Trusting or Trying
When washing a child’s hair you tell the child to put their head back and they won’t get shampoo in their eyes. Their natural reaction is to put their head forward and rub their eyes, every time the water starts to flow. This illustrates the difference between trusting and trying. In today’s passage we come to the heart of the matter that Paul has been referring to up to this point in his letter to the Galatians: The conflict between two alternate roads to righteousness: Trusting and Trying. How does one please God? What makes a person truly a Christian; trying to act in a way that seems pure and Godly or trusting in a Savior who paid the price for sin? Paul Points out that there is a vast difference between these two roads to righteousness. So what’s the difference between trusting and trying and more importantly which is the right road? Let’s begin with the fact that these two roads have a different prescription:
Law vs. Faith (Vs. 2) I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? It’s a leading question that Paul is asking, because he knows that they received the spirit when they believed the good news that Jesus died for their sins. He was there when it happened. These other teachers who claimed that they must follow the external requirements of the law, what to eat, what to wear, how to look, they came along later with their new prescription. Paul Asks which prescription, faith or the law led to your receiving the spirit and salvation?
The law isn’t able to work salvation, nor to change human hearts, all that it is able to do is show the need for salvation. The law is like a dentist’s little mirror, which he sticks into the patient’s mouth. With the mirror he can detect any cavities. But he doesn’t drill with it or use it to pull teeth. It can show him the decayed area or other abnormality, but it can’t provide the solution. So the prescription of the law leaves us sick, but the prescription of faith leads to salvation.
Next let’s consider the difference in power between these two paths.Power:Human Effort vs. The Spirit (Vs. 3) Are you so foolish? After beginning with the spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? What Is The Goal?
Salvation of course, but I think not just in the futuristic, fire-
The question is how can such a feature be accomplished? There are two paths we can attempt:
Trying by Human effort or trusting in the power of the Spirit.
The point I think is that the job is too great to be done by me; that’s why Christ died, to pay the price for my sin, but not only that he won victory over sin and by his spirit empowering me as I yield myself to him to reach this goal of salvation. Consider the difference between a sailboat and a row boat. In a spiritual rowboat the sailor is dependent upon human effort. In a spiritual sailboat the sails are raised in faith and the undying power of the wind of the spirit moves the boat; it is still entirely necessary that the boat move, but the power source of the sailboat is unquenchable.
There is also a difference in Pedigree between Trusting and Trying. Pedigree: External vs. Internal (Vs. 6-
There was this pastor who brought home a 12-
No, no. You don’t have to scream or fight or hurt other people to get what you want. Or no, no, we expect you to show respect in this family.’ And in time this child began to change. "Now, did this child have to make all those changes in order to become a part of the family? No. He was made a part of the family simply by the grace of the pastor and his family. But did he then have to do a lot of hard work because he was in the family? You bet he did. It was tough for him to change, and he had to work at it. But he was motivated by gratitude for the incredible love he had received. "Do you have a lot of hard work to do now that the spirit has adopted you into God’s family? Certainly. But not in order to become a son or a daughter of the heavenly father. No, you make those changes because you are a son or daughter. And every time you start to revert back to the old addictions to sin, the Holy Spirit will say to you, no, no. That’s not how we act in this family.
That is the internal pedigree of sons and daughters of God at work. Finally this morning, let’s consider the difference in the promise of the two roads... Promise: Curse vs. Blessing (Vs. 10-
The law required more than we could do, and incurs a curse if not rigidly followed forever. And the law itself has the ability to make us want to disobey. The law itself makes us want to be disobedient, and this, I believe is a part of its curse, on the other hand those who live by faith receive the blessing that God has promised to Abraham. The blessing of salvation because Jesus Christ bore the curse himself and paid the price to set us free from sin’s punishment and sin’s bondage A story is told about someone who, when he was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of WWII. One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. He dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told mayor (now acting judge) that her daughter’s husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. "It’s a real bad neighborhood, your honor," the man told the mayor. "She’s got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson." The mayor sighed. He turned to the woman and said "I’ve got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. Ten dollars or ten days in jail." But even as he pronounced sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket. "Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. ’Mr. Baliff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.’" So the following day the newspapers reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, fifty cents of that amount being contributed by the red-