“Sermon:” The Curse Of The Law And The Cross Of Christ (Galatians 3:10-14) -- By: Lee Tankersley

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 14:3 (Fall 2010)
Article: “Sermon:” The Curse Of The Law And The Cross Of Christ (Galatians 3:10-14)
Author: Lee Tankersley

“Sermon:” The Curse Of The Law And The Cross Of Christ (Galatians 3:10-14)1

Lee Tankersley

For the last two weeks, I’ve found my thoughts centering on Phil 3:1-11. It is, perhaps, easy to imagine what first would have drawn me to this text, as the argument in those verses reflects so much of what we’ve seen in Galatians. What has stuck in my head for the last two weeks, though, has not been the precise argument that Paul makes in Phil 3:1-11. Rather, what I have been reminded of again and again is something Paul wrote as he was introducing the argument of those verses, namely, “To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.”

Paul knew, as he was writing to the Philippians, that what he was about to write was nothing that he hadn’t said to them again and again, day after day, week after week. However, it was no trouble for him, and more than that, he knew it was safe for them. Just this week, though, I sat in my office, studying these verses and thinking, “The problem is not that saying the same things is trouble to me. I fear that if I’m saying the same thing again and again it would be trouble for you.” How do I keep you from saying to yourselves, “Yes, we know that already?”

Then, I picked up Luther’s Letters of Spiritual Counsel, and I turned to the section of letters written to the “perplexed and doubting” (for obvious reasons). And I read the first letter in a section where Luther writes to a man who had come out of Roman Catholicism as he had seen the truth that man is justified by faith alone and not by some sort of mixture of faith and works. As Luther writes this letter, he sees that the man is being pressed by those who still hold to the false teaching from which he had been trying to break away. Therefore, Luther writes to him about those pressing him, “They try to do good of themselves in order that they might stand before God clothed in their own virtues and merits. But this is impossible. Among us you were one who held this opinion, or rather, error.” Then, he adds, “So was I, and I am still fighting against the error without

having conquered it yet.”2

And in that moment, it hit me afresh why we need to be reminded again and again of this truth that we are justified by faith alone. It is because even though we may hear this truth a thousand times, we are all prone to slip back into a false teaching that says we are righteous before God and approved by him because of our good works. We’re no differ...

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