Paul wrote the Book of Galatians to reaffirm the gospel message and to address the belief that non-Jewish Christians should follow the laws of Torah. One message he wanted to make clear was that all believers are justified and belong to Jesus’ covenant family because of their faith in Jesus and not because they obey the laws of Torah. This is known as justification. When we have been justified and enjoy a right relationship with God, we find ourselves being taught by His Holy Spirit. And while the laws of Torah help people follow God’s will, Jesus’ transforming presence through the Spirit equips believers to obey Jesus’ commands and love others. As you watch this video on Galatians you will hear justification explained, as well as how we are adopted into God’s family of believers, and also how we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How did the video help you further appreciate or understand the relationship of your justification, adoption and transformation?
Christianity was birthed as a Jewish Messianic movement. The Jews had been commanded to observe the Laws of the Torah, and so when the Gentiles began to embrace Jesus as their Messiah, the Jews imposed on them the same observances.
- Is it by observing the law that a person gains a right relationship with God?
- What is the basis of our justification before God?
- If the law doesn’t justify us, how then should we view the law?
- Do you think Christians still try to earn their justification by following the laws?
When Peter visited Antioch he started mingling with Gentile believers. This was a big step for Peter and only possible because of the vision on the rooftop he saw when God spoke directly to him about the Gentiles not being “unclean”. (Acts 10:9) But he felt pressure to win the approval of conservative Jewish believers and spurned the Gentiles in their presence.
- What was Paul’s response to Peter’s actions?
- In what areas do we feel the greatest pressure to allow the practice of our faith to be shaped by the opinion of others?
Paul declared that his right standing in God’s sight was not because of keeping the law but because of faith in Jesus. When we put our faith in Jesus we trust in the work he did on our behalf. That means we have to stop trusting in our own abilities, especially our ability to live righteously by keeping the law.
- What did Paul “put to death” so that he could live for God?
- What did Paul rely on to give him life instead of his own ability?
- In practical terms, what can we do to “crucify” our reliance on our own abilities and allow Jesus to live in us?
Even though we have no ability in ourselves to keep the law, we are not without hope. Jesus has to power to fulfill the law and when we surrender our lives and make Him our Lord, He is able to transform us so that our lives produce evidence of that change; the fruit of the Spirit. The evidence of our transformation can be seen in our love for God and others.
- Paul draws a stark contrast between the results of our sinful nature and the fruit of the Spirit. He paints a vivid picture of those who belong to Jesus nailing their sinful nature to the cross and crucifying it there. But our transformation isn’t instantaneous. According to verse 25, what must we do if we intend to live by the Spirit rather than the flesh?
- As you consider the areas of the sinful nature listed by Paul it is easy to focus on the flagrant sins of idolatry, sorcery and sexual immorality and feel we aren’t guilty of those, but look at the whole list. It includes division, envy, outbursts of anger. Are there any areas on this list that you have seen God personally transform in your life? If so describe the process as the transformation took place, or is still taking place.