06 Aug Living in freedom
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Anyone ever watch Braveheart? It is one of those must watch movies. If you have watch it, then you would know there is this unforgettable scene in the movie. It is when Mel Gibson, playing William Wallace, paints his face in the colour of Scotland flag, blue and white, and he raise his hand and shouts “freedom.” And the whole Scottish army rushes forward to fight for their freedom. Every time I read the first half of Galatians 5, this is the picture that comes to mind. Paul raises his hand and shouts “freedom” to the church in Galatia. There is a big difference though. Wallace was fighting to gain their freedom while Paul tells the church in Galatia to fight to keep their freedom. There is an enemy that tries to rob the church in Galatia of their freedom in Christ and Paul would have none of it. He tells the church in Galatia in Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. In the same way, there is an enemy that tries to rob us of our freedom in Christ today and Paul is telling us to stand firm in our freedom. Paul is essentially saying, “Hold firm to the message of the gospel. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Do not try to add anything to the gospel. Because the moment you try to add anything to the gospel, you lost your freedom in Christ and have becomes slaves again.”
So, what is the gospel? The word gospel literally means “good news.” But in order to have good news, you need to have bad news first. There is no good news without bad news. And here is the bad news. You were dead in your sins. None of us, by default, desire God, at least not the true living God. We might grow up in a religious family and are attracted to the concept of God or supernatural being, to some degree. But that God is not God of the Bible. We want God that we can control, God that can help us accomplish what we want, God that can feed our ego. None of us are attracted to the sovereign God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is a God who commands all our devotion. He didn’t exist for us; we exist for him. But because of sin in our heart, we repel the thought of God of the Bible. We are selfish creatures who wants to use God for our benefit. We hated the God of the Bible. We were dead in our trespasses. That was the reality of our spiritual life. You hated Jesus and you don’t want anything to do with Jesus. That’s who we were. That’s the bad news of the gospel. You and I cannot make our way toward Jesus. We were dead. We hide and run away from Jesus. BUT then, Jesus found us. We did not found Jesus. Jesus found us.
The only reason, let me repeat that, the ONLY reason, that today some of you can say that you love Jesus and your heart is beating for Jesus is because God, in his grace and mercy, breathe life into your spiritual deadness. And the moment his breath of life invades your deadness, suddenly your eyes are opened and you see Jesus. Not only you see him, but your hearts are drawn to his beauty. You begin to desire him. You begin to want him. You begin to love him. You begin to trust him. And at that very moment, the second you put your faith in Christ, you are forgiven of all your sins. Not part of your sins but all of your sins. You are made right with God instantaneously. You don’t have to do anything. You are made right with God by faith alone. The gospel tells you there is absolutely nothing you can do to save yourselves but it also tells you that Christ has purchased your salvation. No mortgage or loan. He paid it in full at the cross. You are saved by grace through faith alone. This is the freedom that Christ has purchased for us. This is the freedom we have in Christ. You don’t have to pay a single cent. The blood of Jesus has purchased you. You belong to Christ forever. And nothing can separate you from his love. Not even your sins. This is the gospel that Paul teaches.
However, the gospel of grace is wild and people don’t like it. You hear it all the time. “Yes the gospel but…” There is always a but somewhere. Essentially what they are saying is that we need a balance. “We can’t have too much of the gospel because it will create imbalance in Christian life. We need to tell people to do good works as well. If we keep telling people that they don’t have to do anything to be saved besides trusting Jesus, then people will live a wild life. They will do whatever they want.” Have you ever heard this line of reasoning before? There is some element of truth in it. Back when I was in year 7 to 11, I was a decent student. My grade was pretty high and I was one of the top students in my school. But not long after I entered year 12, I found out that I was going to Dallas Texas to attend Bible College. At first, I despised the thought of going to Bible College in Dallas. But soon I found out that going to Bible College in Dallas comes with a great benefit. They do not need my HSC result. I am guaranteed to enter a Bible College without my HSC result. How awesome is that? So you know what I did for the rest of the year? I kissed my textbook and assignment good bye. Don’t ask me what is my HSC result.
