(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, as we've been summarizing these books of the Bible, it’s really impressed me that the zeal of God for giving us His Word is so that we would know the God of the Word, and that we would know His Son, the Lord Jesus. The Bible is way more than a religious, formally religious book, or a theological book; it is the narrative of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we've seen that literally in every book of the Bible so far.
Well, we’re in Galatians, and I would entitle this “The Gospel’s Greatest Enemy.” Galatians is a powerful reminder that the greatest dangers to the Church of Jesus Christ are never outside of the church; they’re always inside of the church. And the greatest danger is that there would be some kind of pollution of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that would weaken the life and ministry and message of the Church. And the greatest of those pollution dangers is legalism.
And the reason it’s so dangerous is legalism plays to our pride, it plays to the self-righteousness of sin, it plays to that belief that somehow, someway, by my performance, by my obedience, I can achieve acceptance with God, that I could be that good, I could be that wise, I could be that faithful. And so that's the great enemy that's being addressed in Galatians.
It was addressed because there was this group called the Judaizers who said, “No! No! It's not just the grace of God; it’s the grace of God plus observance of Mosaic Law.” Listen, the gospel is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Anytime you add ‘plus,’ you’ve destroyed the gospel. And so that's the challenge of Galatians.
You have the challenge to the gospel in the theology of the Judaizers; that's where you see it theologically. You have the challenge of the gospel, practically, in Peter when Peter, under pressure, refuses to eat with Gentile believers and sides with the Judaizers; and in that way, he lives out a contradiction of the gospel of, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
There are five words here that sort of summarize the message. The first word is ‘vain.’ If we could be justified by the law, then the person and work of Jesus Christ is in vain. Second word is ‘heirs.’ Through the work of Christ, not through our performance, we become heirs to the promises made to Abraham. Third word is ‘sons.’ By means of the justifying grace of God, we’ve become sons of God; we’ve become adopted into God's family. Fourth word is ‘freedom.’ The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus set us free from the bondage of the law because Jesus is our righteousness. And then the fifth word just makes sense. If it's all through Christ, it's not through my performance, then if I'm going to ‘boast,’ that's the fifth word, I boast only in the cross.
Jesus is our righteousness! Jesus fully measured up, perfectly measured up to God's Law because God knew, this is very humbling, that we would not measure up. And so, He became our righteousness. Every act of obedience in Christ's life was done on our behalf. He paid the penalty for our sin so we could be adopted into God's family, sinners in the hands of a loving God of grace!