Galatians 4:1-3 — Old vs New mindset – Bible study notes

Last week we discussed the purpose of the Old Covenant (Mosaic) Law and that as believers of the New Covenant we are no longer bound to it

  •  it’s not our standard today for righteous living
  • nor is it the law that is now written on our hearts as believers

I woke up last Friday, after doing last week’s Bible study, thinking about the fact that “most believers” probably believe that we’re not bound to it AND YET still live a life of mixed law and grace.

  •  I don’t know anyone who follows 613 laws or even knows the 10 commandments by heart
    • by the way did you realize there are actually 2 different sets of 10 commandments
      • the popular set in Exodus 20
      • and another set in Exodus 34 that were written on the 2nd set of “replacement” tablets.
      • The Exodus 34 set includes the commandment not boiling a baby goat in his mother’s milk!
    •  But that’s for another teaching
  • Our desire as believers, should be to live from “grace to grace”…. living a life FULL of His grace in our lives… one not mixed with the faithless, dead, condemning law of the Old Covenant.
  • Being legalistic or having a “law based grace” or living a life of “grace balanced with law” is about our self efforts
    •  it’s not resting in the finished work of the Cross
    • it’s Jesus + your efforts
      • BUT Paul said in Gal. 2:19-20 — I died to the law, I’ve been crucified with Christ
  • But it’s more than just self efforts….. it’s about a mindset
    • it’s a way of thinking that doesn’t mix with grace — in fact it opposes it.
    • If we’re going to be like Paul and be able to declare that this life I now live, I live by the faith of Jesus then we have to renew our mind regarding the law
    • If we’re going to understand the power of the Gospel in our lives… not just for salvation but for our
      daily walk… we need to be free from legalistic (Old Covenant) thinking.
  • Most people don’t see themselves as legalistic or as following the Mosaic law
    • they are just living their lives following the Word and doing what the Word says to do (Old Testament and New Testament)
    • But we have to remember that the Old Testament is the New concealed and the New Testament is the Old revealed
  • Jesus told us how to read the Old Testament — to see Him in all of it.
    • Luke 24:44-45 “….everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”
    • And again in Luke 24:27: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself”
    • We need to read the Old Testament in light of the death and resurrection of Christ… through the finished work of the Cross
      • As you read the Old Testament take notice of how the finished works of Jesus affects the Scripture.
    •  And remember the New Covenant didn’t start until Jesus went to the Cross.
      • When Jesus walked on the earth (the Gospels) the Old Covenant Law was still valid and in operation.
  • The language of the Old Covenant (the law) is“do” “separated from God unless….
  • The language of the New Covenant (grace) is “done”, “co – one with Him always”
  • Our thinking has to change (which is the very definition of repentance)
  • The cross changed everything.
    • Prior to the cross everything pointed forward to Jesus and His redemptive work
    • Everything after the cross celebrates His finished work and invites you to rest.
  • We cannot have a mixed thinking of Old and New
  • It’s important that we renew our mind in this area — we are always going to be growing in grace.
    • I am by no means there… but I’m farther than I was last year or even a few months ago.
  •  2 Cor 13:5 (Mirror) : “I implore you to examine faith for yourselves in order to test what it is that you really believe. Faith is so much more than the mere veneer of a superstitious belief in a historic Christ; faith is about realizing Jesus Christ in you, in the midst of contradiction! Just as ore is placed into a crucible, where the dross is separated from the gold in a furnace, come to the conclusion for
    yourselves of his indwelling!….”

