Galatians 3:15-29 & The Gaurdian

Last week I found this cool bit about Jason Bourne and the gospel.

This weekend Bethany and I watched The Guardian (the coast guards version of Top Gun). Good movie. Certainly better than I thought it would be. It begins and ends with these words:

There is a legend of a man who lives beneath the sea. He’s a fisher of men. A last hope of all those who have been left behind. He is known as the Guardian.

I knew early on that Costner was going to die. I did not tell Bethany this because she would instantly hate the movie. However she was the first one to connect the opening lines with his death. Costner is the legendary guardian that will not let go until help comes.

Galatians 3:24 says:

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

The guardian (Costner) did not save the drowning victims. Rather he was there until salvation came. The law never saves. Unlike Costner though it drowns us, shows us our sin, makes us to cry out to God for a righteousness not our own.

Some translations translate this word schoolmaster or tutor. The idea being that the law taught us our need for Christ. But the guardian was normally a slave who was to discipline the children and keep them from moral evils. They were entrusted to this guardian from about 6 to puberty. The guardian was to make sure they got to school and helped with their schoolwork and manners. The guardian is temporary. The guardian takes us to the teacher, it is not the teacher. The guardian is good, but it does not make us good, rather its goodness shows us our badness.

We must be wounded with the law before the gospel can heal. We must realize we are drowning before we cry out. The drowning and sorrow of the law is a blessed sorrow if it leads to repentance and faith.

Galatians 3:10-14 & Cursed

What’s your curse?

I have this hex on me, that every time a waiter comes by the table to ask me something I have taken a massive bite of food that seems to take five minutes to chew while they impatiently stare at me. It is impossible to enjoy food while being the subject of someone’s gaze.

I also have this curse of forgetting everything. Like forgetting a pot of boiling water. I have recently twice forgotten about leaving the watering hose for about four hours. This has recently become more annoying since we have stairs. I ask myself “why did I come up here?” only to remember after having given up and journeyed back downstairs.

So what is your curse? Body odor? Stinky feet? Hairy toes? Public flatulence? Protruding nasal hair? The curse of the black pearl? Zits on picture days? Always forgetting to pack a toothbrush and secretly borrowing one?

What is the true nature of a curse? What does it mean that Christ became a curse? Why did He have to become a curse?

Isn’t it funny that we think we are accursed when we get a flat, a zit, a ‘d’, an insufficient funds notice, etc? Jesus shows us the true nature of a curse. What he suffered is the curse we all deserve. I’ve recently noticed how little the gospels speak of Christ’s physical sufferings. All of the gospels spend the majority of their time recording this event, but little detail is given regarding HIS physical suffering. There is much more that reveals the agony of His soul as He drank from the bitter cup of His Father’s wrath.

So bring on the waiters, the zits, and the flats I am blessed. My sins have been atoned for. The Father has been propitiated. Christ became my curse so that I may approach the throne in boldness.

Rejoice in this… but still I am absolutely curious,

What is your “curse”?

Galatians 3:7-9 & The Kind My Daddy Likes

Perhaps I was six, I can’t remember.

I was staying with my aunt Brenda. Like most human children I was inclined to rapidly burn calories and soon require nourishment. Upon questioning me regarding my need to consume sustenance they discovered that I liked pizza.

“Do you know what kind of pizza you like?”


And so we ventured to the hut of pizza.

A menu was then set before me, beverages were served, the order was soon to be taken:

“So what kind of pizza do you like?”

“The kind my daddy eats!”

“What kind is that?”

“I don’t know.”

And so began a series of pointing to pictures and explaining various toppings. I then discovered that it was hamburger pizza which I and my daddy enjoyed (I have since come to find that pepperoni is far superior to all varieties of pizza).

The Judaiziers were all about being “Jewy”. They didn’t want to part with the law and be like gentile sinners (2:15, 17). But in trying to be so “Jewy” they became less so. Their daddy came to God simply on faith. The law came after and was an addendum to Abraham. Faith preceded law. This has always been the gospel.

Ours is a vintage faith. The faith of our fathers. It is an old faith. It has not changed. It’s what our Father likes. And we like it too.

I left hamburger to discover other pizzas. They were much more delicious. I have found nothing sweeter than this ancient faith. New is not always better.

Galatians 3:1-6 & Stupid

I have been bewitched several times, this is one:

I was bewitched that if I was a cowboy I would be cool. So I bought wranglers, a big belt with a big buckle, and a hat. It was painful to wear these items. This is not meant to be offensive to wrangler wearers or cowboys, only to say that I find this attire equally as painful as a suit and tie. I was duped.

I’m listening to this great British guy named John R.W. Stott on my iPod right now. He wrote a book about the cross that I am mad I went through seminary without someone telling me “you must read this book before you graduate and we will make you wear a cowboy hat until you do”. Anyway, back to my listening. I downloaded a few of his sermons on the cross (you can do so here for free after registering). I love Stott because the cross is central, essential to everything for him.

