BUILDING BLOCKS OF GRATITUDE: The Alignment of Law and Promise
We are quickly moving toward Thanksgiving Day. What gives you a sense of thankfulness? As you come to this season, how will you find the power of gratitude in your heart and life? The last couple of years have been filled with turmoil, uncertainty, fear, and mistrust. All of these things drain us of gratitude and grace. It is difficult to be thankful and worried at the same time. Anxiety is exhausting. Being thankful is enriching. Worry drains us. Gratitude defines us. Yet, these are choices all of us must make. Will we allow anxiety to empty us, or we will choose to be thankful in every circumstance because we know that God will help us. In our sermon series, Building Blocks of Gratitude we turn to Paul’s struggle with the church in Galatians 3:6-12, 21-22. This chapter begins with a simple question: “Oh, you foolish Galatians, who gave you the evil eye?” (Galatians 3:1, JOT) They were no longer defining their faith through grace or gratitude for what Christ had done, instead they were defining their faith through law and legalism. They had made a choice that was contrary to gratitude and denied the promise God had made to God’s people long before Jesus would be born in Bethlehem or before the Law of Moses would be given. In the sermon, The Alignment of Law and Promise we discover that we are like these foolish Galatians because we would rather earn God’s favor and have confidence in our compliance, rather than trust God’s promise that we are saved by grace. Why does this matter? All of us are prone to the “evil eye,” especially when we feel we have our right to have it! We are prone to it because we are prisoners of sin! Paul’s words to the Galatians help us find the freedom and power of God’s promise in Jesus Christ and they begin to fill us with righteousness and gratitude! As you read these words it is our prayer that you will be filled with the power God’s promise to set you free! Galatians 3:6-12,21-22: 6 In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” 7 The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. 8 What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. 10 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” 21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. 22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.