Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3
Thesis: The "troubling" of the Galatians consisted of pressing them beyond the boundaries of "faith".
Introduction: Last week I argued that what a person "believes" has consequences and that what is believed is always all about "definitions". Then I set up six "fences" to keep "faith" within its boundaries. In the Scriptures, "faith" and "unbelief" are always all about God and His Truth; "faith" is always a response to Promise and not Demand; "faith" is inescapably tied to future activity (works); "faith" is never about nothing in terms of consequences; "faith" is a cessation of resistance to divine promises; and "faith" is a response to divine persuasion.
This evening we are going to look into what Paul calls "the troubling of" the Galatians (the NASB uses the word "disturbing").
October 24, 2010
- I. The Meaning of "Troubling".
- A. The term is used in the New Testament whenever something upsets the calm.
- 1. In John's Gospel it is used in, among other places, the story of the man by the pool who was waiting for the water of the pool to be "troubled" (agitated so that the typical calm of the surface no longer existed).
- 2. In the other Gospel's it is used whenever someone experienced something that he/she would have preferred to not experience and describes the state of mind that has resulted from that experience (Herod, at the announcement of the magi; Zacharias at the appearance of Gabriel beside the altar; the disciples when they saw what they thought was a "ghost"; etc.).
- 3. Luke 24:38 reveals that to be "troubled" means to have contradictory thoughts bouncing around inside one's head that challenge a peace-giving norm of confidence.
- 4. John 14:27, coming off of 14:1, reveals that "fear" (as reluctant timidity) is involved.
- 5. Acts and Galatians use it to refer to false teachers who contradict the truth.
- 6. 1 Peter 3:14 uses it to soothe those who are being subjected to suffering while doing what is right.
- 7. At the root of "trouble" is this fact: "faith" is absent from the scenario because it is the casualty and its absence is the objective of "those who are troubling you".
- B. At issue in Galatians.
- 1. The Galatians had been "at peace" with God because of their "belief" that He had forgiven their sins and cleared the way for them to fellowship with Him, but afterwards they had been subjected to the notion that such forgiveness and fellowship were illusory because their "faith" was erroneous.
- 2. The bottom line is that the condition of their minds was directly affected by the lies to which they were subjected.
- II. The Ways People Can Be "Troubled".
- A. At the root of this problem is one fact: people can only be "troubled" by the insertion of a contradiction to what they "believe" by what is seen as a credible source.
- B. In the Bible, people are "troubled" by two, opposite, "insertions of contradiction".
- 1. To begin, people are "troubled" when their faith's "objectives" are altered.
- a. This means that people have to be very clear on what God established as the "Objective".
- 1) This clarity can be challenged by the reality of a stair-step process wherein the individual utterances of God have to be understood in view of what "faith" in them leads to in both the short and long terms.
- 2) This clarity has been established for us by John's succinct declaration in 1 John 2:25.
- b. But all men subscribe to "Life" as the final objective; no one is "troubled" at this level.
- c. This means that the shuffling of objectives that will "trouble" a "believer" are at the level of the "stairs".
- 2. At the level of the "stairs", the major issue is "what works?".
- a. The Bible presents two major attacks upon God's declarations of what works (Galatians--legalism and Jude--license).
- 1) The Galatian "shuffle" shifts the divine objective of making Him the object of all "faith-unto-Life" to the human objective of making man the object of all "faith-unto-Life".
- a) The root here is that man cannot conceive of "Life" without the element of "getting the credit" for accomplishments so that he competes with God over "to whom" the glory goes.
- b) This root translates immediately into taking credit through boasting.
- c) The major issue here is whether "Life" can be experienced by simply being in harmony with God.
- 2) The Jude 4 "shuffle" shifts the divine objective of making Him the root of Life to the human objective of making pleasure the root of Life.
- a) The root here is that man cannot conceive of "Life" without the element of an all-pervasive sensation of pleasure.
- b) This root immediately translates into "lasciviousness" (the gung-ho pursuit of intense pleasure without boundaries).
- c) And, again, the major issue here is whether "Life" can be experienced by simply being in harmony with God.
- 3) It is clear from the basic Gospel of God's visitation of wrath upon His Son that neither "man" nor "pleasure" is the root of Life.
- b. People are "troubled" when their "concepts of what works" are altered.
- 1) "Faith" is fundamentally a response to words of God that are understood to be the details of how one effectively approaches the accomplishment of the Objective.
- 2) Thus, "faith" is required to juggle many individual elements of that Final Objective.
- 3) In the process of juggling the details, lies about what will work and what will not work can be inserted.