So this is the idea behind the need to have balance between gospel and works. If salvation is by grace through faith alone, if we are made right with God simply by trusting Jesus alone, then people will lose incentive to live a good life. They will go wild. So to balance the gospel, some people start to teach the church in Galatia that in order for you to be saved, you need more than the gospel. You also need to obey the law of God. And that obedience to the law of God comes in a form of circumcision. These people do not reject the gospel. They affirm the truth of the gospel. But their argument is that the gospel alone is not good enough. You need the gospel and circumcision in order to be right with God. And Paul writes a letter to the church in Galatia to deal with this particular issue. Paul is essentially saying that the moment we add anything to the gospel, the gospel ceased to be good news. To add anything to the gospel is to lose our freedom in Christ and return to the yoke of slavery. So that’s Paul’s argument for the first four chapters of Galatians. Our passage tonight is on Galatians 5. There is a shift happening in this chapter. Paul not only explains to us the importance of holding on to the truth of the gospel, but he also shows us how the gospel should transforms our daily lives. So this chapter is both theological and practical. Let’s get into it.
There are three things that this passage teaches us. The enemies of freedom; how to live in freedom; what does it look like to live in freedom.
The enemies of freedom
Paul tells us that there are two enemies to our freedom. The first one is legalism. If you do not know what that word meant, it simply means that the gospel alone is not enough to save us. We need the gospel and something else. Their mantra is “Jesus plus…” Galatians 5:2-4 – 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Now, let’s talk about circumcision first. What is so bad about circumcision that makes Paul writes that if we accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to us? We need to understand that Paul has no problem with circumcision in itself. Paul is not against circumcision. In fact, the book of Acts tells us that Paul tells Timothy to get circumcised to help his ministry to the Jews. I am in the same boat as Timothy. I was tricked and bribed by my dad into it. He said he will buy me super Nintendo if I do it. I thought it was a good deal. No pain no gain. Only to find out later that the gain is not equal to the pain. Especially when the surgeon tried out a new anaesthetic on me and found out later that he only gave me half the doses needed. I can feel every touch of the cold blade making the cut and I scream in despair and agony, “take back the super Nintendo. I don’t want it anymore!” Anyway, let’s get back to the topic.
Circumcision. Why is it important to the Jews? If you do not know the history of Israelites, you would not understand the important of circumcision. The history of Israel begin with a single man by the name of Abraham. God called him out of his family and promised to make a great nation out of his descendants. They are the so called ‘chosen people.’ And to differentiate between them and the rest of mankind, every male and every son at the age of 8 days need to be circumcised. So circumcision is the external mark of being God’s chosen people. That’s what differentiate them from everyone else. Now do you understand why it is very important for the Jews? So when they heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, many of them believe. Jesus himself was a Jew. He is the one whom God had promised all the way throughout the Old Testament. He is the Saviour they are waiting for. In many ways, Jesus is the extension of the Jewish’s belief. So now that Jesus has come and offers salvation to those outside of Jews, it is logical for them to think that the non-Jews who believe in Christ need to be circumcised to become part of them. It is the external sign that differentiate them from the rest of the people. Circumcision is an external sign of the ‘chosen ones.’
This is the problem Paul has with circumcision. Although circumcision itself is not wrong, but if circumcision become a criteria to which one received salvation, then Paul would have none of it. For Paul, salvation is only by grace through faith in Christ alone. No addition. Jesus is enough. Full stop. Now, some of you are quick to say amen to it. But do you realize that we often have our own version of circumcision? It is in our default nature to be legalist. We often try to add something to the gospel. Let me give you two popular examples in our context. Smoking. Some of you believe that in order to be saved, you need to quit smoking. So your version of circumcision is “Jesus plus no smoking.” Let me just be clear. I do not want you to go home and tell others that your pastor say you can smoke. I do not encourage you to smoke. Smoking is not good for your health and it can kill you. However, smoking or not smoking has nothing to do with your salvation. Or, what about this one. Speaking in tongue. Some of you believe that you are not fully Christian until you speak in tongue. You make speaking in tongue the barometer of one’s relationship with Christ. Is it getting hot in here or is it just me? Our tendency is to add something to Jesus. Jesus plus baptism, Jesus plus KM, Jesus plus not swearing etc.
