This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Galatians 3:1-14 The Curse of the Law Does Not Lead to Salvation
Galatians 3:1-14, the apostle Paul
is chastising the Galatians in love for wandering away from the truth of God’s
Word. He calls them foolish (or having a lack of wisdom) for living by the
world’s rules instead of living by God’s rules.
verses 2-5, Paul asks the Galatians a series of rhetorical questions that were
designed to cause them to return to the foundation of their faith-the receiving
of the Holy Spirit. They had already received the Holy Spirit at the moment
when they believed in Jesus. Any Christian who believes that he/she does not
have the Holy Spirit is either untaught or unsaved-and the Galatians were
neither. The Holy Spirit is every believer’s unmistakeable proof of salvation
and greatest guarantee of eternal glory.
Galatians 3:3, the word “perfect” means mature, not sinless. Spiritual maturity
and salvation both come from faith in Jesus. Faith changes the motivation of
our hearts from seeking to be acceptable to Jesus through our deeds to wanting
to live for him.
Galatians were persecuted when they broke away from the Old Testament law. If
they returned to following the law, their persecution would have been
meaningless in the eyes of Jesus. The law could not be obeyed perfectly. If one
law was broken, all of the laws were broken. Only one person obeyed the law
in the law were proud of being Abraham’s seed. Abraham was justified when he
had faith in God and God’s promise to give him numerous descendants. Abraham
was taught in Genesis 12:1-3 that salvation was for everyone. Gentiles did not
have to become Jews in order to be saved, and that was contrary to what the religious
keepers of the law-namely, the Scribes and Pharisees-were teaching. If the Gentiles
had to become Jews in order to be saved, that would have been an example of
salvation by deeds, and Paul said that was not the truth of the Gospel. Deeds
can only be a sign of our salvation. They are not the way to salvation. The
only deed that earned our salvation was Christ’s death on the cross.
of us know as Christians that God works in mysterious ways-ways that are
different from our own. We see this in Scripture and in our own lives, but we
refuse to learn from experiences that we don’t like. When we refuse to learn,
we have to repeat the process. God uses the bad experiences of our lives to
teach us something. We have to learn from life’s difficulties, including those
that are caused by our belief that we have to earn our salvation.
gift of the Holy Spirit-our salvation- depends on faith. Our supernatural
Christian life shows God’s supernatural power. Faith is not a deed that makes
us righteous. It unites us with Christ, who is our righteousness. In other
words, we are made righteous by faith in Christ. We have to submit to God’s
grace by faith and not by deeds. If we want to be justified or declared
righteous before God, we have to place our faith in Jesus and his sinless
perfection. He bears our rightful curse and is our righteousness. He paid our
sin debt on the cross. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves-he
restored our relationship with God. Through the cross our sins are buried and
forgiven. Everyone who puts his/her faith in Jesus receives the promise of the
Holy Spirit and becomes spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham.
was justified by God not because of his deeds, but because of his faith.
Gentile believers were made sons and daughters of God and sons and daughters of
Abraham because of their faith. The law and the deeds it required could not
make people children of God-only faith in God could. The law was not God’s way
of salvation. The only way of salvation is by our faith. Faith gives us life,
but the law leads to death because it has to be obeyed perfectly-and humans are
not perfect. Failure to obey the law
leads to a curse on those who insist on living under the law, and that curse
eventually leads to death. Jesus voluntarily submitted himself to the curse of
the law so that we could live without the curse. Our redemption is in the
fact that the cross was set in a sinful world and that Christ lived and died
outside of the world means that there is no person or place outside the domain
of his powerful suffering love.The
cross shows that God is free to justify the whole world and everyone who lives
in it. God’s justification does not depend on human readiness, achievement or
self–attained merit. It depends on God’s grace alone. Unconditional love can
change our lives. God loves us so much and so unconditionally that he sent
Jesus to free us from the curse of the law. God’s sovereign hand has given us
the spiritual sight we need to see joy in great and small things. We are less
and less bound to our own impulses and desires. We will be free to show God’s
love by serving others. Relying on our faith comes with blessings and the power
struck a decisive blow against the power of evil to reclaim what is his. He
restored our relationship with him. The presence of the Holy Spirit is the
start of a new age. It points to the future, and it also points to courage, strength
and power that we need to live as Christians in our sin-filled world. In order
for us to receive this faith and let it work in our lives, we must be open to
the Gospel, welcome it and yield our lives to Christ. As promise-making people
of God, we can promise only those things God has promised us. We have to live
as if God’s kingdom has arrived. We are to bring the kingdom a little more
fully each day by witnessing to others about the good news of the gospel.
David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood,
TN: Worthy Publishing, 2013)
& Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s
Commentary Series, Vol. 31: Galatians/Ephesians/Philippians/Colossians/Philemon
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982)
C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life
Principles Bible, NKJV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2005)
Bible. Part of Wordsearch 10 Bible software package.