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Called to Freedom

Galatians VII: Lawbreakers

Galatians 2:17-19

February 10, 2013


SCRIPTURE READING: Gal. 2:15-19 (Brandi Thrall)

Someone said that Christianity is the BEST RELIGION for encouraging MORALITY; I disagree. In fact, the Gospel is frequently used to encourage sin.

* That is the ACCUSATION Paul is responding to today.


So catching us up from last week: Paul introduced the KEY IDEA of the entire book:

Galatians 2:16a ...a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

We are not JUSTIFIED – declared not guilty, made moral, and accepted into God’s family... OBSERVING the LAW – doing all of the good stuff we are supposed to do to be obedient to God...

...but by FAITH in Jesus Christ – not simply mentally agreeing but changing your “power source” from what you can do to what God can do, relying and depending totally on Jesus.

* That is the basics of the Gospel in one line.


This week Paul answers the BIG OBJECTION to the Gospel. It is still the objection to the Gospel: If we really believe that, won’t we go off the deep end and START SINNING a lot?

* Throughout history, many have used grace as PERMISSION to sin.

I have heard people make very ungodly decisions, and in the MIDST of their SIN say, “I know God will forgive me just like I will forgive my kids.”

* In my own life I haven’t taken HOLINESS seriously because “God will forgive me.”

Q How often have YOU done that?

Is Christianity is the BEST RELIGION for encouraging morality? Legalists are more moral: JW’s have a powerful volunteer base. Mormons give way more money.

Q Does that mean the Gospel doesn’t work?

Galatians 2:17 “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

Absolutely not. Great answer Paul. Care to elaborate on that?

Basically, Paul says there is TWO WAYS we can respond to the fact that problem of the Gospel seeming to promoting sin:


The first, incorrect response is to try to TURN BACK to justification by the law:

Galatians 2:18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker.

Q WHAT was it that Paul has DESTROYED?

Salvation by obeying the law.

Q HOW could be attempt to REBUILD it?

Reverting back to the law. This is what I mean by responding to sin with more rules:

When something bad happen in our COUNTRY, Congress reflexively passes new laws.

When someone sins in the CHURCH we try to turn back to the law and rules.

When something bad happens in our HOME, we make new rules.

When we fail PERSONALLY (EG: DIET) we look to rules.

Q But does that work?


You can add all the laws and rules you want to, but they won’t FIX the HEART. If someone wants to disobey, they can.

* EG: Reasonable precautions against ADULTERY and PORN, yet if I really wanted to, there would be ways around it.

Returning to the law is a FEEL GOOD SOLUTION that does nothing to fix the problem because the problem is inside of us. You can never prefect the rules so that they will prevent ALL PROBLEMS.

* I know of only one place that runs effectively on rules to prevent any misdeeds – PRISON. But think of the freedom lost.

I am not saying rules are USELESS, they restrain evil in many ways, but they are always a second best solution and they usually end up INHIBITING GOOD things as well as bad.


Q So what’s the RIGHT ANSWER to grace seeming to promoting sin?

Galatians 2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

This seems kind of strange, but here is what Paul is saying: The law itself was NEVER MEANT to make us HOLY (see chapter 3), rather to GUIDE us toward justification by faith in Christ.

* So by LEAVING the law BEHIND we are in fact doing exactly what we are supposed to do with it.

Christ has not LED us into SIN, but his cross has revealed to us the depth of our own DEPRAVITY.

* The PURPOSE of the law was to lead us TO CHRIST and then we can die to the law because we live for God.

That is our goal, living for God, NO LONGER CONSTRAINED by the RULES and REGULATIONS – those are the means to the end:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

When we live for God, the MAIN THING is no longer what WE DO, but who he is making us to BE. As the FRUIT of the SPIRIT fills us up more and more and we need the law LESS and LESS.

* You may need to draw a LINE on the BACK SEAT to keep your kids from fighting, but you look forward to when they get along.


Q But what if we STILL NEED the LINE in our back seat? What about this mean time while we need help?

It is vital to understand what the LAW CAN and CANNOT DO. Some people believe the OT law has NO PLACE in our Christian life, yet Jesus, Paul, and all the apostles quote from it and use it.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Over the next couple weeks, we are going to take a break in Galatians and spend time in PSALMS. I believe we need both the OT and NT.

And I especially love Psalms because it is all about EXPERIENCING DOCTRINE, not knowing it.”All of the doctrine of the NT can be found in the Psalms.”

First you need to know what the law (OT and NT!) cannot do:

1. The law cannot get us any CLOSER to God.

2. The law cannot make us HOLIER – that is internal.

3. The law cannot EMPOWER us to obey.

But as Romans 15:4, (as well as the practice of the apostles) shows us, the LAW is still VERY VALUABLE. Christ doesn’t make the law useless, but changes it from our master to servant.

* Please text Sunday School Teachers ; service is almost over

So here are some of the ways the law serves us:

1. It shows us our NEED for God until we know it without the law.

2. It shows us what is BROKEN in us (like an X-RAY) until we are wise enough to know it for ourselves.

3. It provides stories of ENCOURAGEMENT and WARNINGS.

4. It shows us what PLEASES GOD.

The only way we can have a PROPER RELATIONSHIP with the law is to DIE to it. Kind of like not being able to have a healthy relationship with your parents till you moved out.


But it doesn’t end there. The point of the passage is NOT dying to the law, it is LIVING for God:

Galatians 2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

The solution to preventing grace from leading to sin, is not “bring BACK the RULES,” but “that I might LIVE for GOD.” In the Greek, it can either mean “FOR GOD” or “BY GOD,” both are meant.

* The response to “CHEAP GRACE” is not more law, but more of God – more FAITH, more DEPENDENCE, more LOVE.

* Our inability to keep the law, every infraction, every sin is meant to point us to GRACE, to RELYING on God.


Here is another way of looking at it: When ever SATAN successfully TEMPTS us to sin, whenever be bring sin into our own LIFE or into the CHURCH...

* Fail to love our spouse, respond in anger...

...Satan will try to do as MUCH DAMAGE as possible through TWO STRATEGIES:

1. Destroy as many people as possible through the SIN.

2. Get us to OVER REACT with LEGALISM and renewed effort to “rebuild what was torn down” and DEPEND on OURSELVES.

That’s a pretty good strategy. We sin, he wins. We try to stop sinning, he wins. There is only ONE WAY to beat him at his game:

* Allow God to use every SIN to drive you DEEPER into his grace, deeper into FAITH and RELYING on him.

And the only reason we can do this is because we are assured of his acceptance and love.


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