Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
January 27, 2013
Dayton, Texas
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<235> Thesis: God's "method of life" begins with being absolutely committed to justification by grace. Introduction: We have looked in detail at the first two-thirds of Paul's letter to the Galatians. The major issues in those first two "thirds" are two: whether Paul's grasp of God's message is believable; and whether God accepts men into His Kingdom without their commitment to "be good". His answer was "yes" in both cases. However, it is impossible to read the whole of Galatians, especially the last two chapters, and not realize that the reason Paul wrote the letter is that the Galatians were moving in a direction that would seal them in wickedness. In other words, how the Galatians "behave" is front and center in Paul's interest and concern. The problem this raises for most people is this: how can Paul expect people to behave themselves if he does not require that they behave themselves? And, bottom line, what good is a "requirement" that has no teeth? Most folks really believe that if you remove the Justice of God from the process, there are no "teeth" in that process and without "teeth" there will be only failure. But, as in many cases, in this case "most folks" are simply wrong, and radically so because right behavior simply cannot be compelled by external pressures. This is so true that Paul felt compelled to begin chapter five with an "external pressure" to abandon "life by external pressures". This apparent conundrum is where we are going to focus our attention this evening.