Thursday, December 2, 2021

Welcome

November 2021 is now posted.


We will be posting the Glorious Gospel articles individually below. A PDF file (large print) can be downloaded under the Archives tab and printed if desired, as well as past editions.

There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.

 IS THERE ROOM?


Jack Davis


“… she brought forth her firstborn son … wrapped him in swaddling clothes … laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Lk. 2:7.


All Israel should have been prepared, willing and able to welcome the promised Messiah-King, but we read here a very significant statement “there was no room.” At His birth they found no room, at His death He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Thank God, we read a few hearts were ready to receive Him. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Jn. 1:10-11.


As Jesus walked and ministered here and called followers unto Himself, He warned would-be followers, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nest; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Lk. 9:58. He discouraged those that would put other things first from following Him. He was despised and rejected of men, they cried away with Him, crucify Him, crucify Him. He had come all the way down, and humbled himself even unto the death of the cross, that He night make room in heaven for us, and lift us up. Jn. 14:1-3.


When He told the thief beside Him on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” and when the veil in the temple was rent in the midst, it was evident Jesus had opened up the way and made room for believing humanity. He provided for bringing many sons, unto glory. Jesus would fill whatever space in our hearts and lives that we give Him. But what room does He find today?


Many believer’s days get too full of the temporal, natural earthly attractions and distractions. We get too busy with the everyday mundane, with no time to live or die. Oh, the poor rats in the maze, the poor caged squirrel on a revolving wheel, but where is humanity going? 


It seems most of us find no time, place nor space for the treasures of eternity. By misdirection and misplaced affection, many are neglecting the heavenly spiritual graces. Some of us step off the treadmill to satisfy carnal cravings and seem to get temporary relief, but are never satisfied. Only by feeding the spiritual man with inner nourishment from our Father are we truly satisfied. Therefore we would do well to allow absolutely nothing to crowd the Lord out of our daily living. We need more and more of him all the time. Therefore we are asked, is there room?


God determined He would destroy humanity with the earth, because it was filled with violence through them. But He gave Noah a special room, for Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God not only warned him of coming judgment, but also gave him the plans for the way of escape. It was Noah’s place also to get ready, make room for the fulfillment of God’s purposes. By full persuasion he was moved to reverent preparation for his believing family’s preservation, but it also meant the worlds condemnation and his rich habitation, or inheritance. Heb. 11:7.


The ark gives us a picture of the believers refuge in Christ, from the coming storm of judgment. Noah was to pitch the ark within and without with pitch, to secure it against the waters of judgment. The same Hebrew word for pitch is translated atonement in other places. The window was placed in the ark “above” so Noah could look up instead of around at the total devastation. A door was placed in the side of the ark wherewith God shut him  in.


Then we find mentioned rooms (nests, compartments, Heb.) and lower, second and third stories (elevations. Heb.) or literally a journey to a higher place, climactic progression to a superiority of station. We read in Amos 9:6, “It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven and hath founded his troop in the earth…”. It is not hard to see ranks figured by these rooms and stories, yet types do not stand on all four legs as it were. Is it possible that the place we will occupy in eternity is related to the room that we allow Him to occupy in our hearts and lives here?


In Genesis 24 we read of Abraham’s eldest servant being sent to find a bride for his son Isaac. The servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, “for all the goods of the master were in his hand.” When Rebecca is found, three request are made of her. Will she give drink to the servant, and the camels? Is there room? Will she go on this long journey to become the bride of Isaac?


What about her attitude concerning the camels, which represent divine providence? They will do their job if fed and watered properly, and ridden enduringly. Rebecca serves them first, then rides them making them her servants. They became the brides ride unto the journey’s end. We each must give room to him (the Holy Spirit) who has the camels in control, and the “goods” of the Master in his hand.


We are taught to receive the Spirit, submit to him, yield to his influence, launch out in his control. In verses 34-36, the servant told Rebecca and her family of the wealth that the son was to come into. Paul said, “that I may know Him.” The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to our hearts with all His unsearchable wealth, (Eph. 3:8) as we give him the time and attention. He also provides room enlargement as Christ dwells in our hearts by faith.


