Rescued by Grace
Scripture Text: Galatians 5
Abused spouses often return to their abusers. Sometimes convicts will repeatedly fall back into the same patterns of criminal behavior because they actually want to go back to prison. On multiple occasions I have seen Soldiers who have complained about military life for several years reenlist at the last moment, or after spending only a few months living the civilian life. Why is that?
Sometimes when life gets hard, or uncomfortable, it seems easier to go back to what you know rather than press on into unfamiliar territory. Even if the familiar is destructive it can, at times, feel safer than the unknown. Today we’ll address that, and look at living our lives with the proper understanding of our freedom so that we can balance that freedom with the responsibility we have to honor God with our lives.
Don’t go back – verse 1
Read Galatians 5:1
The yoke is a common illustration of slavery or servitude. It was placed on oxen so that they could be guided while plowing. It was a heavy burden to bear and was and is a very effective way of exerting the will of the farmer onto his team of oxen.
That’s the picture that was used in the Old Testament to describe how the people of Israel were treated in Egypt. Joseph brought God’s people to Egypt to escape a famine, but hundreds of years later, once his memory had faded from the house of Pharaoh, the people of Israel were enslaved by the Egyptians and subjected to bitter work.
When the time was right, however, God set them free. He worked breath-taking and terrifying miracles on their behalf and set them free, but as soon as life after Egypt got hard the people of Israel longed for the familiar. They wanted to go back into slavery rather than face the unknown that was still ahead of them.
Paul’s message to the Galatians was to not go back to bondage to the Law. Those who received this letter would have been relatively new Christians. If you’ve been around for more than about 5 minutes then you understand that living out the Christian life is not easy. It can get confusing, and when you add to that the false teaching that was creeping into their churches it’s understandable that they would want to turn to what seemed to make sense, but doing that would be a tragic mistake. It would be a denial of Christ’s love and grace, and the equivalent of walking back into slavery.
Die to sin – verses 13-21
Why would they be swayed so easily? Rules and regulations sometimes provide a false sense of comfort. Often the conversation of our freedom in Christ leads to a concern about it leading to abuse of that freedom. The problem is that we often think in terms of extremes. In our minds it seems to be either grace or “anything goes.”
That’s simply not the case, however. Grace doesn’t have to lead to excess. In fact it can do the opposite and drive us towards being transformed into the image of Christ. It can and should drive us to die to sin which is something that rules can never do.
Illustration from marriage – I’m not faithful to Priscilla because I have to be. It’s not because of a ring or a ceremony. I’m faithful to her to honor the love that she has shown me and because I love her.
Because of His grace and love
Don’t indulge in sin – verse 13 (examples inverses 19-21)
Don’t destroy others – verse 15
Just like my love for Priscilla has driven me to die to the single life our live for God should drive us to willingly choose to die to sin. The life that we lived before should be cast away because of how God’s grace and mercy have changed us.
Surrender to the Spirit – verses 22-26
There’s a song that we sing that captures what we’re talking about this morning.
Your Grace Amazes Me
Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jason Ingram
(O Jesus) Your grace amazes me
Your grace amazes me
Where else could I go
Where else could I run but to Your arms
O Jesus Your grace it changes me
O Lord Your grace my ev’rything
What else could I say
What else could I do I stand in awe
Part of our struggle is that we misunderstand what grace is all about. It’s not just about salvation, but transformation. God’s will is that we would be changed by His love rather than just conform to a set of rules.
Ephesians 5:18 NIV
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…
Our response to God’s love should be to fully surrender to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Walk by the Spirit – verse 16
Serve Each other – verse 14
Fruit of the Spirit – verses 22-26
Romans 12:2 – be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Spend time in prayer
Spend time in the Word – Read, study (alone and with others), attend worship services.
Put what you learn into practice
Have you been set free by Grace?
Have you been transformed by Grace?