    • Self examination has nothing to do with finding hidden sins and flaws in you; it is all about realizing Christ in you!
    •  The object of the furnace is not to reveal the dross, but the gold!
    •  Test yourself to see if you are in the faith — it’s not about testing your own faith level
      •  It’s about recognizing Christ in you
    •  God’s faith knew about your co union in Christ He wants you to be equally persuaded (faith)!
      • Colossians 2:12 (Mirror): In the same parallel (your co-circumcision in his death) your co- burial and joint-resurrection is now demonstrated in baptism; your co-inclusion in Christ is what God’s faith knew when he powerfully raised him from the dead.
  • Recognizing this co-union in Christ sets you free legalistic thinking and performance to the law
  •  One of the problems with legalistic thinking and being under the law is that Galatians 3:12 tells us the law is not of faith
    • we are faith people and want our faith (His faith in us) to work
    • Philemon 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
      • communication means release or transmission of our faith
      • His faith in us is released and begins to work when we acknowledge all of the good things that are in us IN CHRIST.
    •  being legalistic minded hinders our faith because it is not of faith
      • Galatians 3:12 (NLT) puts it this way: This way of faith is very different from the way of law.
  • So, having a law mindset wasn’t that I had an actual checklist of do’s and don’ts to follow
    • But rather my thinking was still rooted in an Old Covenant based mindset of reward and punishment Instead of a New Covenant mindset rooted ONLY in the finished work of the Cross
    • While I definitely believed the blessing was ours through Jesus — that it was my inheritance IN CHRIST
    • I also believed that in order for those blessings to be mine, I had to “do” something
    • And my thinking was that if I did things “wrong” it would interfere with my receiving blessings
      •  take me out from under His protective covering
      • or leaving me open to demonic attacks (like Job)
  • It was a mixed grace + law way of thinking — it was bondage!
    • If things were going well, I must be living an obedient life — doing ALL God has said to do and pleasing Him.
    • When things would go wrong, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out where I had missed it
    •  or which “door” I had left open through something I did or didn’t do.
    • Again, I was definitely living a life of bondage to a mixed grace and law thinking
  • A couple of years ago I heard a message by Creflo Dollar on Old Covenant and New Covenant mindsets and it began to radically change my thinking
    •  I started seeing differently and looking at Old Covenant through the lens of the finished work of Christ
      • including the Gospels! — because the law continued to be in effect until the Cross
    • And as I read Scriptures I would ask Holy Spirit “how did the Cross change this particular verse?”
      • He was so faithful to reveal Jesus to me in these verses
  • Let me give you a few examples — 1 from the Old Testament and 2 from the Gospels
    • there are so many more but these 3 kick started my journey in thinking differently and removing law based mindset from my thinking
    • Psalm 51:9-11: “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities (10) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me, (11) Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”
      • While David was perfectly fine praying this prayer under the Old Covenant before Christ came
      • For me to pray it would be an absence of faith
      • a prayer rooted in ignorance of the finished work of the Cross
      • While it sounds beautiful and appears “humble,” it’s full of doubt and unbelief.
        • God doesn’t hide His face from my sins — Jesus totally removed them and the Father doesn’t remember them or hold them against me any longer.
        • I don’t have to ask Him to blot out (or wipe away; abolish) my sins — He’s already done that.
        • He has ALREADY given me a clean and pure heart and He most definitely has ALREADY renewed a right spirit within me!
        • He would NEVER cast me away from His presence because He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me
        • And ABSOLUTELY He wouldn’t take Holy Spirit from me because we are ONE now.
    • Matthew 6:14-15: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. (15) But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.”
      • Jesus was talking to people STILL UNDER the Old Covenant Law.
      •  So, how did the Cross change that? What does the principal of forgiveness look like under the New Covenant of grace?
        • Ephesians 4:32: And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, as also in Christ God forgave you.
        • Colossians 3:13: Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
          • We forgive BECAUSE He first forgave us.
          • Old Covenant was “forgive SO THAT God can forgive you.”
          • New Covenant is “His forgiveness is your empowerment to forgive.”
    • Matthew 22:37-40: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like, unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (40) On these two commandments hang all the law
      and the prophets.

      • Verse 36 says that one of the Pharisees had asked Jesus what the greatest commandment IN THE LAW!
        • This commandment to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself was an Old Covenant Law commandment.
      • We don’t have to try to love God with all of our strength or try to love our neighbor like we love ourselves.
      • 1 John 4:19 says We love because He first loved us
      • John 15:12 says This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you.
      •  We don’t have to rely on our strength or self-efforts to love God or others.
        • Romans 5:5: And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
        • He poured His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit…. we are able to love God and others because He loved us and that same agape love is in us to release.
  • Those 3 Scriptures began a new way of thinking and a beautiful journey of freedom for me.
  • And over the last couple of years, I began to notice that people struggle with this area of their Christian

