THE BIG IDEA: God saves us by his grace (undeserved favor) when we believe in Jesus. Our salvation is a gift from God, not a reward for the good things we have done.
God didn’t wait until we got our acts all cleaned up and put our best suits on and confessed all of our sins and got rid of all our bad habits before loving us. No, it was, as the old hymns declared, “Just as I am – without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me” and “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” We have nothing to offer God, but He has us anyway, all because of Jesus and His death on the Cross.
Too many people don’t understand grace in our world today. We’re living in a society where there are no free lunches. “If you want something, you have to earn it!” We can’t handle the idea of getting something for nothing. “I’ve got to work real hard for it!” But you can’t work for your salvation. If you want to earn your way to Heaven, you have to fulfill the law perfectly from the day you’re born until the day you die. How’s that working out for you? We can’t do that! But if you recognize that this is impossible, then you’ll be motivated to go to the Cross. There you will see Jesus who lived a perfect life, died a death He didn’t deserve, and took our punishment through His death on the Cross. The substitution that happened on the Cross is amazing: He took all of our sins on Him (that’s why the wrath of God was poured out on Him) and then He took His righteousness and credited it to our account. That’s grace, and that’s something worth shouting about! It’s not about what we do, but it’s all about what Jesus has already done for us. When Jesus died on the Cross, He said, “It is finished.”
- PAUL EXPLAINS HIS AUTHORITY:
“Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia.” (Galatians 1:1-2).
When we write a letter today, we start out with the name of the person we’re writing a letter to. We say, “Dear John” and at the bottom, we sign, “Sincerely, Chris.” In the first century, they would introduce the letter with the name of the author first, and then the person or group of people it was being sent to.
The Book of Galatians is a letter that was written from the Apostle Paul to a group of churches in the region of Galatia in the first century. A large portion of our New Testament is made up of letters written by apostles to churches or people. Of the 27 books of the New Testament, 21 of them are letters – 14 written by the Apostle Paul, and seven written by other apostles (James, Peter, John and Jude).
Pastor Chris Jordan