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In Defense of Our Liberty

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
June 9, 2022 12:00 am

In Defense of Our Liberty

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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June 9, 2022 12:00 am

Any system that subverts the grace of God through faith and love is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, June 9. If you think the Bible is a book of rules for how to make God accept you, stay with us. Let's continue the study of Galatians with an explanation of the truth about grace. If you'll turn to Galatians chapter 1, and I want us to begin in verse 11 and see that first of all, what he says in these first two verses is Paul's defense of the origin of the message of liberty. Now if you know what I mean by legalism, I simply mean this, that in order to be accepted by God, you follow certain rules and principles, otherwise God won't accept you. There's not one bit of that in the New Testament, that is man's additions to a gospel of freedom and liberty and grace.

Not liberty that gives me license to sin and forget it, but a liberty that gives me the opportunity of living freely by grace in Christ Jesus, accepted by him freely because of what he did, and therefore not living up to man's standards, but living in the grace of God, not trying to reach up and do better and better and better in order to be accepted, but having already been accepted, living under the canopy of God's grace, surrounded by his love, you and I are free to live the life that he's provided. The Judaizers said, no, you've got to live to the following rules and principles, you've got to keep this law, otherwise God will not accept you. So Paul beginning in verse 11 is defending three things here. He defends, first of all, he defends the origin of this message of liberty and freedom. He said, you don't have to keep the law, you're saved by grace through faith and that only, and that makes you a child of God. So look if you will beginning in verse 11. So I want to read two verses here. He says, but I certify or I make known to you brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not after man for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ himself. So what Paul is doing first of all here is defending the origin of this gospel of liberty that you don't have to keep the law, don't have to live up to the expectation of others or the rules of others, but we live by the grace of God. And here's what Paul is doing in this 12th verse. He wants them to understand he didn't go down to Jerusalem and get his gospel from the apostles. He says, rather, I didn't receive it from man.

I wasn't taught it by man. But he says, if you notice the latter part of verse 12, he says, rather, it came by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The word revelation here is the word apocalypsis, which means something has been covered and sealed.

And now the lid's been taken off. He says, the reason I have and the way I discovered the message of freedom and liberty is that Jesus Christ took the lid off of it and gave me the privilege of looking on the inside and what I have declared under you. He says, I received by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Now once in a while you will find somebody say, well, I got a revelation from God.

No, they didn't. Now they may have received an illumination of the word of God. They may have sent some inspiration, but the revelation of God is that which God gives that could not be received any other way.

Men do not reach up and learn something. Men receive from God. That's revelation. And if you notice in second Timothy, turn there for just a moment. Second Timothy chapter three 16. Notice in second Timothy three 16, what Paul wrote later on the Timothy, he says, all scripture is given by inspiration of God. That is, it came directly from God to men. He used their background, their culture, their abilities, their talents, but the spirit of God inspired every word of the book and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction when we're out of order, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God, whoever he may be, may be complete and mature throughout furnished unto good works. Now Paul was saying to them that the message that he gave to those people in Galatia, he says that message didn't come from someone else.

It didn't originate with me. He says, Jesus Christ allowed me to look into the vast wealth of his truth. That is, it came to me by the inspiration of Jesus Christ. So what he's doing here is defending the origin of the message of liberty that we as the children of God have been saved by the grace of God. We are free to live that life of grace and we don't have to be checking up on ourselves to see if we're meeting somebody else's standards of following rules and regulations. The only rule and regulation of the scripture is that I am to do what?

I am to live by the grace of God through faith and if I live by his grace through faith, I'm going to obey him not because I'm afraid of what he's going to do if I want, I'm going to obey him motivated by love, motivated by devotion to him. And so he's saying to them, the message that you received was an unveiling by Jesus Christ himself. All right, look if you will in verse 13.

Here beginning in verse 13 through 17, what is Paul doing? He's defending here his understanding of that message. Now he says it came from Jesus Christ. It didn't come from Jerusalem. It didn't come from the apostles. It didn't come from me.