Here is what Paul said. “If you accept Jesus plus, then Christ will be of no advantage to you.” Translation: Salvation is either all of Christ or none of Christ. You cannot have 99% Christ and 1% you. 100% Christ or zero. Imagine I have a basketball with Michael Jordan signature in it. And one day I was broke and I know I can sell it for a lot of money. So I decided to sell it. But when I look at the ball, I realized that the signature was badly faded. So I took out a marker and carefully traced over the signature with it. M.J. Now, what happen to the basketball? Let me tell you what happen. It might worth $10,000 before. But the moment I traced that signature with my marker, that signature is no longer M.J. It becomes mine. And the ball’s worth drop to $1 because unlike M.J., I don’t know how to ball. I know how to look cool playing ball but I don’t know how to get the ball into the net. If you add just a bit of your work to Jesus’ perfect work, if you accept even just one small plus to Jesus, then Christ become worthless to you. And not only that, then you are also obligated to keep the whole law. Your only choice is either fully trust in Christ or fully obeying the law. And as long as you are still relying on the plus plus, Paul says that you are severed from Christ. You have fallen away from grace. This is a strong warning. Salvation is either by grace alone or none at all. There is no in between. This is Paul speaks very strongly against those who teaches circumcision.
Galatians 5:7-12 – 7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! So what happen was the church in Galatia were running well. They trusted the gospel and was growing in faith when suddenly someone came into their running lane and hindered them from obeying the gospel. Paul is clear here that whoever teaches the Jesus plus message, that person is not from God. And that person and the teaching should not be tolerated. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” It’s like Paul is saying that just one drop of poison, just one tiny drop, is enough to destroy the whole body. We as a church should not tolerate even the smell of legalism. We should make it our top priority to guard the purity of the gospel. Jesus is the only one who can save. And when Jesus saves, he saves 100%. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This is the gospel and we will do everything we can to preach the gospel and only the gospel.
Why is it important for us to guard the purity of the gospel? Because every other message will lead to condemnation. Paul says that he has confidence that the church in Galatia will heed his words. But the one who teaches circumcision will bear the penalty. He will receive condemnation. In fact, Paul’s word is a lot stronger than that. He said he wish that those who teaches circumcision would not only cut the skin, but somehow the knife slip and cut theirs altogether. This is a very crude language. Paul is taking this matter very seriously. Not because he passionately hates the teacher of circumcision but because he passionately loves the gospel of grace and the Galatian church. He would not tolerate any message that make less of Jesus and rob the church of her freedom. I think we should have the same zeal in regard to keeping the purity of the gospel. No, I am not saying we should literally emasculate those who tries to promote Jesus plus message. Imagine me saying, “You men, go home and cuts yours off altogether.” The next Sunday, there are only females in the church. But I am saying that we should not tolerate Jesus plus message out of love for Christ and the church.
The second enemy to our freedom is licentiousness. What is licentiousness? It is the opposite of legalism. It is the belief that since you are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, then you can forget about the law altogether and lived however you want. Galatians 5:13 – 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. So yes, the gospel gives us freedom, but Paul also tells us that we are not to use that freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. The flesh here does not speak of human’s flesh but it is a word for human’s sinful desires. So here is something that we need to understand about the gospel. The gospel speaks a lot about obedient. Earlier Paul says that the church in Galatia were running well in obeying the truth. Paul never promotes obedience-less gospel. That is not the gospel. Jesus himself says that “if you love me, you will obey my commandments.” So we need to reject any notion that says that “since I gave my life to Christ, it does not matter what I do, I am still going to heaven when I die.” This is not the gospel. The gospel is not that if you obey God then you will be save. But the gospel teaches that if you trust in the gospel, then do not use your freedom to satisfy your sinful desires. Obedience is not a requirement for salvation but it is the result of salvation. Gospel truth produces gospel obedience.
