What is wrong with calling Christianity a religion? Throughout my study on Galatians chapter 3 this past semester, this question has been answered repeatedly. By referring to Christianity as a religion, we imply that Christianity is associated with religious works. In Galatians, however, Paul tells us that the Spirit and the law–religious works-are enemies. The Lord does not care for religious duties. Instead, we are to live by faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in Him as our life. Throughout chapter three, Paul contrasts these two ways of living, showing that Christ should be our life.
This life sustains us even in the face of ur enemies, and it solves all of our problems. The main point of the book of Galatians is that Christ should be our life-not religious actions or works. Paul says in 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? ” Trying to perfect ourselves without any help from the Lord is just plain foolish, because we are sinful. Instead, the only solution is to begin by the Spirit and never end by the Spirit.
By trying to perfect themselves, the Galatians were suffering in vain (v. ): they suffered persecution because of Christ, and yet they were not growing in life. This situation was so dangerous that Paul did not wait to travel to them, but immediately sent them the book of Galatians, warning them of their problem. Even today we must guard against this, and instead take the Lord as our life. GOOD To keep ourselves from this mistake, we must take the Lord as our life. Galatians 3:24-25 says that we are no longer shut up under the law. Instead, we can come into Christ and immediately receive life from Him!
Verse 26 says that this is because we “are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,” and verse 27 backs this up by saying that if we have been aptized into Christ, we have put on Christ. Romans 13:14 explains what “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” means: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts. ” Instead of living according to ourselves (letting our flesh fulfill its lusts), we should put on Christ: we should live by Him and by His life, expressing the Lord through our living; we should not live according to the law or according to ourselves.
GOOD As I was reading this, I wondered how living under the law applies to us today. After all, I do not spend each day thinking about whether a certain action violates one of the ommandments. But how many times each day do we do something according to our own desire without consulting the Lord? Every time we trust our own judgement, we are essentially trying to perfect ourselves by the flesh. If we continue doing this, growing in the Lord will be very difficult. Instead, the Lord just wants us to spend time with Him, enjoying His presence and life.
In my experience, when I spend time with the Lord, everything feels normal; but when I skip a couple of days, or even just one day, I feel very distant from the Lord. When we spend time with the Lord, He is satisfied, and we are supplied. GOOD In Galatians 3:5, Paul asks, “He therefore who bountifully supplies to you the Spirit and does works of power among you, does He do it out of the works of law or out of the hearing of faith? ” The Lord supplies us with His life not according to our works, but according to our faith.
This again points out that we need to live by the Spirit instead of under the law. But it also shows that the Lord gives us life when we trust in Him. There is a daily transaction of life between the Lord and us. The Lord actually wants to supply us with life: He supplies bountifully in this verse-He does not hold back. In fact, the Spirit, the life we live by, is the blessing given to Abraham in Genesis 12 (Gal. 3:14). From the very beginning of God and man’s relationship, He has wanted to pour out His riches on us and let us enjoy Him as life! He only needs us to have faith in Him.
GOOD This life is one of the most important things to the saints: The Lord Himself is life, which is why the growth in life is so important. As I read this, I wondered whether the Lord was satisfied with where I am in Him; and am I satisfied with where I am? The answer to both of these questions should be no. Life is what guards us from the enemy; it is what guards us from living according to the law. If we do not grow in Him, but remain stagnant where we are, He cannot use us for anything. Revelation 3:16 says “So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am about to spew you out of My mouth. If we do not have a desire for more life, the Lord will leave us where we are; He will spew us out of His mouth.
This is an incredibly important point: We can never be satisfied with where we are, or the Lord cannot bring us into new experiences of His life. If we press on, however, pursuing he Lord and asking for a deeper experience of Him, He will honor our requests. GOOD As we enjoy the Lord’s life in this way, we will become one with Him. In Galatians 3:14, Paul says that we have received the promise of the Spirit through faith. But Galatians 3:16 says “But to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed.
He does not say, ‘and to the seeds,’ as concerning many, but as concerning one: ‘And to your seed,’ who is Christ. ” While Paul said in verse 14 the promise was given to us, he says here that it was only given to Christ. This shows that through the Lord’s death and resurrection, we are one with Him and can enjoy the promise given to us-which is Christ Himself! We enjoy the promise by abiding in Him and living by His life. GOOD We need this oneness with the Lord if we want to be useful to Him. Matthew 6:22 says, “The lamp of the body is they eye.