“Then came the day  of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed…he sent Peter and John saying Go and prepare us the Passover…and they said unto him, where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said…Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house…And ye shall say into the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.” Lk. 22:7-12. 


We do well to allow room in our daily course, for the life and development of Jesus Christ in us, and for close fellowship with our heavenly Father, and for the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit. He should be a welcome room maker in us. We also are shown to a place of preparation on our way. Wherever he guides us, there we are to make ready for that special feast of all feasts. The place provided for us of grace is beyond measure, of highest glory, furnished with splendor of our Lord.


Rom. 5:2 – “Grace Wherein We Stand:” Where are we standing today? Do you find favor in the sight of the Lord? How did you get in here? Oh, what a standing! Such a glorious position, what a marvelous sanctuary! Are you an insider? Who let you in? Who brought you  in? Who provided you access? Is it not through our Lord Jesus Christ? Jesus said, “I am the door of the sheep.” In Revelation we read, “I have set before you an open door.” What key fits the door to this wonderful sanctuary? “We have access by faith into this grace…”. When Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for everyman, God was saying; “Come on in!” 


“They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me” Psa. 18:18-19. “I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy; for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: And hast set my feet in a large room.” Psa. 31:7-8.


Standing in grace gives us such a pleasant present rejoicing and hope. And, Oh, what a marvelous confidence and certainty of a glorious future with our dear beloved Lord!!!


 Hearers? Doers?


Gordon Crook, Pastor  Wichita, Kansas



“But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22


James presents us with the practical side of our Christian life in his epistle. He tells us that our faith should lead to good works. “. . . and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2:18. Many have misunderstood this to mean that we need faith plus works to be saved. However, James is just helping us to understand that if our faith is genuine, it will result in good works. Those that have the life of Christ in them will show the works of that life as they yield.


We are called on to be doers, and not only hearers. Anyone can “hear” God’s Word, or read it for themselves, but many do not take it as something to be obeyed. They might treat it as a good book, or good literature, but those that are true believers should read and hear with the intent to obey. It is the living Word of God and is to be lived in our lives, not just admired from afar.


Jesus speaks about those that hear His words and does them in Luke 6:47-49. Those that do (obey) His words are like the man that built his house on a firm foundation and it prevails against the storm. Taking heed to God’s Word and obeying will certainly make us more stable and resilient to the storms of life.


In Luke 8:15 we find from the parable of the sower that the seed that fell on good ground represents those that hear the Word, and they “keep” it and bear much fruit. This is the purpose that God has in our lives, and this is how He works. As we hear the Word, and we lay hold of it (true desire for it to be real in our lives), and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we bear much fruit which is the “doing” part. This is the result that others see in our lives.


James speaks about those that are “hearers only” as deceiving themselves. Hearing God’s Word without any intent or desire to obey it is self deceit. We deceive ourselves if we think we can “hear” God’s Word and then continue our lives as though we had not. This is usually expressed as self righteousness. “I don’t need to do what God says; I’m fine on my own.”


As I was reading Hebrews 11 about the saints of the Old Testament who lived by faith, I was struck with the thought that their faith was always expressed by their actions. Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice. Noah built an ark and preached. Abraham obeyed and went someplace he did not know, and he offered up Isaac. All of these are actions (doing) that was the result of their faith.


They believed what God said, and it elicited obedience even in the face of ridicule. Noah was building an ark where there had been no rain. Sometimes we are reluctant to obey God’s Word because it conflicts with our culture or with something in ourself that thinks we know better.


We need to understand that God’s Word is the only truth that matters, and that it is not to the changing whims of culture. Some have been convinced that we need to make God’s Word fit the cultural norms of the time, or it will become outdated. The correct approach is to realize that our life should conform to God’s Word regardless of the cultural norm around us.


In Psalms 19:11 we find this “Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Notice the great reward part. God has so much prepared for those that love Him. Even though our ability to “keep” and “do” God’s Word is only by the power of His Holy Spirit, He still has reward for those that yield to Him.


The Psalmist also reminds us that God’s Word is wonderful. Psalms 119:129 “Thy testimonies [are] wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.” As we continue growing in God’s Word, we come to realize more and more how wonderful it truly is. Obeying is not just a drudgery, or a religious duty, but a real joy.


