The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness
a collaborative work by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington

Chapter 10

Galatians

 

1.  Paul’s letter to the Galatians is designed to refute false teaching that had crept into the church.  If the Gospel was such good news to those in Galatia, why do you suppose the false teachers were able to attract an audience?  What was good or attractive about the false teachers’ doctrine? 

 

2.  Are you just as susceptible to false teaching as the Galatians?  How can one identify false teaching?  You may have heard that bank tellers are trained to distinguish counterfeit bills by only examining real currency.  Is there a Biblical principle here for you?

 

3.  “… [J]ustification always precedes sanctification, never vice versa.”  Agree?  What would it look like if sanctification preceded justification?

 

4.  The authors make much about the substitutionary death of Christ.  Does Galatians 2:20 support this doctrine?  What does Paul mean, “he is crucified with Christ?”  Can one be crucified and not die?  Is the crucifixion of which Paul writes something more than a ‘swoon’ or a figure of speech?

 

5.  If Christ is the vine and we, the church, are the branches (John 15), then it is a given that the branches can only bear fruit through grafting into the vine.  In fact, a branch cut off is as good as dead unless it is joined to a living vine or tree.  If the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) can only come from the spirit, then what is behind the thought or doctrine that teaches man to produce these characteristics on his own, outside of a union to a living tree?

 

6.  Is there such a thing as “a relatively good sinner?”  Is it a distinction without a difference?

 

7. An important aspect of the atonement is that Christ became a “curse-bearer.”  Is that the same as saying ‘Christ bore our sins on the tree?’

 

8.  A common theme in punishment is separation.  Your child misbehaves and you give him a “time-out” or you ‘ground’ him.  As a society, we imprison those who break the criminal laws.  Being removed from community and fellowship for long periods of time represents the serious nature of the offense.  Christ took the punishment for our sins and was removed from the community and fellowship that He enjoyed with the Father.  Why is separation from community and the enjoyment of fellowship with others such a severe punishment?  When we determine not to participate in the community and fellowship with God and others in this life is it any wonder that our eternity will lack community and fellowship?

 

9.  Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t mind going to hell; that’s where all my friends are?”  Is this person saying “I don’t care what I may suffer as long as I can do it in community with my friends?”  Would you agree that such a philosophy, rather ironically, proves the principle that punishment is separation from community?  In other words, is it really punishment if I can be in community with someone, anyone?

 

10.   In contrast to the above, a common theme in celebration is community.  Your child wins a medal or scores well on a test and you want to tell someone.  This is the import of the Gospel for redeemed sinners.  Christ purchased you and brought you into community with Him and the Father.  You enjoy the blessings of being in community with the Godhead, which is the same kind of relationship that Jesus and the Father have always enjoyed, except for that one moment on the cross.  If you are learning about community and fellowship with God in this life, then would eternity be more of the same, but without the impediment of sin?

 

11.  Is being adopted into God’s family like being in community with Him?  If adoption involves the leaving of one family and entering another, what family did you leave and what family did you enter upon believing in Christ?  What are the blessings and responsibilities of being adopted into God’s family?

 

12.  Paul gladly separates himself from the pride of the person he was in the flesh.  In leaving his old life, Paul cleaves to Christ just as a man is to leave his family and cleave to his wife. (Genesis 2:24)  Do you find yourself as willing as Paul or as willing as newly a married man to forsake your old life for a life of union with Christ?  If not, what is your hesitancy?  If so, are you experiencing the joy of union with Christ?

 

13.  As a married person are you, in a sense, crucified or separated from all other persons with respect to marriage?  Does this aid your understanding of what Paul means that he is crucified to the world?

© Copyright 2007, Jerry Bridges and Robert Bevington, All Rights Reserved.

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