Friday, November 29, 2013

Galatians. .Week 4. .Discussion

Our email bible study hit a little snag this final week of Galatians last month. .
Much of this post. .
makes mention of some issues that were near to my heart at that time. .
I felt the Lord. .
very STRONGLY. .
working within me during that time. .
and for that reason. .
I chose to go ahead and post my comments for you to read. .
As a testimony to God's divine timing in my life. .
as a Guide. .
and as a Comforter!!
I hope it encourages you!
(PS. .I'm having an issue with the way this post is being published. .
I have NO idea why the white background and inability to edit it here the way I have always done. Sorry about that!)

I’m at a loss for words, really. .I’ll have to say. .that this turned out to be a “Put your money where your mouth is” week for me. Monday night, was the night that I sat down with my bible open. .praying that God would show me what He wanted me to put into action in my life. .And I believe that He taught me some lessons of faith and believing His promises to ME thru His word. .that I will not, any too easily forget. .I’d love to take a photo of my note paper to send you all. .so you could see that I was not making any of this up. .
Here’s my list from Monday night. .
Galatians—what needs to change?
1.) Desire the approval of God—not people (1:10)
2.) Consult with GOD before humans (1:16)
3.) Let the Holy Spirit guide my life—ALL of it! (5:25)
I believe that I already shared earlier this week how verse 1:10 met me in a moment of need. .I won’t repeat. God has been leading me toward obedience to 1:16 for a while now. .really, I would say. .He DROPPED it right on me the summer after dad died. .I’m a girl. .I love to talk. .I love to talk about problems. .it’s part of what I do for a living. .’m also an open book, and will share nearly anything with anybody, unashamedly. .and any time I might have an issue with someone or a problem. .I was eager to find someone to commiserate with me. .it might start under the pretense of “getting advice” but ultimately, ended up as a major gripe and gossip. .which never helped anything. .God BROKE me last summer. .when I NEEDED to talk about my grief. .but couldn’t. .everyone was busy, I didn’t want to ask (no surprise that I am fairly independent??) for help. .I felt forgotten. .and that no one really cared to KNOW what was on my heart. .or even if they WANTED to know. .wouldn’t be able to fully understand the magnitude of impact on my life. .I remember VIVIDLY, the day that I was particularly desiring conversation. .but my personal pity party was not allowing me to reach out. .And I figured out. .that GOD is the ONLY one that I/we can ever TRULY count on. .I began to pray. .and I recall the rest of the week, thinking that over. .God is the one I should have reached out to FIRST. .not LAST!! I felt horribly guilty. .because that had become the pattern of my life. .I NEEDED (I thought) someone. .to talk it over with, to give me advice, condolences, reassurance. .and acceptance. .And I’m going to guess that I am not the only one who deals with that. .it seems to be an estrogenic specialty!!
I have been working on being mindful of that for the last year now. .and it’s led me down a different path. .one responsible for much of my change in Christ, I believe. .BUT. .sometimes I win. .and sometimes I lose on the matter. .THIS week. .I wanted to make phone calls, put out texts, emails. .whatever. .But God kept reigning me in. .almost like He was reminding me. .I brought you here. .and I am going to SHOW you my DIVINITY through this. .and MAN, did He show up!!
Wednesday morning I just cried out to Him on the way to work. .pleading with Him that He would clear my mind so that I could give my best self to the career that He placed me into. .as well as continued prayers that He would keep the control of this bible study. .and not allow me to control it in my flesh. .
As I finished praying on my way into my office, I sat down at my desk, flipped open my laptop and powered it on. .just as the scripture from Isaiah 43 sifted into my head. .I googled it to be reminded of the whole verse. .allow me to share. .
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! 2"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. 3"For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
The context of the passage was written to the Israelites. .who were HORRIBLE and faithless. .and whiny. .so much so. .that God finally allowed them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. .Yet at the end of the day. .He LOVED them. .and He was promising them what you just read in 43:1-3. .and that is a promise He has made to each of His children as well!
As I was reading that, I had already flipped my pandora station on. .and the song that began to play was THIS. . Mercy Me, Word of God Speak