    • They really love God and desire to “serve” Him better.
    • The way they think they can do that is by making the Old Covenant law their standard for living
    • They live in a mindset of reward and punishment based on their behavior.
    • Thinking that if they can just line up their behavior with what they believe God wants that they will finally be living holy, righteous and godly like God wants us to
    • And that God will be happy and they will be accepted as “good” sons.
    • The thing is, our Father already sees us as “good” sons.
    • Truth is He already made us holy and righteous
    • and we already have His nature in us — we are made in His image and likeness — which makes us “godly”
    • We can’t make Him any happier than He already is with us.
    • We can’t be any more holy or righteous than we already are
    • We can’t be any closer to God than we already are — He lives in us and we live in Him
  • We don’t need the Old Covenant law as our standard for living holy or righteous we have been given something better… a far superior covenant of grace
  • The law was a tutor, a governor, until the Father sent Christ — Galatians 4:1-3
    • Galatians 3:23-25: But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. (24) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
    • Galatians 4:3 (Passion): So it is with us. When we were juveniles we were enslaved under the regulations and rituals of religion.
    • Before Christ came we were under the law – enslaved under the regulations and rituals of religion.
      • It was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ
    • NOW we are no longer under the bondage of the law — because we are Christ’s
      • The law (with it’s obedience/disobedience; reward and punishment; blessing and cursing system) is no longer our “schoolmaster
      • NOW we are under grace (which is freely given to ALL – not dependent on our obedience)
      • It (grace) is now what trains us
        • Titus 2:11-12: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
        • Amp: For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world”
        • Verse 12 in the Mirror says “…We are in the school of grace…”
        • That grace… brought salvation to ALL men and trains us in righteousness and godly living
        • salvation – sozo (forgiveness, healing, deliverance, wholeness in EVERY area of life) was brought to ALL men.
        • We experience those things in our lives by just believing that they are ours
        • Grace also trains us — paideuó – which is to train up a child, so they mature and realizetheir full potential (IN CHRIST).
          • It’s the same word in Hebrews 12:6 – the Lord disciplines those He loves.
          • Grace trains us so that we MATURE and REALIZE our FULL POTENTIAL IN CHRIST
  •  So, having a law based mindset – an Old Covenant mindset – is more that having a list of do’s and don’ts
    • It’s a way of thinking that’s not rooted in the finished work of the Cross — the Gospel of Grace
    • It’s NOT rooted in a thinking that simply says — IT IS FINISHED! CHRIST PLUS NOTHING!
    • A law based mindset causes us to wrongly interpret Scripture in both the Old Testament and the Gospels (like the 3 we just read)
    • And then as a result we misapply them in our lives — producing self efforts and a performance mentality — legalism.
  • So what does this New Covenant of grace mindset or way of thinking look like:
  • Paul said in chapter 2… I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
  • There is a New Covenant way of thinking that says
    • I have been co-crucified with Christ
    • I live – YET NOT I – But Christ lives in me!
  • On the Cross Christ there was a divine grace-exchange that took place as we were co-crucified with Him — Isaiah 61:1-3
    • our poverty for His riches
    • our wounds for His wholeness
    • our slavery for His freedom
    • our darkness for His light
    •  our grief for His joy
    •  our ashes for His beauty
    • our despair for His praise
    • our curse for His righteousness
  • I live — YET NOT I!
  •  I live in the fullness of Him in and through me… His life – His nature.. ALL that He is and ALL that He has in me
  • We are to live this life in the fullness of the Spirit without measure that is already in us!

As we go further into chapter 4 next week we’ll see that:

  •  Jesus set us free from an Old Covenant mindset of blessing and cursing… reward and punishment… a mindset of self efforts of trying our best
  • He never intended it the Law to be our standard of holiness
  • Rather, He MADE us holy by giving us His holiness.
  • He took our sin and gave us His righteousness, His holiness…. His very own nature became our new (and only) nature.
  • We are now IN CHRIST and wholly, completely, wonderfully accepted in the Beloved…. not someday, but NOW…. just as we are!
  •  We are full of His glory, we have His mind, and we are one in union with Him.
  • We have the FULLNESS of the Spirit WITHOUT MEASURE!

We don’t receive a blessing from God because of what we do for God…..

  • John 1:16 says For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
  • The amplified version says For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.
    • We receive from His fullness…. out of His abundance, grace, spiritual blessings, favor and gifts in ABUNDANCE — not out of our obedience of self efforts

We need to repent — to change our thinking to line up with the truth of IT IS FINISHED

  •  See ourselves as co-crucified, co buried, co resurrected, co ascended and in co-union with Him
  • Living our lives as YET NOT I — a life lived out of HIS FULLNESS flowing in and through us!

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