Old Time Salvation
Well, I missed you guys last Sunday. I appreciate the good people who serve here with me and give of themselves that I can have some time off. But being gone one Sunday and having weather issues on Tuesday and Wednesday, it feels like forever since I was last with you.
As we move forward into chapter three of Galatians, Paul continues to make his argument between salvation by the law and salvation by grace … of salvation through action or salvation by faith.
We think of Salvation as being a New Testament idea … but it is a Bible Concept … it’s going to take us several weeks to work though this, but each week will have precious gems in each week.
So, go with me back to Galatians moving to chapter 3
There are three words I want to put in your mind today,
And as we move through these weeks I want you to see that new provisions were made through Christ, but Old Time Salvation and 2009 Salvation are the SAME thing.
We used to sing a song when I was little, maybe some of you who were raised in the church remember it … It was a song that was first published in 1873 … the tune seems to date back to English Folk Music but the style was African American Spiritual … it seems to be a song that was a cusp merging Black Spirituals and White Gospel Songs and bled into Southern Gospel
The tune has evolved a little … we used to sing it this way
Give me that
Old Time Religion
Give me that
Old Time Religion
Give me that
Old Time Religion
It’s good enough for me
The first printed lyrics were adjusted a little perhaps to fit the audience
Oh! This old time religion,
This Old time religion
This old time religion,
It is good enough for me
In that first printing it had extra lyrics that said
“it is good for the mourner …”
It was good for our mothers
It was good for our fathers
Makes me love everybody
It was good for the Hebrew children
It was good for Paul and Silas
It was good for the prophet Daniel
It was tried in the fiery furnace
It will do when I’m dying
It will take us all to heaven
Now, some of you already have your mind working … and you are saying “I don’t believe in Religion”, don’t get distracted … we are not talking about man-made religion.
Let’s get our definitions
When that song talks about what is good for you mother and father, and for Paul and Silas and for Daniel, for those boys in the fiery furnace, for Abraham, Moses, David, Adam, Hannah … it is Salvation
Salvation, Old Time Salvation
Is it really the same for Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Hannah, David, Daniel, Peter, Paul and Mary … wait … J yes and Peter, Paul, Mary, or Mavis, Cletus and Virgil?
YES … so why do we get sucked into the Religious Activity and try to bypass the Grace of God?
We will see later that YES we should follow a pattern of living that is laid out in scripture but is it FOR salvation or because of salvation?
That’s where the lure of religion gets us … Religion by itself won’t do anything for us. That’s what Paul was saying.
People today think they just need to find “something that works”
Fill in the blank
What is the lure into a system?
Look back at our words
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”
J.B. Phillips translation rendered it “Oh you dear idiots of Galatia … surely you cannot be so idiotic”
Well Paul what are you really trying to say.
The word translated “bewitched” … it is a word only used here in the New Testament and it
Baskaino /bas-kah-ee-no/ “to slander, to bring evil on one by feigning praise; to give an EVIL EYE; to charm, to bewitch
What is so “bewitching” about the law?
God gave the law so what is wrong with the law?
When Paul talks here about “The Law” … he is generalizing for both the Law as it had come to be practiced by Israel and the Pharisees and the Practice of Circumcision.
So if these came from God, what was wrong with them?
Nothing is wrong with the Law, but there is a whole lot wrong with man
God gave the practice of circumcision to Abraham as a sign of a Covenant, a Promise he would make with him. It was a promise of blessing. It was a continuation of the promise made to Eve in the Garden to one day do away with the power of Evil.
It was a physical mark
It was a mark that struck at the identity of the men
It was an internal mark that they belonged to God and he belonged to them.
It was a generational sign, passed down from one to another
It was given to Abraham and he gave it to each generation after him.
But the bewitching thing is that it also had the potential to be overtaken by pride
Satan knows where we are susceptible and he strikes there.
And along the way those with the gift of the promise took their eyes off of the God of the promise and put our eyes on ourselves.
These Judaizers were seeing their circumcision as an entitlement instead of a gift of Grace.
In the days of Moses, they had already forgotten God and their place in his plan.
And yet God further proved the faithfulness of his Promises
He gave The Law
B. The Law
The law was given by God to Moses in Exodus 20-34.
The basis of course was the 10 Commandments
Interestingly enough, the Lord who describes himself to Moses in Exo. 34:6-7 as “the LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”
God is a gracious God and a covenant keeping God and he gave the Law as a further sign of his Love and Grace.
The Law was never intended to make us PURE, it was intended to show us we were sinful and it made provisions to appease God during an intermediate time until the Promised One came
3:19 says “it was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come”
the law was given BECAUSE of our sin
and the law would continue until a PERSON, the SEED (notice that it was capitalized) came. The Seed who was the personification of the Promise, from Gen 3:15 – that the offspring of the woman would bruise the head of the Serpent
The promise from Genesis 12 that through the Seed of Abraham all of the nations of the world would be blessed.
