ate shrimp, lobster, and bacon with the Gentiles in his new-found freedom! But then the Judaizers came, and Peter was intimidated. Peter was trying to make the appearance to these men that he was keeping the law. So what’s the big deal about that? He withdrew from fellowshipping with the Gentiles. Peter, the oldest and most prominent apostle, with great influence succumbed to pressure, separated himself from those who were not law-keepers, and attracted other Jewish Christians (including Barnabas) to separate themselves also, thus causing division in the body. We see Peter falling back into the same type of vacillation he was famous for before the crucifixion when he said he would go with Jesus to prison and even to death, but then denied Jesus to a slave girl! The flesh is always with us, but we should never put confidence in the flesh. Thank God it is not who we are anymore! 91


Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

Galatians 2:14 - 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? Paul is saying, “Peter! You have been living in freedom with the Gentiles, and now are you trying to make the Gentiles live like the Jews just to impress these false brethren?! You have fallen back under the law! You have taken on the fear of man again!” Paul’s motto was “If I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) Hypocrisy is pretending to be what you are not. It’s when you are free, and you act like you are still in bondage. It’s when you are under grace, but you still act like you are under law.

2:15-21 Paul goes on to plead with Peter: Galatians 2:15-16 - 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. The cross is an offense to the flesh. The reason people reject pure grace is because they have to check all their best efforts, their investment in self-righteousness, and their reputations at the door. All that work that they did to “get close to God” and “get right with God” is worthless! They sound very noble when they say grace is dangerous and will cause people to go out and sin, but the real truth is that they don’t want to give control to the Holy Spirit. It’s simply too costly for them. Galatians 2:17 - But if, while se seek to be justified by Christ we ourselves also are found sinners is Christ therefor a minister of sin? Certainly not! Here is another place in Paul’s writings that he combats antinomianism (licentiousness and law-hating). Paul asks the question, “Doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin?” If Jesus removed the law, does that mean He’s leading us into sin? It puts the charge of heresy on Jesus Himself for anyone to say that we can lose our righteousness when we don’t obey the law! If you are accused of saying that sin is o.k. when you say that you are justified (made right with God) by faith in Christ alone, then you can say, “Hey, Jesus was charged with the same thing! And so was Paul!” You’re in good company. Galatians 2:18-19 - 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. Now we don’t live by the external accountability of the law. We live by the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the newness of life! (Romans 7:6) The Law was given through Moses to natural, fallen men whose identity was in the flesh with a soul that did not have the life of God inside. The Law was an exterior standard that demanded perfection and provided the accountability through the Aaronic priesthood and punishments - even death. The modus operandi of the Law was fear of punishment. Do good, get good...but do bad, GET BAD!

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

With the Law there is sin, accountability, and judgement. In fact, all religions have these three elements. You have an exterior accountability whose purpose it is to make sure that you have a healthy amount of the fear of punishment so that you will behave yourself. The law has its purpose in a fallen world. If accountability for sin and fear of judgment is taken away from the UNrighteous, the flesh will sin more. When the law was given on Mount Sinai, Moses said, Exodus 20:20 - “God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” Fear of judgment is what works to a certain degree in a fallen, natural world! That’s why we have judges and lawyers and police. To the degree that a society still has a conscience, the legal system works. For example, it’s still illegal to steal in America. If a person steals and gets caught, he will go to jail, and that protects the rest of us. The law is good for the unrighteous! However, the law was not made for a righteous man! (1 Timothy 1:9) The law - the external demands for righteousness on the flesh - was not made for the righteous person. It was not made for those who have been justified by Christ through faith in HIS finished work. Why? When Jesus died, He TOOK AWAY sin and FULFILLED the requirements of the law by being our spotless Lamb, and He RECEIVED the judgment that we deserved. John 1:29 - Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The sin has been taken away, and we have been cleansed! Now we believe and receive the free gift of salvation, and His righteousness is imparted to us. We are born again a new man, joined as one to His Spirit, and we become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) There is no sin in the new man that God has raised up in Christ! We are a NEW CREATION, the old has gone! There is no law to fulfill, and therefore, there is no judgment. If the sin has been removed, the law fulfilled, and the judgment served, what happens to the accountability? Does this mean that we are no longer required to obey the laws of the land? Of course not! If we kill someone, we’ll pay the consequences. If we live in America, we obey the laws and pay our taxes. We give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. God gives us everything we need for life and godliness in this world. (1 Peter 1:3) What we are talking about is a spiritual truth concerning being IN the world, but not OF it. We are talking about an inner transformation which has made us holy that results in an outward manifestation of holy living. External accountability - the law of God given to Moses - was removed by the cross and replaced with something FAR superior: the Spirit of God inside!! Love replaces law! Now we - the new creation that we are, the new creation with a new heart and a new spirit within us - WANTS TO! The religious are scared to death of this! Releasing people from sin, accountability, and judgment gives the religious no foundation for control! The whole multi-million dollar business of sin management and how-to-be-a-better-Christian-by-getting-rid-of-sin conferences, books, sermon series, etc, etc, etc, would go bankrupt if believers started living from the inside out! The religious in the church today are sounding the age old alarms by screaming, “If you remove the accountability (the law), Christians will sin more! Yes, we are saved by grace, but we need the safety net of the truth (their way of saying “law”) to give us the balance! We need the ‘fear of God’!”

