After a three week break, our Saturday Men’s Bible Study will resume this Saturday, January 7 at 7:00AM. Some of us meet for prayer at 6:30AM. I hope everyone had a great Holiday season.
Since it has been a few weeks, a review of where we have been is in order.
We have been studying the book of Galatians, which is the first letter that the Apostle Paul wrote that is contained in the Bible. The Galatian church was one of the first churches that Paul helped found as a result of his early missionary activity. The reason Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians is because soon after Paul left them, he learned the Galatians had fallen into the serious error of thinking that their good works or following religious ritual was required before they could obtain acceptance by God. This error was being taught by people within the Galatian church called Judaizers, who were teaching that the Galatians needed to be circumcised before God would accept them. Paul warns the Galatians that no one can gain or merit the acceptance of God by their works, including circumcision. Paul reminds the Galatians in various ways that with the Gospel, God’s acceptance is only through faith in Christ alone, because only Jesus Christ was able to fulfill what was necessary to save us.
In other words, Paul’s argument can be summed up this way:
Religion says that God’s acceptance first requires good works. The true Gospel says that God’s acceptance is only by faith in Christ alone; good works are an outgrowth, or the result of our faith.
In our last lesson on December 10, we learned that having God’s acceptance by faith and not by works is not a license for sinful living. As believers who have already been saved and have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, our lives should exhibit good works. This is what Paul describes as “walking by the Spirit” as the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to do it. Those who are continually practicing sinful or selfish lifestyles are called “walking in the flesh.” Those who are continually walking in the flesh may not have a real faith.
A helpful quote that further explains why walking in the Spirit is important for a believer is this one:
“If a believer doesn’t turn outward in love towards others, they will turn inward in love for themselves.” (Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse)