The Cruciform Life
The Way to Freedom: Part One
April 12, 2015
The death of Jesus on the cross is the center of all Christian life and theology. If we want to know who God is, who we are, and the way to ultimate truth and life - the best thing we can do is look at Jesus upon the cross. The cross is not just a religious symbol; it is an utterly new way to live.
- As a child, what was your idea of fun?
- Growing up, what virtue did you see in your parents that you hope to emulate?
- Read Galatians 6v12-16
- What comments, questions or observations do you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
These final words of Paul at first sight seem like a series of disconnected statements, but Paul is actually making a final warning (vv. 6-10) and a final invitation (vv. 11-18) to the Galatians to live by the gospel. In some ways, “do not be deceived” (v.7) is the theme of the whole epistle of Galatians. They are in great danger of being deceived by these false teachers.
- What is this principle in vv.7-8? How would you put the principle into your own words? How can we observe it practically?
- What does vv. 12-13 reveal about the motives of Paul's opponents? How does Paul use this to contrast the true gospel from “religion?”
- What does it mean to boast in the cross (v. 14)? How does this result in new creation (v. 15)?
The gospel creates a new motivation for obedience - grateful love arising from a faith view of what Christ has done. This new motivation renews us from the inside out. It is a new birth, a supernatural transformation of character, a new creation.
- What is the relationship of the “rule” to peace, mercy and grace (v.16)?
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified. - I Corinthians 1v22
- The Greeks believed the real problem in this world is a lack of wisdom. (We don’t have the right political philosophy or we need educational reform). The Jews believed the real problem was all the “bad” people running the world (We need good, powerful leaders who can produce visible results). How is Christ crucified offensive to both groups?
- What is most wrong with the world is what the Bible calls sin. Sin is the ugly distortion of humanity brought about through the dehumanizing forces of lust, greed, and pride. How does the cross deal with sin?
- In order to maintain the original beauty of Christianity we need an ideal form, a true standard to which we must conform. For historic Christianity this has always been Jesus Christ upon the cross. How should the church emulate the cross in the ways it interacts with the world? (v. 14)
Every cross adorning a church is in itself a sermon—a sermon proclaiming that if Christ can transform the Roman instrument of execution into a thing of beauty, there is hope that in Christ all things can be made beautiful! - Brian Zahnd