Studies in Galatians – Wayne Barber/Part 12
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2004|
|The means of salvation and the means of sanctification is a Person, not a system of works, but a Person, and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ. And I want to make sure we understand this in the message of Galatians. He is the good news.|
The Means of our Salvation
Well, turn with me today to Galatians 3. And today we are going to begin with verse 6. It’s awesome what Paul is doing here at the freedom we have under grace. And to introduce this, let me begin to share the means of our salvation and the means of our sanctification. Now, what do I mean by sanctification? The way we live day by day, holy living. Living up to that which God says we already are. The means of salvation and the means of sanctification is a Person, not a system of works, but a Person, and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ. And I want to make sure we understand this in the message of Galatians. He is the good news.
Now, I want to explain something to you. There’s a lot of moral good that law can bring. Now see, contrary to public opinion, there’s a lot of moral good. It produces an outward behavior that is moral and ethical. It can do that. So to some people that’s good news. A religion at least causes a person to have boundaries in which to live. It at least puts a fear in his heart that if he does not do this, or he must do this, and certainly there is some good to that. You take a pagan society and you put religion into it, at least there is some good that it directs a person towards. But remember, back in 1:6—I want to make certain that we understand this—Paul says, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel.” And then he says in verse 7, “which is really not another.”
The reason I’m bringing you back to this is because the word “gospel” is the word euaggelion. The word euaggelion is the word for message, and ef for good; good message, good news. And what he’s saying here is, you have walked away from Him for a different form of good news. You see, these people thought they were hearing good news. And to some degree there is some truth to that.
Paul uses two words however in verses 6-7 that shows you a difference that we need to understand. And first of all he uses the word “different” in verse 6. That is the word heteros. Heteros is the word that means of a different kind, of a different species. Humans are not in the same species as other creatures, so to say of a different kind, of a different species. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel,” one that is good, good news, but of a different kind. See, what they had bought into was it was another form of good news, but it was not of the same kind. I want to make sure you understand what I am saying.
There is good around us, but not anywhere close to the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 7, the word for “another,” he says, “Which is really not another.” It is a different Greek word, it is the word allos, and that means of the same kind, of the same kind. They had believed what they thought to be good news, and to some degree it was, but it didn’t come close to measuring to the good news that the Lord Jesus brings to us, that which He wants. He wants to come and live in and through us. And when you compare what we try to do for God to Him living in and through us there, the difference is amazing. They are not even of the same kind. This might be good, it might help your behavior, but over here you have the ultimate. You have the Lord Jesus who wants to produce in you what you can never produce yourselves.
What I want you to see is that the Galatian believers didn’t buy into something that was an immoral heresy. They didn’t buy into something that was an intentional heresy. They bought into what they thought was good. And what they bought into could change them on the outside, but it couldn’t come close to changing them on the inside, and that is what we have got to see. So many believers today have settled for what they call good, but they have missed the good news of the Lord Jesus living His life in and through us. Oh, so many people will grab anything that has rules to it. That’s fine. When you submit to Jesus you’re still submissive to His Word. You don’t throw that out. But, you see, it’s learning to say “I can’t, but, God, You never said I could. You can and You always said You would.” Christ living in us. Christ is not only the means of salvation, He is the means of sanctification. I can’t love other people, but He can love them through me.
I can’t, now listen, by the law I can have my quiet time at 4:00 in the morning; I can have a journal; I can study Scripture; and those things are good, but they don’t accomplish what only Christ can accomplish. When you marry the two you have got a powerful truth. If you are trying to accomplish today through good works what God wants you to be and to do through sincere efforts, you have completely missed what Christianity is. Christianity is not me doing for God. It’s God living in me, doing through me what He already knows—and I should understand—that I can’t do.
