New believers in Christ are so refreshing.
They’re excited, on fire, ready to embrace this new life. They’re aware of the difference between the old sinful life and the new forgiven life. They dance with joy at the freedom of forgiveness they are experiencing. They’re bold in sharing with their friends and family about faith in Christ.
New believers are also very gullible.
So eager to please God and lacking the experience or savvy of who and who not to listen to, they become prime pickings for false teachers who want to lure them away with extra expectations. New believers can lack the security, especially when the first major temptation comes along, that yes, they are truly saved. Discouraged they become vulnerable to anyone nearby who can tell them how they ought to be a better Christian.
That’s the problem the Galatian new believers had.
No wonder Paul asked, “Who has bewitched you (Galatians 3:1)?”
Today we’ll take a look at Galatians 3:1-23 where Paul describes how faith in Christ as a conduit to a right standing with God was God’s plan from the beginning and how faith in Christ is the only way to have a relationship with God.
Have you known anyone who accepted Christ and then a few months later got swept away into a cult or different theology? What happened? Why was that person susceptible? What could have prevented it?
Read Galatians 3:1-5
What is the tell-tale earmark that you are a Christian?
Paul lists three ways you can tell you are a Christian and that you have received the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of the place God has taken in your life:
- You see changes in your behavior, character, and outlook
- You witness the power of God through you and around you.
- You experience tension and opposition to your faith.
Paul uses these earmarks as part of his argument – did you experience these new things because of your new belief? Or did this come as a result of following a set of laws?
The answer is of course, because of your new faith in Christ.
Next argument: Didn’t God put the law in place first? Shouldn’t we obey this Mosaic law that has been around for centuries?
What is Paul’s answer?
Read Galatians 3:6-9
What promise did God make to Abraham?
What standard did God use to judge Abraham’s righteousness?
Read Galatians 3:10-14
Paul deals with the basic weakness of the system of law.
Who does God bless?
Who deserves God’s curse?
Who has never sinned?
Who took the curse that we deserve? Why?
Read Galatians 3:13-23
Paul goes back to the example of Abraham and the promise God made to him.
Describe a contract. Why does Paul compare a human contract to the contract God made with Abraham?
Which came first – the law of Moses or the promise of Abraham?
What was God’s intended purpose for the law he gave to Moses?
Does the system of law work?
What does this mean to us?
Think back over your Christian life. Have you ever felt insecure about your salvation? Did you ever wonder whether you really were a Christian? If you did wonder that, what would be tempting to do?
How does one know they are a Christian? How do you know you are still a Christian? What can you do to make yourself a “better” Christian?
Is belief in Christ all there is to Christianity? Is it just that simple? What do you think?
My husband and I once counselled a couple who faced a diagnosis of cancer. My husband, trying to be encouraging, reminded the woman that she and her husband had faith in Christ and they could both have the confidence that ultimately, fi death happened, they would experience eternal life with Christ. With the voice full of doubt, the woman responded, “Well, I hope so.”
Why might she have said that?
Have you encountered people who are insecure in their faith, who wonder if they are a Christian?
Based on what we have learned in this chapter, how can we bolster the confidence of believers who might doubt their standing with God?
Jesus took upon Himself the curse of God that you deserve. The punishment for what you’ve done wrong and failed to do right has already happened. You are forgiven by God. All you have to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the One who willingly chose to die in your place. If you have accepted what Christ has done for you, there’s nothing more you can do to cause God to accept you or love you any more than He already does. Nothing else that you do will get you any closer to the Father. He already loves you lavishly! Isn’t that wonderful?