Are you a hearer only, or also a doer of God’s Word. Do you find joy in obeying God’s Word and having it worked into your life by the Holy Spirit? Those that will be part of the bride of Christ will certainly be those that are doers of the Word, and not hearers only.


 HE GAVE HIMSELF


Anita Clark, Pastor Carbondale, Kansas


“Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father; and from the Lord Jesus Christ,  Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father; To whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.  Galatians 1:3-5.


 Verse 3 tells us what we have because Jesus gave Himself.   First he gave us “grace” which means  “the gift, benefit or favor.”  Then He gave us “peace.”  Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which  passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I like  another translation called The Amplified Version in this verse, where it expressed what is meant by the “peace” - “...that peace which reassures the heart, that peace which transcends all understanding [that peace which stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” Note that this grace and peace come from “God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Back to Galatians 1:4, “Who gave Himself...”  No one forced Him.  The word “gave” means in the Greek, “ to be committed, delivered up, grant, offer, suffer and yield.”  How precious that Jesus was willing to come as a little human baby, and grow up to be the sacrifice for our sins!


In II Corinthians 5:21 it states “For He [the Father] hath made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” In Galatians 4:4-5, Paul says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law; to redeem them that were under the law...”


Galatians 1:4 goes ahead to say, “...that He might deliver us from this present evil world.”  We are living in a very “evil world.”  Things and situations are becoming worse and worse.  In Paul’s day it was terrible for the Christians. In Noah’s day, it was terrible.  Just think about it for a moment.  Noah and his wife and three sons and their wives were the only righteous people among thousands and thousands who perished in the Flood.   Jesus said that in the end of time things would be like the days of Noah.


In Galatians 1:4, notice the phrase, “according to the will of God and our Father.” It was decided before the world was ever created that Jesus would come and die for our sins.  Ephesians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.  According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”


Let us read from Philippians 2:6-7, speaking of Christ, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery (or a thing to be grasped at) to be equal with God (because He was God), But made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” He abased Himself, to become a man, so he could die for our sins.  As it says in II Corinthians 8:9 “For we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes, He became poor (a beggar or indigent - homeless), that you through His poverty might become rich.”


 The word “servant” found in verse 7 actually should read “slave” which speaks of “subjection and subservience.”  He did not just become a “slave,” but lower.  Note verse 8, “...He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The Eternal Lord - to die.   He didn’t die of old age in a nice clean bed.  He died by crucifixion, an instrument of capital punishment, which was so inhuman and horrible.


Let us read in Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death...” The words “made a little lower than the angels” should read, “made for a little while lower than the angels.” He was here on the earth at an ordained time.  He grew up from babyhood and childhood and became a grown man to be made the sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Because He was willing to do that, even declaring in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, not My will but Thine be done,” Verse 9 says He is “crowned with glory and honor.”


As it says in Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name.  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow ... and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”


Why did Jesus, the Son of God choose this way of suffering?  Hebrews 2:11, tells us why?  “For it became (orig, suitable, or proper) Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory (orig. honor and praise) to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.”  The title “Captain” means in the Greek, “the Chief Leader, Author or Prince.”  Hebrews 12:2, states, “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The work accomplished. “It is finished.”


 Prophecy


Earlene Davis


Christ’s message to the Churches


Chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation contain Christ’s letters addressed to 7 churches which actually existed. John received this by a vision and they contain many personal lessons for the church. May we remember John was taken to the Lord’s day and looking back at the Church Age. To John it is prophecy of the future, but to us, we are living in the last phase of the Church Age. We will study them first historically and then look at them dispensationally of this Church Age, then for the Personal lessons.


These 7 churches are named for the city they were in. Some of these cities are only ruins today, but Philadelphia, Smyrna and Pergamos still exist, but their names have been changed. Each letter is addressed to the angel of that church, referring to the pastor or ruling elder, responsible as head of the local assembly under Christ. 


The first church addressed is Ephesus which Apostle Paul had a Bible school there for 2 years, so the people were well founded in the truth and purposed to take their place in the heavenlies where the church is provisionally seated (Eph. 2:4-7).