If you don’t listen to the clips I send. .be sure that you go listen and read the lyrics to THIS one. . Because they are lyrics that should become lifeblood to ALL of us!! That song was followed by this song. . Casting Crowns. .Who am I. .Who EVEN am I. .that the SAME God who calmed the sea of Galilee during the storm. .would come DOWN through the RAIN in my life. .and put His hand out to calm ME!!
Coincidence ladies?? I don’t think so. .That leads me to the third thing that I wrote down for the week. .that I didn’t even remember until reading my list again last night. .God wants ME to let the Spirit lead my life. .that’s hard to do for a control freak like myself. .But, by letting Him lead me this week. .He showed me. .that there is JOY, even in sorrow. .that there is PEACE, even in turmoil. .that there is COMFORT, even in pain. .when I am IN the Spirit. .and I would have missed it all. .if I had led myself. .instead of submitted to His leading!! How MANY times. .do we lead ourselves. .and miss God’s GLORY!! I wonder how many times in the past I have done it. .many, many I’m sure!
And FINALLY. .another reminder to me this morning. .nailing down the rest of the discussion on people. .and trustworthiness. .in conjunction with the NECESSITY of knowing what’s in between the first page of Genesis and the last page of Revelation. .
We place our expectations in people. .it’s what we do. .People also put their expectations in US. .People disappoint. .always, if you spend enough time with them anyway. .my hit home point to the youth last night was this. .many put their expectations in us. .but on the last day. .the only person’s expectations of us that matter. .is God the Father’s. God has expectations of ME. .just as He does of you. .and we are responsible to Him. .on judgment day. .as we give account to Him for our life. .
I don’t believe, that a follower of Christ will be able to use the excuse. .”But I just didn’t know!!” That’s WHY studying the bible is so important. .and whether you choose to do that with me. .or choose to do that on your own. .DON’T neglect that!! Because if you are led astray by something that is CLEARLY spelled out in the bible. .it will be a problem!!
All that to say this. .one of my favorite bible teachers. .has gotten a lot of bad publicity over the last few days. .His work that I have listened to and studied. .has been generally accurate with the Word. .though a few times I disagreed with various thoughts or a teaching that I wasn’t completely satisfied was grounded biblically. .Is he wrong? Are the articles about some possible moral shortcomings true?? I don’t know. .but 10 years ago. .they weren’t! He a people. .He has strayed, possibly. .He will disappoint, and has disappointed already, especially me. .but He isn’t accountable to ME. .and I can’t, on the last day proclaim to the Lord that I took his example as truth, even though the bible was specific AGAINST a teaching (or whatever). SO. .I get counted off, so to speak too!
I should have known better. .God didn’t just give that truth to the teacher. .He gave it to ALL of His children. And we must use it with any teacher, preacher, priest, book, website, article, bible study, friendly neighbor, praying friend. .that we take teaching from, seek advice from, talk with, or listen to. .remember 1 John 2:26-27. .
I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray.27 But you have received the Holy Spirit,[h] and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit[i]teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
In fact. .if you have time. .just go back and read that whole chapter out of 1 John 2 again. .Put those words away in your heart. .
Men aren’t divine. .not one (as we will see in Romans soon) Not one of them, nor one group of them, nor one institution of them. .they are all the same. .WE are all the same. .and they are all outfitted with a human nature like ours. .ALL of them!! We are in a fallen and broken world. .where it is easy to get caught up in the world. .we decided last month that the cultures may be different, but the people aren’t. I also believe that is why most of the New Testament teaches to be wary of false teachers and false teachings. .
God opens eyes. .and hearts. .and gives knowledge to those who seek it. .but Satan is just as alive here. .and only has limited time to take a people for himself. .So DON’T think he is just sitting around waiting for someone to call him up, to do so would be a tragedy. .We must each humbly come before God. .with no motives, with no conceptions, with a TEACHABLE and humble heart. .and ask for Him to provide us wisdom in the direction we must go. .He will show up!! He promises He will. .And I can attest. .that He does!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Galatians. .Week 4. .Fast Fact