Now Paul continues to show this in Galatians 3. This is the reason for the writing of the book of Galatians. They bought a system of works and walked away from the Person who accomplishes all that He demands. In verses 1-5 he addressed the stupidity of the Galatians. As a matter of fact, somebody said to me, you ought to call that SOS—stuck on stupid. That’s how he addresses the Galatians. They couldn’t get off of stupid. They just kept buying into the system and walking away from the relationship and from the Person. They bought into moral good and ethical good, but they missed the good news of what Christ wanted to do in them. Flesh cannot produce anything that God will ever approve of as long as you live. It will not produce it. But flesh can bow down and then let Jesus be Jesus in us.
Now, let’s zero on his argument. Verse 6 is where we start today. Verse 6 says, “Even so, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now what Paul does here is so exciting. Like a lawyer he brings in his key witness. I mean, this is not the genius of Paul. This is the genius of the Holy Spirit of God that lives in Paul. Abraham is the hero of all the Jewish people. The Judaizers who were deceiving the Galatian people, this was their hero, Abraham. And they would say it reverently, “Abraham,” you see. And Paul brings him up, and he brings him up to show that through Abraham his truth that he has been presenting to them is documented and founded. As a matter of fact, we see it proven in Abraham’s life.
Well, like the lawyer building a case he brings forth his key witness. I used to like to watch Perry Mason when I was growing up. I find that every now and then when I’m flipping through and I have some time to watch TV. I love Perry Mason for two reasons. One is you never know who did it; and two is you will never know who’s going to be that key witness that’s going to break the whole thing wide open. You have to watch the whole time. I mean, you can’t leave it. You’ve got to stay with it. What an ingenious way that they made that program. Well, this is what happens here. He brings his key witness in and says, “okay guys, argue with Abraham. You want to argue with me, that is fine; but now let’s see you argue with Abraham.”
First of all we have an unquestionable example. I mean, Abraham dismisses all doubt that salvation is by faith alone, in Christ alone, and sanctification is also by living to trust Him. To better understand Galatians 3:6 I am going to ask you to do something. I want you to turn back to Romans 4. Now we are going to flipflop back and forth through these two passages. Remember, Romans is a commentary on Galatians. Galatians is Paul writing Romans mad. And what he does, he gives the details in Romans; he makes the statements in Galatians. So let’s go back to Romans 4 and let’s just see what we find here about Abraham.
He brings him up. He says “And Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” in Galatians. So let’s just see some things about Abraham. Romans 4 and we’ll begin with verse 1. Paul says, “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?” Now, the term “our” in the little phrase, “our forefather,” is Paul is putting himself into that picture. Why is he doing that? Well, it’s very smart. Paul is identifying in Romans with those who are Jewish. He’s not doing that in Galatians, but he is in Romans. And so he himself is a Jew. And what he’s going to do here is “our forefather”; he immediately identifies with the people that are disagreeing with his doctrine. And he said, “our forefather.” Paul had to be justified by faith and he wants to put himself into their midst so they can begin to understand this truth. So he says, “our forefather according to the flesh.” Now that word “forefather” is the word propater. It’s a relationship word. All Jewish people that were pure Jews could trace their lineage back to Abraham. They were physically related to Abraham.
Now, I have brought this up several times recently and I have noticed some people are not quite connecting yet. They don’t understand what you are talking about . So at the risk of oversimplifying it, let me go back and rerun this one more time. In Genesis 3, man sinned. Now, all of us know that. That’s why the liberals want to throw out the first 11 chapters of Genesis, because if you do you really have no Bible. You have no reason for redemption. You have no fall. You have no judgment. It is all in those first 11 chapters. And in the third chapter Adam sinned. Immediately when he did, it was taken and accounted to all humanity, his sin. In other words, it entered the bloodstream of humanity. Every person is born into sin because Adam sinned. All the world, yet unborn, immediately was affected. It is a virus in this world. It’s the virus of sin. But God has had a plan since before the foundations of the world. And in Genesis 12 God singles out one man by the name of Abram. He did not become Abraham until the 17th chapter of Genesis. And that “h” in his name is the Yahweh sound. He made covenant with Him and He became Abraham. And in Genesis 15, He covenanted with this man.
