INTRO: The New Testament book of Galatians presents us with a great contrast ... a contrast between the law of Moses with its works and justification by faith. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Reading through this very enlightening book recently, I noticed what I will can an interesting faith progression. I think as our thoughts unfold this morning you will see what I mean by the word progression. Because this letter was written against the background of teachers wanting to insist that certain works of the law were musts, even for Christians, the subject of faith in Jesus Christ and the new covenant are emphasized extensively. So, lets look at this progression.
I. IT BEGINS WITH THE HEARING OF FAITH
A. Gal 3:2,5 - ...by the hearing of faith
1. recall Rom 10:17 - that which is heard must be the word of God
2. a concern is expressed in Gal 1:6-9
3. reason for the concern? any message other than the revealed gospel would have no power to bring one out of spiritual darkness!
4. no other message could result in true faith
B. Acts 16:14,15 - ...heard us: whose heart the Lord opened...
1. this passage speaks volumes about the role of the hearing of faith
2. the message the apostle preached was the word of God - 1 Thes 2:13
3. only the gospel, the word of God can open a persons heart!
4. any progressing of faith, to faith, then, must begin with hearing the word
II. THE PEOPLE OF FAITH
A. Gal 3:7 - ...they...of faith, the same are the children of Abraham
1. now, the Jews would certainly argue with such an idea!
2. yes, it was very special to claim physical relationship to Abraham - notice Jno 8:33
3. but the fact is that the faith lineage of Abraham is the real, valid lineage
4. Rom 4:13 - ...but through the righteousness of faith
B. But we need to look just a bit further
1. Gal 3:26-29 - people who are in Christ are the true seed of Abraham
2. now, notice carefully the relationship between v. 26 and v. 27
3. that word for is critical to our understanding the how of all of this
4. when believing people are baptized, they are then in Christ ... they are then Abrahams seed
C. And one more thought to consider...
1. Rom 1:6& 16:26 - ...made known to all nations for the obedience of faith
2. Acts 6:7 - ...obedient to the faith
3. the hearing of faith must lead to the obedience of faith - faiths design!
4. so, one is baptized in obedience to the faith
III. FAITH WORKING BY LOVE
A. Gal 5:6 - ...but faith which worketh by love
1. this adds another dimension to faith ... love
2. so, there must be belief ... but there must also be love
3. perhaps it would be accurate to say that it is the love for God, for Jesus which prompts the believer to a life of obedience, of service
4. 1 Jno 5:3 - clearly, scripture puts love into the equation
B. Notice 1 Thes 1:2,3 - Remembering without ceasing your work of faith...
1. obviously, there is more to the gospel than things relating to conversion
2. 2 Thes 1:11,12 - this work of faith may have much to do with our growth, our sanctification in Christ
3. but it no doubt has much to do, too, with good works
4. so, Eph 2:10with Heb 10:24
IV. LOVE SERVING OTHERS
A. Gal 5:13 - ...but by love serve one another
1. are we now seeing how faith works by love? in service to others?
2. 1 Jno 3:17,18 - there is certainly this practical side of love!
3. a bit later in this N.T. book - Gal 6:10
B. The basis for such faith working by love is Gal 5:14
1. this great passage found at Lev 19:18 if one of the foundational principles of godly living
2. but Gal 5:13 shows us exactly what loving our neighbor means - serve
3. people of N.T. faith, then, are simply servants ... servants of God & servants of others
CLOSE: So, where are you in this progression? If you have not, in faith and penitence, been baptized into Christ, you are not one of the privileged heirs of Abraham. Sweet friend, there can be no heaven without the inheritance.
Cecil A. Hutson
May 8, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)