Books of the Book: Galatians

The Offense Of The Cross

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Mark Howard & Jim Howard


Series Code: GBOTB

Program Code: GBOTB00010A

00:22 Welcome to another episode of Books of the Book.
00:24 We are studying the book of Galatians and I am
00:27 Pastor Mark Howard, I'm the Pastor of the Gobels
00:29 Seventh-day Adventist church in Michigan as well as
00:31 Director of the Emmanuel Institute of evangelism,
00:34 a school that trains people to share their faith.
00:36 I'm here at my co-host and brother Jim.
00:39 If my name is Jim Howard and I am the Pastor of the
00:41 Detroit Metropolitan Seventh-day Adventist church and
00:44 South Lyon Seventh-day Adventist church also
00:46 in the Michigan conference.
00:48 And we have been studying in the book of Galatians.
00:51 A powerful book in the New Testament and we have had
00:54 a lot of good studies.
00:55 There is a lot packed in this book Jim.
00:57 We are actually up to chapter 5 and if you are watching
01:01 at home, you have your Bibles with you, or a Bible nearby
01:06 grab that in follow us into chapter 5 of Galatians.
01:09 You go to the New Testament Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,
01:12 Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians and then Galatians.
01:16 We are going to Galatians Chapter 5 and today we are
01:20 going to pick up their in verse 7 and we will get a
01:24 running start there into what the apostle Paul calls
01:29 the offensive of the cross.
01:32 Galatians 5:7 he says to these Galatian believers,
01:35 "you ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
01:39 "This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
01:43 "A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have
01:47 "confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no
01:51 "other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his
01:54 "judgment, whoever he is. 11. And I, brethren, if I
01:58 "still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer
02:01 "persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. "
02:05 Now there is a lot in there, but we are going to focus
02:09 today on this idea of the offense of the cross.
02:12 Here are the things Jim, that I am picking up on this.
02:15 There's something about the cross that is offensive to
02:19 those that are preaching circumcision.
02:21 Furthermore, persecution is resulting from preaching the
02:25 cross but evidently not from preaching circumcision.
02:29 As Paul says, if I would start preaching circumcision
02:32 I wouldn't be persecuted.
02:34 Preaching circumcision somehow makes the cross
02:37 non offensive and we want to delve into this and find
02:42 out what it is about the cross that is offensive to
02:47 those who preach circumcision and why.
02:49 And what is it about circum- cision that takes away that
02:53 offensiveness to the cross?
02:55 That is important and I think in order to understand
02:58 that, we need to look back to the real meaning of
03:01 circumcision, we have talked about this in previous
03:03 episodes but there is one particular passage that really
03:06 feeds in well to this passage in Galatians 5.
03:09 It is found in Romans 4:9, Romans 4:9.
03:17 right after Acts comes Romans.
03:19 It says, "Does this blessedness then come upon the
03:24 "circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also?
03:28 "For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for
03:31 "righteousness. " So he received his righteousness by
03:35 faith. "How then was accounted? While he was
03:39 "circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised,
03:43 "but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of
03:47 "circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith
03:51 "which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might
03:54 "be the father of all those who believe, though they are
03:58 "uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed
04:01 "to them also, and the father of circumcision to those
04:04 "who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk
04:07 "in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had
04:10 "while still uncircumcised. "
04:12 His point is, Abraham received that righteousness that
04:16 was accounted to him prior to being circumcised.
04:19 So circumcision didn't produce the righteousness, that
04:23 is not where he got the righteousness.
04:24 He got it through faith in Christ, the promised sacrifice
04:29 and faith in God's promise.
04:31 In expressing that faith God accounted that to him as
04:35 righteousness, so what was happening in the days of the
04:39 Galatians was that they had perverted the idea of
04:42 circumcision as a sign of righteousness, which is
04:45 obtained through faith.
04:47 Instead of seeking to gain righteousness through faith in