Now, this man was not worthy. Grace is not about us being worthy. God had a plan. And so He covenanted with Abraham. And He promised to him that a Redeemer was going to come one day. He promised him a land. He promised him a nation. But He promised him a seed, a human seed. A man was going to be born through this nation. You see, there was going to be a land they would dwell in, and there would be a people; but it was through this people that the seed would come. Now we’re going to see later on that seed is the Lord Jesus Christ. God revealed the gospel to Abraham back in Genesis 15, and Abraham believed and it was because of that belief he was saved. Genesis 15:6, which Paul quotes in Galatians 3:6, says, “Then he believed in the Lord and He [God] reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
Now, I want you to understand that salvation in the Old Testament is the same way salvation is in the New Testament. Somebody say, “How were they saved in the Old Testament?” Somebody replies and says, “By obeying the law.” No, no, no. There was nobody that could obey the law. They looked forward to the Redeemer having been revealed to Abraham. This was passed on and passed on, and they looked forward to the Redeemer who was going to come. And that faith in Him that would come one day was that which saved them. We look back to a Redeemer who has already come; they looked forward to a Redeemer who would come.
Well, Abraham’s promise that a seed would come, the Lord Jesus would come one day, was passed on to his son Isaac. Isaac was the son by faith. There was another son named Ishmael, but that was strictly of the flesh. That was Abraham trying to accomplish what only God could do. And then the promise was passed from Isaac to the younger of two sons. It was given to Jacob, the younger one. And God said, “Esau, you are going to serve the younger.” Jacob, however, was a sinner like you and I. Abraham was a sinner. Don’t look at these people as saints in that sense of the word, as perfect people. He was a deceiver. And God had to break Jacob. He had to get him alone. And the circumstances are beautiful in Scripture how He does it. And when he is by himself he wrestles with Him and finely had to break his will and broke his body. He touched him and put a limp in his leg, in his walk. And here was Jacob, limping along, and He changed his name. In that broken experience He changed his name to Israel.
And Israel now had 12 sons, each one of them had sons upon sons, upon sons, upon sons, upon sons. And so the nation began to grow and grow and grow, and they were the 12 tribes of Israel. So all true Jewish people can trace their lineage somehow through one of those 12 tribes all the way back to Abraham. And that is what He means, by our forefather Abraham. He says, “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?” Now this is interesting. That little word, “found” is heurisko. We get the word “eureka”; I found it, I discovered it, and that is the word.
What has Abraham, our physical cousin or whatever he is, our physical relative, what has he discovered? Now, in the original you have to tie “according to the flesh” with what he’s discovered. In other words, let me put it this way: what has Abraham, our physical relative, what has he discovered according to his own fleshly abilities in his own fleshly obedience? What has he discovered? And then in verse 2 he picks it up. He says, “For if Abraham was justified by works.” Now that word “justified” means saved. “If he was saved by works, he has something to boast about.” In fact, if he found out that he could obey God and God would say, “That’s good, you’re righteous because of what you did,” then he has something to boast about. And we would have the whole Old Testament filled with what Abraham has done for God. But look how he concludes in verse 2. He says, “But” that’s a contrasting word there, “not before God.” You see, there’s no way that any work that Abraham ever did had anything to do with his salvation, his justification.
In Romans 4:3 he says, “For what does the Scriptures say?” I love the way Paul does that. “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Abraham had no works to fall back on. You see, he simply believed what God said and he bowed down to that belief. You see, belief has got to affect your behavior or it’s not belief. He believed God. He didn’t say “God, look! I have defeated all these kings;” as a matter of fact when you find him in chapter 15 he has just done that. “And, God, I have done this and I have done that. I followed You when You told me in Genesis 12. Is that why I am being made righteous?” No, no, no; he had no work whatsoever. In fact, there was no law at that time he could obey in order to attain. Abraham was a sinner like everybody else.
