Preaching the Book of Galatians to Yourself – Chapter Two

This post is my second entry in a forthcoming series of posts on “Preaching the Book of Galatians to Yourself”.  This post covers chapter two of Galatians, while my initial post covered chapter one.

Chapter Two

  • I will entrust myself to others and seek the encouragement and correction of other Christians.  I will seek godly counsel and community, so that I do not live in self-deception and the error of hyper-individualism.  (2:1-2)
  • I recognize that there will be some in the church who will seek to bring me back into bondage to man-made tradition and legalisms, and I will not submit to them even for a moment.  My aim is not primarily to preserve my own personal freedom and liberty, but so that the Gospel will remain with those around me and not be compromised by man-made religious traditions. (2:3-5)
  • I will not be awed by the reputation of ministers of the gospel.  I will strive to honor them, but since God has no partiality, I will not give an improper amount of affection to them or treat them like a celebrity. (2:6)
  • I will not have a narrow view of God’s work in the world thinking that his Gospel must work in the same way it does in my context.  God works through Peter’s and Paul’s alike, and within the circumcised and uncircumcised alike.  I recognize that the Gospel will effectually work through different kinds of men and women in different kinds of contexts.  I will seek to have Gospel-shaped humility in contextualizing the Gospel and Gospel-shaped integrity in the content of the Gospel.  (2:7-9)
  • I will strive to remember the poor in everything that I do.  The grace and freedom of the Gospel launches me into compassion for the poor it does not exempt me from it.  (2:10)
  • I am not surprised that Paul opposed Peter publicly to his face or that Peter stood condemned because he compromised the Gospel—the core of our faith.  I will not be a person saturated with negativity nor be on a crusade of doctrinal head-hunting, but I will be a person who recognizes that when church leaders compromise the Gospel they deserve rebuke. (2:11)
  • I recognize that if men of God like Peter fear men, I will be prone to fear men too.  I repent of the fear of man in my life and desire the Spirit to work in my heart the joy of fearing of God.  (2:12)
  • Gospel denial is not merely doctrinal, but practical.  I will strive to live out the practical implications of the Gospel in community, and not just understand the doctrinal principles in my head. (2:12-13)
  • I recognize that even if my sphere of influence is small my actions influence other people in either adorning the Gospel or in bringing shame to the Gospel. (2:13)
  • I will be straightforward about the truth of the Gospel.  I will live a life that not only assumes the Gospel but makes much of it.  (2:14)
  • In Paul’s rebuke of Peter I see that justification by faith alone in Christ alone is critical to the content of the Gospel, because Paul essentially says the same thing three times:
    • I am not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus.
    • I have believed in Jesus, the Messiah, and therefore I am justified by faith not by the works of the law.
    • No human being can be justified before God by doing the works of the Law. (2:16-17)
  • I understand that Gospel-repetition is central to Gospel-fidelity.  Therefore I will review the Gospel consistently in my life, and strive to preach the Gospel to myself everyday. (2:16-17)
  • I believe that justification is God’s objective legal pronouncement over my life where he declares me righteous in Christ Jesus.  My standing before God is not determined by my life and actions, but my standing before God is determined by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  The future verdict at the final judgment when I meet God face to face has already been pronounced over my life in the present because of the person and work of Jesus on my behalf.  I have been justified by faith in Jesus’ work not my own works.  (2:16-17)
  • I am saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.  His work on my behalf saves me.  My religious strivings and religious associations do not save me.  I recognize that law is not the way to a mature Christian life, but that Jesus is the way to a mature Christian life. (2:16-17)
  • Though I am justified apart from works of the law Jesus is not a minister of sin.  Therefore I will not sin so that grace may abound. (2:17)
  • I have died to the law for the purpose of living to Christ.  Therefore I live for Jesus not for law.  I will live by faith not by works. (2:18-19)
  • I died with Christ at His crucifixion, and was raised with Him in His resurrection.  Therefore I am dead to law and Jesus is alive in me.  I will live life, all of life, by faith in Jesus who loves me and gave Himself for me. My Christian life is built on an internal relationship with the resurrected Jesus not on service to a written code of external law. (2:20).
  • I refuse to nullify the grace of God by attempting to earn righteousness by law-keeping.  I recognize that when I attempt to be righteous by my own efforts I am saying that Jesus died for no purpose.  My righteousness is in Jesus alone.  By faith I receive the righteousness that God has freely given me in the work of Jesus. (2:21)

Preaching the Book of Galatians to Yourself – Chapter One

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asks a provoking question, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?”  (Spiritual Depression, p. 20)

He then offers an equally provoking remedy to this condition: “The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself.  You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself.” (Ibid., p. 20, emphasis mine)

I too am convinced that preaching the Gospel to yourself is a wonderful “art” to develop as a Christian.

