Law-based vs Grace-based Relationships (Galatians 4:8-20)

Law-based vs Grace-based Relationships (Galatians 4:8-20)

Sermon Summary:

There are basically two kinds of relationships Christians have. One is law-based. Someone has fears that compel them to control other people and circumstances through making demands. The other is grace-based. The two people trust the Holy Spirit to work in and through each of them, focus on their unity around Jesus Christ, and give grace in secondary matters where they disagree.

For people flourish, they need to live in an environment that’s architected

  • God made the world for us, body designed, home architected, car engineered
  • Relationships house people & need to be architected
  • Paul – law based religious guy converted to grace-based Jesus guy
  • Galatia – no XN, Paul showed up & taught grace-based relationship w/God & others
  • False brothers – after Paul, show up & teach law-based relationship w/God & others


Consider a person or group you have a strained/painful relationship with

  1. It’s largely my fault and I need to own it
  2. It’s both our faults, I will apologize first to work toward reconciliation
  3. It’s largely their fault, and I need to correct them

#1. Seek to be a means of grace

Ephesians 4:29-30 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

  1. Is the issue worth having conflict and risking the relationship over?
  • glory to overlook offense, love covers
  • Forgive & Flush
  1. Am I the best person to raise the issue?
  • Taking offense for someone else?; Does someone else need to step up?
  1. How can the Holy Spirit empower me to be a means of grace?
  • Principle
  • Case Study Example – rest of Galatians 4

#2. Don’t overlook the demonic

Galatians 4:8-9 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Before Jesus – “you did not know God”, you did know demons

After Jesus – “known by God”; “know God” = relationship

  • It’s from demons, to Jesus, & back to demons

What are the four legs of a Biblical worldview?

1. The unseen realm

  • There are two realms that form one reality

2. Binary thinking

  • God Creates Satan Counterfeits

3. Group guilt

  • God holds everyone responsible for their sin e.g. Adam, Eve, Satan
  • “False brothers” and real Christians in Galatia

4. Heaven down or hell up

#3. Show the bad and good tracks

Galatians 4:10-15 You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.

  • Specifics – “circumcision”; “holidays”
  • Paul not opposed to the holidays as he celebrated
  • = You became a Christian & now going backward to an old lifestyle (Judaism)

Pastor Rick conversation

  1. Emphasize the bad and ignore the good (pessimist) “always” “never” “only”
  2. Emphasize the good and ignore the bad (optimist)
  3. Emphasize both the good and the bad (realist)


  1. Legalism – ungodly rules over godly relationship
  2. Labored in vain – as kid bucket w/o bottom (some people waste of time & energy)
  3. I was Jewish & became like you, be like I am NOT like I was


  1. You received Jesus Christ through the gospel
  2. You received me (I was Jewish, sick, needy & you welcomed me)
  3. You were blessed by God
  4. You were a blessing to me

#4. Encourage healthy relationships

Galatians 4:16-17 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.

Unhealthy Relationships

  1. Demand perfection, punish imperfection
  2. Create ungodly division (Paul “enemy”)
  3. They win, you lose (“make much of them”)
  4. Push you further from Jesus

Healthy Relationships

  1. Celebrate progress toward perfection
  2. Based upon truth about God and you
  3. Emphasizes God’s work 1). FOR you 2). IN you 3). THROUGH YOU
  4. Pulls you closer to Jesus Christ & other Christians

#5. Connect before you correct

Galatians 4:18-20 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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