Sunday, 11 November 2007

Grace from Galatians

I've just finished (with the help of some others) preaching through Galatians in our local congregation. Someone, in response to hearing that I'd be doing that, asked me this week, "Don't you find that every sermon is the same?!" I thought for a moment, and realized that yes, Galatians is basically one sermon. It is basically setting out a simple choice: do you read the story of the Bible mainly as Law to be enacted or mainly as Promise (of Jesus and His Spirit) to be believed? The letter returns to this theme again and again, and it is the underlying theology of all the discussion. Is the Bible mainly about commands and law from God, or is it mainly grace and salvation rooted in Jesus? Paul's opponents did not on the surface disbelieve in Jesus, nor were they simply saying "you must earn your salvation." But the structure of their theology was actually marginalizing the work of the Lord Jesus. And it is when we see this that we see how easily we move into this. Don't many Christians see their relationship with God mainly in terms of law? Don't we often think of discipleship as working hard to follow Jesus? But Paul is preaching to us: the main thing in your relationship with God and your discipleship is to to trust in the promise of the Lord Jesus. I live, not by Law, but by faith in the Son of God who loved me and died for me (Gal 2:20). It is not about what I do, but what He has done.