Galatians: In Christ Alone
by Marlin Caddell
November 23, 2016, 6:00pm
Since this is the final week of the Galatians series, let’s go through the SparkNotes version of what Paul has been telling us this whole time.
1. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Every part of this sentence is crucial to understanding how we are saved.
— Grace alone. Salvation is an undeserved gift that God gives us (so that we can’t boast, Ephesians 2:1-10). He shows grace to undeserving sinners like us!
— Faith alone. We receive this unmerited free gift of grace by faith (believing and fully trusting in Christ). Faith itself is a gift from God!
— Christ alone. We rest and trust in Christ’s completed work, applied on our behalf. Christ lived the completely sinless life we couldn’t live; died in our place on the cross (taking the full wrath of God on our behalf); and triumphantly rose from the dead (conquering sin and death).
2. We don’t add anything to our salvation through works.
Since salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, there is nothing that we can “do” to earn salvation or anything we have to add to it to perfect it. That is Paul’s whole argument in Galatians. If we have to add our own work to salvation, it makes Christ’s death meaningless (Galatians 2:21). In Galatia, the argument was over adding circumcision to Christ’s work. In our day, it could be a number of works or behaviors that we think will put us in right standing with God.
Again, the idea of cosmic scales is FALSE, FALSE, FALSE. We don’t get weighed to determine whether our good exceeds our bad. We already know how that would end up anyway. We are measured, not by our works, but whether we have put our faith in Christ’s perfect work.
3. The true believer in Christ will see the fruit of the Holy Spirit working out in their lives.
Remember, when we trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us and begins a lifelong transformation process to make us more like Christ (Romans 8:26-30, Ephesians 1:11-14). So that means, over time, a person who has truly put their faith in Christ, should see the fruit of the Spirit showing up in their lives. The fruit in someone’s life always reveals the root (and whether that root is Christ). Apple trees don’t produce oranges. Fig trees don’t make bananas. If all we see in our lives is bad fruit, we have to look at whether we are truly rooted in Christ.
Does this mean we won’t stumble or sin? Absolutely not. That’s why Paul spends the last part of chapter 5 and the first part of chapter 6 in Galatians pleading with us to walk by the Spirit instead of walking by the flesh. Paul also writes in chapter 6 that we should kindly restore those who have fallen.
Galatians 6:14-16, which Paul writes with his own hand, is the crescendo of what he has been trying to say in his whole letter:
14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
It truly matters whether we have placed our trust in Christ and have become a new creation because of His work! From this point forward, our only boast is in Christ!
I really hope you have been encouraged as we’ve walked through the book of Galatians together as a church. Since this is our last week in the series, if you haven’t gotten a chance to listen/read the other blog entries for Galatians, they are listed below:
- Galatians Introduction 1 (Michael Green)
- Galatians Introduction 2 (Michael Green)
- Galatians 1:10-24 (Marlin Caddell)
- Galatians 2 (Ian Dunaway)
- Galatians 3:1-14 (Amy Nichols)
- Galatians 3:15-4:7 (Marlin Caddell)
- Galatians 4:6-11 (MIchael Green)
- Galatians 4:26-31 (Rand Nelson)
- Galatians 5:1-15 (Tollie Meggs)
- Galatians 5:16-26 (Michael Green)
Also, if you haven’t gotten the chance to read through the book of Galatians in its entirety, I encourage you to do that as well. You can listen to the whole book in 21 minutes by clicking here!
I hope you all have a wonderful, thankful Thanksgiving!