Hey, hey!! Wednesday already. .
Just a couple of little tidbits for you this morning. . 
I will guess that you were all a little intrigued about Galatians 6:11. .
and if you didn’t have a study bible with notes to allude to what was going on with Paul in his closing statements. .
you might find the following interesting. .
This commentary came from my chronological study bible. .
Galatians 6:11 Paul’s comment about “what large letters I use” is interesting to note. The point is that they indicate an extraordinary difference between Paul’s handwriting and that of the amanuensis (the secretary). As was typical in ancient times, the author of a document usually dictated the body of the epistle to an amanuensis and then took stylus in hand to personally write out the concluding remarks. We know that Paul used an amanuensis for the epistle to the Romans, namely Tertius (Rom 16:22) and we can assume that the did so for at least four other epistles because he specifically mentions that he provided the concluding salutation in his own handwriting (1 Cor 16:21, Gal 6:11, Col 4:18, and 2 Thes 3:17) If we had the autographs of these epistles, we would see Paul’s actual handwriting? Instead, we have very early copies, so we have to imagine what that handwriting looked like.
I think that Galatians 5:13 hits on the concept of not using our freedom for the flesh, but to serve God. .
The last little article that I had copied off CARM.ORG last week while studying justification. .
follows. .to show us. .
that just because we are justified by belief once. .
and that we are free from the law thereafter. .
that we can NOT. .
use that excuse. .to do whatever we want to do thereafter. .
We are a new creation (6:15). .
one that was designed to follow Christ wherever He leads us. .

Does this mean those justified by grace can sin as much as they want?
Romans 6:1-2 says, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it?"
1 Thess. 4:7 says, "God has called us not for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification."
The Scriptures teach us that we are to live holy lives and avoid sin (Col. 1:5-11).  Just because we are saved and eternally justified before God (John 10:28), that is no excuse to continue in the sin from which we were saved.  Of course, we all sin (Rom. 3:23).  But the war between the saved and sin is continuous (Rom. 7:14-20) and it won't be until the return of Jesus that we will be delivered from this body of death (Rom. 7:24).  To seek sin continually, and use God's grace to excuse it later, is to trample the blood of Christ underfoot (Heb. 10:29) and to reveal the person's true sinful, unsaved nature (1 John 2:4; 2:19).  Other verses worth checking out are: Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; and 1 Pet. 2:21-22.

Soooo. .Today's Fast Fact. .
Briefly. .or otherwise. .Tell us about something you are thankful for!!

 I'm thankful for a lot of things. .many of the same things you are. .
God, family, friends, health, comfortable home. .
But in thinking outside of the box a little. .I am really thankful for technology. .
On one hand it can be a real curse for me, as well as our society. .
technology can be a distraction from important things. .
a new way to take sin to a whole different level by way of what we have access to
(porn, unlimited shopping opportunities, pinterest which leads me to covetousness, Facebook which can lead me into looking for gossip or a whole new method of passing judgment upon people). .
When used in a way that is glorifying to God. .
It opens a whole new world of information. .
study opportunities. .
things that people a hundred years ago would have had difficulty accessing (I think anyway).
I am excited that we can team together from all over our great state. .
and even across the oceans. .
and study God's word together in community!!
We have access to great teachers via instant streaming or CDs. .
we have access to great teachers via books and journals and articles. .
some that are available to us in seconds to download and take on the run. .
And while Satan can certainly keep us busy and distracted from God by using these tools. .
God can use those same tools for good and for advancing His Kingdom by putting them into the hands of His children!!
I hope that you are taking full advantage of technology to serve Christ in your lives!!

 Happy, HAPPY Thanksgiving tomorrow. .Remember to shout out your thanks to God. .and let us know what you are thankful for too!! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Galatians. .Week 4. .Assignment

Well. .
It’s the last week of your second month of study!!
It seems like it has gone fast!! It’s our last week in the book of Galatians. .

I had a few study notes that I found interesting this past month from my Chronological Study bible. . I will share a few of those with you today. .