It came from him. The second thing he says here, his defense of his understanding of the message. Look if you will in verse 13, because the problem here in that church is equal to and surpasses all the problems the church has faced since. Now look, verse 13, he says, for you heard of my conversation in times past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God and wasted it, attempted to ruin it and to destroy it and profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in my own nation being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb and call me by his grace to reveal his son in me that I may preach him among the heathen immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went out to Jerusalem to them who were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus. Now Paul says, look, he says, I want you to understand where I'm coming from because you think that I'm teaching you a gospel that is so free and so liberated that the gospel couldn't possibly be that liberating and still be true.

But he says, I want to remind you of who I am and where I've come from. I'm coming from a Jewish religion. Not only that, he says, if you will recall how beyond measure that is exceedingly, he says, I persecuted the church of God and wasted it. I want you to notice something here. Already in Paul's mind the church of God was separated from the Jewish religion.

And what is it? The issue here is this, that if those Christians in Galatia and other churches that Paul established had not broken away absolutely and completely from the Jewish religion in this manner, that is, they said, no, man is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Had they left the attachment of the ceremonial law and the rules and the regulations and all the law of Moses, what we would have had, we would have had a branch of Judaism. The church of Jesus Christ would be an extension of Judaism.

And Paul knew that would never work to accomplish God's purpose. And therefore, he took a stand in this first and second chapter that I want to show you here. And that stand was the courageous, bold stand of the servant of God that severed the Christian church from Judaism so that the believing church, those believers were no longer Jews with an additional belief, but they were believers in Jesus Christ, most of whom had been Jews. But now having received the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, now they had been liberated to walk in him and no longer keep the law.

Now the thing that stirred up the Judaizers was this. It was the very same thing that stirred up Paul that caused him to persecute the church. Now when it says here that he was zealously, zealously doing what?

Persecuting, seeking to destroy and the word waste here means that means to strip it and ruin it, that is to absolutely annihilate it. Look, if you will, down in verse 22 of chapter one, he says, Now down in Judea, I was unknown by faith under the churches of Judea, which were in Christ, but they had heard only that he which persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith which he once destroyed. So more than likely, Paul, old Saul of Tarsus was the one standing there listening to Stephen preach. Now if you read Stephen's sermon, you ask yourself the question, what is it about Stephen's sermon that really stirred old Saul up? What is it that would finally say, that's it, give it to him, stone him to death?

I'll tell you why. Because everything Stephen preached was an attack upon everything that Saul of Tarsus believed. Saul of Tarsus did not worry about them talking about the Messiah, and all of these things. But what Stephen preached was this, when you have Jesus, you no longer need the Mosaic law.

And when he said that, that was it. Because you see to the Jews of that day in the Pharisees, if you took away the law, you took away everything. Now let's go back to look at Saul of Tarsus for a moment. First of all, he grew up in a Jewish home. His whole life was wrapped up in Judaism. He was a defender of the law. And therefore, when anyone attacked the law, he took it personal.

As I said, they didn't mind them talking about the Messiah coming, but when they started talking about being able to be accepted before God without keeping the law was an attack upon the whole Jewish system. It was attack upon his whole foundation, and therefore he could say with absolute conviction, no compromise, stone him to death. But while they were stoning him, Saul of Tarsus had to look upon a man who knelt before Almighty God and said he saw the Lord Jesus Christ at the throne of God. Something in Saul of Tarsus had to melt on the inside because here was a man who was willing to die for a freedom that Saul had never experienced. He had to keep the law.

He was bound to keeping the law and he was bound to persecuting and destroying anybody and everybody who attacked the law. He says, so if you want to know where I'm coming from, he said, you think that I'm telling you something that is that I have cooked up. He said, remember who I am, that I have outstripped every one of you. I was more zealous, more committed, more pronounced in my faith in any of you who are now saying that I have no credentials to be an apostle. And what he's simply saying is, can't you see that something absolutely dramatic and miraculous has happened to me that I who once persecuted the church, I am the one who is now founding these churches and bringing these believers into a right relationship to Jesus Christ.

