Sermon #9 Galatians Series
Title: “The Bewitched Galatians”
Text: Galatians 3:1-18
Subject: Seven imperial arguments for justification by faith
If the writer had been Latin, he would have addressed himself to the Gauls. If he had been a modern author, he would have addressed himself to the French people. But Paul was a member of the hellenistic Diaspora of the Jewish people, speaking as a Greek; and as such he addressed his letter to the Galatians. The Gauls of France and the Gauls of Asia Minor all belong to the same family, and the Greeks called them Galatians. The ancient Romans created a province in the central of Asia Minor and called it the Roman province of Galatia. It was to these churches in Galatia that the Apostle Paul addressed this letter.
Paul marvelled at the gracious, hospitable reception that the Galatians had shown to him, as well as their readiness to receive the message which he proclaimed. In the fourth chapter of this epistle he says: “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Jesus Christ. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” He was simply astonished at the warm, openhearted reception the Galatians had shown, and their anxious reception of Christ and him crucified. But now he is no less full of amazement at how soon they had been removed from the message of the Gospel. “I marvel,” he said, “that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel,” which is not even similar to the Gospel of Christ. Now he again cries in astonishment, “O foolish Galatians (O senseless Galatians), who hath bewitched you?” These Galatians had turned away from the Gospel. They exchanged Calvary for Sinai; Christ for Moses; sonship for serfdom; liberty for bondage; and faith for works. Oh, how foolish they were; and how utterly foolish are men today; who, in the face of this bad example, follow after the Galatians and cling to Moses and the legal institutions to the dishonor of Christ and his righteousness.
Paul had proved that the gospel which he proclaimed - justification by faith apart from any human merit - is of Divine origin and is, therefore, able to maintain itself everywhere and at all times. He now proceeds to show, in chapters three and four, that both the Scriptures and experience bear testimony to the truthfulness of this doctrine. After receiving the scene at Antioch where he withstood Peter to the face for his dissemulation, he now advances to a formal defense of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Paul defends this doctrine in seven imperial arguments. He had been speaking in general terms before; now he emphasozes his arguments by resuming personal language. This evening we will look at these seven arguments in a brief summarization, and then we will return in following messages, the Lord permitting, to investigate each one separately.
Men receive the justification which Jesus accomplished at Calvary by faith alone, apart from anything done by themselves.
NOTE: When we speak of justification by faith, we are speaking of men receiving for themselves the finished work of Christ, and thereby having their hearts and minds reconciled to God. Men are not judicially pardoned by their faith, but by the blood of Christ; but they do receive the knowledge of that pardon and the peace which that knowledge brings by faith (Rom. 3:24; Heb. 9:11-12; Eph. 1:7; Rom. 4:25-5:5).
1. Justification must be by faith alone, because Christ is seen only by faith (1).
2. Justification must be by faith alone because the Holy Spirit is received only by faith (2-5).
3. Justification must be by faith alone, because Abraham, the Father of all believers, was justified by faith (6-9).
4. Justification must be by faith alone, because all who are under the law are under the curse of the law (10).
5. Justification must be byfaith alone, because the life of faith is above the law (11-12).
6. Justification must be by faith alone, because Christ is the end of the law (13-14).
7. Justification must be by faith alone, because all the promises of God are made to faith (15-18).
I. Justification must be by faith alone, because Christ is seen only by faith (1).
A. The sudden stupidity of the Galatians. “O foolish Galatians.”.
1. Paul did not speak this harshly, or to reproach, or provoke anger; thus it is not contrary to the injunction of Christ (Matt. 5:22).