Now, you say this to a Jewish person, they would become livid at that moment. But remember, Paul was a converted Jew, and so he understood where they were. Isaiah 43:27 was their own scripture, their own prophet, and he says your first forefather, which was Abraham, sinned—oh, if they could just understand that—and your spokesmen have transgressed against Me. Abraham had to be redeemed just like we have to be redeemed. Isaiah 29:22 says “Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham.” And so Galatians 3:6 is simply a quote and a reminder of Genesis 15:6, as he does also in Romans 4.
So Paul says, “What does the Scripture say? ‘And Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’” That word “reckoned” should light your fire today. It’s the word logizomai. That’s a good word. Logizomai it is an accounting term: somebody has put something into my account that I didn’t earn, that I didn’t know about. I will tell you what, if I get a statement from the bank this week and it says I have $20,000 more than what I thought I had in there, wouldn’t that be nice. Whose account of my account do you think I am going to believe? Somebody has gotten into my account, put in there that which I did not earn, that which I do not deserve, but is now written to my account. That’s the word “reckoned.”
When I went to college I was standing in line, about 15 people back, and I knew when I got to that window I had to have some money to get in school. I wanted to go to school. God had put on my heart to go there. I might have had $10, but I am going to need around $800 when I get up there, and I don’t know what I am going to do. And then I’m there. The lady looked at me and she said, “Yes, can I help you?” And I said, “My name is Wayne Barber,” and I was about to tell her I didn’t have any money, but I believe God told me to come here, which have really impressed her. And she said, “Wayne Barber, Wayne Barber, Wayne Barber. That rings a bell.” And she opened up a file folder and she said, “Oh, here it is. Okay, how much of this money would you like to apply today to your account?” And I stood there bug-eyed. What money? I didn’t want to say what money, because then maybe she had another Wayne Barber and just messed it up. And I said, “Well, exactly how much do I owe today?” And she said “$800.” I said, “That will be fine. Just put that on there today. I’ll get the rest later on.” Come to find out a missions group in North Carolina had been praying for me and God put on their heart to send some money for me. I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t earn it. I certainly didn’t deserve it, but God had put it to my account.
When Abraham believed what God had told him, it was reckoned to his account: righteous, righteous. Boy, if Abraham could have gotten into heaven and seen that word righteous written beside his name, you think there wouldn’t be some shouting going on? That’s what reckoned is all about. He didn’t earn it; he didn’t deserve it; but because he believed it, was reckoned to his account. It’s not when we go to church 17 times out of 17 weeks. It’s not when we tithe 24 out of 24 opportunities. It’s not when we give money to the church. It’s not all of the stuff. That kind of stuff can make us live morally; it can make us live ethically; it’s good in a sense, but it has nothing to do with the good news that Jesus Christ has paid it all in full. And when we believe in Him He then comes into our heart, and written beside our name is the word “righteous”.
Now watch what Paul goes on to do in Romans 4:9. I want you to read it, because if I say it that’s one thing, but if you see it that’s another. “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it reckoned [Now watch carefully what he does], while he was circumcised or uncircumcised?” You see, circumcision was the initiation to the law. It was the first thing you had to do as a male. But circumcision hadn’t even come about. It didn’t come about until the 17th chapter of Genesis. This is the 15th chapter of Genesis. It wasn’t because he was circumcised. No, that wasn’t it. And then he goes on and he answers his own question, “Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of the circumcision [It was only a sign; it was nothing else], a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised; that righteousness might be reckoned to them.”
And then it goes on: “And the father of circumcision to those who are not only of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had while uncircumcised.” In other words, he can be the father of faith to the Jew and father of faith to the Gentile. There was no law even in the picture when he believed what God said and it was put to his account that he was now righteous.
