Viewing entries in
Study Series

Galatians | Week 6 | 6:1

Galatians | Week 6 | 6:1

In Galatians 6, Paul continues to flesh out what really counts. He has repeated his point of justification by faith, through grace, in Christ alone. There was a hinge point in the last verse of chapter 5 where we are told what really matters - faith working through love. It’d be a lot easier to simply trust my righteous deeds!

Love, as God defines, isn’t mere emotion. In 6:1, we get a glimpse of the tougher side of love. 

Galatians 6 [1] Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

As you see your brother walking into sin, go after him. The natural mind wants to gossip about him, or even worse drive him deeper into sin and hiding through our malicious speech. Our restoration should not be categorized by harshness. Rather, we must keep a spirit of gentleness. When dealt with harshly, sin has a habit of going into hiding. It gets driven underground, and away from the life giving light of the gospel, and the love and truth that flows from biblical community.

Here is the most difficult part - what if we actually do this? Instead of viewing our brother’s sin as an opportunity for comparison and self-righteousness, what if we sit down for that tough conversation? Instead of gossip and slander, what if we reserve our words for a direct and gentle restoration? 

The Lord also points us to our own transgressions. We’re instructed to watch ourselves also. The Spirit knows our hearts, and the challenges that come from lovingly pointing out the sin of others. We make ourselves vulnerable to others as we have tough conversations. Let’s watch ourselves, and the sin which so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Galatians | Week 5 | 5:7-12

Galatians | Week 5 | 5:7-12

In verse 6, Paul points us to what really matters - faith working through love. Paul points us repeatedly to faith and Christ's work as the sole basis for our salvation. This is absolutely true. However, this emphasis on faith is not meant to point us away from the effort that results from that faith. A faith that is real will actually do something. Paul says that our faith works through love.

One key phrase that I want us to remember is "grace-driven effort." Grace-driven effort is our response to God's love toward us. God has shown us His grace, and we respond with our will and effort BECAUSE of what He has done for us. We do not obey the commands of God IN ORDER TO GET His love. We obey because we already have God's love. I understand that this can be a difficult distinction to discern. However, honesty before the Spirit and others with our motives will show us what is true in our hearts.

Verse 12 is a humorous/figurative approach to understanding the works and faith tension. Paul says that if really believe that are outward actions are the basis for our justification, why in the world would be stop at mere circumcision? Paul says that those leading the Galatian church astray should go all the way and "emasculate themselves." Frankly, Paul says that they should cut it all off. (Don't get mad at me, it's in the Bible!)

Again, I ask you to consider what you are pointing to as your defense before God. It is absolutely anything other than Jesus? Are you pressing into Christ, and Christ alone as the basis for your hope? When things go wrong in your life, to whom or to what do you run? Jesus, and Jesus alone can provide hope, satisfaction, peace, comfort, and ultimately, salvation.  

Galatians | Week 1 | 1: 1-5

Galatians | Week 1 | 1: 1-5

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.

These were the words penned from General Eisenhower’s Order of the Day on June 5, 1944. As the soldiers and sailors geared up for D-day, this letter was distributed just hours before they landed in Normandy.

Letters are powerful. In a day of quick communication via text and social media, we know that the written letter provides a sense of urgency and earnestness. In the New Testament, a series of books comprise "the letters." These books shared encouragement and correction from the apostles to churches and individuals.

Galatians is one of those letters. Paul write the letter "to the churches of Galatia." He doesn't write to one specific local gathering, but rather to all of the churches of Galatian peoples. We need to have the same kind of Kingdom vision that Paul had. Northside church is a church, and not the church. We lock arms with like-minded churches with our dollars, prayers, and support in order to do more together.

Paul writes as an apostle. The word apostle means "one who is sent." Jesus chose Twelve Apostles for a unique, unrepeatable role in the history of redemption. In the broadest sense, yes, we are sent by Jesus to a broken world to share the gospel. However, in biblical terms, apostles are those disciples (or learners) called personally by Jesus to establish the first churches. John Piper has more helpful words on the topic of apostleship.

Paul's message first and foremost is one of grace and peace (verse 3). Before Paul delivers a sharp correction of an error in the church, he wants the church to know that his message is one of grace and peace. What a fine example to us! Whatever kind of correction we deliver - whether to an employee, friend, child, brother, teacher, coach, or supervisor, we must have a perspective of grace and peace. Our words should be charitable.

Ultimately, Paul's message is one rooted in the gospel of Jesus - the one who "gave himself for our sins to deliver us... (verse 4)." Paul's writing of the letter, as well as his entire ministry, was one that sought to bring glory to God (verse 5). As we follow Jesus, our lives should be for the glory of Christ. Singleness, marriage, parenthood, work, rest, recreation, finances, speech, and all of life is an opportunity to glorify the Lord.

Scripture Memory

[10] For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

(Galatians 1:10 ESV)