Monday, 2 March 2015

LIVE IT! - Week 1

We're immersing ourselves in Galatians here at dBay Baptist over the next few months. In our evening services and youth/YA Bible study we're focusing on travelling through the book together.

As part of that I thought I would blog a few extra thoughts on each week's passage/topic.  I want to link it up to the podcast of each sermon so those who may have missed it, or may not be part of our dBay community can hear the messages as well. Sometimes our podcast uploads take some time, so I will do these blog posts once the message is available.

Our first week of our new series saw us looking at this greeting Paul brings to the churches in Galatia. [Read Galatians 1:1-10] Unlike other books, Paul doesn't greet and then share his prayers and thoughtfulness for the church... in this case he shares a pointed greeting, which outlines the truth of the Gospel and the admonishes them for turning away from that Gospel.

We're faced once again with the stark and definitive reality that there is only one Gospel. Only one way to be saved, and (very really) only one way to live.

Paul's greeting of 'grace and peace' brings us to the point of having to accept this good news he presents, because the meaning of these words in a Gospel context is immense!

Grace was shown to us in the ultimate way on the cross. Receiving grace is when you are given something you do not deserve. On the cross Jesus stood in the way for us, and all the anger that we rightly deserved for all the things we've done against God fell against Jesus instead of us. Jesus standing in our place means we don’t cop what we deserve (that anger) and that is God’s mercy… but because Jesus stood in our place our faith in Jesus grants us everlasting life and a right relationship with God (something we don’t deserve… and that is God’s grace)!

Peace sums up our relationship with God perfectly. When our sins were still marked against us we were at odds with God. He rightfully had to hand out His punishment for sin, and being under the punishment of God is the opposite of being at peace with Him. But because of God’s amazing grace, that punishment instead fell on Jesus so we have peace now with Him.

So those two words “grace and peace” portray the full extent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been shown grace, and because of that we gain peace.

How do you respond to this idea of grace? Do you still feel guilty? Alone? Angry? Ashamed? Independent? Self-sufficient???? Those things can be blown away by grace... because they have no place in the peace we gain and the unlimited access we now have to God.

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