"Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.” Galatians 4:1-7 NLT
We are no longer slaves to the law. We are children of God!!! We call Him Abba (Aramaic for Papa, Daddy). We do not have to be afraid of Him. He has adopted us through His Son Jesus. We are heirs to His kingdom. We were slaves to the law because of sin, but since we have received Jesus Christ as our pardon we are set free. We are no longer called slaves, we are called sons. As a son, we are free men. The reason we obey Him now isn't out of lawful obligation, rather out of our desire. Our spiritual genetic makeup has been transformed. We are no longer the same.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
Since we are sons and not slaves, let us accept our freedom and use it to honor our Father's greatness.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I accept and recognize Your amazing grace that has birthed me into Your family. As Your child, help me live to honor You, not out of obligation to a contract, but out of love for You as my Abba.
“Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” Galatians 3:23-29 NLT
Whether we are Jew or Gentile, Methodist or Baptist, Pentecostal or Presbyterian, or any other classification, we are children of God through Jesus Christ. We cannot depend on our labels and associations. We are not children of God because of our religious affiliations and traditions. If we are not trusting in God's grace through Jesus Christ to adopt us and make us His children, then we are nothing more than wolves in sheep clothing. We can attend church, learn all the "church" lingo and rhetoric, but if we are not born again through Jesus Christ we are just as lost as any other sinner. God is not impressed with our rituals and ceremonies. What pleases God is when we submit to His Son Jesus Christ, receive His salvation, and allow Him to do for us what we cannot accomplish on our own. Once we do this, then we are poised and ready to grow as His disciples.
Are you truly a disciple of Christ or are you simply a "church goer" who finds their security in their observance of certain religious traditions? Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't make church attendance and participation an important part of our lives. I believe we should. When we accept Jesus as our Lord we become God's children. God's children are part of a family. That family is His body, the church. We need to find our place in that body. However, we cannot depend on our church attendance to save us. We got to the family table by birth. We want to serve Him now as our Father. The reason we do anything should simply be because we are God's children through a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. Anything else is simply religion.
“Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham. Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 3:19-22 NLT
This says it clearly!! No need for commentary on this.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I thank You for Your marvelous salvation through Jesus Christ my Lord! Your love has done for me what I could not do. Help me love You in return by living my life to please and honor You.
“Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ. What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.” Galatians 3:15-18 NASB
God made a covenant with Abraham all the way back in Genesis 12 and 13 that He would bless his seed. Through the loins of Abraham came Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was a premature act of the flesh. Isaac was the seed of promise. Through Isaac came the lineage of Christ. Christ was the seed God was prophesying of. In Christ Jesus the sins of the people would be atoned. All the way back to Abraham God was setting in motion the plan of salvation. The law was given 430 years later to Moses. The law wasn't given to save us. It was given to hold us in protective custody until the power and penalty of sin could be put to death. Once the price was paid, and the enemy who was seeking our death was defeated, we could be released into complete freedom. Satan, sin, and his minions have been defeated in Jesus Christ. We are now free to live without fear of his threats. Jesus is the Victor!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me to live free because You have defeated Satan and the sin that held me in slavery. You have released me from this bondage. I am now a free man!! Thank You Jesus!!!
“But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:10-14 NLT
Quoting from Deuteronomy 27:26, Habakkuk 2:4, Leviticus 18:5, and Deuteronomy 21:23 Paul makes the case that anyone who attempts to keep the law is cursed because the law says that you must keep every regulation. No one in the whole world (past, present, or future), except Jesus, could keep every expectation of the law. Jesus is the complete and finished work of salvation.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I trust fully and confidently in Jesus Christ Your Son as my Lord and Savior! Through His finished work I have the Holy Spirit now living inside me. Praise His Holy Name!!!
