(SERMON BY ANDREW ALLISON)
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever.Amen. Galatians 1.3-5
We’re finished looking at Galatians but for the next couple of weeks, we’re going back to the beginning of Galatians and focusing on a couple of verses.
Two things you need to hear. Grace and peace.
This was on the heart of Paul, in all of his writings: Romans 1.7 – Grace and peace, 1 Corinthians 1.3 – Grace and peace, 2 Corinthians 1.2 – Grace and peace, Galatians 1.3 – Grace and peace, Ephesians 1.2 – Grace and peace, Philippians 1.2 – Grace and peace, Colossians 1.2 – Grace and peace…over and over again in his writings.
Paul wants to start with “grace and peace.”
The Greek word for grace is “charis,” which means, “good that you don’t deserve.” Unearned favour. Been given freely. The actions of one who volunteers to do something to which he/she is not bound.
Jesus didn’t have to do this for you.
God made a good earth so we could have a face-to-face relationships with Him but it wasn’t long before humanity took what God had made good and make it bad. God tried some solutions:
- Wash away the bad – the flood. The entire human race was gone except for one family. Fresh start…but it didn’t end well.
- Choose a special couple, who would become a special family, who would become a special nation who would know, love and obey God…but this didn’t end well.
- God gave them rules to follow – the 1o Commandments. The entire nation was waiting for a word from God…but this didn’t end well.
- Better leadership. Most of the kings didn’t do a job either.
The earth and humans couldn’t seem to line up with what God intended.
Something needed to be done to bring people out of the palm of evil into the palm of God. Galatians 1.4 says that Jesus Christ rescued us from the present evil age. Jesus came to the rescue. It cost more than we thought it would. Jesus laid His life down so we could begin to become clean from the inside out. Then He shattered death and rose. He wants to be with us forever.
The cross of Jesus Christ by grace through faith is the only thing that saves us. Your only help is the cross. On the cross, Jesus fulfilled all the rules for us. He completed it all.
Grace is THAT good.
The rest of your life is lived out in freedom. You couldn’t do it yourself but Jesus did it for you and now you’re free.
Jesus says, “I’m all you need.”
Grace means we don’t need to go back to rules and good behaviour. Whatever is the matter in your life? That’s settled. That your behaviour hasn’t caught up with your “child of God” identity is a matter of a work in progress. It’s settled. Your sin struggle is Jesus’ to bear. You’re free.
Grace is this church’s one and only strategy for growing.