Gal 2:15-16. . 15 “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. 16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”   
 If the Jewish laws cannot justify us, why should we still obey the 10 Commandments and other Old Testament laws? We know that Paul was not saying the law is bad, because in another letter he wrote “the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.” (Rom 7:12). Instead, he is saying that the law can never make us acceptable to God. The law still has an important role to play in the life of a Christian. The law 1.) guards us from sin by showing us God’s values in the world; 2.) convicts us of sin, leaving us the opportunity to ask for God’s forgiveness, and 3.) drives us to trust in the sufficiency to Christ, because we can never keep the 10 Commandments perfectly. The law cannot possibly save us. But after we become Christians, it can be an aid in guiding us to live as God desires. .
Galatians 3:28. . There is no longer Jew or Gentile,[o] slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Some Jewish males greeted each new day by praying, “Lord, I thank you that I am not a Gentile, a slave, or a woman.” The role of women was enhanced by Christianity. Faith in Christ transcends these differences and makes all believers one in Christ. Make sure you do not impose distinctions that Christ has removed. Because all believers are his heirs, no one is more privileged than or superior to anyone else. .
Galatians 5:1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Christ died to set us free from sin and from a long list of laws and regulations. Christ came to set us free—not free to do whatever we want because that would lead us back into slavery to our selfish desires. Rather, thanks to Christ, we are now free and able to do what was impossible before—to live unselfishly. Those who appeal to their freedom so that they can have their own way or indulge their own desires are falling back into sin. But it is also wrong to put a burden of law-keeping on Christians. We must stand against those who would enslave us with rules, methods, or special conditions for being saved or growing in Christ.
So. .the assignment this week is this. .
Read Galatians a few more times this week. .
Pray each time you read. .
that God will show you WHAT He wants you to do with His words. .
How does He want you to apply those words to your own life. .
Do you need to repent of something. .
do you need to change a habit or priority. .
Maybe you need to fix a specific mindset. .
How are you going to put God’s word into action in your life. .
Also take some time to answer one of the questions below and submit it to our discussion next weekend. .
There is some extracurricular reading involved in a few of the questions. .
I encourage you, if you want to deepen your study. .
take a few minutes to read those verses and consider the answer to the questions asked regarding them. .
I love LOVE Matthew 23. .
I believe it will really give each of you some further insight as to the nature of the Pharisees (which corresponds to the nature of the Judaizers we find in Galatians).
Matthew 23 shows us, though, what JESUS has to say to them!

 1.)    When have you felt spiritually overwhelmed or discouraged because of your inability to live up to God’s standard?  How did you resolved this?

2.)    What laws, regulations, or ordinances do many people (even many Christians) routinely break? Why?

3.)    Read Ephesians 4:17-19. .Is it possible to know God apart from believing in Christ? Why or why not. .

4.)    How has your understanding of living by grace grown during this study of Galatians?

5.)    Read Matthew 23:1-28. .How are the scribes and Pharisees similar to the Judaizers as described by Paul in Galatians?

6.)    Over and over the New Testament calls believers to serve one another. .How would you grade yourself in the area of service? Why?

7.)    Read Romans 6:6. What does it mean that our flesh has been crucified?

8.)    Read 1 John 2:15-16 and Romans 2:20. .Describe what a true believer’s relationship with the world will look like. .

9.)    When was the last time you pondered the mystery and majesty of all that the cross of Christ represents? Express here your gratitude to God for His amazing blessings that were poured out to you because of the cross.

Again this month. .the questions listed were not from me. .
my friend Connie brought me a study guide by John MacArthur on the book of Galatians when she heard I was studying that. .
These represent a smattering of the questions throughout the book. .
Finally. .
This little snippet from Max Lucado got the attention of a lady in our email study group last month.  She emailed it to me. .
And I thought it was a good fit for our study!
God Gets Into Our Lives-Max Lucado
"You have leaves to rake.  A steering wheel to grip.  A neighbor's hand to shake.  Simply put, you have things to do.
So does God.  
Babies need hugs.  Children need good-night tucks.  AIDS orphans need homes.  Stressed-out executives need hope. God has work to do.  And he uses our hands to do it.
What the hand is to the glove, the Spirit is to the Christian...God gets into us.  At times, imperceptibly.  Other times, disruptively.  God gets his fingers into our lives, inch by inch reclaiming the territory that is rightfully his.
Your tongue.  He claims it for his message.
Your feet.  He requisitions them for his purpose.
Your mind?  He made it and intends to use it for his glory.
You eyes, face and hands? Through them he will weep, smile, and touch."
from Come Thirsty
Enjoy your week!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Galatians. .Week 3. .Discussion