If I can put it in different word, the fundamental difference between Paul and teachers of the circumcision is not whether you should obey or not. Both of them speaks of the importance of obedience. The difference is, “why do you obey?” The false teachers emphasis obedience in order to be saved while Paul teaches obedience motivated by love. Gospel motivates us to obey out of love rather than out of fear. And this is how we are to live in freedom.
How to live in freedom
Galatians 5:5-6 – 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
Now this part is very interesting. We like to think that freedom means I can do whatever I want. This is how our culture define freedom. You are free to be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do and no one can say no to you. But that is not true. This is not freedom. This is slavery. Take a fish for an example. Let’s say that the fish thinks that “I am free to do whatever I want wherever I want. This is freedom.” So one day the fish decided that it is tired of water and want to exercise the fish’s freedom by living in the land. So the fish jump out of the water into the land. Now, what happen to the fish? Is it free? Of course not. The fish will “glepek glepek” and die. The fish is only free when it is in the water. True freedom requires the right environment on which it can thrive. But not only that, true freedom also require the will to want to be where it can thrive. As long as the fish thinks that it can only thrive in the land, the fish is not free. But if the fish knows that it can only thrive in the water and the fish wants to be in the water, that’s freedom. I hope you can see where I am going with this.
In order us to experience freedom, we need not only the right environment to thrive but we also need the desire to be in the right environment. So this is what happen. The law of God gives us the environment in which we can thrive but only the gospel gives us the desire to want that environment. Only message of the gospel gives us true freedom. The gospel freed us from slavery of law to a life of true freedom. Are you with me? So now the question, how do we live in that freedom? I’m glad you asked. Paul tell us 4 ways on how to live in our freedom.
First, we live through the Spirit. It means that right now there is the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in every Christians. We talked quiet a lot on this last month so I don’t want to spend too much time on it. The Holy Spirit is the reason that we become children of God. It is the Holy Spirit that awaken our dead spirits and gives us new hearts that loves God. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us new creations in God. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of adoption by whom we cry, “Abba Father.” The Holy Spirit witness with our spirits that we are children of God. Our relationship with God is no longer one between master and slave but rather Father and son. There is intimacy in the relationship. There is security and delight in our hearts in having God as our Father. The Spirit also led us in righteousness. All of this is done in and through the Spirit.
Second, we live by faith. This is essentially the whole argument from Galatians 1 to 4. We do not live by our own works. We are not working for God. We are trusting God in Christ. Our lives are not marked by our continuous effort in trying to win God’s favour but our lives are marked with trust in Christ’s perfect work. We live by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Our confidence is not in our ability to do good but in Christ’s ability to keep us. The reason we called ourselves Christian is because God is working for us. God is the one who produced the faith in us to trust him and everything we do is empowered by his work in us. So don’t miss it. Christian life is not a life where we are working for God but where God is working in and through us. Our role is to trust him. We live by faith in Christ.
Third, we live in hope. Remember, the way the New Testament used the word hope is very different from us. Hope in the New Testament expresses certainty. That is why Paul says we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. We are still waiting for the fulfilment of our hope but we wait for it eagerly because we know that it will come without fail. What are we waiting for? The hope of righteousness. It means this. That right now, at this very moment, if you put your faith in Jesus, you are already righteous in the eyes of God. You are covered in Christ’s perfect righteousness. However, the fullness of your righteousness is yet to come. The fullness of righteousness will come on the day where we stand before God in the day of judgement. Where God will look at us and pronounce us “righteous.” And Paul says that he can’t wait for this day to come. He is eagerly anticipating the day of judgement. This is very different from the way I pictured the day of judgement in the past. The idea of Judgement Day used to terrify me. Because God knows every little dirty secrets that I have. And I was told that at Judgement Day, God would play a video of all my dirty secrets for everyone to watch. It is scary! How can I have confident to stand before God who knows it all? As long as I still live under the law, I would not have confident to stand before God. Rather than eagerly waiting for that day, I dreaded that day. But because of Christ, because I live by faith in Christ’s perfect work for me, because his blood covered all my sin, because the Spirit is inside of me and testify to me that I am a son of God, I eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. I long for the day that I will be made fully righteous and able to enjoy God forever. This day will certainly come for me and right now I can’t wait for that day to come.
