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Jesus Creed

Freedom.jpgWe looked last week at legalism and freedom, and this week I want to give three days — with three points each day — of the way Paul’s letter to the Galatians shows how to live our way out of legalism’s clutches and embrace a life of liberation.

These are strategies for warding off the false charge that we are not accepted by God.
First, we need to focus on what Christ has done for us and not what our conscience says, our pastor says, our neighbor says, or what anyone else says. Christ, Paul says, liberated us — rescued us from this present evil age, which is code language in Galatians for at least the negative impact of legalism. Gal 1:4.
Second, if we are given to the temptation to be weighed down by legalism’s false charges, we can center everything on the gospel. The gospel is the work of God to liberate us. Notice these words of Paul for they show that we have to keep our gospel system clean and clear, and legalism is always an attack on the gospel:
1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel – 1:7 not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! 1:9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! 


Third, I think Paul gives us another indication that can help us: we need to remember our story. Paul told his story, and his story was one of God liberating and empowering him through the gospel, and often our own stories can help us realize that legalism is a false charge:

1:13 For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I was savagely persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it. 1:14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my nation, and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 1:15 But when the one who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace was pleased 1:16 to reveal his Son in me so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from any human being, 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, but right away I departed to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus.
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