“In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.” Galatians 3:6-9 NLT
Using Abraham as an example of faith, Paul states the fact that being made right with God has always been by faith. Abraham lived before the law of Moses was given. Citing Genesis 15:6 (Galatians 3:6), Paul makes the case that God imparts His righteousness to those who exercise faith in Him. God has always been looking for those who have genuine trust in Him. Faith isn't an acknowledgment of God's existence, it is confidence in who He is and what He can do. Hebrews 11:1 and 6 say: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” NLT
We are called children of Abraham, not children of Moses. The reason is simple- we are people of faith, not law. The law was given to establish social civility and stability, to establish moral boundaries, and to set in order the ceremonies by which the children of Israel could approach God. Without the regulations of the law, man was left to suffer the total depravity that sin had brought. Since God could not reside in man any longer because of his sin, the law was a schoolmaster to escort us to the place where we would acknowledge God's Holiness and our utter sinfulness. The law could never save man from his condition, it could only give him a temporary means of interaction with God. These laws were written on stone and papyrus. God wanted His character and Holiness written on our hearts. The written law would never accomplish that. Through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ we are cleansed from sin. This places us in right standing with God (justification). Then, and only then, can the Holy Spirit come to reside in the body of the believer. The Holy Spirit is God in us. He is the person and presence of God in the believer. He is the law of God in our hearts. We do not have to strive to keep a regulation, we simply desire to please God because of our relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit helps us understand and obey the things of righteousness, He convicts us when we sin, He comforts us when we are hurting, and He assures of of God's grace, peace, and love.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I thank you for loving me so much that You refused to leave me in darkness. Through Your Son Jesus I now walk in the light. By Your Holy Spirit, help me live a life honorable to Your Holy Name!
“Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.” Galatians 3:1-5 NLT
The Holy Spirit is imparted to the believer only under one name: JESUS!!! We do not receive the person and presence of God into our lives by keeping a set of regulations. We receive the presence of God, through the person of the Holy Spirit, by faith in Jesus Christ. The Father acknowledges no other means of reception and impartation. As the hymn "In Christ Alone" says:
"In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day, Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand."
(Music by: Keith Getty ; Lyrics by Stuart Townsend)
I couldn't say it better. Let these words resound in your heart today!
“But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” Galatians 2:17-21 NLT
Simply stated, Christ died in our place as the perfect, sinless sacrifice because we were incapable of perfectly keeping the law of Moses. Only He (Jesus) was sinless and capable. Now that He has atoned for our transgressions, we are able to come to God. We do not accept God's payment for our sin and then try to pay more on a debt that has been satisfied. It is done!! We are free and clear of the debt that once enslaved us to its oppressive burden. We are free!!
Now that we are free, we must act free. God wants to see us dance in the glorious splendor of His grace. He joys in watching His children bask in the glory of His presence. He's glad we are home. One thing: May we never forget that His grace found us in our dark, sinful rebellion and brought us home again. Because of Him, we can enjoy the indescribable joy of knowing that we are safely home.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I want to tell You how thankful I am that You sought me out and found me. You rescued me from my darkness and took me home where I belong. Thank you Abba (Papa, Daddy)!!!
“But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”” Galatians 2:11-16 NLT
Paul had to confront Peter for his hypocrisy. Peter had allowed the Judaizers (those who taught that one must adhere to the law of Moses and be circumcised) to influence him to no longer eat with the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). For fear of being criticized by the Judaizers and the Jewish community, Peter played the role of chameleon (one who changes behavior and/or opinion according to the situation). Peter wasn't alone in his conduct. Even Barnabas and other Jewish believers got caught up in this behavior. This disgusted Paul. These leaders were supposed to hold the line with consistent conduct of the new life in Christ. It didn't matter whether you were Jew or Gentile. All had sinned and fallen short of God's grace (see Romans 3:23). All needed God's grace.
Peter knew better and so did Barnabas. Their behavior influenced others. This had to be rebuked. Paul, with unabated determination, withstood Peter to his face concerning the matter. Paul wasn't trying to humiliate him, he was confronting him for the sake of the truth (the gospel of grace). The fact was, and still is, that we cannot, and will not save ourselves by observing any religious law!
When false doctrine infiltrates the ranks of the New Testament Church, it is time for rebuke and reproof. We must never abandon the true gospel. Only Jesus can save us. We will never be saved by keeping any regulation. Not matter what our affiliations are with respect to the traditions we were raised in, the religious background we have, or what our personal ideology may be, the scriptures teach that there is only One way of salvation- JESUS!!!
Let us dispense of any nonsense that would try to influence us otherwise.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, solidify me in the simple, but yet profound, truth that Jesus is the only way of salvation. Help me to never allow any other doctrine to influence me. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand!!
Rev. Curtis Norris