Saturday, August 18, 2007

More Bad News about Good Works? Galatians Chapter 5

We had a very blessed time meeting together at Kuya Vic and Ate Connie's on Friday night (July 6). The Care Group was able to discuss Paul's writings in Galatians 5 and the proper place of "good works" in the life of believers.


1) Sin alienates us from GOD. But in verse 4, what does Paul claim to alienate us from CHRIST?

2) Now, I’m confused. I know that we cannot be Justified by our good works, but doesn’t the Bible teach us to Sanctify ourselves by good works (or does it)? What exactly is the proper role or place of good works in the life of believers? Please explain…

3) Elsewhere in the Bible, Paul says, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” (Eph. 2: 10) Does that mean that good works should be our ultimate goal, our chief end? The very reason that mankind was created? (According to Christ, what is the work that God requires in John 6:25-40?)

4) If someone who professes to be a Christian does not seem to be doing enough good works, what do we do?

A Few Thoughts, While Reading Galatians...

The Gospel is not just concerned with Justification by Faith (which is a very important part of the Gospel). The Good News is much greater than that. The Gospel is about the Holy Sovereign GOD of all creation, having Chosen and Elected us “in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4), GOD purchasing His people from sin with the blood of Christ: GOD imputing His righteousness to His Children; GOD Justifying us (Rom. 4:5), GOD Sanctifying us (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2), GOD Glorifying us (Rom. 8:30; Col. 3:4; 2Thess. 2:14; Heb. 2:10; 1 Pet. 5:1, 4) and GOD allowing His children to spend eternity with HIM.

This is why the Gospel is not just for non-believers, but also for those who already believe. This Good News is eternal because it's all about our eternal Sovereign Almighty GOD!

1 Peter 1:25 (KJV): “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

This is “the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures” (Rom. 1:2). John also writes about an angel in Rev 14:6, “he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.”

Salvation is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, as taught in Scripture alone, all for the glory of God alone. If we forget this, we might end up resorting to our own means all over again.

The Galatian churches needed to be told that “They are sanctified not by legalistic works but by the obedience that comes from faith in God’s work for them, in them and through them by the grace and power of Christ and the Holy Spirit.” (Book Introduction to Galatians, Zondervan NIV Study Bible ©2002,

This eternal Gospel proclaims the Lord’s gracious provision for us to be like Him, as opposed to man’s self-centered way to be “like God” (as was encouraged by the serpent in Genesis 3).

Man thinks that he can be godly by trusting in “knowledge” and so ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man thinks that he now has the knowledge or an “own understanding” to rightly judge what is good and what is evil—“like God, knowing good and evil.” (This was the serpent’s lie in Gen. 3:5.) This is confidence in the flesh (ala Phil. 3).

Sadly, the mere concept of true Holiness is too much for our finite human minds to understand. Man, being naturally “man-centered” can only recognize things as being moral or immoral. He thinks that if something is not moral then it must be immoral. This was probably why the moralistic Pharisees confused Jesus with Beelzebub (Matt. 12:24).

The best that mankind can do is try to be moral (conform to laws/rules). While many today equate morality with godliness or Christ-likeness, morality only deals with how good we can be to our fellow human beings—-it is “man-centered.” Morality is nice, but God has something much greater in mind for His children: HOLINESS.

(To the Most Holy Righteous God, mankind's morality/mankind's righteous acts are no better than filthy rags.)

When God opened our eyes to His righteousness, we ought to have become ashamed of our immorality (obviously, Gal. 5:19). May God reveal to us now even more of His righteousness, so that we may now also become discontent with our own morality—not so that we can slip back down to immorality—but so that we may yearn for what God wants us to be: Holy, just as the Father is Holy!

We have been freed from the Law which condemns us of sin, so that former slaves to sin can now be free—not just to be good, or moral or pious—but to be Holy… Godly… CHRIST-like!

True Holiness surpasses mere morality and thus, cannot be attained by mere mortals being more moral. True Holiness is of God. We are sanctified (separated from the rest) by God, for God.

Comments? Clarifications? Corrections?

To GOD alone be the Glory, in CHRIST’s name. Amen!

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