True Life - Galatians 3:1-14

I love to watch “The Little Rascals”. It is not uncommon to see a scene where Spanky or Buckwheat or Alfalfa would do something and one of the other children would be blamed for it and even receive the punishment. Generally the real perpetrator would not confess but relish in the other person being punished.

1.      But what would make watching someone receive a severe punishment because of your mistake so difficult?

2.      How can knowing that someone else will be impacted by your actions serve as motivation?

In our passage today Paul is still talking to the Galatians about their stupidity of turning away from salvation by grace through faith in Jesus alone. Here Paul uses the same tool the Judaizers used—Old Testament Scripture! Again Paul uses contrasts—the deficiency of the law and the sufficiency of faith! The Judaizers were practicing insanity, that is, doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results.

Paul uses three main points today: 1) The Holy Spirit confirms our salvation; 2) Abraham believed it; 3) The curse demands it.

 

(Divide the class into three groups. Assign each group one of the main points of the lesson. Ask them to search their portion of the Scripture text and answer the questions you provide them. Give them approximately 10 minutes to complete their work then call them back together to give their report.)

 

Group 1—The Spirit Confirms it! Galatians 3:1-5

 

Paul was using rhetorical questions to highlight the Galatians’ foolishness in returning to the law for righteousness apart from Christ. He was making them aware of how their faith was becoming legalism.

Having a part in one’s own salvation by works was, and is, appealing to new believers. We all have a tendency to want to achieve for ourselves. Until the Judaizers came they had never heard of the law.

1.      Search Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30. What do these two verses have to say about the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of the Christian? (They were “sealed by Him until the day of redemption.”  “In the early Church converts nearly always received the Holy Spirit in a visible way.… That experience (receiving the Holy Spirit) had happened to the Galatians and had happened, said Paul, not because they had obeyed the regulations of the law, because at that time they had never heard of the law.”—The Letter to the Galatians by Dr. William Barclay. The Scripture does not say these Christians had received the Spirit in a visible way but they certainly knew they had received the Holy Spirit.)

2.      Create one-sentence summaries of each verse in this section. (Summaries could include: Verse 1: Paul was correcting the Galatians on believing in the insufficiency of Christ’s death. Verse 2: Paul showed how the Spirit came by faith and not by the works of the law. Verse 3: Paul spoke of how the people were reverting to the law, which Jesus had saved them from.   4: Paul spoke of how their suffering for Christ was not to be in vain. Verse 5: Paul shared how the means for God’s work is not based in the law but in the Spirit.)

3.      What are the dangers of trusting in our own efforts for sanctification?

4.      If people are saved by faith, what pressures might cause them to start trusting in works after their salvation? (If they are new Christians a smooth talker might come in and tell them he wanted to help them grow deeper in their Christian walk by convincing them they had to follow a set of rules.)

Through these series of questions, Paul challenged the Galatians to look to their initial salvation experience and their continuing walk of sanctification.

5.      To what evidence could a person point as proof that he or she had received God’s forgiveness?

6.      What makes this assurance so important?

 

Group 2—Abraham Believed it! Galatians 3:6-9

 

1.      Read Gen. 12:1-3. What promise was given to Abraham in these verses?

2.      Read Gen. 15:2-5. What promise did God give Abraham in these verses that seemed impossible?

3.      Read Gen. 15:6. What was Abraham’s response to all that God had promised him in spite of how impossible it seemed? (All of this happened before the law was given and before he was circumcised. By faith alone Abraham was declared righteous!)

4.      Who was thought of as being sons of Abraham until this time by most people? (Only the Jews!)

5.      Who are the sons of Abraham according to these verses?

Justification by faith knows no prejudice!

6.      Why do some people consider themselves Christians because they are born into a Christian family?

7.      How do Paul’s words here instruct them?

8.      How does faith in Christ push us toward righteous living? (All who express genuine faith in Christ Jesus should therefore strive to be like Christ. This process is called sanctification, and is a lifelong endeavor!)

9.      Verse 9 points out how as believers we share the same faith as Abraham. What does that tell you about how God views the faith we express in Jesus Christ?