Rev. 2:1, To each church, Christ as Judge appears in one of His official guises as Judge, who walketh in the midst of the 7 golden candlesticks (the church). To Ephesus He comes a “He that holdeth the 7 stars in His right hand.” He has the authority  over the ministers. In Acts 20:29 Apostle Paul called the elders of Ephesus unto him and warned them saying, After my departing grievous wolves shall come in not sparing the flock. Some heeded that warning and held fast to the truth, but some failed. In each of these churches there were overcomers.


Vs. 2-3, Also each letter starts with “I know thy works.” The Judge sees and knows the works of everyone whether they stand for the truth or not. There are 9 things listed for which Ephesus is commended. 


V. 4, But one thing is said against them, they abandoned their first or preeminent love for Christ. Saints, we need to nurture our love for Christ by studying His Word and yielding to Him, so that our love grows and we come to love Him as our Bridegroom. The first step to failing the Lord, is not giving Him first place in our lives.


V. 5, Three words stand out in this verse, “remember,”  “repent” and “do.” Remember, be mindful that you have fallen from your place in the heavenlies. Their state had deteriorated when they began to mind earthly things. The result should be to Repent and Do the first works or chief works out of love for Him. If they do not repent, He would remove their candlestick out of his place. A candlestick speaks of light. He would remove the overcomers from that place (separation as the result of judgment).


V. 6, He commends them again, “thou hatest the deed of the Nicolaitanes,” their deeds are clergy over laity, lording it over the people, not ruling in love. The Lord says, “Which I also hate.” But this is how the church began to go, which is diffidently a deterioration.


V. 7, Every letter ends with, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” We have a responsibility to listen to what He has to say. Let us hear with the ear of our heart. A reward is promised to the overcomers of each church or the condition described there. The promised reward to the overcomers of Ephesus, “I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” 


Satan destroyed the first paradise that man had in the beginning, but Christ triumphed over that and by His death and resurrection has brought man into a relationship where man will be in God’s paradise and feed on Christ for ever (He is the tree of life).

Next issue: Christ’s letter to Smyrna


 JONAH


Debra Isenbletter - Pastor Springfield, Missouri



Jonah 2:9: “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”


In this verse we see Jonah’s Promise and his Praise. We hear his voice and we see his vow. We see his testimony of faith, he sees salvation and who alone can save him.


Jonah’s Promise: “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving.” Jonah promises to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. The word “sacrifice” speaks of the offerings that were offered on the altar; the burnt, the sin, the trespass, the peace, the meal offerings. All of these were offered by faith. All of these are a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ in His ministry, which is a wonderful lesson in itself. I do not know which of these Jonah offered, he could have offered one or all of them but I believe he made the sacrifice he promised.  Each offering points to his submission to his Savior and points to his Salvation.  I believe that it is the peace offering he would have rejoiced in the most because it was offered in thanksgiving to answered prayer and was present when a vow was made or completed. It was a freewill offering and showed restored fellowship because both man and God received a part of the offering.  We do not know when Jonah did this but he did fulfill his vow and he did make his sacrifice.  He may have done this before he went to Nineveh to preach.  


Until Jonah could offer a physical sacrifice, he offered a spiritual sacrifice. He offered the sacrifice of a surrendered life. This is the sacrifice the Apostle Paul tells us we must offer, and we do this when we present our “bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). There is another spiritual sacrifice that the Lord would have found acceptable until Jonah could offer one or more of the sacrifices upon the altar.  This is the “sacrifice of praise” (Heb.12:13) that can be offered anywhere. Jonah’s prayer, his promise and his praise is a down payment of the sacrifices he would offer later and the Lord found this acceptable and took pleasure in it. This shows that wherever we are, God accepts what we are able to offer. The foundation for Jonah’s promised sacrifice is seen in his voice and his vow. Both are offered before the actual sacrifice but are counted as part of that sacrifice. 


