Keep in Step with the Spirit, Part 5
Scripture: Galatians 5:25–6:10
Keep in Step with the Spirit
Text: Galatians 5:25-6:10
I. Paul exhorts believers to keep in step with the Spirit in order to restore sinning believers (5:26-6:5).
“I do not like to interpret such passages; for they seem to commend us, as in fact they do. In addition, it gives the appearance of greed if one emphasizes these things diligently to one’s hearers. Nevertheless, people should be taught also about this matter, in order that they may know that they owe both respect and support to their preachers” (Martin Luther, Galatians, p. 126).
II. Paul exhorts believers to keep in step with the Spirit in order to be generous to all men, especially believers (6:6-10).
A. Believers are to generously support those who teach the gospel. v. 6
B. Believers are to generously sow to the Spirit rather than the flesh. vv. 7-9
“…our sin is a burden that afflicts us rather than a pleasure that delights us” (The Discipline of Grace, p. 71).
1. Paul is not teaching salvation by good works but rather for Good works.
“Paul’s gospel of grace in Galatians does not countenance moral laxity. Righteousness is not based on works, but those who do not practice good works will not receive the final inheritance. The Pauline gospel of grace does not provide a foundation for license” (Tom Schreiner, Galatians, p. 369).
2. Paul is not teaching that we merit rewards by good works but rather by grace.
Q. “But do our good works earn nothing, even though God promises to reward them in this life and the next?” A. “This reward is not earned ; it is a gift of grace.   Matt. 5:12; Heb. 11:6.  Luke 17:10; II Tim. 4:7, 8. (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 63).
“A work begins to be acceptable only when it is undertaken with pardon. Now whence does this pardon arise, save that God contemplates us and our all in Christ? Therefore, as we ourselves, when we have been engrafted in Christ, are righteous in God’s sight because our iniquities are covered by Christ’s sinlessnes, so our works are righteous and are thus regarded because whatever fault is otherwise in them is buried in Christ’s purity, and is not charged to our account. Accordingly, we can deservedly say that by faith alone not only we ourselves but our works as well are justified (John Calvin, Institutes, 3.17.10).
“1. We have no good works which God rewards but those which we derive from His grace. 2. The good works which we perform by the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, are the fruits of that adoption which is an act of free grace. 3. They are not only unworthy of the smallest and most considerable reward, but deserve to be wholly condemned, because they are always stained by many blemishes; and what have pollutions to do with the presence of God? 4. Though a reward has been a thousand times promised to works, yet it is not due but by fulfilling the condition of obeying the law perfectly; and how widely distant are we all from that perfection! (Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 21, p. 179). “For what is devoted to our brothers out of the duty of love is deposited in the Lord’s hand. He, as He is a faithful custodian, will one day repay it with plentiful interest” (John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 21, p. 179, cf. Insitutes, 3.18.6 and Matt. 19:27-29).
3. Judgment is certain and eternal punishment is real.
Are you sowing to the flesh or the Spirit?
© John Fonville
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