04:50 Christ, they were actually not righteousness by faith
04:54 believers, but righteousness by circumcision.
04:57 I think our viewers may be thinking that is not something
05:03 that is an issue today in our church.
05:05 That is not an issue among believers.
05:07 What is interesting, the reality is that they saw
05:12 something they could do that basically took the place of
05:17 the righteousness of Christ.
05:19 In other words, they didn't need that righteousness of
05:21 Christ because they had circumcision.
05:24 While no Christian would say off-the-cuff, oh yeah I
05:27 don't believe I need the righteousness of Christ,
05:31 we find in our demeanor sometimes, the way we think
05:35 through things that may be just exactly what we are
05:38 thinking, for example.
05:39 In my ministry with the Emmanuel Institute, and I know
05:43 you have done similar things with your church.
05:45 I go out and we share our faith often times from house
05:48 to house, we will go door to door.
05:49 One of the things I have done its survey people about
05:53 their own religious beliefs.
05:55 Whatever they happen to be.
05:56 It is interesting Jim, that not limited to Christians,
06:00 Christians shouldn't even be in the crowd, the reality is.
06:05 But many different religions, Christians included,
06:09 people will say when you ask them about a future life.
06:13 An afterlife, they believe they are going to be a part
06:17 of an afterlife. What gives you that confidence?
06:20 The answer that most people give is, because I am
06:23 a good person, because I do good things, because I do
06:27 thus and so and in reality they don't answer what
06:30 they should answer, even like I said some Christians.
06:33 The answer should be I have accepted Jesus Christ as my
06:37 Savior and He has given His righteousness by faith.
06:40 - yeah that is right. - But when we say because
06:43 I am a good person and do good things what, we are
06:46 actually saying is my basis of my salvation is because
06:50 of my own doings.
06:52 Yeah if someone thinks I am a good person, I help to
06:56 shovel the neighbors walk, or I do kind things at work,
07:00 I'm always friendly and they get a sense of morality that
07:04 just has to do with not being a really bad person.
07:07 For them shoveling the walk is circumcision.
07:11 - that's right! - that's their thing and maybe it is
07:14 just going to church.
07:16 Whatever it is they're certain particular things give them
07:19 confidence that they are okay is their circumcision.
07:22 Not that there's anything wrong with going to church, or
07:24 shoveling a walk just like we have already talked about.
07:26 There is nothing wrong inherently with circumcision,
07:29 but the attitude and the belief that it was their shoveling
07:32 the driveway, helping out in a soup kitchen or what have
07:36 you that made them a good person.
07:38 - right, that's exactly right.
07:41 So we talked about that and you brought this up before in
07:43 Romans 2, maybe we ought to look at this passage.
07:45 Romans 2:25 the apostle makes a point here.
07:51 He says, "for circumcision is indeed profitable if you
07:55 "keep the law, but if you are a breaker of the law, your
08:00 "circumcision has become uncircumcision. "
08:02 Now here is another step to that.
08:04 Sometimes Jim, for example maybe I have some bitterness,
08:09 some grudge against somebody in church.
08:11 Or a neighbor and I go to another neighbor and shovel
08:14 their walk. Then I go down to the soup kitchen
08:17 and help with that.
08:18 And then I say that I am a good person and because I do
08:23 do those things I offset, or excuse myself from doing that
08:28 which I know God requires of me.
08:30 This is what we are talking about when we talk about the
08:31 circumcision here, this whole issue in Galatians.
08:34 They were taking circumcision as a substitute for obeying
08:39 what God had said.
08:40 I keep some of God's Command- ments, I don't really feel
08:42 comfortable with keeping all of them, so I will help out
08:44 a lot in the community. These types of things.
08:47 That circumcision actually becomes, because they don't
08:52 have the substance it actually becomes, the sign becomes
08:58 a meaningless mockery. - yeah, exactly!
09:01 You were talking to me about this fruitless fig tree
09:04 that really pro-trade that.
09:08 Maybe you can make a comment on that.
09:09 The story of the fig tree where Jesus comes by the fig
09:11 tree and there is all these leaves at He goes and looks
09:14 for fruit on it because typically when you come to a fig
09:17 tree and all the fig tree leaves start to fill out
09:23 the plant after the fruit begins to grow.
09:26 So when you see a fig tree full of leaves, it's
09:30 advertising, hey I have fruit on me come have some.