Jonah’s Voice: “with the voice of thanksgiving.” The word “thanksgiving” is a “confession” and also “a sacrifice of praise.” It is “a thanksgiving, offering” that is given before the actual offering is given. Jonah is in a place where he can do nothing and yet he does something wonderful. He gives thanks.  It is interesting that one of the peace offerings was designated as a thanksgiving offering (Lev. 7:12). Jonah can certainly appreciate this because his fellowship with the Lord is restored.   We find Jonah’s voice of thanksgiving in the Psalms, Jonah’s “go to” book. He returns to the Psalms throughout his prayer in chapter 2.  My father had several scriptures he called his “go to” scriptures. The ones he would “go to” in time of crisis. The ones he had committed to memory and would automatically “go to” without even thinking.  Jonah’s voice is the voice of joy: “I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy…” (Psa. 31:7).  Jonah’s voice is the voice of praise that glorifies the Lord: “Whoso offereth praise [a sacrifice of thanksgiving] glorifieth me…” (Psa. 50:23).  Jonah’s voice is the voice of thanksgiving, it is an offering in itself. “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and declare his works with rejoicing” (Psa.107:22). Jonah’s voice is lifted up in anticipation of deliverance, it is the voice of faith, it is the voice of hope, it is the voice of expectation.  What an offering this was, what a sweet fragrance it was as it rose up before the Lord. 


Jonah’s Vow: “I will pay that which I have vowed.”  Jonah makes a promise, that promise is part of his prayer and an essential part of his praise.  He says that he will “pay” or “repay;” he will make “restore” or make “restitution” or “amends” to the Lord. The word “pay” comes from a root word meaning “to be safe (in mind, body or estate);” it has the idea of being completed and being at peace. Once Jonah makes amends for the wrong he has done, something has been “restored,” it is his fellowship with the Lord and the result is “peace” with himself and with the Lord.  I believe that all the time Jonah was running and rebelling he was not at peace with himself and certainly not with the Lord.  What a relief it must have been to finally feel that peace of restored fellowship. Jonah made a “vow,” he made a “promise.” We do not know the details of that vow but I believe it was a promise to serve the Lord and obey the Lord.  There is no greater vow than that. Jonah simply surrendered himself, body, soul and spirit to the Lord.  That makes any task easy because the struggle is over and the enabling begins to do whatever the Lord asks. I think that this was a prayerful testimony, that would be a personal testimony and also a public testimony. It is public once he goes into the house of the Lord and offerings those sacrifices and pays those vows.


Jonah made this vow, he made this promise but it is the Lord Jesus Christ who made the full payment by doing His Father’s Will and passing on to us His obedient, submissive nature so that we might do the same. The result is true peace and true restitution and true restoration.  


Jonah’s Praise: “Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah cries “salvation,” he cries “deliverance” and he did this before it is experienced. He sees it by faith. He sees that it is “of the Lord;” it “belongs to the Lord” (Amplified); it “is from the Lord” (New American Standard).  He cried out for help when he was helpless and knew there was deliverance. He cried out with the same words of faith as others had before him. He cried out again from the Psalms.  He saw that only the Lord could save: “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord…” (Psa. 3:8). He saw the Lord saved the righteous: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord …” (Psa.37:39). He saw the God of salvation: “He that is our God is the God of salvation…” (Psa. 68:20). The full reality of that deliverance was not realized but by faith he believed it would happen.  He did not know how he would be delivered or the manner in which he would be delivered, only that he would be delivered. The moment that Jonah gave that cry shows the moment that he accepted God’s grace. Jonah could not save himself. He saw his weakness, he saw his dependence. He accepted God’s grace for himself and was also admitting that grace could be shown to others, even to Nineveh. It was not his place to say God could not save them, or that his preaching could not be used to save them. Therefore, he will preach to them and yet we will see that he may have accepted grace personally pertaining to his need and his sin but he will still struggle with grace shown to the Gentiles. He has learned and yet he still needs to learn.


This is the cry of all men everywhere in every age. The need is the same, the deliverance is the same, the deliverer is the same. Peter preached that there was salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). When we look at the saints in heaven, they all give the same cry, it is a cry of grace, it is the same cry that Jonah gave. It will be the cry of full overcomers (Rev. 5:8-10). It will be the cry of the great multitude (Rev. 7:14). It will be the cry of the remnant of Israel (Rom. 9:27). In each case, it is a cry of joy and a cry of gladness. It is a cry that the Lord is waiting for. It is a cry that I have made, that many have made before me and many will make after me. It is a glorious cry, that “Salvation is of the Lord” and the Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ.