If therefore your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light. ” This light is life, the life that we enjoy daily as our nourishment. If we have an eye that is not single, that is, if we serve two masters instead of only the Lord, we cannot be full of light. We will not know what is on the Lord’s heart or what He wants from us. If we live in this way, serving two masters, all the Lord can say about our work is “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness” (Mat. 7:23). This is the importance of living by faith instead of under the law.
If we do religious works for the Lord without inquiring of Him, we may think we are doing things for the Lord, but in reality we are workers of lawlessness. If, however, we live by faith, enjoying the Lord on a daily basis, we will be constituted with Him and will become one with Him. This is what He wants from us. Through our love for the Lord, He will work further in all His elievers to make one body which expresses Him on earth. Galatians 3:28 says, “There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there cannot be slave nor free man, there cannot be male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
We have been baptized into Christ, who builds us into one body (1 Cor. 12:13). In John 17, the Lord prayed that we would all be one: “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (v. 21). He wants to make us all one, but the only way to do this is to bring us into Christ. This He accomplished on the cross, but He now needs us to take Him as our life. As we enjoy the Lord daily, we will slowly grow in Him to match Him in “life, in nature, in constitution, and in expression but not in the Godhead” (Lee).
As we absorb the Lord’s life, it will slowly replace our life, and we will become a person living solely in God. In this way, the Lord will build us into what He prayed for in John 17. As we are living in the Lord, our natural preferences will have no room to operate, and so it will be possible for the saints to become one expression of the Lord. Thus, the Lord is our oneness. We simply need to give ourselves to Him so that He can fill every part of our being. Paul says in Galatians 2:20 that he has been crucified with Christ, and now Christ is the only one who lives in him.
Our natural being, which Paul referred to as the enemy of the Spirit (3:3), must be crucified with Christ. Otherwise, the believers could never be one, but would have many different goals, doing whatever seems the best in each ones’ eyes. To avoid this, the Lord needs to slowly replace our natural being with His life, constituting us with Himself and transforming us into His image. Finally, Paul ends Galatians 3 with the following statement: “And if you are of Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise” (v. 29). We are of Christ, not of our flesh, not of the law, and not of anything else.
We are also heirs according to God’s promise, not according to our endeavoring to accomplish anything good in ourselves. In addition, we are Abraham’s seed: we are of Christ, we are living in Christ, and we live by Christ. To work in us, the Lord needs us to cooperate and give up our soul life for His sake. The Lord says in Matthew 10:39 hat “He who finds his soul-life shall lose it, and he who loses his soul-life for My sake shall find it. ” As long as we cooperate with the Lord in this matter, He will get what He is after, and we will abide in Him.
Then we, “beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, [will be] transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). This seems like a very difficult thing to do. I still struggle simply with the concept, much less with the application. However, this will all take place simply with the right amount of growth in life. The Lord needs saints who would pursue Him with this goal. In fact, being one with Him should not seem rare or extraordinary: it is simply the result of maturing in the Lord.
We are not in awe when someone matures physically-it is simply a biological process; likewise, with daily growth in life, our spiritual maturity will not seem as stupendous and difficult to attain as we may think. We simply need to ask the Lord daily for a normal portion of growth. In Matthew 6, when the Lord was teaching the disciples how to pray, He asked the Father, “Give us today our daily bread” (v. 11). If we do this every day, not in a religious or stiff way, but by faith in Christ Jesus, He will bring us onward toward the goal. Galatians 3 is a chapter about how we should live as Christians.
It shows the distinction between living by the law and by the Spirit, pointing out that the Lord should be our only source of life. Through living by this life, we will become one with the Lord and with all the other saints. The Lord’s life will ultimately result in our being transformed to His image. Galatians shows that life is the solution to all our problems: if we are on a plateau in our experience of the Lord, we only need to sk for our daily portion of life; if we are discouraged, we only need the Lord’s life; even if we feel that we are useless to the Lord and might as well give up, the Lord’s life can solve the problem.
He has solved these problems in my life. And yet I feel at times that I have hit another plateau—but this is by the Lord’s wisdom: We can never be satisfied with where our experience of the Lord is, but must continually press on, “setting [our] mind on the things of God” (Mark 8:33). We must continually ask for our portion of life; Christ is not one who holds back: He supplies the Spirit bountifully. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!