If you are living in this hope, two things that happen. First, it gives you freedom of security. Let me explain. Let’s say you have a great Monday. You wake up early in the morning to pray and read your Bible, you are joyful, you are able to share Christ with your friend, you share your lunch with a homeless, you help an old lady cross the street, and you are pretty much like an angel in a human form for the whole day. You don’t go to God and say, “Ha! God, looks at everything I did today. I am like the best Christian ever. I am sure you must be very proud of me. You must have love me because of all those things I did.” No, you don’t say that. God does not love you because you did well. The only reason you did all of that is because God already loves you and he is working in you. So rather than boast of all your accomplishment, you are humbled by it. But let’s say that you have a really bad Tuesday. You wake up late, do not have time to pray and read Bible, spilled coffee on your shirt, swore at the car who cuts your lane, reprimanded by your boss, kick a dog on the way home, burned your dinner in the microwave and got dumped by your girlfriend. Your Tuesday is just as bad as it could get. You don’t say, “Oh God must have not love me. I’ve blown it. Maybe if I just pray earlier today… maybe if I just read my Bible…maybe if don’t swear, then he would love me.” No, you don’t say that. God does not stop loving you because you did bad. You understand that you are righteous, that you are his son, that you are accepted, because of Christ’s work for you. So even in your worst day, you have the confidence to come to God. In a good day you have humility and in a bad day you have confident. There is a freedom of security in your relationship with God. In your high-high and low-low, you are secured. God did not love you more because you did well and God did not love you less because you did bad. That is why Paul says that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything in your relationship with God. Which lead to the second things that happen.
Second, it gives you freedom to run. One of the imagery that Paul often used in describing Christian’s life is a picture of a race. All of us is in a race. But the race is not a sprint but a marathon. It is a 42 Kilometres long race. Right now you just passed the 2km mark. 40km to go. You think to yourselves, “Oh my, it’s only 2km and I am exhausted already. How can I survive the other 40?” But you know that you will finish the marathon. You don’t know how you will do it but you know you will cross the finish line. Your victory is already guaranteed. You know a day will come where you will see the smile of God over your life. So you continue running. You don’t run like someone who does not have hope. You don’t run with defeated mentality. Suffering and trials will come. But you run knowing that victory is yours and that you will cross the finish line. God is waiting for you at the finish line and you will certainly make it. Suffering will end and eternal joy is waiting. You run the Christian life with freedom. You are living in hope.
Fourth, we live with love. Love is a beautiful thing. We talk about it all the time. Our culture is obsessed about it. But Paul is very clear. You can only live with love if you live by faith. A loving life is an expression of a life of faith. Until you understand that God loves you fully simply because of what Christ has done for you, you will not be able to live a loving life. If you still think that you have to earn God’s love, everything you do will be motivated by selfish desire rather than love. A life of love is an expression of a life of faith. Let me illustrate it for you. I am stealing this from Charles Spurgeon.