2. Paul spoke out of the tenderness of a pastor, even as did the Savior (Lk. 24:25).
3. Such sharp rebuke is sometimes the duty of a pastor (2 Tim. 3:15).
4. These Galatians had suddenly, within just a few short years, turned away from the simplicity of the gospel.
B. The seductive sorcery - Who hath bewitched you?”
1. They had been charmed away from the gospel by teachings that flattered the flesh.
2. The church is always in danger of being bewitched.
Quote: “There is witchery in the very air at the present time, Socialism, spiritualism, Christian Science, Necromancy, or intercourse with the dead. Men, as a rule, worship humbug.” G. S. Bishop
C. The sorrowful substitution - The Galatians had substituted truth for error.
1. What is truth? Christ only is truth.
2. The Galatians had embraced circumcision along with Christ. They failed to see that Christ supplemented is Christ supplanted (Gal. 5:2). In the matter of the Christian faith, Christ is all or He is nothing.
D. The saving sight. “Before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently setforth.”
1. The first object presented to the Galatians in their unconverted state was Christ only.
a. They had experienced forgiveness by faith in Christ crucified.
b. They had experienced faith in Christ the Substitute.
c. Christ only had been their hope.
2. Some preach a vague, indistinct Christ, who did something or other, but no one knows just what or why; not Paul.
a. He distinctly painted a picture of Christ before their spiritual eyes (2 Cor. 1:2; Rom. 10:4; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; Gal. 6:14).
b. If men are to be saved they must see two things.
(1.) Christ obeying the law for us.
] (2.) Christ’s blood washing away our sin.
II. Justification must be by faith alone, because the Spirit is received only by faith (2-5).
A. The Spirit comes into men sovereignly (John 3:8).
B. The gifts of the Spirit come through the preaching of faith, not of law works (Rom. 10:16-17; Acts 11:14; 2:38; 5:31-32; Eph. 1:12-13; John 7:38-39).
C. Sanctification comes not by the law, but by Spirit wrought faith in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30).
III. Justification must be by faith, because Abraham, the father of all believers, was justified by faith (6-9).
A.The perception of Abraham (6).
1. He was not justified by being circumcised.
2. He was not justified by offering up Isaac.
3. He was justified by faith alone, and so must we be (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:2, 9-10, 13, 20-25).
B. The posterity from Abraham (7; John 8:39; Phil. 3:3).
C. The prophecy in Abraham (8-9).
1. The prophetical promise (8).
2. The promise proclaimed (9).
IV. Justification must be by faith, because those who are under the law are under the curse of the law (10).
A. Man is impotent to obey the law. Therefore, he is condemned by the law.
B. The law is a curse upon men (Rom. 3:19).
V. Justification must be by faith, because the life of faith is above the law (11-12).
A. The life of faith has a superior principle - Love (Heb. 8:10). Faith, hope.
B. The life of faith has a superior power - Christ (1 John 3:9).
C. The life of faith has a superior promise - Eternal Life (12, John 17:2).
VI. Justification must be by faith, because Christ is the end of the law (13-14).
A. The performance of the Savior (13-14).
1. He is the culminationof the law.
2. He is the purpose of the law.
3. He is the termination of the law (Heb. 10:1-14).
a. He endured its curse for us (2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:5-6).
b. He has given us peace with God.
B. The promise of the Spirit (14). Here is the promised blessing of Abraham (Rom. 4:6-9).
VII. Justification must be by faith, because all the promises of God are made to faith (15-18).
A. God’s covenant was confirmed in Christ before the world began (15, Rev. 13:8).
B. God’s covenant was confirmed to Abraham (16).
C. God’s covenant was confirmed at Calvary (Heb. 9:11-26).
D. The law can never disannul God’s promise (17-18).
A. Christ is everything in salvation.
B. Christ is everything in sanctification.
C. The just shall live by faith.
D. Thank God for Christ, who has redeemed us from the curse of the law.
How long beneath the law I lay,
In bondage and distress!
I toiled the precept to obey.
But toiled without success.
Then all my servile works were done,
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely chose his ways.
To see the law, by Christ fulfilled,
And hear his pardoning voice,
Will change a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.
E. Let us love and serve our Savior (Rom. 7:1-4; 6:14-16).
F. Have you seen Christ?