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Christ Is Enough…to Be Our True Hope – Blog and Podcast

November 2, 2018

Do you ever get concerned that too often we do not place our emphasis on the right things? That we major on the minors? You’ve heard of this, or maybe you’ve been a part of a church that got worked up about carpet color, décor, temperature, or something else that had no eternal consequence, but was a big deal to a group of people. I was part of a church one time that had a town hall-type meeting regarding the purchase of an ice machine. Another time, in another church, a lady told me that the color of the bulletin was offensive. Hey it was a purple color – isn’t that the color of royalty?

We have people in our neighborhoods that are living and dying without Christ, our living hope, this is the major that should be our focus. We have believers, in the church, who need to be discipled to a deeper walk, so they too can re-produce disciples.

In Galatians, the Judaizers were majoring on the minors. They were hung up on things like circumcision and ceremony and lost sight of True Hope. Paul wasn’t saying circumcision was bad, but belief that it would save you was simply not true.  There are no saving rituals, only a saving relationship.

For example, if I run a red light and I get pulled over, telling the officer how many laws I’ve kept or how many good things I’ve done won’t help. I still have to answer for my offense and pay the price. The Word tells me if I’m seeking to be justified by the law, if I break one law, it is as if I have broken all of them. If I put my hope in Christ, He already paid the price.

Galatians 5:1-6,For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery. Take note! I, Paul, am telling you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to do the entire law. You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace. For we eagerly await through the Spirit, by faith, the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.

Let’s look at three realities that teach us about the True Hope, this Hope of Righteousness

  1. For freedom, Christ has set us free– Why did Christ set us free? The Word says it was FOR freedom that He set me free. If I’m seeking to be justified by my works, aren’t I really serving God out of a fear that I won’t measure up? Is there any joy in serving God out of fear? Paul equates the Judaizers’ efforts at salvation to submitting to a yoke of slavery. In a yoke – someone else has control over your life without your involvement. You are bound to whoever has control over you. Freedom does not mean abandonment of the law, but I choose to use my freedom to honor Christ. My freedom was purchased with a price – by One who loved me before I was born and has a plan for my life. In Christ, I am truly free. The devil can tempt me, life can test me, but my soul’s hope is secure in Christ.
  2. Justification by law is alienation from Christ– Paul is not saying you can lose your salvation if you go back to seeking to be justified by works or the law. Actually, if you could lose it that way, you never really had it to begin with. Justification by law says that you view Christ as insufficient, that grace is not good enough. As Christ becomes more real in my life, I find that I want to honor Him more, not be alienated from him. The word for alienated here means, “to be separated”. If I’m seeking to be justified by the law or works, I’m actually working against what I believe I’m trying to do. I’ve found in life that we often are running FROM something or running TO something. Justification by law is running FROM Christ, running FROM bad behaviors, and it involves looking over my shoulder in fear, to see if anyone is watching. Justification in Christ is running TO Christ, always looking forward, eyes on the prize, the Hope.
  3. We eagerly await the hope of righteousness– Where is our hope found? Our hope is found in the cross, through the Spirit. The cross is an unusual symbol of hope, for it means that someone was crucified on that cross, but it’s in the cross that I find freedom, in the cross that I find hope. The cross is where I can leave my sin. It’s in the cross that I can rise up in victory, that I can have Christ’s righteousness imputed to me. It’s in the cross that my mind, my heart, my words and my actions can be led by the Holy Spirit. The cross is my only hope , for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life IN Christ Jesus.

Verse 5 of our text says, “For we eagerly await through the Spirit, by faith, the hope of righteousness”. It’s not circumcision or adherence to any law that brings freedom, but it is the cross that purchased my freedom.

  • Colossians 1:18, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.”
  • Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
  • Colossians 2:14, “He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.”

Church, it’s time to put aside all of our evaluations, time to take stock of all of our involvements and focus on what brings hope. Let us look at our families through the lens of the cross – don’t worry about making everybody happy but making disciples. Let us look at our church through the lens of the cross – may we never be guilty of majoring on minors. Let’s keep the main thing as the main thing. Let us look at our neighborhood through the lens of the cross – who around me doesn’t know the hope of righteousness? Let us look at our state, our country, our world, through the lens of the cross, the hope of righteousness.

Are you willing to make a commitment to join me today in making the cross a priority? You’ll find freedom if you do.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts, Podcasts

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