 LET CHRIST BE FORMED IN YOU                 


Pastor Gary Giddings, Sand Lake, MI


Galatians 4:19  “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”


What is this about? Do we not have Jesus with us since we were born again? Yes, He is in our heart and He has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. But here’s the question: how much are we like Jesus? How much do we want to be like Jesus? How much do we allow Jesus to rule and reign in our heart? 


Some people who have accepted Jesus as Savior will not obey Him anymore. We want to be those who accept Jesus as Savior and continue to obey Him. There are varying degrees of how much any given Christian obeys the Lord. However much we give ourselves to the Lord will be how much Christ is formed in us. Is it easy to do God’s will? No. But is it worthwhile? Definitely yes! As John the Baptist said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). 


Notice how the Apostle Paul addresses the recipients of this letter: “little children.” This is not a slam or a put down. This is an acknowledgment, first of all, that these people of Galatia were Christians. He even calls them “My little children.” Paul took a personal interest in them.


Paul didn’t give up on these saints: he didn’t disown them but he continued to pray for them and work with them. The Galatian saints had a problem with legalism. They believed the lie that Christ was not enough. Someone told them that they also had to be circumcised and keep the Law in order to be saved. But no one could keep the Law! No matter how hard anyone may try, no one can obey it perfectly. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).


The Apostle Paul recognized their position as “saints” but he also called them “little children” because they were not growing in the Lord as they should. Paul was so concerned about them that he used the language of one birthing a child. Paul was “travailing in birth again” because they had lost sight of Jesus and were trying to do things according to their own strength. They had been delivered from idolatry, but now they needed to be delivered from bondage of legalism. 


Someone said it this way: “Under the Law, it is DO and you shall live. Under Grace, it is LIVE and you shall do.” The Law only points to our inability to please God and it only puts us down. In God’s Grace, however, we are alive in Christ and we have the freedom to do God’s will. 


How is Christ formed in us? We surrender to Him so that the New Creation Life in us grows. This is how our character and conduct can change to be more like Jesus. This Christian life is based on a real, ongoing relationship with Jesus our Savior. 


Galatians 4:20  “I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.”


The Apostle Paul was perplexed with these Galatian saints. He was very concerned about them and how he must have prayed and prayed for them! Yet they were “stuck” in legalism. They were trying to live the Christian life by keeping the Law. But the Law can’t show how good we are; the Law only points at our failures. The Law shows us that we need the Savior, Jesus. 


Galatians 3:1-3 - 1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3. Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?


As humans, we tend to want to prove (at least to ourselves) that we are good and are doing right. If it isn’t “The Ten Commandments,” then we will make some rules to be our guideline. That is my experience.


My personal testimony is that I was born-again at an early age. I started out in Grace but I found myself believing the lie of the Devil that I was no good and had no talents. I lost confidence in my testimony as a Christian because I knew I didn’t measure up to being a “good Christian.” I let myself be influenced by the world and worldly people around me. I tried to have “fun” in the world but it only disappointed me. I was at a dead end and became depressed and suicidal. I was in pain emotionally, but I didn’t know how to ask for help. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted the pain to end.


After I survived my suicide attempt, the Lord didn’t condemn me but He showed His love for me in a very special way. So I finally decided to live for God and I tried very hard to live right! It was a roller-coaster experience of ups and downs, and it was exhausting! When I did what I thought was right, I was happy! But when I failed, which was sure to happen, then I was down in the dumps and very unhappy. What was the problem? I was trying to live the Christian life on my own terms and by my own strength. I had a list of rules that I tried to keep, but I failed miserably. 


Then it finally dawned on me that I needed to give myself, totally and completely to the Lord without any reservation. I literally bowed down on my knees before the Lord and gave myself to Him. I surrendered all of myself to the Lord. If you haven’t done this, I earnestly beg you to do this, too. I believe that we need to make a conscious decision to let Jesus be our Lord and Master! This is when I started to learn to live by God’s Grace.


1 Corinthians 15:10  “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”


It is the Grace of God by which we are saved, by which we are kept, and by which we learn to be what God wants us to be. Let God uncover the lies of the enemy in your life, whatever they are. We will fail on our own because God wants to be our strength. We are learning that we are weak in ourselves but strong in the Grace of God. This is how Christ is formed in us.