So now why does Paul bring up all these Old Testament things about this man? Abraham is his first witness. He’s his first witness to prove his point. You take any person that’s in a religion and take them back to Abraham. How was he saved? Show me the works that he did. How many times did he do this or that? No, he believed and that’s why the people who also believe become his children in a figurative sense. Because when we believe it’s reckoned to our account as being righteous. So where Galatians 3:6 says “Even so Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” he is an unquestionable example. There’s no way in the world you can get around it. There was no law he could obey. There was nothing. He just believed and that was the key and the basis of his salvation, an unquestionable example.
But the second thing, we see an unchangeable truth. It’s all through Scripture, folks, Old Testament. Listen, Paul and the ones who wrote the New Testament only had the Old Testament to go by, and every bit of it is right there. You study the book of Romans; there is almost more Old Testament passages than there are New Testament passages that are being written. Galatians 3:7. Now watch this; this is an unchangeable truth: “Therefore be sure [be certain] that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” Okay now, here, you are with me. Turn back to Romans 4 and look at the last part of verse 16. He says, “For this reason it is by faith that it might be in accordance with grace [salvation] in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of faith of Abraham,” Gentile or Jew. And then he says, “who is the father of us all,” Gentile and Jew. How can he be our father? We are not physically related to him. No, we are spiritually related to him. Because he, by faith, believed God and we, by faith, believe God, then we are children of Abraham.
Now the reason Paul brings up “sons of Abraham” is because the Jewish people felt like they had a lock on that phrase. That’s their phrase. I mean, you mention it and they think that’s their phrase. They can trace their physical lineage all the way back to Abraham as we have already shown. So the term “sons of Abraham,” like when Paul uses it in Galatians 3:7, was a specific term and it was already becoming an irritant to the Judaizers and to others who thought that was their term. But he’s using it in a different way. Being physically related to Abraham doesn’t qualify one to be a son of Abraham in the way that Paul uses the term.
Now I want to show you this. I’m going to get away from Paul just for a second. I want to show you and it’s going to take me a while to do it. It’s a narrative, so stay with me. I want to take you back to the gospel of John, and I want you to see how Jesus uses that same basic understanding. You see, it’s not something new to Paul. Jesus had already established this direction. If you will turn with me to John 8:12, we’re going to read a bunch of verses. Stay with me. I’m not going to stop and comment. I want you to follow the flow all the way through.
John 8, beginning in verse 12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.’ So the Pharisees said to Him, ‘You are testifying about Yourself. Your testimony is not true.’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true: for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh. I am not judging anyone. But even if I do judge, My judgment is true: for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.’ So they were saying to Him, ‘Where is Your Father?’ Jesus answered, “You know neither Me, nor My Father. If you knew Me you would know My Father also.’ These words He spoke in the treasury as He taught in the temple, and no one seized Him because His hour had not yet come. Then He said again to them, ‘I go away, and you will seek Me and will die in your sin: where I am going you cannot come.’ So the Jews were saying, ‘Surely He will not kill Himself will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ And He was saying to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above; you are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; [listen to this] for unless you believe that I am He you will die in your sin.’ So they were saying to Him, ‘Who are You?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘What have I been saying to you from the beginning? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.’ They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, ‘When you lift up the Son of man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone; for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.’ As He spoke these things many came to believe in Him.”
And verse 31 says, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word then you are truly disciples of Mine and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.’ They answered Him [Now watch this carefully], ‘We are Abraham’s descendents and have never yet been enslaved to anyone. How is it that You say, ‘You will become free?’”
See that mindset? “We have never been slaves.” Well, excuse me; let’s go back to the Babylonians. Let’s go back to the Assyrians. “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the Son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendents, yet you seek to kill Me because My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.’ They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ [They are adamant.] And Jesus said to them, ‘If you are Abraham’s children do the deeds of Abraham.’ [In other words, trust Me.] ‘But as it is you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. This Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.’ They said to Him [now they get off of Abraham], ‘We were not born of fornication. We have one father, God.’ [That sounds more spiritual.] And Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God. For I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My words.’” Verse 44: “‘You are of your father, the [who? the who?] the devil,’” and Jesus establishes that in the gospel of John.