So. .
a couple more important words in the book of Romans that I wanted to clarify to myself this week. And to share with you. .
Justify. .2:16. . to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation
This basic forensic Greek word describes a judge declaring an accused person NOT GUILTY and therefore innocent before the law. Throughout Scripture it refers to God’s declaring a sinner (us) NOT GUILTY and fully righteous before Him by imputing (or crediting) to him the divine righteousness of Christ and imputing (crediting) the person’s sin to the sinless Savior for punishment (MacArthur)

Justification then. .is a legal term coming from the Greek word for “righteous” and means “to declare righteous.” This verdict includes: pardon from the guilt and penalty of sin, as well as imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer’s account, which provides for the positive righteousness man needs to be accepted by God. God declares a sinner righteous solely on the basis of the merits of Christ’s righteousness. God imputes a believer’s sin to Christ’s account in His sacrificial death. The sinner receives this gift of God’s grace by faith alone. Justification is a gracious gift God extends to the repentant, believing sinner—wholly apart from human merit or work
(also MacArthur)
In my study this week. .
I came across this web site .
it is the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website. .
I’ve never run across it before. .
What I loved. .LOVED. .
was the ease of reading in the documents. .
as well as the MULTIPLE scripture citations within the articles.
And was very biblically based. .

Read what I found on the subject of justify and justification. .
both terms are used often in the book of Galatians. .
so I think it would be really important for us to REALLY understand them. .
before my study, I just didn’t grasp it all that well.

To be justified is to be declared legally righteous. It is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. It is not that the sinner is now sinless, but that he is "declared" sinless.  The sinner is not made righteous in that his soul is changed or that his soul is infused with God's grace.  Instead, justification is a legal act of imputing the righteousness of Christ to the believer (Rom. 4:11; Phil. 3:9). This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, "...having now been justified by His blood..." (Rom. 5:9). When God sees the Christian, He sees him through the sacrifice of Jesus and "sees" him without sin. This declaration of innocence is not without cost for it required the satisfaction of God's Law, "...without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness," (Heb. 9:22). By the sacrifice of Jesus, in the "one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men," (Rom. 5:18, NASB). In justification, the justice of God fell upon Himself--Jesus. We receive mercy--we are not judged according to our sins. And grace is shed upon us--we receive eternal life. This justification is a gift of grace (Rom. 3:24), by faith (Rom. 3:28) because Jesus bore our guilt (Isaiah 53:12).

Now one of the other words that goes hand in hand with justify is sanctify. .
and we will get into that word in the book of Romans next month. .
but if you can’t wait (especially since the following blurb talks briefly about sanctification. .
go ahead and look here
What I LOVED about this snippet of information. .
is that it links scripture from both Galatians AND 1 John in the explanation. .
as well as the passage from Isaiah I eluded to the other day talking about filthy rags. .

This next section from the same website. .
seems to explain what was going on in Galatians with the Judaizers (which could have been classified as a “cult” because their gospel wasn’t the same as Jesus’s gospel)

What the cults do with justification and sanctification

The cults consistently blur the meanings of the two terms and misapply the truths taught in God's word.  The result is a theology of works righteousness, of earning their salvation, which only leads to damnation.  This is because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. 2:16).  Man cannot contribute to his salvation (Gal. 5:1-8).  Man is sinful, and even his best deeds are stained and filthy before God (Isaiah 64:6).  Therefore, making a person right before God can only be God's work (Gal. 2:20).

Typically, in cult theologies, a person is not justified (declared righteous in God's eyes) until the final day of judgment when his works are weighed and a reward is given, or he is found worthy of his place with God.  Thus, a person with this errant theology cannot claim 1 John 5:13 as his own which says, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God."

Contextually, "These things" refers to loving God, being obedient to Him, belief in Christ, and eternal life in Jesus.  Therefore, 1 John 5:13 can be considered a test.  If you are believing and doing the right things, then you will know if you have eternal life.  Can a cultist know he has eternal life?  No, he cannot, but a Christian can.

People in cults don't understand the difference between justification and sanctification.  Therefore, they must depend upon a cooperative effort with God to have their sins forgiven, which is, essentially, combining the filthy works of man (Isaiah 64:6) with the holy work of God.  They don't mix.  They can't.  Hence, salvation is by grace through faith alone.  To believe anything else is to miss salvation.