I need the Gospel every day, and because I need the Gospel every day I need ways in which to remind myself of what God has done in Christ.  Since Paul’s book of Galatians is a kind of Gospel punch-in-the-gut, I figured that’d be a good book to start preaching to myself.  Therefore I will be doing a series of blog posts on “Preaching the Book of Galatians to Yourself”.  I will be taking, for the most part, every verse in Galatians and turn it into self-sermons.

There are two main caveats to what follows.

First, it could be argued that some of these are more like resolutions from the book of Galatians, and that if a person took only one particular bullet point it could turn into moralism.  That is true. These bullet points are meant to be taken more in chunks rather than just one at a time. They are not meant to be some sort of positive-thinking or self-actualizing  mantra.  My hope is that they are Gospel laden.  However, if you want to call ’em resolutions from Galatians go for it.

Second, some may think this is a bit individualistic and introspective.  I do not mean it to be so. Preaching the Gospel to yourself should lift you out of preoccupation with yourself and move you into preoccupation with God and what he has done in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  A preoccupation with what Jesus has done will overflow with greater love for God and greater love for your neighbor.

With that in mind, here goes…

Chapter One

  • Paul is a man on a mission sent from God not from other men, and thus I believe that his message to the Galatians is a message sent from God not from man. (1:1)
  • I too am on mission sent from God.  God is a sending God doing mission on the earth and I am a Gospel-missionary to my surrounding context no matter what my social or “ministry” status.  (1:1)
  • Paul’s message to the Galatians is sent to churches not to an individual.  Therefore I recognize that God’s Gospel is not just for me, but to a wider community of brothers and sisters in Christ.  I will not live a life centered upon “I” but upon “us.” (1:2)
  • I receive the grace and peace that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ has given me through the Gospel and within Paul’s letter to the Galatians. (1:3)
  • Jesus gave Himself for my sins in order to rescue me from this present evil age.   Therefore one of the reasons my sins are forgiven is to rescue me from living a life committed to the values of the world. (1:4)
  • God’s rescue and Gods’ gift of salvation in Christ are the plan of God.  It was God’s will to save me.  My salvation is a result of God’s initiative not my own initiative. (1:4)
  • My salvation is more about God’s glory than it is about me. (1:5)
  • I, like the Galatians, am prone to desert the true Gospel of the grace of Jesus for something different. Therefore I repent of my Gospel-forgetfulness and will seek daily Gospel-wakefulness (1:6)
  • I recognize that there are those in the church who want to disturb God’s people and distort the gospel of Christ. Therefore I will not live gullibly, but circumspectly in life and doctrine (1:7)
  • Any “gospel” message that de-emphasizes and de-centralizes the grace of God is a distortion of God’s Gospel.  Therefore I will reject any message that seeks to combine the work of man with the work of God in salvation.  (1:6-7)
  • If any man or woman preaches a message contrary to the grace of Christ: let them be accursed. (1:8)
  • Even if angels were to show up and give me a message different from Paul’s message to the Galatians: let them be anathema. (1:8)
  • Since Paul repeats this I recognize that Gospel repetition is important, and I believe that any human being or any angel who preaches something contrary to God’s grace in Christ and that which is different than Paul’s message to the Galatians is to be damned to hell. Therefore I will not trifle and tinker with the Gospel, because it is a matter of an eternal blessing or an eternal curse. (1:9)
  • I will not seek the favor of men, but the favor of God.  (1:10)
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ was not made up by men, but originates in God.  Since Paul was taught the message of the Gospel through a revelation of Jesus Christ I will reject any supposed revelation that subverts or minimizes his message. (1:11-12)
  • In the Gospel I am a recipient of divine revelation not man-made tradition. (1:11-12)
  • Before Paul became a Christian he was zealous for man-made traditions and was one of the best students of Judaism, and even persecuted the church of God because he thought he was defending the truth and doing righteousness.  In light of this, I will seek to be zealous not for man-made traditions and religion, but for God’s Gospel. (1:13-14)
  • I, like Paul, have been set apart by God from my mother’s womb and have been called by the grace of Christ.  I am encouraged that God’s loving pleasure in me precedes my birth and precedes my faith in His Gospel. I am also encouraged that God’s call does not rest on my faith, but that my faith was born out of God’s call.  (1:15)
  • I will seek to preach Jesus and not myself to those around me. (1:16)
  • I do not need validation from the culture or men and women that surround me to confirm the truth of the Gospel.  God has already publicly validated his message by raising Jesus from the dead. (1:1, 1:16-21)
  • I will glorify God when He saves wicked men like Paul, because I recognize first and foremost that he has saved wicked men like me. (1:22-24)
  • I will not be frustrated by the fact that God chooses and saves those who have mistreated his church, ones I love, and even those who have mistreated me, but I will glory in the gracious work of God. (1:22-24)

Chapter two: HERE; Chapter three: HERE; Chapter four: HERE; Chapter five: HERE; Chapter six: HERE.