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By Flesh or by the Spirit?

My last blog post focused on Paul’s words in Galatians 2:15-21. Today, I want to focus on Galatians 3:1-6. This is what Paul has to say:

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—6 just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’? 

Paul’s words are striking in this passage. He sarcastically asks if the Galatians have been cursed with a demonic spell because of the Judaizer’s teachings. Paul reminds them that they were not saved by works of the law. Rather, they were saved by hearing the gospel of Christ with faith. In verse 3, Paul then mentions that their sanctification doesn’t depend on their works. This attacks the heart of the Judaizer’s teachings. They said they are christian because they believe in Jesus, but they strip away the perfect sacrifice of Jesus by demanding others to follow the law to remain perfected. This is expounded on in the last two verses of this passage, Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’?

It is easy for us to get caught up in this type of thought. We hear that we need to obey the law, which is true, but what people often hear is, “You need to obey the law so you can be a Christian.” The problem with what people hear is that it confuses the gospel message. You do not get saved by doing good works. You do good works because you are saved. This is a trap we often fall into. We do good works out of simple duty, but that is not what God wants. God instills the Holy Spirit inside of us so that we want to obey his law. That’s what Paul is getting at in this passage. The good works vs. faith debate can boil down to one thing…motive. If we do good works to gain God’s favor our motives are backwards. Born again Christians do good works because they are born again. They do good works because they love to please God, not to gain his favor.

Don’t fall into the trap of good works. God only demands faith, and the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

Thanks for reading.

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Salvation Comes by Grace Alone!

BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH “By grace are ye saved, through faith” (Ephesians 2:8 ).   I THINK IT WELL to turn a little to one side that I may ask my reader to observe  adoringly the fountain-head of our salvation, which is the grace of God. “By  grace are ye saved.” Because God is gracious, therefore sinful men are forgiven,  converted, purified, and saved. It is not because of anything in them, or that  ever can be in them, that they are saved; but because of the boundless love,  goodness, pity, compassion, mercy, and grace of God. Tarry a moment, then, at  the well-head. Behold the pure river of water of life, as it proceeds out of the  throne of God and of the Lamb! 

What an abyss is the grace of God! Who can measure its breadth? Who can fathom  its depth? Like all the rest of the divine attributes, it is infinite. God is  full of love, for “God is love.” God is full of goodness; the very name “God” is  short for “good.” Unbounded goodness and love enter into the very essence of the  Godhead. It is because “his mercy endureth for ever” that men are not destroyed;  because “his compassions fail not” that sinners are brought to Him and forgiven. Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon the  faith which is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace which is the  fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God’s grace in  us. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost. “No man  cometh unto me,” saith Jesus, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”  So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result of divine drawing. Grace  is the first and last moving cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is,  is only an important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved  “through faith,” but salvation is “by grace.” Sound forth those words as with  the archangel’s trumpet: “By grace are ye saved.” What glad tidings for the  undeserving! -Spurgeon, Charles (2009-02-14). Christian Classics: five books by Charles Spurgeon in a single file, with active table of contents, improved 9/21/2010 (Kindle Locations 483-492). B&R Samizdat Express. Kindle Edition.

Only God is good. Only God can save. Only God deserves glory. It is by God’s amazing grace that he loves the “undeserving”!

Thanks for reading.

Where There is No Self-Control, There is No Spirit

Among many Christians there is a fascination with the Holy Spirit. We ask many questions about the Holy Spirit’s role in the Christian life. Thankfully, the Bible gives us an answer. Galatians 5:22-24 says this:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 

Granted, the Spirit does a lot more than this, but these are the evidences of having the Spirit in your life. All of us fail at these, especially myself, but thankfully God continues to work in our lives to make us more like him. What bothers me is that there are churches and communities that openly reject one of these listed fruits of the Spirit. What is that fruit? Self-control. Don’t believe me? Check this video out:

This video does not represent Christianity. This video does not represent the working of the Holy Spirit. This video represents a lack of self-control. So, what is my point in bringing this up? Well, if the Spirit’s fruit is self-control then these people, and others in the same circles, do not have the Holy Spirit. God does not contradict himself because that would be lying. So, to claim that the Spirit is causing them to get drunk means they are saying that God is contradicting himself. This type of action is foolish. But when you say this drunkenness comes from the Spirit, you are blaspheming God.

Galatians 5:25 says:

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 

Where there is no self-control, there is no Spirit.

Thanks for reading.

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