So. .
in a nutshell. .
each time we read the word justify. .
we need to remember that it is the same thing as a judge in a courtroom saying “Not Guilty”. .
only our judge. .
is the ONE true God of the universe. .
saying. .my child, YOU are. .
NOT Guilty!

Another biblical term used frequently in the bible. .
and especially toward the end of Galatians. .
is Righteousness. .
morally good. .
is the definition according to Merriam- Webster

The CARM website, actually had many of their words hyperlinked in blue. .
and so just by clicking the one I didn’t have a clear concept on. .
led me right to these great little illustrations. .
Check what they say about what the BIBLE has to say about righteousness. .


Righteousness is an attribute of moral purity belonging to God alone (John 17:25 ). It is He alone who is truly righteous. No one in the world is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, that is, except the Christian. We are counted righteous in the eyes of God when we receive Jesus by faith (Phil. 3:9). Our righteousness is based on what Jesus did on the cross. The righteousness that was Christ's is counted to us. We, then, are seen as righteous in the eyes of God. Though we are actually worthy of damnation, we are made righteous (Isaiah 61:10) by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. As a result, we will spend eternity in the presence of the holy, pure, loving, kind, gentle, and righteous God who is our righteousness.

 Pretty simple, really!! I was going to have you click to this article only if you wanted to. .
but I think that it does such a great job of differentiating the difference between justification and sanctification. .
that I wanted you to have easy access to it. .
My whole confusion. .
and what brought up these particular word studies for me. .
was exactly this. .2 big words. .used often thru the bible. .
I just wasn’t sure that I understood. .
As Christians. .
I believe that we MUST understand the difference between them. .
Again. .I was REALLY impressed with the amount of scripture condensed down into this article!

Justification and Sanctification: What is the Difference?

by Matt Slick

Understanding the difference between justification and sanctification can be as important as understanding the difference between salvation and damnation.  Rightly dividing between the two is of crucial importance.  When you understand what they are, you can then draw a line in the sand and say, "This is what saves.  This is not what saves."

Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is reckoned to the sinner so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous under the Law (Rom. 4:3; 5:1,9; Gal. 2:16; 3:11).  This righteousness is not earned or retained by any effort of the saved.  Justification is an instantaneous occurrence with the result being eternal life.  It is based completely and solely upon Jesus' sacrifice on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and is received by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9).  No works are necessary whatsoever to obtain justification.  Otherwise, it is not a gift (Rom. 6:23).  Therefore, we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).

Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God's work and being conformed to the image of Christ.  This conforming to Christ involves the work of the person, but it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified (Phil. 2:13).  Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone.  The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God's will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly (Gal. 5:22-23).  Significantly, sanctification has no bearing on justification.  That is, even if we don't live a perfect life, we are still justified.

Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process.  Where justification comes from outside of us, from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible.  In other words, we contribute to sanctification through our efforts.  In contrast, we do not contribute to our justification through our efforts.

Now, there is one more point of clarification.  To sanctify also means to set apart for holy use.  Therefore, we can have verses that talk about us being sanctified already because God has set us apart for holy use.

·         John 10:36, "do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?"

·         Rom. 15:16, "to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit."

·         1 Cor. 1:2, "to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours."

·         1 Cor. 6:11, "And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God."

·         1 Tim. 4:4-5, "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer."

·         Heb. 2:11, "For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren."

All that we need is given to us in Christ.  So there is one sense in which we are not yet completely formed into the image of Christ (sanctification of being made like Jesus), yet in another sense we are because we are seen as "in Christ," set apart for holy use where all our spiritual needs and purposes are met through Jesus.

So. .I know. .that was a LOT of reading again. .
BUT. .As we finish up the book of Galatians next week. .
and prepare to head into the book of Romans (in which these two words are VERY important). .
I felt like they needed to be clarified to help us make the most of our time in the Word. .
And it may be important to pull this same reading back up in a few week to read again as we get into the meat of Romans. .

But. .let’s go ahead and finish up our 3rd week in Galatians. .

Fire back. .WHAT are some of our responsibilities as Christians living IN Christ?? Not sure about you all. .but I was starting to think by chapter 3, that I was going to have a hard time finding my role in this. .but by the middle of chapter 6, I was starting to wonder if I would have enough room on my paper to finish listing them out!!