The Law was given that we might reflect the Holiness of God … that we might respond to the Grace of life as his people by living as he would live …
Through the very law itself it all promised a provision that would come in the identity of a person who would be pure.
Everything related to the Circumcision and the Law were promises of what was to come
The Circumcision was a promise
The Ark was a Promise
The call to Perfection was a Promise
The Lamb of Sacrifice was a Promise
The Tabernacle was a Promise
The Temple was a Promise
The Basin for washing was a Promise
The Manna from Heaven was a Promise
The Shewbread in the temple was a promise
The Incense for prayers were a Promise
The Priest was a Promise
So, going back, if all of this were GOOD and it was, and if it came from God, and it did, what is “bewitching” about the law, and thus is bad?
It goes back to the root of the problem that necessitated the law in the first place, sin, and more specifically, PRIDE
The enticement of the law, or any form or religious expression that is perverted, is that it can become prideful as we try and do it our own way and make provision for ourselves.
We say “yes, I’m sinful, but I’m going to make this right” “I’m going to fix this” and then when we become self-satisfied with our new found righteousness, we say “look what I did”.
When we think we are doing it, we forget how much we need God
When we think we are doing it, we begin to demand that everyone else do what we are doing.
That is how the law that God gave, became thousands of regulations passed down by the Pharisees instead of the pure law that God gave in the first place.
The law was intended to show us our need for and then gently lead us toward God … And then believing we are his people, the sheep of his pasture, thus his people by HIS declaration and acceptance, then the law would work as an agent for sanctification not justification. It was to be that agent of transformation on the outside what they were declared on the inside, the people of God.
But the problem is that as long as we simply keep a list of rules, it is fruitless … we are bewitched into thinking we are accomplishing righteousness
And that leads to
There are two ways we could see Paul’s use of the idea of suffering …
Suffering under the rigors of the law or
Suffering for Christ only to give in to the religious
Both are sad in light of the Grace of God offered in Jesus Christ.
A. Suffering under the law
1. what if I told you that I would sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.
2. you would tell me that I don’t own it. But then I showed you a title and convinced you that it was mine to sell.
3. then what if I told you that you couldn’t afford it but you could earn it … and you worked and worked and worked … then I gave you the deed and you went to claim it to have them tell you that you had no right to the bridge. You insisted and described your work, said you were the owner and they said “get out of here, we don’t know who you are, but your work means nothing”
The circumcision and the law as the leaders had interpreted them were nothing more than empty promises and threats …
It transformed into a religion of regulations and fear …
Yesterday we were watching the final episode of the 13 part series “Crusoe” a retelling of the famous Daniel Defoe Novel
There is a scene where some children are being forced to work for a cruel churchman making gloves.
This seemed man of God gives menacing instructions to his little workers
“Damage the hide, and you will be punished
Cut yourself and bleed all over it, and you will be punished
If you speak one word, you will be punished.”
Then he paused, made the sign of the cross and said … “Do not forget, God Loves you all”
That’s what their form of religion had done for them … demanded so much but then said don’t forget “God loves you”
The luring way of man making his own way to righteousness only leads to suffering in vain
To go to all the effort to follow a religious path to come to the end of life and have God say “useless”
Matthew 7:21 – not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
Suffering in vain
But we could also look at it from the standpoint of
B. Suffering for Christ only to return to Empty Religion
There is no doubt that these Greeks had suffered persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. And it was most likely a double-edged sword
They were most likely persecuted by the pagans and persecuted by the Jews
But would they suffer all that only to take the easy road and give in to the Judaizers
If they didn’t want to suffer for Christ, they could have saved themselves the hassle and gone with the route of the law in the first place.
And then Paul says “If it were for nothing”
Because as long as we are in the period of Grace … there is always an opportunity for the hand of God … when doctrine is compromised and lethargy reigns in the church, those who return experience Reformation and Revival that shakes the world.
Do it Lord, Do it Lord
Jeremiah 9:14 God says let him who boasts boast about this: that he understand and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight
If we are going to suffer, it should be suffering for the cause of Christ not the cause of religious elite who supersede the Grace of Christ.
Then our suffering will be joy …
James 1:2-4 consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.
Matthew 5:11-12 blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Bewitched by pride and self-righteousness
Suffering needlessly instead of for a Kingdom cause …
All for the sake of religious exercise and acceptance
Charles Caleb Colton wrote Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, fight for it, die for it; anything but live for it …
But Paul says
V2 I would like to learn just on thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
There is a third word I have today and that is …
Following the law means nothing if we are not the PEOPLE of God in the first place.
God chose to receive Israel as his people if they would respond to his invitation
Paul explains that righteousness doesn’t come from doing but from believing.
Where Circumcision and the Law brought Bewitching and Suffering …
Faith leads to LIFE and LIVING.
