"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" Consequences Of Trusting In The Law (5:2-4) INTRODUCTION 1. The churches of Galatia were troubled by those who taught... a. Christians needed to keep the Law of Moses b. Men needed to be circumcised as commanded by the Law -- A problem that plagued many churches in the beginning
- cf. Ac 15:1-5 2. Paul presented powerful arguments in defense of the gospel of Christ... a. Personal argument - the Galatians' own experience - Ga 3:1-5 b. Scriptural argument - the testimony of the Old Testament - Ga 3: 6-25 c. Practical argument - how one becomes a son and heir of God
- Ga 3:26-4:7 d. Sentimental argument - appealing to their relationship with Paul - Ga 4:8-20 e. Allegorical argument - using Hagar and Sarah as an illustration - Ga 4:21-31 -- Thus Paul sought to reason with his brethren in the churches of Galatia [Then, with apostolic authority (cf. Ga 5:2-4), Paul testifies to the "Consequences Of Trusting In The Law". The consequences are grave, and should be considered seriously by every Christian...] I. YOU WILL NOT PROFIT FROM CHRIST A. "IF YOU BECOME CIRCUMCISED..." 1. This should be understood in its context 2. Paul did not condemn circumcision in every case - cf. Ac 16:3 3. He opposed it when done with the idea it was necessary for justification - cf. Ga 2:3-5 -- Paul is dealing with those teaching that circumcision was necessary for salvation B. "CHRIST WILL PROFIT YOU NOTHING..." 1. What a terrifying thought! 2. The blessings that Christ provides will not be theirs; for example: a. The forgiveness of sins through His blood - cf. Ep 1:7 b. The gift of the Spirit as a guarantee of their inheritance - cf. Ep 1:13-14 c. The greatness of God's power toward those who believe - cf. Ep 1:19 d. The privilege of being fellow-citizens and members of God's family - cf. Ep 2:19-22 -- Indeed, all the blessings that Jesus offers will not benefit them! [Not only will Christ not profit any who are circumcised in order to be saved...] II. YOU WILL BE INDEBTED TO THE WHOLE LAW A. "EVERY MAN WHO BECOMES CIRCUMCISED..." 1. Again, this should be understood in its context 2. Paul makes it clear that the consequences affect everyone a. Not just to "you" (if you become circumcised) b. But to "every man" (to every man who becomes circumcised) 3. Paul makes it clear that he writes with great solemnity a. He already wrote "Indeed I, Paul..." - Ga 5:2 b. Now he adds "And I testify again..." - Ga 5:3 -- Paul's statements are to be taken seriously, for they are in the form of an oath B. "HE IS A DEBTOR TO KEEP THE WHOLE LAW..." 1. "He binds himself to obey all the Law of Moses" - Barnes 2. Which placed one under an insupportable yoke - cf. Ac 15:10 a. The Law put those who did not obey it under a curse
- cf. Ga 3:10 b. Those who stumbled in just one point were guilty of all - cf. Jm 2:10-11 c. And the blood of bulls and goats was inadequate - cf. He 10: 1-4 -- Such a person has truly become entangled with a yoke of bondage (Ga 5:1) [The apostle continues to describe the consequences of trusting in the Law for their salvation...] III. YOU WILL BE ESTRANGED FROM CHRIST A. "YOU WHO ATTEMPT TO BE JUSTIFIED BY LAW..." 1. Those seeking salvation on the basis of keeping the Law of Moses 2. An effort on the part of many in Israel a. Not just those who were Jewish Christians - cf. Ac 15:1,5 b. But also Israelites who did not believe in Christ
- cf. Ro 9:31-32; 10:1-4 -- This would apply to anyone who seeks to be saved through the Law of Moses B. "YOU HAVE BECOME ESTRANGED FROM CHRIST..." 1. As expressed by various translations: a. "severed from Christ" (ESV, NASB) b. "alienated from Christ" (NIV) c. "have cut yourselves off from Christ" (NRSV) d. "Christ is become of no effect" (KJV) 2. Similar to warnings given by Jesus Himself to His disciples a. To those who do not bear fruit - Jn 15:1-6 b. To those had lost their first love - Re 2:4-5 c. To those who were lukewarm - Re 3:15-16 -- Note carefully: both Jesus and Paul were addressing Christians! [The consequences for Christians who trust in the Law of Moses for salvation is then stated most ominously...] IV. YOU WILL FALL FROM GRACE A. "YOU WHO ATTEMPT TO BE JUSTIFIED BY LAW..." 1. Again, Paul is addressing Christians who felt that circumcision and the Law were necessary 2. But by the Law no one can actually be justified - cf. Ro 3:20 -- Thus their efforts are destined for failure B. "YOU HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE..." 1. This is one of the clearest statement of the possibility of apostasy a. Paul is warning Christians b. One cannot fall from something if they were never there c. Those in a state of grace were in danger of falling from it d. If there is no danger of apostasy, Paul's statement is meaningless 2. This is just one of many passages that warn of the danger of apostasy a. Jesus warned His disciples of being cut off - Jn 15:1-6 b. Paul warned the Gentile Christians in Rome - Ro 11:19-22 c. The epistle to the Hebrews is filled with many warnings
- He 2:1; 3:12-15; 4:1,11; 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 12:15 d. Peter also left many warnings - 2Pe 2:1-3,20-22; 3:17 -- The security of the believer (Jn 10:28-29) is for those who remain faithful to Christ; otherwise, they will not receive their inheritance - cf. Re 2:10c CONCLUSION 1. How terrible are the consequences of trusting in the Law of Moses for salvation...! a. Christ will be of no profit b. Indebted to a Law that cannot save c. Severed from Christ d. Fallen from grace 2. Christians may not be tempted to trust in the Law of Moses today; but we still must take care... a. Not to trust in ourselves, nor in any law or religion of man b. Otherwise the consequences will be the same! 3. How much better, to remain faithful to Jesus Christ, and enjoy... a. The blessings of salvation and sanctification that Jesus offers - cf. Ep 1:3 b. A law whose commandments are not burdensome
- cf. 1Co 9:21; 1Jn 5:3 c. Union with Christ, with the life and strength such communion offers - cf. Jn 15:4-5 d. Standing in the grace of God - cf. Ro 5:1-2 Are you placing your trust in Jesus Christ by heeding His gospel and the words of His apostles...?