October 15, 2020
Paul did not have confidence in the Galatians nor in the people around Galatia. He had confidence in Christ.
Paul reminds the Galatians that they were running well. They were obeying the truth. They had confidence in Christ. He encouraged them not with who they are but with who Christ is for them.
I can say the same to you too. We can say the same to one another. I have confidence in the Lord. I have confidence in your faith because it comes from Christ. I do not have confidence in you to sustain your faith but I can encourage you, we can encourage one another, because we know who our God is.
Paul uses harsh words here when he speaks of those trying to bring trouble to the people of Galatia.
Depriving others of their assurance of salvation is not something to take lightly. As fellow believers of Christ, we empower one another by speaking of what Christ has done for us. In our day to day, we can encourage one another to live in the freedom we have because we are forgiven.
Paul gives an exhortation and a warning in the last verses of this section.
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:14-15)
We do not want to attack one another, instead we want to encourage one another. How do we encourage one another? How do we encourage or stir up the good works God has prepared for our neighbor to do? How do we encourage our neighbors to use the gifts they have been given?
Side note: The word exhortation is derived from the Latin word “hortari” meaning to incite. Meaning to encourage or stir up.
In Hebrews, we hear about stirring up love and good works. It doesn’t give a checklist of things to do instead it points us to Christ.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near
There is not an exact recipe for walking in faith, obeying the truth, or stirring up love and good works in one another. It’s going to look different. What remains consistent is the confidence we have in Christ. We can enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus. The curtain has been torn, we can draw near to Christ and encourage others to do the same. We don’t hold fast to traditions or certain actions. We hold fast to the confession of hope. We hold fast to Christ.
Stirring up love and good works in one another has much less to do with who we are encouraging than we might think
We can’t have solid confidence in the people we are encouraging. We have complete confidence in Christ.
We don’t need to tell people they are enough. They are not enough. We get to point them to Christ who is always enough.
We don’t need to tell them to do more. Christ has already done it all.
We get to point them to Christ.
We get to confess our shortcomings to one another and point one another to Christ.
We stir one another up to good works not by saying how great they are but about how great Christ is.