Marianne Moore wrote
You’re not free;
Until you’ve been made captive by supreme belief
Power then for daily living comes not from being personally righteous but from being indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit and that comes not from doing but from Believing.
Once the Seed, Jesus, came, and did away with the Power of Sin and the Law, then the Holy Spirit was given by our believing.
The Holy Spirit was NEVER given as a permanent gift to all believers through the law, but only as a grace gift to new covenant believers.
Part of Paul’s point was that the Old Testament Law never made us righteous, but Believing, EVEN THEN, is what made men righteous before God.
Abraham Believed and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6) … he was not righteous but it was his FAITH that was received in place of his Own righteousness …
In Faith God transfers HIS righteousness in place of ours
In Faith God makes us Holy through HIS Holiness, though we ourselves are NOT holy
The Law was given WELL AFTER the Promises of God
Gen 12:1-2 …
And Abraham the Father of Faith became the Father of the Faithful
God gave the promise FIRST
The Law was given to give a structure in the meantime
The Law was given to show how unrighteous we were
The Law was basically the class monitor … do you remember class monitors? The teacher would leave the classroom, to go to the office or something, and the teacher would pick the most honest student, or perhaps the student who least cared what anyone else thought, to keep a record of everyone that messed up while the teacher was gone. She would put the class under the supervision of that Monitor.
Paul writes in verse 3:25 “now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law”
The external classroom monitor is gone.
We are justified by faith, and now my monitor is WITHIN, it is the person of the Holy Spirit.
Faith in what? Faith in the Word of God …
The end that should have been achieved by the Law and Circumcision would be that the people of faith, would move past the fear of judgment, and sense of simple obligation and move to a lifestyle of faith, like Abraham, Moses, like the Old Testament Hall of Faith members listed in Hebrews 11. That is that we come to a place where we follow his ways because we DELIGHT in the OBJECT of Our Affection. Ps 1:2 “but his delight is in the law of the Lord …”
Ps 112:1 “blessed is the man who fears the Lord who finds great delight in his commands”
Isn’t that the way we have defined worship?
Worship, we had said, is an expression of adoration to the object of our affection.
We say that we want to “transform lovers of self into lovers of God”
That doesn’t come from religious exercise but in FAITH in the God who made us, who love us, who sacrificed his Son for us, and will declare us righteous if we receive his sacrifice of love.
three beautiful words in verse 2 as I try to close
Receive, Heard, and Spirit
There are different words used for the Holy Spirit, but I love this description of him it is the word
Receive – lambano /lam-ban-o/ to takewith the hand, lay hold of, to take up to be carried to claim, to receive what has been offered
Heard- akoe /ak-o-ay/ the organ of hearing, the ear, the thing heard, instruction, namely oral of preaching the gospel
Spirit Pneuma – a movement of air, the wind, breath of nostrils, the Spirit
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “can you tell me where the wind comes from, can you explain it to me? Then you neither can explain to me the things of The Spirit”
Folks if you have received Christ can you explain it to me?
Don’t you remember how the Gospel seemed to just come to you? Perhaps one day it just made sense for the first time in your life.
You had heard it over and over but finally it got through.
It was like a breath of fresh air, a wonderful summer breeze, as the Spirit of God breathed on you
And you opened your heart to the Truth you heard … and you received the Greatest Gift that God has for you,
Old Time Salvation …
You didn’t earn it nor ever could
You didn’t deserve it nor has anyone
But Living comes from believing the message you have heard, placing your faith in the Word, encouraged by the Spirit of God
Paul’s entire point hinges on the Work of God through Christ
If we could attain salvation on our Own … why the Crucifixion?
Why would Jesus leave Heaven.
And Paul’s initial imploring is don’t miss what has been laid out for you
“before your very eyes Jesus Christ … clearly portrayed as crucified”
He had been prophesied in Scripture
He had been publically crucified
He had been proclaimed as given, crucified, risen, and ascended
Don’t miss it.
What more must he do?
What about you?
Is there one here today?
Are you hoping that your goodness will be enough?
Well for me, Give me that Old Time Salvation, good enough for me …
Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation
Acts 4:12 (Peter Preaching Jesus said) Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved
Romans 1:16-17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes … for in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is BY FAITH from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith”
Give me that old Time Salvation
It was good enough for Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Mary, Peter, Paul, my mom and Dad …
What about you?
Look to the cross, believe, and know that our only hope is in Jesus Christ
Can’t you hear him today?
Can’t you feel the fresh wind stirring in the words of the gospel?
Will you receive him today?
Faith And Doubt
Doubt sees the obstacles.
Faith sees the way!
Doubt sees the darkest night,
Faith sees the day!
Doubt dreads to take a step.
Faith soars on high!
Doubt questions, “Who believes?”
Faith answers, “I!” 
Every head bowed, every eye closed … pray with me …
Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.