Welcome back to our online Inductive Bible Study on the book of Galatians, “Free from Bondage God’s Way” by Kay Arthur. We just completed Week Two, “Shackled by Your Past?”
Do you ever feel like you are chained to your past? That your past hovers over you like a dark cloud and follows you everywhere you go? I would love to go back and have a “do-over.” Unfortunately, we cannot change the past, but there is good news! God can use our past for His glory! Yes, it’s true! God can shape our past into something beautiful for His Kingdom and His glory. You see, we all have a story to tell. We all have a testimony to share about what our life was like before we met Jesus. We saw this in the life of Paul.
Before Paul met Jesus, he….
had a religion and was bound by the law
was an unbeliever and condemned Christianity
hated the church and wanted to destroy it
persecuted Christians and wanted them bound and killed
After Paul met Jesus, he …
had a relationship and was saved by grace
was a believer and preached the Gospel
shared his testimony and the church grew
What a testimony Paul had to share with the world!
“For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it…” Galatians 1:13
Paul was bad news, but now he shares the good news.
“And they were glorifying God because of me.” Galatians 1:24
No one is beyond the saving grace of Jesus Christ, no matter what your past looks like. Jesus can change us from the inside out. He makes all things new. He chases away the dark cloud and replaces it with a glorious light for all to see. Reminds me of a childhood song I used to sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…”
Paul goes on to say:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
The same goes for us because as believers in Jesus Christ, we have been saved by grace. Re-read the above verse, but this time replace the “I” and “me” with your name.
Kay Arthur writes in the “Thought for the Week”…
“Rest, beloved child of God, for God saved you when it pleased Him. His promise is there to comfort and assure you that the Sovereign God–the God of all flesh– is able to cause all things, even your “before Christ” days, to work together for good. He will use them to make you like Jesus.”
BIBLE STUDY TIP: When marking key words, keep a list of the key words on an index card along with the way you marked the word. Use the index card as a bookmark in your Bible so that you are consistent in marking the words the same way throughout the book you are studying.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Join a small group and fellowship with your fellow Bible students. http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCInductiveStudies/
- Complete your study of Week Three, “Where’s Freedom from Your Flesh?”
- Pray before you begin your study. Ask your resident Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to open your heart to wisdom and understanding to learn His truths.
- Do an online word study on “justified” (Galatians 2:15-17) at www.blueletterbible.org. Record your findings on the Word Study Form located in “Files” in the Inductive Studies chat room.
- Write your story (testimony) in your journal and share it with someone this week.
- Store in your heart Galatians 1:15-16 (Week Two, Day Seven).
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in small groups or post a comment here)
- According to Galatians 1:15-16, why was Paul not saved earlier–for instance, when Jesus was still living? What can you learn about salvation from this account?
- As Paul gives his personal testimony and account of some incidents that occurred after his conversion, why do you think he shared the controversy he had with Peter with the Galatians? What was his purpose? (Galatians 2:7-10)
- We do not fall into the hypocrisy of acting like Jews even though we are Christians as did the Galatian and Jerusalem believers (Galatians 2:11-15). What is our modern form of hypocrisy more likely to look like?
- What does it mean to be “crucified with Christ?” (Galatians 2:20)