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

What the religious do is redefine the fear of the Lord to make is the FEAR OF PUNISHMENT. But under the New Covenant of grace, there is no longer fear of punishment or judgment from God! Love has replaced fear! 1 John 4:17-18 - Love had been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. The fear of the Lord under the New Covenant of grace is the worship and honor of Him and HIs word above all other. His word is Jesus. His word is that He has removed our sin and joined Himself to us. His word is “Fear not! I am WITH you! Come to ME! Come boldly to My throne of mercy and grace as My very own children! I will never leave you nor forsake you! I am near! You are in Me and I am in you.” If we, the righteous, keep the “safety net” of the law, it is sin for us! (Galatians 2:18) Living by the law as a new creation in Christ is not of faith. (Galatians 3:12) Anything that is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23) That “safety net” must be cast out! It must be replaced with reliance and utter dependance on the Holy Spirit from within! Today, our safety net is GRACE!!! When our flesh fails us by sinning, we look to Him, and He whispers, “I love you. You are My beloved child. You are holy and set apart unto Me.” Then we see the lie of the power of sin that operates in our flesh for what it is, we repent (change our minds by setting them on things above where Christ is and where we are hidden in Him), and we walk in newness of life, bearing fruit to God. He who gave Himself FOR us, gives Himself TO us, and lives THROUGH us!! Galatians 2:20-21 - 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. Here in Paul’s plea to Peter and in his exhortation to all of the churches of Galatia is confirmation of the Gospel that we have learned in our study of Romans 3-8. It’s a good exercise to make this plea your own. Read Galatians 2:19-21 as if you are saying it yourself: Galatians 2:19-21, The Message - What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. May it never be that Christ died unnecessarily!! When we believe the Gospel of grace, we are exalting Jesus. Any other message points to man, and it is man-centered religion. May we never set aside the grace of God ever again!

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Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

Romans 7:6, NLT - But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. We should not tolerate any perversion of the Gospel. We should not listen to it, sit under it, read it, or submit to it. Why? Because it demeans our Lord Jesus. It devalues His precious blood. This preaching of a mixture of law and grace is nothing less than saying that Jesus died for nothing! A little leaven leavens the whole loaf. (Galatians 5:9) The Gospel is Jesus plus nothing!

3:1-5 Next we have Paul’s greatest recorded rebuke in the scriptures: Galatians 3:1 - O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? Here is Galatians 3:1 in the Message: Galatians 3:1, The Message - You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough. If we use the law today on believers, it leads to control and manipulation which is nothing more than witchcraft. Period. Paul was outraged with the Galatians for succumbing to it. Whenever Paul talks about “obeying the truth,” he's not talking about obeying the law. He’s referring to the “obedience of the faith.” (Acts 6:7, Romans 1:5, Romans 16:26) What is this obedience? To believe the Gospel. He pleads with them to return to the true Gospel that they received from him. Galatians 3:2 - This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? He’s asking, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit because you kept all the 10 Commandments? Or by faith in Jesus Christ alone?” Galatians 3:3 - Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Recall that “flesh” is the Greek word “sarx” and is speaking of self-effort. He’s asking, “Do you think you can add to what God did for you? Do you think that you can add to the righteousness of Jesus?!” People think that we start by faith, but then we have to keep our end of the bargain. They think like this: “Lord, I promise this next week I am going to faithfully pray an hour each morning. And, Lord, I believe on the basis of my promise that You’re going to bless me. I believe that after all that prayer, I am going to be SO righteous by the end of this week that the windows of heaven are just going to open right up over me!” So often we start by the Spirit and end up in the flesh. Galatians 3:4 - Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 95


Grace 101: Week 7, “By the Works of the Law or the Hearing of Faith?”

These Galatians had suffered great reproach and persecution for the sake of the Gospel, just as anyone should expect. But imagine living in that time when the Jews had the corner on religion and how severe the persecution must have been. They had suffered “so many things” to believe what they did and now they were caving in. Galatians 3:5 - Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you..... The Greek for “supplies” and “works” here is the continuous flow of the Spirit for miracles. This is the way it is supposed to be in the church!! But why don’t we see it?! Paul’s next question answers that question: Galatians 3:5, cont. ...does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? We don’t get miracles by DOING! Miracles flow from the Spirit by the hearing of faith! It’s so simple!! Many of us learned steps to how to “earn” miracles through our words of “faith.” But so often nothing happened. Why? Because our faith was in our faith. Faith became a work. Yes, we talked about Jesus and His blood, but only in the context of our formulas of faith. Faith was the bridge to Jesus, instead of Jesus being the bridge. Our faith became our law. We were trying to earn miracles by our obedience, but the Scriptures say that God does miracles by the “hearing of faith.” The “hearing of faith” [Galatians 3:5] is so important to God that He made it the means by which His Gospel is revealed. Romans 10:11-17 - For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12   For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13   For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 14   How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15   And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Paul says in verse 16, “They have not all OBEYED THE GOSPEL.” Then he tells us what obedience to the Gospel is by asking the question: “Lord, who HAS BELIEVED our report?” Obedience to the Gospel is believing it! If faith comes by hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ, then the method of delivery is the preaching of the Gospel. How foolish that must seem to the world. We are saved, healed, delivered, prospered, matured through something as simple as a person speaking the truth over us. 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 - Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21   For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save [sozo] those who believe. The truth is spoken, we choose to receive it, the eyes of our understanding are enlightened, and we are “sozo’ed!”

Copyright © Patricia Gunn 2013

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Grace 101, week 7, works of the law of the hearing of faith?