Once there was a gardener that grew carrot. Then one day, a huge carrot grew in his field. He was surprised by the size of the carrot and he took the carrot to his king. He said, “Your majesty, I am a gardener and I have a garden of carrot. And this is the greatest carrot that I have ever produced and I want to give this carrot to you as token of love. Only a wonderful king like you deserve to have this huge carrot.” The king appreciate the gesture and took the carrot from the gardener. As the gardener walked away, the king said, “I can see how much you love my by giving me your greatest carrot. You honour me. So I’ll give you the huge land next to your garden so you can be a much greater gardener than you are now.” The gardener was surprised and went home rejoicing. There was nobleman in the castle who saw what happened. And he thought, “Oh my, if the gardener received a huge land just for a carrot, what would I get if I give the king my greatest horse?” So the next day this nobleman brought his greatest horse to the king and said, “My king, a wonderful king like you deserve the greatest horse. This is the greatest horse I raised and I want to give it to you as my token of love.” The king look at the nobleman, smile, and said, “Thank you. I receive your gift. You can go now.” The nobleman was confused. He didn’t receive anything from the king. What happen to the huge land for a carrot? The king discerned his heart and said, “Let me tell you what happen. The gardener gave me the carrot but you, you were giving yourself the horse.”
This is beautiful story. Do you know what happen? Spurgeon explains that as long as you are still doing something for God in order to get something from God, you are not doing it for God. You are doing it for yourself. You are not doing it out of love. You are doing it for your own selfish desire. If you still think that you need to do things for God in order to be saved, you cannot fully love God. Only a person who knows that God already loves them can truly love God and others. So get this. You can only live with love when you know you are saved by grace through faith alone. You can only live in freedom when you know you are saved by grace through faith alone. Only the gospel gives you the life of freedom.
What does it look like to live in freedom?
Galatians 5:13-15 – 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
If we understand the freedom we have in Christ, if we understand the gospel, then we do not use our freedom to sin. No. We have been freed from sin. We can now use our freedom to fulfil the law by serving one another through love. And this kind of life is only possible through the gospel. Without the gospel, we live our lives trying to fulfil our desire. Trying to meet our own needs. We will use one another for our own personal gain. We bite, devour and consume one another. The image here is one of a starving man who have not eat for a week who will eat whatever in front of him. But if the gospel is true, if indeed we are loved and accepted by God not because of what we do or don’t do but simply by our faith in Christ, then we are now free to love another. We no longer look to other people to meet our need because Christ has met our needs. We are not starving people. We are people who are filled with Christ’s love. And out of the fullness of Christ’s love in us, we love and serve one another. Because of Christ, I do not need you to serve me. Now, I can serve you. I do not need you to be nice to me. I can be nice to you. I do not need you to give me what I want. I can give you what you want. I do not need you to love me. I can love you. I do not need you to put me first. I can put you first.
Imagine a church like this. Imagine a church filled with lovers of one another. Imagine a church who served one another. Do you know what happen when do this? We become little Christ to one another. We no longer asked the question, “what can you do for me” but we ask the question, “what can I do for you?” Oh, how I long for our church to be a church filled with lovers. And when we used our freedom to serve one another, we fulfilled the whole law. Because now we always put other’s good and best interest before ours. The world is longing for this kind of church. And this is the kind of church that Jesus desires. And I hope this is the kind of church that we will be. But in order for us to be this kind of church, we need to guard our freedom in Christ. You don’t become this kind of church by preaching that in order to be saved, you need Jesus but you also need to love one another. This is why Paul aggressively against the Jesus plus teaching. Too much is at stake. We need to continue to hold fast to the message of the gospel. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Only the gospel can create lovers of God and lovers of people. Only the gospel can motivate you to serve one another through love. May we ever be faithful to the message of the gospel. Let’s pray.
- Why is the Gospel wild and why are many people are nervous about preaching the gospel?
- Explain legalism and why it destroy the gospel
- Does Paul promote licentiousness, obedience-less gospel? Explain
- True freedom requires the right environment on which it can thrive. But not only that, true freedom also require the will to want to be where it can thrive. Agree or disagree? Explain what does the gospel gives us.
- The gospel gives us “freedom of security.” How does this change our relationship with God?
- The gospel gives us “freedom to run.” Explain how the gospel enable us to persevere and keep on running in the midst of trials.
- “A loving life is an expression of the life of faith.” Explain and describe the daily application of how the gospel empower us to serve one another through love.
- Why does Paul aggressively goes against “Jesus plus…” teachings? What does this tell us about the place of the gospel in our lives and the church?