Just because you are physically related to Abraham means nothing. Only when you, by faith, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ do you become figuratively and spiritually a child or a son of Abraham. To be a son of Abraham, as Paul and Jesus use the phrase, is to put your total trust into Christ for your salvation and for your Christian walk. The thing that’s more impressive to me in this passage is that Paul is the one in Galatians making this statement. Do you realize it hadn’t been that many years that if somebody had made that statement he would have taken them out back and no telling what he would have done to them. But now he has been converted. Now he understands the difference of the physical, the outside, and the spiritual on the inside, and now he sees it and he uses the phrase, “sons of Abraham” not in a physical relationship, but in a spiritual bond and a spiritual relationship.
Paul tells the Galatians in Galatians 3:7,”Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” And that term, “of faith” is truly out of faith. Once more time he documents that it is only by faith that we are saved. Righteousness only comes on the basis of faith. No one act of human goodness qualifies us before or after salvation, and he’s beginning to build his point.
So these first two points have to do with our salvation. But my next two points, which we will not get to today, have to do with our sanctification. Not only do I trust Him for my salvation, I trust Him every minute of every day. We sing the hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”. No, I need You every breath. “God, if anything is going to happen this morning in this service, I can’t do it. My ability falls short, but God, will You take Your Word and do something eternal?” This is our prayer every day, every moment of our life, trusting Him and trusting His Word.
Can you imagine a Jewish person who grew up under the law? He never knew anything else. He never understood lostness because he is in, friend. He’s kin to Abraham. He never understood that. He understood gaining rewards in heaven and being the greatest and the least by what he obeyed. And then one day to find out he had been living needlessly. It was good what he did; it changed his behavior; it changed his moral ethics, etc.; but it did not change him on the inside. The good news is that now he has to bow and receive the Lord Jesus who brings the change from the inside out.
But, on the other hand, can you imagine the Gentile who has done well in this world? He has built his business. He has made millions, and he has tried to be good to the people and fair to his employees. He grew up helping people across the street if they couldn’t make it. He grew up helping people that were in need and he feels like all of this somehow qualifies him to be a believer. And yet, he finds out from Scripture that none of those works had one single thing to do with his salvation.
Well, the time is gone, but let me just read this one thing to you, okay. I knew you were ready for me to do that. Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a Communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience. One day when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb. You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down.” This amazed him. He said, “How in the world did you know that?” Plumb asked. “I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked.” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked I would not be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night thinking about the man. Plumb says, “I kept thinking and wondering what he would look like in a Navy uniform, a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘good morning, how are you’ or anything, because you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was only a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours a sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time, the fate of someone he did not know. Now Plumb asked his audience, “Who is packing your parachute?”
And I grabbed a hold of that story; you know how my mind works. I got to thinking about that. You know what? We’re just cruising along in this life, aren’t we? And I want to tell you, we don’t know the hour, we don’t know the day, but one of these days we are going to be ejected out of here either by death or the Lord Jesus Christ coming and my question to you this morning is “Who has packed your parachute?” If you think your good works are going to hold you up, friend, you’ve got an interesting thing to learn. It is going to hell, separated from God forever regardless of all the good works you have ever done or thought about doing. But if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, as Abraham did, and you are now a son of Abraham in that figurative sense—you are trusting only Christ—then, brother, He has packed your parachute and you are going to have a safe landing to be with Him forever and ever and evermore. Where are you today? You want to be religious? Boy, that’s fun isn’t it. That sure will change us on the outside. How can religious people be so mean? Because that good news of religion doesn’t compare to the good news of Jesus Christ.
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Dr. Wayne Barber
Wayne has taught the message of “Living Grace” around the world. He is president, founder, and principal speaker of Living Grace Ministries and Senior Pastor of Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He learned to exegete Scripture by studying for 10 years with Spiros Zodhiates, one of the leading Greek scholars.