I think the marching orders that God impressed upon me this week. .
was from chapter 5. .Walk by the Spirit. .noted in verses 16, 18, and 25.
Walking in the Spirit or by the Spirit or being led by the Holy Spirit. .
is reflected as our way to avoid being in the flesh and doing the evil fleshly things that our natures WANT to do. .
Walking by the Spirit ALSO produces fruit. .The fruits of the Spirit. .
and if we are NOT progressively improving on those 9 fruits. .
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we aren’t walking by the Spirit. .
we are walking. .by ourselves!!
That’s a painful reality that we likely all need to meditate on. .
and assess ourselves in and pray for God to help us with!!

The other verse that has just really made me think this week was from 6:8 The one who reaps to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
 I look around our world today. .
at the adults. .at the kids. .at the people in my own home. .and at the messages from the world. .
Everything is ALWAYS about ME. .
What’s best for me. .what I want for me. .what is convenient or easy for ME. .
what I want to do. .when I want to do it. .
Have fun. .enjoy life. .
(and it isn’t wrong to have fun and enjoy life, God wants us to do that). .

But what I see is this. .
People run so hard during the week. .
chasing families, careers, entertainment. .
that they are too tired to go to worship the Lord in a church. .
or refresh their soul with the bible. .
or even remember to pray when they DON’T need something. .

They can spend hours surfing the internet or playing games that are irrelevant to life. .
or pursuing an endless list of TV programs or movies or fiction books with no basis in the real world. .
just as a way to gork out their minds for hours so they don’t have to think (under the pretense of relaxing). .
They can eat out 3 meals a week and enjoy Starbucks $3 coffees every morning. .
but they don’t have any left to leave for the work of God’s church or to give some monthly to feed one of the orphans wandering around the Syrian desert in this desperate time of strife and war. .

BUT. .
there is no time or desire to listen to a great teacher teach the bible on a podcast, or online streaming, or CD.
I just have to wonder. .
in a world so BLESSED with endless access to knowledge. .
why we are SO intent on sowing our LIVES into the world. .
Many people know every word to the popular songs. .
but they can’t recite a Scripture verse. .
they know which show is on what channel at each hour of the day. .
but they didn’t even know there was a prophet named Nehemiah that wrote a book in the bible. .
or where to find the book IN their bible (if they know where to find their bible). .
We know every fairy tale and nursery rhyme from the last 50 years. .
but we are unfamiliar with a beautiful queen named Esther who risked her very own life to save the lives of God’s faithful people. .in a time such as this!!

Stop now. .
and think. .
How many people can you count. .
that are TRULY sowing their lives to the Spirit??
Are you on that list? Were you on that list 6 weeks ago??
 Do you even want to be on that list?  I hope you do!

I think that Galatians 6:8 points back to what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 16:24-26
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it (compare with whoever sows to his own flesh); but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (compare with whoever sows TO the Spirit). "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?…

I’d love to apologize for preaching a message that my hands didn’t intend to type when I sat down. .
 but I can’t. .
I’d like to say I’m sorry if I stepped on your toes (because likely, you all are feeling a little weighted down right now as I am). .
but I won’t!
I’ve said it before. .
God guides this study on a weekly basis, more than any of you could even imagine. .I
 sat down to share two verses with you and go on about my day. .
but that didn’t happen. .
It still just amazes me at how God can change my direction in a breath. .
God hasn’t placed this verse on my heart this week for ME. .
you see, I’m on that list of people sowing their lives to the Spirit. .
as of about 3 years ago. .
not because I HAVE to. .
but because I don’t want to be anyplace else. .
And honestly. .anymore. .
I can’t even IMAGINE being anyplace else!!
So. .I guess I am asking you to meditate on that verse this weekend. .
ask God what He wants you to do with that in your life. .

Are there some priorities that you need to change. .
some habits that could be altered. .
Laying down your life for God doesn’t mean laying down to die and live a miserable life. .
it means. .laying down what YOU want. .
and asking God to help you do what HE wants.
The satisfaction in that. .FAR outweighs any type of satisfaction that I EVER felt before. .

I think that is enough for today. .
I’d LOVE for someone else to pour out their hearts this weekend. .
We’ll talk again soon!!
Love to all. .Melanie