I have never left the theology in this text as a cherished doctrine. I leave it as a lifestyle. I leave it as a love. I leave it as my focus. I think of it too little. I try to commune with God based on other means. I forget the depth of love and holiness shown there. I am stupid. If ever there was a time to identify one as stupid it is when a Christian forgets the centrality of the cross.

The amplified bible says it like this:

O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians!

Or JB Phillips put it this way:

O you dear idiots of Galatia

We must fight against being duped. May our eyes constantly be fixed upon Christ and Him crucified.

Galatians 2:15-21 & Air

Justification by faith…

How many times a week do you reflect on that phrase?

Rarely? What has so happened to evangelical Christianity that we scarcely reflect, understand, and love this doctrine? Martin Luther said:

If the article of justification be once lost, then all true Christian doctrine is lost.

Do we treat this doctrine like that? Or has it become as light as air to us. I rarely appreciate breathing. Usually it takes a punch in the gut, choking, or being held underwater for me to think, “You know this whole air thing is pretty great, I sure would love to put some of that in my lungs right now.” Have we taken this whole thing for granted? Are we acting as if this air is something that should always be there for us? “He gave us lungs; He ought to give us air.”

How can a generation be awakened to see the preciousness of this truth like Luther did?

I think we need to realize that because of sin we are not on the surface, we are underwater. Air is precious. We are:



sinking in sin.

We live in this water of sin. There is no surface. We need air or we die. Justification is this air, and it comes completely by grace and faith. We have been given an air hose in promise that upon death we will surface never to swim in this liquid sin again.

To see the beauty of this gift we must see the depths of our sin.

We must remember we need this work of Christ like we need air, continually.

Today I urge you:


Galatians 2:11-14 & Paul or Peter

Paul loved the gospel. Paul loved for people to be genuinely riveted to the gospel. Peter loved the gospel. Peter loved for people to be genuinely riveted to the gospel.  But in this moment, one loved their ego, reputation, or standing more than they loved to see people genuinely rived to the gospel.

Which one are you?

A courageous lover of men (Paul)?

Or a cowardly lover of self (peter)?

I think I am Peter too often. Many people think that conflict is incompatible with love. Often because of our depravity much conflict occurs because of hate. But that is not to say it is incompatible with love. When a mother has conflict with her child over playing with matches this is not driven by hate, but by love. Often it is the person who avoids conflict that is the least loving. They care more about their appearance than your good.

I read a book by Francis Schaeffer (see pg. 17, 18 of don’t waste your life) this week titled The God Who is There. I mean look at the guy. Are you not absolutely assured that his writing must certainly be a blast? It is like seeing David Crowder, Bob Dylan, or Charles surgeon – these people just have an appearance about them that says fun.

Anyway here is this amazing smart man who sees huge holes and inconsistencies in modern philosophy and yet he confronts them in such gentle love:

When we have the opportunity to talk to the non-Christian, what (if not the formula mentality) should be the dominate consideration? I think this should be love. I think these things turn on love and compassion on people not as objects to evangelize, but as people who deserve all the love and consideration we can give them, because they are our kind, and made in the image of God. They are valuable, so we should meet them in love and compassion. Thus, we meet the person where he or she is.

Earlier, after speaking of the despair modern man comes to he says:

These painting, these poems, and these demonstrations which we have been talking about are the expression of men who are struggling with their appalling lostness. Dare we laugh at such things? Dare we feel superior when we view their tortured expressions in their art? Christians should stop laughing and take such men seriously. Then we shall have the right to speak again to such men seriously. These men are dying while they live; yet where is our compassion for them? There is nothing more ugly than a Christian orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion.

So do we confront? Yes, but only with our hearts full of compassion and love. Hearts that realize that the depths of the depravity we see in the world lie in our hearts and would take us over if not for the grace of God, the very grace they too need. Our love for the gospel should always be in obedience to the first and second commandment.

Galatians 2:1-10 & Me, Me, Me Pt.2

We are now homeowners. And I am terrified. Not at the expense. Not at signing an endless amount of paperwork. Not at the massive amount of debt that we are now committed to. Not at all the painting that needs to be done. Not at the work of moving. No these things may cause stress, but they are not the source of my fear. I deeply long to communicate to the world that my ultimate treasure is in God, that heaven is my home, that my happiness flows from above, that I am not banking on this life. Bethany and I happened to find a large home in our price range; a home we hope to grow into, but still much more home than we needed. My fear is that when people see such a large home (realize large is relative) they will think that:

1) I love my Jesus because I believe that He gives me good things such as this house

2) I love the things of this world and Jesus is just a nice thing to tack on, like an insurance policy.

3) That following Jesus and prosperity are synonymous or that following Jesus does not involve sacrificial living.

It terrifies me to think that I might shame the gospel. So I must fight. At all cost I must seek ways to communicate that I am not living for my house, or my car, or my iPod. I want to give more than I have received. I want to sacrifice. And I pray that my heart does not grow fond of painted wood and the glory of man.

