But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
In Galatians, Paul is battling the heresy of legalism. Not a legalism for justification (the Galatian Christians were already saved), but for sanctification. We can understand that because he was writing to a church. There may be confusion because of the term “gospel.” The Judaizers told the Galatians that they were saved by trusting Christ, but now they must keep the law to “stay” saved, to please God. This is another gospel – dangerous even after conversion. The gospel is related to more than just regeneration, salvation, justification – it changes everything!
In chapter 1, we saw how Christ has delivered us from this present world and then how Paul preached the gospel. The gospel is God’s plan, not a fleshly, man-devised plan. In chapter 2, we saw that because there are false brethren, the truth must be defended. Even good people can be affected by falsehood; they must be confronted as Paul confronted Peter. We also saw that the theme of Galatians is SOLA FIDE – only faith (for justification, sanctification, and all of life). So then, our fleshly life must be lived by faith, but when we add to Christ’s work, we frustrate the grace of God.
Chapter 4 addresses their condition as sons of God. Understanding this new condition, why would they return to the bondage of a fleshly religion? Paul finishes his doctrinal portion of the book with an allegory of Hagar and Sarah, Sinai and Jerusalem, Ishmael and Isaac. Chapter 5 addresses practically, how we should live. We should stand fast in liberty, but do not use liberty to occasion the flesh. We should love one another, walk in the spirit – not waiting for a filling, but walking. Paul tells us the contrast of the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. In chapter 6, Paul addresses various particulars of faith, grace, Spirit living and perseverance.
As we begin looking at Chapter 3, we see Paul’s admonistion to the Galatians to finish the job. They should “putt like they drive.” They began in the Spirit therefore, they should live in the Spirit (Christianity is not a “do” religion, it is “done”). Next, we see that the blessings of Abraham only come to those with the faith of Abraham, not necessarily the blood of Abraham. After that we see that those that try to live by works are cursed, but Christ has redeemed us from the law’s curse. In verses 15-18, we see that the plan of God was that we would be blessed because of His promise to Abraham. Christ is the seed of Abraham; we are His brother by faith; we gain the inheritance by promise. Finally, before looking at this text, we see that the law (which came about after the promise) is for the protection of the promised seed. The pedagogue protected the son so he could learn from the teacher.
Interpretation & Explanation
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
This faith is not personal faith. This is the revelation/visualization of Christ as the object of our faith. Christ had come; the seed had been protected. There is no longer the need for the pedagogue. The standard for living had been internalized; the young man was no longer a boy, he was a man. God’s law is no longer on stones; it is written on the fleshly tables of the heart. This transfer would never be possible if I were a slave, but I’m not a slave; I’m a child/son of God – how is that?
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
“Ye” is directed toward them; it is personal. “All” can apply to every person that hears it. “Children” denotes an incomprehensible position that we obtain “by faith” – John 1:12. “In Christ Jesus” contradicts universalism; it is exclusivist, and it is what makes Christianity intolerable.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
“As many as have been baptized” is not suggesting that there were some that had not been baptized. It means that when each of them was baptized… they had “put on Christ.” This is one place where we learn that baptism identifies us with Christ. When we put something on, that is what others around us see. You don’t see me, you see the clothes I’ve put on. Others should not see us, they should see Christ. We’ve put him on in our baptism. Use this truth when you disciple people. Use this when you challenge people to live godly. “Grab them by their baptism.”
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Here is a contrast with the old covenant. In the old covenant privilege was given to Jew, free (1 Corinthians 7:22), and male. This contrast is particularly illustrated in baptism. Circumcision was for Jewish males; baptism is for all believers. We are all one in Christ Jesus: all qualify for baptism; all put on Christ in baptism; then all see Christ not birth, status, or sex. Verse 16 says that “Abraham’s seed” is Christ. Since we’re in Christ, we are the seed also. We are joint-heirs with Christ. We are heirs. Not because of birth. Not because of status. Not because of sex. Only because of Christ – because of the promise.
We are reminded again that in the plan of God, Abraham received the promise and Christ was the promised seed through which all the world would be blessed. All can be heirs of God through faith in Christ because in Him there are no differences. We are one in Him.
Christ is “The Faith.” It is not a system; not a prayer; Christ is all. We are sons because of Him. Christ erases all distinctions and differences.
We’ve graduated – we’re no longer under external rules and laws. The faith has come – God’s laws and desires are internal, they are part of us, not binding on us. Is this important to Fairhaven today? YES! There are people who live to please the preacher. There are others who grew up in our school and have been formed by a system of demerits and rules – external laws – who don’t know how to live the gospel. You haven’t graduated. You think you are spiritual if you continue to live by the rules of the “church.”
We think our standards make us spiritual. We compare ourselves with visiting youth groups. We compare ourselves with churches across the country. We hear “fundamentalism is dying” – that makes us think we’re alive because we still hold to the “fundamentals” and… we’re going to stand fast and keep the faith.
High, fundamentalist standards tend to make our flesh feel spiritual. So we raise them higher that way we can be more spiritual.
We define sin in ways the Bible does not – by standards. Then, when someone is not worldly, but they have fit the definition we have prescribed, they are declared to be sinning!
We begin to trust in our rules to make us acceptable with God
We think other people without our standards are backsliders or wicked, terrible people – not even Christians!
We get proud of our standards, which is many times worse than not having standards
We go around judging others, even imputing motives and thoughts – “She did that because… I know it” – REALLY? The Bible says we’re not to judge another man’s (Christ’s) servant. The Bible says no man can know the mind of another man. Just because we are to be discerning doesn’t give us the right to be judgmental. There’s a ditch on both sides of the road.
A form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. The problem is not the form, it’s the denying. Some recognize this and seek the power by denying the form of godliness. Some don’t recognize that the form is not the power
- Going soulwinning/visiting for one hour every week and filling out a slip doesn’t make you a good Christian.
- Wearing or not wearing your hair a certain way doesn’t make you a good Christian.
- Wearing or not wearing certain clothes doesn’t make you a good Christian.
- Smoking or not smoking doesn’t make you a good Christian.
- Drinking or not drinking doesn’t make you a good Christian.
- Going to movies, or not going to movies doesn’t make you a good Christian.
- Watching TV or not watching TV doesn’t make you a good Christian.
- Getting demerits or not getting demerits doesn’t make you a good Christian.
- Listening to certain kinds of music or not listening to certain kinds of music does not make you a good Christian.
- Living by the pass system or not does not make you a good Christian.
We must have the power (the Holy Spirit’s), then the form will come “naturally.” HOW? Through yielding. Sometimes we just go through the motions of having devotions. We “die daily” – we do this each morning, and by morning break, we’re back to doing our own thing. If in every thing we were yielded to God/Holy Spirit instead of a rulebook, God’s law would then be written on our heart!
It really is that simple. For that reason, it is high treason not to do it – it is rebellion against GOD. I don’t like to think through my days. I see how many times I’ve gone my own way in just one day
To be a happy Christian, we must not put ourselves in bondage to rules and external laws. We must allow God to rule in our hearts every moment of every day.
You can listen to this sermon at SermonAudio.