Love and the Scandal of the Cross

. 3 min read

Call to
worship, Psalm 16 (at Open Table only)
Children, Luke
9.57-62 (follow, but)
Message, Galatians 5.1-26
Paul is beginning to turn the
corner in this chapter, moving from various metaphors for our slaveries into
more detail on our freedom as children of God.
2 sections, with similar
1. Declaration of freedom
Galatians 5:1  For freedom Christ has set us free.
Galatians 5:13  For you were called to freedom, brothers and
2. Call to stay away from slavery, to live free
Galatians 5:1  Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again
to a yoke of slavery. (Slavery of circumcision and law-keeping)
Galatians 5:13  only do not use your freedom as an opportunity
for self-indulgence. (Slavery of empty desire)
Indicative – Imperative (Hansen,
“What we must do (the imperative)
is always based upon what God has already done (the indicative).”
Joshua: I have given you this
city (Jericho). Now, do this.

Slavery #1: To the law
Soccer parents – “we keep our
Grace and Law are mutually
exclusive. To pursue the law as a path to righteousness is to cut ourselves off
from grace. An unintended consequence, but a consequence all the same.
Galatians 5:4  You who want to be justified by the law have
cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
Galatians 5:12  I wish those who unsettle you would castrate
of the regional earth mother-goddess castrated themselves and put their testes
in a box (Hansen, 161).
righteousness by circumcision and law cuts us off from grace, cuts us off from
“the offense of the cross” (5.11).
cross is
that we cannot be saved by our own efforts
that we cannot make ourselves acceptable to God
that we have rejected God’s grace when first offered
that’s a scandal if I ever heard one.
Slavery #2: To our “flesh”
Binging on the latest Harry Potter
When we indulge ourselves, other
people become obstacles to overcome or things to possess.
Galatians 5:15  If, however, you bite and devour one another,
take care that you are not consumed by one another.
Galatians 5:26  Let us not become conceited, competing against
one another, envying one another.
As with the first slavery, the
cross is prominent:
Galatians 5:24  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have
crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
people don’t indulge themselves.
Two sections
of freedom
to live free
Two slaveries
the law
our flesh
For both, Paul’s response is to
point to the cross
offense to our attempts to be our own saviors
offense to our self-indulging pursuit of happiness
In addition, in discussing both
slaveries, Paul points us to the Spirit and to Love.
Galatians 5:5  For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly
wait for the hope of righteousness.
Galatians 5:6  the only thing that counts is faith working
through love.
Galatians 5:16  Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify
the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:13  through love become slaves to one another.
Galatians 5:22  the fruit of the Spirit is love
The cross (and Table) as a sign
of God’s love
Love/Kindness assignment for
family therapy

Hansen, G.
Walter. 1994. Galatians. IVP New
Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.