10.  Why is Jesus, not Abraham, the central figure in all of history?

 

Group 3—The Curse Demands it! Galatians 3:10-14

 

1.      Last week we talked about the purpose of the law. What did we discover? (To show us what sin is!)

2.      What does the law bring to us if we rely on it for salvation? (Curse.)

The purpose of the law was to show people their need of faith!

3.      How does the law itself point to the inadequacy to save? (Those who tried to keep the law were condemned by the very law they tried to keep because they could not keep it all.)

This necessitated a work of grace for salvation rather than human effort or achievement.

4.      Read v.13 then read 2 Cor. 5:21. What comparisons do you see in these verses?

There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ our Lord! When we can admit our inability to follow the law completely, we can admit our need for a savior!

5.      What does trusting in Jesus produce in a person’s life? (“That the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.”)

6.      Why was it important for Paul to remind his readers that Christ took on the curse? (Christ received the curse that we had earned. Our sins were imputed to Him. Our sins were taken away, but we also received Christ’s righteousness. It was imputed to us by God’s marvelous, matchless, amazing Grace!)

 

When we begin to learn and fully comprehend how our faith is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection, we find a reason to live for Him every day!

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

When we begin to think of specific ways we can make a choice to live by faith and not by legalism, we are moving forward in our efforts to express love because of God’s grace not to earn grace!

When we look to good deeds or rule following for our sense of security, then we are not looking to the finished work of Christ!

Consider: How can we engage people who are trusting in things other than the grace of God and teach them about justification by faith?

 

Prayer.

Group 1—The Spirit Confirms it! Galatians 3:1-5

 

Paul was using rhetorical questions to highlight the Galatians’ foolishness in returning to the law for righteousness apart from Christ. He was making them aware of how their faith was becoming legalism.

Having a part in one’s own salvation by works was, and is, appealing to new believers. We all have a tendency to want to achieve for ourselves. Until the Judaizers came they had never heard of the law.

1.      Search Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30. What do these two verses have to say about the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of the Christian?

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.      Create one-sentence summaries of each verse in this section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.      What are the dangers of trusting in our own efforts for sanctification?

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.      If people are saved by faith, what pressures might cause them to start trusting in works after their salvation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through these series of questions, Paul challenged the Galatians to look to their initial salvation experience and their continuing walk of sanctification.

5.      To what evidence could a person point as proof that he or she had received God’s forgiveness?

 

 

 

 

6.      What makes this assurance so important?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group 2—Abraham Believed it! Galatians 3:6-9

 

1.      Read Gen. 12:1-3. What promise was given to Abraham in these verses?

 

 

 

 

2.      Read Gen. 15:2-5. What promise did God give Abraham in these verses that seemed impossible?

 

 

 

 

3.      Read Gen. 15:6. What was Abraham’s response to all that God had promised him in spite of how impossible it seemed?

 

 

 

 

4.      Who was thought of as being sons of Abraham until this time by most people?

 

 

 

 

5.      Who are the sons of Abraham according to these verses?

Justification by faith knows no prejudice!

 

 

 

 

6.      Why do some people consider themselves Christians because they are born into a Christian family?

 

 

 

7.      How do Paul’s words here instruct them?

 

 

 

8.      How does faith in Christ push us toward righteous living?

 

 

 

 

9.      Verse 9 points out how as believers we share the same faith as Abraham. What does that tell you about how God views the faith we express in Jesus Christ?

 

 

 

 

10.  Why is Jesus, not Abraham, the central figure in all of history?

 

 

Group 3—The Curse Demands it! Galatians 3:10-14

 

1.      Last week we talked about the purpose of the law. What did we discover?

 

 

 

 

 

2.      What does the law bring to us if we rely on it for salvation?

The purpose of the law was to show people their need of faith!

 

 

 

 

 

3.      How does the law itself point to the inadequacy to save?

This necessitated a work of grace for salvation rather than human effort or achievement.

 

 

 

 

 

4.      Read v.13 then read 2 Cor. 5:21. What comparisons do you see in these verses?

There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ our Lord! When we can admit our inability to follow the law completely, we can admit our need for a savior!

 

 

 

 

 

5.      What does trusting in Jesus produce in a person’s life?

 

 

 

 

 

6.      Why was it important for Paul to remind his readers that Christ took on the curse?

 

When we begin to learn and fully comprehend how our faith is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection, we find a reason to live for Him every day!