The gospel I love is bigger than any comforts, joys, or pleasures in this life. In all of my living I hope to put the gospel first. To put its proclamation above all that I may desire. I hope I have not run in vain (Gal. 2:2). I pray I yield not to a false gospel (2:5). I desire that I always remember the poor (2:10).

Galatians 1:11-24 & Me, Me, Me

When is it alright to be about me, me, me (agent smith)? Ever?

Is there a way that I could be about me so that is it not about me at all?

This is dangerously fragile ice we are walking on here. Pride is a viper:

Pride is the worst viper in the heart; it is the first sin that ever entered into the universe, lies lowest of all in the foundation of the whole building of sin, and is the most secret, deceitful, and unsearchable in its ways of working, of any lusts whatever. It is ready to mix with everything; and nothing is so hateful to God, contrary to the spirit of the gospel, or of so dangerous consequence; and there is no one sin that does so much let in the devil into the hearts of the saints, and expose them to his delusions. I have seen it in many instances, and that in eminent saints. The devil has come in at this door presently after some eminent experience and extraordinary communion with God, and has woefully deluded and led them astray, till God has mercifully opened their eyes and delivered them; and they themselves have afterwards been made sensible that it was pride that betrayed them.  – Jonathan Edwards

So is Paul prideful in this passage? Does this sound like the Paul who would write in this same letter “far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…”(Gal. 6:14)?

Think of it like this, what could be so precious to Paul that would cause him to tread such treacherous ground? What treasured truth was in danger that Paul would risk going so close the edge of a dangerous precipice?

Is it his hair, his style, his camel, his friends?

Galatians 1:6-10 & Imitations


Imitations are rarely funny.

Sam’s Choice Cola vs. Coca Cola – not funny.

Great Value chocolate cookies vs. Oreos – not funny

Dollar store soldiers vs. GI Joes – not funny

Splenda sweet tea vs. sugar sweet tea – seriously not funny

Yesterday the TV was left on while Bethany and I were jostling around the house doing some chores. When I returned to the living room Dogma was on. It was the scene where they have decided to replace the crucifix with a friendlier icon. They then reveal buddy Jesus.

Buddy Jesus vs. crucified and risen Jesus – intolerably not funny.

Does this sound similar to flannel graph Jesus?

The gospel is not a thing, it is a He. So if we manipulate the gospel in order to make it more palatable we tell Jesus, “Sorry ‘buddy’, you needed a makeover. That image went out two millennia ago. The blood, the cross, the shame – not ‘cool’.”

To change the gospel you must change a GOD who says he is immutable (doesn’t change). How crazy is it when the creature tells the creator what image is now “in’ for deity, and that if He could match that image He really would sell better to the masses?

Some imitations are simply not funny.

Others are intolerable.

This one is intolerable. Any perversion of the gospel is not a matter of taste or opinion. It is a matter of the glory of God. Settle for no substitutes.

Galatians 1:1-5 & Spaghettios Revisited

Spaghettios – they are a staple for my sermon illustrations. Here is yet another instance demonstrating the spiritual nature of the you remember when there were only two basic food groups? Fruity Pebbles and Spaghettios. Of course there are substitutes; you may exchange the Pebbles for Frosted Flakes, Cap’n Crunch, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And if not Spaghettios, you surely were addicted to beef raviolis (there is no way that is beef), chicken fingers (don’t chickens have large talons), or mac and cheese.

Anyway, you ate a lot of them. You thought it blasphemy when you were first introduced to the pagan symbol known as the food pyramid! you ate so much that your mom loudly proclaimed “if you eat any more of those, you are going to turn into a Spaghettio!” did she think this would work as a deterrent? What could be more spectacular than being a giant Spaghettio? You could roll everywhere you wanted to go. Imagine the publicity.

We become what we worship. It’s why boys wear capes and girls like to dress up like beauty queens.

I listened to Mark Driscoll talk about preaching for 2hours and 17 minutes on Friday. It was great. I bundled up a bunch of brush in my back yard; he was still coming though my ear buds. I took the dogs for a walk, they were panting, Mark was still going. I did some laundry, it was folded, not mark.

One of the things he mentioned was how theology should lead to doxology, and then onto biography.

Theology = theos (God) + logos (speech, expression) or words about God.

Doxology = doxa (to glory or praise) + logos or praise/worship toward God

Biography = bio (life) + graphia (record, account) or the story of your life

So as we go through Galatians, as you read scripture, or when you hear biblical preaching, those very words about God need to affect your heart resulting in praise. And because you become what you worship, these very words of God will change your life (biography).

This is why reading the bible primarily as a book about God is infinitely superior to reading it as a rule book/field manual. With a rule book I can only change what I am doing. By seeing and worshiping a glorious God I am changed (2 Cor. 3:18). It is infinitely superior because God is infinitely more glorious than my works (and this is key to what the book of Galatians is all about).

Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), way better than Spaghettios