Galatians 6 The conclusion Grace through faith alone
All the way through Galatians Paul has been pushing the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve heard a passionate Paul pour out his heart. The love of God is a free gift to us received by grace through faith alone—nothing more and nothing less.
Has God’s word taken root in our hearts? Are we chasing after God’s heart? Can we see the fruits? How do we know?
A Reminder from Paul’s opening words We’re not looking for perfection! 3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.1:3-5
Paul reminds us that God our Father offers us grace and peace because Christ died for our sins. He rescues us time and time again. We glory in the freedom he gives us from our sins.
Salvation--not a one off experience • God rescues us again and again when we get it wrong and pour our hearts out to him. • For those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ, we know ourselves as creatures made in the image of God, loved beyond measure, a forgiven, redeemed people, freed from our sins. • If you don’t yet know the Lord, then we hope and pray that God’s eternal word will take root in your heart too so we can all glory in Christ.
11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand! 12Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh.
14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whichthe world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. 17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
In this passage, Paul summarises all that has come before. • His message is clear—there are two different mindsets and we have a choice to make. • One mindset glories in the mercy of God and the forgiveness he offers us; the other goes its own way thinking it can work everything out for itself—but no mercy and no peace from God
Paul contrasts two different mindsetsWe have a choice! God’s kingdom In one nail pierced hand is the mercy of God’s forgiveness for all our sins and the peace of God for our eternal enjoyment. The world In the other is every desirable thing the world can offer us--£500000, popularity, business savvy, our own way, (health?) —but no mercy from God and no final peace with him.
God’s Spirit is here with us this morning “Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.” v 16 God’s mercy and peace belong to those whose lives conform to a certain rule. Only a foolish delusion keeps us from wanting God’s mercy and peace, therefore we should be very eager to know what this rule is.
The mind of Christ accepts God’s promise of peace and mercy. • The mind of Christ chooses God’s way eager to learn the rule about how we can live together with him and each other. • When Paul speaks of a certain rule this is what he means—not a legal rule but a way of living together with him and each other—and Paul is eager that we know what it is. • So today we ask, do we know the rule, the way of truth? Are we eager for it?
When the old mindset is crucified with Christ we become new creations. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.“Gal 2:20 Faith working itself out in love "But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.“Gal 6:14-15
A rescued life of love and forgiveness means: • our old life of doing stuff our own way is finished. • Our own unrestrained desires are gone. • Instead, by God’s grace through faith we are working out our lives in love. • We are glorying in the Cross of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection and nothing else matters.
The mindset of the new creation does not just agree that Christ died for sinners; It glories in the cross. It boasts in the wonder of the cross. It cherishes the benefits of the cross. The cross is the pride and joy of the new creation. If we choose Jesus then we are a new creation raised from the dead--a new birth John 3:3—newness of life (Rom 6:4)
There’s no more darkness, guilt, shame, ugliness, destruction! • We cherish, boast, take pride in the joy of knowing ourselves as Christ’s new creations. • We have a new life. • We enjoy being in God’s presence forever and ever. Hallelujah! • And Paul repeats this message that has run throughout the whole letter.
Paul compares Greek hedonism with Pharisaic legalism--anything goes or a set of rules that are impossible to keep. Sound familiar? • Ravished by the love of Christ, mastered by it, held captive by the crucified Son of God Paul says that both are garbage “I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” Phil 3:8 --even though he bears on his body the marks of Jesus. Gal 6:17
Our society is often called hedonistic. It means the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. • My pleasure comes at someone else’s expense. • I’m so caught up in my own life that I don’t even think about it--like an ostrich with its head in the sand—never really able or willing to see the impact of our actions on others
Legalism– humanly made rules • When we can’t keep them we find ourselves cast out, excluded, marginalised. • In our society--the “beautiful” people competing to reach the end of the rainbow first. • Paul says that both hedonism and legalism are garbage—rubbish, trash, debris. • So sure is Paul of God’s love that he has learned to live with the jeers and taunts of others—the marks of Christ on his body.
As far as the unbelieving world is concerned, a life devoted to a crucified Christ is a throw-away life. "We have become, and are now, the refuse of the world, the off scouring of all things." 1 Cor 4:13 Another way of saying that the world is crucified to me and I to the world is to say the world has become refuse to me and I have become refuse to the world.
Christ Exalters expect and accept persecution from a world that crucified Christ (5:11). know that for Christ to be king, they must die and a brand new creation of humility and Christ-reliance has to replace pride and self-reliance. Glory in the cross Self Exalters fear persecution and rejection from men more than they cherish the cross of Christ (6:12). regard outward forms (like circumcision) as the essence of religious life (6:13). remove the stumbling block of the cross by ignoring its implications.
SEE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I WRITE.... The Choice is ours
We can say its my own life or my life belongs to God. • My own way and all the pain that comes with it, my happiness at someone else’s expense, • my life and I couldn’t care less about the consequences or a life in Christ of peace, mercy, forgiveness and love. • The gentle rule of the spirit of God or the hard unbending rule of the unbelieving world. What is it going to be?
Renewed minds New creations Christ exalters Or Self exalters Old worn out garbage
S.W.A.L.K. Choose life in all its fullness today