His whole concept here is to defend himself. Now listen, he says, not only that, but he says, I want you to know something else. He says, in spite of the fact that I persecuted the church and sought to destroy it and annihilate it, he says, but when it pleased God, listen, when it pleased almighty God, who just a short time before had looked down upon Saul of Tarsus and heard him say, stone that man Stephen, stone him to death. And he says, but when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and call me by his grace.

Now think about that for a moment. Here he was persecuting the church and doing God and the whole Jewish religion a great favor. But notice what he says, something happened to Saul of Tarsus and God changed his whole attitude.

Now look, here he was a student of Gamaliel, proud, egotistical, a statesman of his day. But when God got hold of him, he says, when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by his what? Grace. You think about how many times you've disobeyed God, how many times you've sinned against him, the things you've said, the things you've done, the places you've been, the hidden sins, the secret sins, the public sins, the open sins. The Bible says, by grace are we saved through faith, that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works list, and he mentioned both. And isn't it one that Paul said later on, he says, I'm chief among sinners. He says, by the grace of God, I am what I am because you see, he knew what he was before. Here he was a persecutor of the people of God, a man who hated the very thought of Christianity, followers of the way as they were called, persecuting them, destroying them, trying to annihilate the very idea from the face of the earth.

But he says, when God gave him a true picture of himself, he said, the Lord separated him from his mother's womb and called him by his grace. I want to tell you something, do you know what's wrong with a lot of Christians today? Why they get proud and egotistical and they strut through the church and they act like, you know, watch out, here comes the saint. You know what the problem is?

They've forgotten where they came from. Brother, if you'll just turn around and look where you came from, you won't be strutting around. You rather will be singing praises to almighty God. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you that you look into the heart of the center and save me by your grace. How many of you can remember the day you were saved? How many of you can remember what you used to be before you were saved? How many of you are praising God you're not what you used to be?

Paul never forgot what he was. Listen, he says, but it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb and call me by his grace to, listen, he says, God separated me, call me by his grace for one specific purpose, to reveal his son in me in order that I may preach him Jesus among the heathen. He says, that's why God saved him. Then listen to what he said. He says immediately, immediately now, having been saved by God's grace and call to preach to the heathen, I confer, that is, I did not consult with or get the opinion of flesh and blood.

That is, I didn't go ask somebody else what they thought I ought to do next. So what did he do? He says, neither went out to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus. Now, you think about the crises that he suddenly faced. Here was a man who was a leader among his people. Here was a man whose name was feared by every Christian around.

Here was a man whose name was honored. Here was a man who had demonstrated tremendous leadership and power, who had great authority and influence. All of a sudden, the very group of people he'd criticized, persecuted, imprisoned, and had killed, all of a sudden, he's one of them. He was totally committed to something different. And all of a sudden, the grace of God reached down and saved him.

His whole sense of direction had to change. Don't you imagine Satan must have tried every possible, every possible trick on him? That's why when you come to the sixth chapter of Ephesians, he can speak with such authority.

You're talking about going through it, brother. He went through it out there by himself. But when he came back, he came back God having taught him the truth of his relationship, and that is, he had the whole concept of justification by faith because listen, if anybody can tell you he was saved by grace and grace, only Paul can because listen, what was he doing the day he was saved? On his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians. But while he was riding a stalwart giant of Judaism, down in that little heart of his, the Spirit of God was just working him something over terrible and all of a sudden, when the time came, he got the right spot in the road, bang, that was it. Down he went under such absolute total conviction. What was he doing? He was crying out, Lord, this is the same Christ whom he had persecuted.

Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? You're talking about understanding grace, brother. He understood it. And God showed him how to interpret the real truth of the scriptures and the law. And God showed him, revealed to him, took the lid off the truth and unveiled to Saul of Tarsus the concept, the whole truth of justification by faith alone. It isn't salvation by grace through faith and keeping anything. It is all of what God has done, nothing that man has done, and it will always be by grace and grace alone.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-07 18:40:58 / 2023-04-07 18:48:04 / 7

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