Matt Chandler chose the text Galatians 2.15-3.9 to discuss the tenant known as faith alone. Yet, he delivers this message in exceptional circumstances. He was iced into Dallas and unable to come to Michigan. So his message is a recording from earlier that day. Chandler expressed his belief that live preaching is the way to go. Preaching is best served in person. Yet, it’s not an option today. So we are taking advantage of the technology God has given us.
Chandler is excited to preach the message of faith alone and marvel at it from where he is as we marvel at it from where we are.
Here’s why he is excited about preaching this message. When he came to Christ things that happened to him that he had no way of understanding or expressing. Because he came into the gospel community with no real knowledge of what that meant and into a church not theologically rich, he knew Christ but was confused about what he knew. He came to know Christ in a church that was all about moralism. He heard of how to behave. He heard about how true love waits. He should listen to the right kind of music. Yes, it is true that the message we believe will cause us to change. But he had translated it to him needing to behave in order to be in and maintain his relationship with Christ. This was soul stealing and a heart wrenching approach to living.
The reason why doctrine matters is because it informs us on what our relationship is built on and what it is not built on. As Chandler’s soul dried up from moralism, sola fide transformed him. It propelled him to God’s Godness. Instead of cleaning himself up for God’s approval he basked in his relationship with God and enjoyed His approval.
Salvation occurs through faith alone. We have a tendency to drift from that beautiful truth. We need to put anchors down to keep us from drifting.
In Galatians 2.15 we see that we are justified by faith. We believe that Christ Jesus saves us according to grace and not works.
Paul just said that Jews have benefits that Gentiles do not have. Jews had the Law, prophets and covenants. Moral advantage for Jews meant nothing when it came to justification. Information about right living does nothing to justify.
Chandler rejoiced that there is not a type of person that comes to Christ. We have not much in common. Some of us were inventers of evil. Some of us grew up in Church. Paul’s point is to get over our background. We all need Jesus. Moralism does not justify you. If you built your confidence of justification around your good works, you’ve built on sand. You also have not out sinned God’s ability to justify you.
The Law has every right to make accusations against us. It can call out our lust, anger, pride, rebellion and wicked. But it can do nothing to fix what is revealed. Four years ago around this time of year Chandler had a seizure. After tests were run it was determined that he had a malignant tumor in his frontal lobe. He visited with the neurosurgeon and surgery was scheduled for the next week. He was told that he had 2-3 years to live. With a successful surgery and treatment, by God’s grace it has been 4 years now and he is cancer free.
An MRI can show what you have. But the common grace of drugs and radiation is what heals. Law can expose but it cannot heal. The Laws big role is to expose not justify. The Law tells us not to lie or touch someone else’s spouse. The MRI tells us what our problem is. The MRI of God’s Word says you need a Savior.
The savior is not a detective to find sin but to save us from sin. He is not Sherlock digging to find what is there. If Christ creates a new law he sets up a new chasm. But Christ fulfilled the Law. He saves us from the sin exposed by the Law. He bridges the chasm by faith. He says, “Look at what I’ve done.”
Paul had to die to the law through the law that he might live. Those moral advantages do not equate to life in God. Moral advantages are not bad things. Family devotions and praying over children are important. Jesus is top topic in Chandler’s home. He is discussed alongside horses, vacation, and school work.
His goal is to get his kids hearts and heads wrapped around the person of Jesus. Don’t mishear. What he has to trust is that the Holy Spirit must ignite the kindling in their hearts that he and his wife have wrapped around their hearts.
Chandler then zeroed in on Gal 2.20 and about being crucified with Christ. All of Matt Chandler’s sins: past, present, and future – died on the cross with Jesus. The life you’re looking at is lived by faith alone. You nullify the grace of God when the cross is not enough. How can we say our sin is greater than the power of Christ and the cross? How weak and pathetic is God if his answer to help us is us helping him?
We know this, right? But we feel subtle pulls on it always. We feel subtle pulls away from grace alone faith alone. We think God likes us more when we do all the right things. Then when we waver on that stuff, we wonder if God wavers or regrets that he ransomed and saved us. To not nullify leads in some way to grasp and understand that God does not regret saving us.
Chandler expressed how he regrets that love has no meaning. Love is a junk drawer word without meaning. It appears to be a fragile emotion that does nothing but encourage. Love says you’re a handsome or gifted person. For true legitimate love to be present there will always be a sharp edge that is able to engage you on foolishness.
Chandler then went to Galatians 3.1. What we say to one another out of love may have harshness but it is primarily loving. Christ calls us back to him to ransom and rescue us. Don’t be bewitched. Don’t operate like fools. Paul asks questions. These questions point us to remember who we were before Christ saved us. Chandler lived for himself. He was God belittling with no idea of why he kept on being drawn back to Him. It wasn’t Chandler at his best when God came to rescue him. It was him at his worst.
Paul in Galatians 3 asks four questions not only to show justification but sanctification too. Suffering under the gospel is not in vain, but purposeful and gracious and used to make us more like Him who saves us.
Paul shifts to where our faith has its beginning. Paul points to Abraham. By faith Abraham was considered righteous. How can Abraham be countes as righteous 430 years before the law existed? John 8.56 sheds light on this. Abraham rejoiced that he saw Jesus day. He saw it and was glad.
What anchors Chandler is the mercy of God extended to our brothers in the Old Testament. When Chandler wavers, he thinks that God loves a future version of him and not the version now. What holds his soul steadfast is that God is merciful to these men. Abraham hored out Sarah to Abimelech and yet receives this mercy from Jesus. We can relate to that.
Just because your parents were Christians does not mean that you are Christian. Just because you have a heritage of Faith does not mean you are in the faith. Those of faith are children of faith.
Chandler then turned to Galatians 3.8. Since we are prone to be bewitched, here is four of our needs. First, some for first time need to trust God by faith alone. Your theological articulation does not mean you have experienced what you articulate.
Second, pay attention when you read the bible. It’s a mess inside of you. One of the most soul stealing practices is to not read the Bible rightly. The prosperity gospel and such will ruin you right now. You will be restored later if God keeps you but not you are bewitched by false doctrine.
Third, walk in a community of faith that celebrates and sees God to be massive. The more you make this about yourself the more you enslave yourself and are robbed from what Christ does for you.
Fourth, by faith walk in obedience to God. If this is true then the commands are about the fullness of God and Glory of Him. These things lead us to life and joy. Happiness is fragile. Joy has deep roots. If God leads us into joy then let us by faith pursue holiness for the glory of God.
People are looking for the asterick, the footnote that makes them the exception to His Word. No. By faith you will be a father. You will risk your life. By faith you will be obedient. Walking in faith increases that faith. When you put these things together, you have a solid anchor that forms you upon faith alone.