John Piper on Galatians 6: “what is the evidence that the word is bearing fruit?”

Posted: August 22, 2008 by limabean03 in Biblical Studies, Christianity, Men's Bible Study, Sanctification, Trinity Tidings, Uncategorized
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Today we conclude a six-month study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. So I have asked myself, What should I look for in the people as evidence that the Word is bearing fruit? Andrew Hafvenstein and Jonathan Edwards warn me against looking for perfection. They warn me against looking for people who are proud of their growth, speak highly of their spiritual attainments, whose joy in the grace of God is not deepened by recurrent remorse because of failures to walk by the Spirit

What should I look for to see if the message of Galatians has begun to take root in our hearts? What I would like to do to answer that question is to notice with you how Paul in these last verses of his letter develops a contrast between two mindsets. The one is what he has been trying to drive out of the Galatian churches. The other is the one he seeks to live by and teach. He calls this second mindset a canon or a rule and says that those who are in sync with this rule receive God’s mercy and enjoy God’s peace.

Suppose I had the power to hold out to you two hands for your choosing. In the one hand is the mercy of God to forgive all your sins and the peace of God for your eternal enjoyment. And in the other hand was every desirable thing the world could offer you (money, leisure, health, popularity, big business savvy, a spouse—you name it)—but no mercy from God and no final peace with him. Which would you want? “What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?” Only in the grip of a great satanic delusion do people choose the world over the mercy and peace of God. But surely the Holy Spirit is here this morning to break that delusion and to help us feel the utter foolishness of desiring the pleasures of the world for a season at the expense of God’s mercy and the beauty of his peace. And so verse 16 becomes a big freeway sign to tell us how to leave the road of foolishness and get on the road of God’s mercy and peace, and stay on it.

“Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.” God’s mercy and peace belong to those whose lives conform to a certain rule. And since only a foolish delusion keeps us from wanting God’s mercy and peace, therefore we should be very eager to know what this rule is.

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