09:34 So Jesus was hungry, He saw the leaves and went over
09:37 and there was no fruit.
09:40 It is the same way when I say I am a Christian, people
09:43 should be able to expect fruit of the tree.
09:46 - right! - people should be able to expect that I
09:48 would live like a Christian and be obedient to the
09:50 principles of God's law.
09:52 But when I make that profession, like the sign of
09:55 circumcision it's profitable if you keep the commandments,
09:58 but if you are not keeping the commandments and your
10:00 heart is not obedient to God then you are advertising
10:02 something you do not have.
10:04 - the heart is exactly the issue there, because what
10:07 was going on here in Galatia is that circumcision was
10:11 something you could do without the heart having to
10:15 be changed, and remember the heart is where the most
10:18 cherished things are held.
10:21 So when we talk about the need for a heart religion,
10:25 it's not just talking about having love for others and
10:29 warmth of affection.
10:31 It is also talking about that which shelters those
10:35 sinful practices that we do not want to let go of.
10:39 So they were looking at circumcision as a way to avoid
10:43 the religion of the heart.
10:45 So the problem was they didn't have that inward
10:48 righteousness because circumcision can't bring
10:51 righteousness. - that's right.
10:53 Righteousness is something that we have to come to
10:56 grips with and it is so crucial, this is what
10:58 Paul keeps bringing up here.
10:59 There is a story in the Bible of the rich young ruler.
11:03 This young man comes to Jesus and he says, good teacher
11:06 what thing must I do, or what things must I do to
11:09 inherit eternal life?
11:10 You find it in Matthew chapter 19 as well as Mark 10.
11:14 What good thing must I do that I might inherit eternal
11:18 life? And Jesus says to him why do you call Me good?
11:22 There is only one who is good and that is God.
11:25 In that statement Jesus was trying to convey to this
11:28 young man that there is no such thing as righteousness
11:32 apart from God, man has no such thing as righteousness.
11:35 Paul makes a point in Romans 3, and this is a hard
11:40 hitting passage for the human heart.
11:44 It is hard for us to take this, we like to say I may
11:47 not be the best person, but don't tell me I'm not a good
11:51 person at all.
11:52 But this is what the Scripture says, this is the condition
11:54 that God pronounces upon you and me.
11:57 He says, Romans 3:10 he says, "As it is written: There is
12:02 "none righteous," it is almost as much as he perceives,
12:08 well he is quoting actually from Isaiah.
12:10 But it is almost as he perceives that we are going to
12:13 rebut that, whoa, whoa, wait a minute.
12:15 Nobody righteous? " No, not one" he says.
12:17 11. "There is none who understands; there is none who
12:20 "seeks after God. 12. They have all turned aside;
12:22 "they have together become unprofitable; there is none
12:25 "who does good, no, not one. "
12:29 The point being made here is man has no righteousness,
12:33 the only place to get righteousness is not in Hindu,
12:37 in a Hindu god, or in Buddha, or in anything else, or
12:42 in some atheistic philosophy.
12:44 The only place to get saving righteousness is in God,
12:47 the God of heaven and His Son Jesus Christ who is
12:50 also the eternal God.
12:51 The idea here is that the Lord would have us understand
12:55 our righteousness is not something that we can produce.
12:58 The only way we can get it is to go to Him to receive
13:01 if by faith. - we must have that union with Christ.
13:04 He is the vine as we talked about once before.
13:07 There is one place in Galatians were this is drawn out.
13:09 Maybe could look at this before we go to our break.
13:14 Galatians 5:5 the apostle says, "For we through the
13:18 "Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness
13:22 "by faith. " I like the way he words that.
13:24 He eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.
13:28 Why is he eagerly waiting? Eagerly waiting gives you
13:31 the sense of hungry and thirsting.
13:32 Remember the Bible says, that those who hunger and thirst
13:35 for righteousness they will be filled.
13:37 He says we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness
13:40 how? By faith, faith in Jesus Christ.
13:43 The reason that he is so eagerly waiting is because
13:46 there is nowhere else to get that righteousness.
13:49 He is not going to go somewhere else, he is going to keep
13:52 pressing on, keep pressing the Lord because only through
13:55 the Lord Jesus Christ can he have any hope
13:57 of attaining righteousness.
13:59 Well we will dive back in this a little bit more in
14:01 a moment, but for now we need to take a break.
14:03 We will see you in a few.


Revised 2014-12-17