Beth Moore - Now That Faith Has Come
I am so full of joy to be with you, and to start this particular journey. I've gotta tell you something that is unique to my experience in teaching the Scriptures and doing curriculum. I did not mean to write a Bible study on Galatians. It was no part of my plan. What I was going to do next, as of a couple of years ago, after I completed the Quest, was the book of Ephesians. I just was certain that's the way we were headed, and I love it so much, and I began putting it to memory and memorized all six chapters of it. Loved it so much that I still, to this day, said it this morning from memory and can hardly say it without crying. That's how powerful it is.
It's one way I discipline my mind, and it's just become such a love to me to be able to just have the words on the page take up residency in the marrow of my bones. It's just made all the difference to me, to a young woman who was in a ton of bondage, and so much of our bondage, of course, is in the battlefield of our own thinking, and so this was the way that God began to set me free, so I love it. It's a constant ongoing practice of mine. But I just thought to myself, "Well, what am I gonna do next"? And, you know, I didn't feel any huge leadership of the Spirit. I didn't feel like anything was, just, drawing me right that second. What felt like randomly in my own heart, I went, "Well, you know, I've been on kind of a roll with some of Paul's letters. I think maybe I'll do Galatians next," because I just did it to do it because it's God's Word, and it's alive, and I knew it would mean a lot to me, but that's not all that happened. I mean, it flat took me out. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
Listen, I'm not unfamiliar with Galatians. I've probably taught it several different times, at least, in Sunday school. I have no idea how many events out of it along the way. This has been a 40-year-long teaching ministry, so I know the book, but there is something different about every single word coming alive, every single syllable, and the more I memorize, I would come to a phrase, or I would come to a verse, and I'd think to myself, "That is the wildest thing I have ever heard". It is unique in so many ways. Just the mood the Holy Spirit has the apostle Paul in as he writes it. Everything about it. It is so gripping, so emotional, so theological, and every single word started grabbing hold of me, and then I knew there is no way I'm going to be able to let this go. And so it is such a privilege to be able to tell you that I did not go after these words. These words came after me.
Now, here's the thing. Paul didn't mean to go minister to the Galatians. He had some kind of a health problem that detoured toward him and then stuck him in that place, and then he just ended up preaching to them the Gospel because that is what the apostle Paul did. So what an amazing thing where you take in what this letter says, and then realize that, all along, what Paul thinks is a detour has been planned before the foundation of the world. It's eternal in its content, just waiting for the time when the ink would hit the page. I'm going to tell you, it is the most unapologetic apologetic of the truth of the Gospel I have ever seen in one of Paul's letters, and I think you are going to say the same thing. We've gotta tell ya something. You may as well hold on for dear life because Paul ain't playin' in this one. Way too much is at stake for politeness, and that's not the way he goes about it.
So here's what I want you to do: I want you to get your hearts ready, get your minds ready as much as you know how, and I'll do the same, and I want you to turn with me to Galatians chapter 1, and let's talk about it for just a moment because there are some things I want you to take down first. I believe in so thoroughly indoctrinating ourself in a book, especially one of this length. This is very, very doable because it's just six chapters. What I'm hoping for, and I hope this every single time, and I try to think of things and ask God to give me things that would help facilitate that with a group that I get to serve, and that's ways to remember that, years from now, years from now, if you could remember one word per chapter, you would be able to tell me what the book of Galatians is about, that 20 years from now, you could think to yourself "zone word". "I remember that zone. That first chapter zone was 'this.' Second was 'this.' Third was 'this.'" Everybody trackin' with me?
So I don't wanna wait to give 'em to you as we go because what I want you to do is memorize them from the top, where you already know that's what you've got coming. So every one of these words are not just concepts. They are actually words, and they're extremely important words coming out of the chapter. I'm going to give you all six of 'em. Zone one, Gospel. Zone two, freedom. Zone three, promise. Zone four, children. Zone five, Spirit. Zone six, cross. Now, opening your Bibles to Galatians 1:1-12, I'm going to begin reading to you. Tell me what our zone word is for chapter 1, again. Gospel. So here's what I want you to do. Every single time I come to that word, I want you out loud to count it off.
So when I say it the first time, I want you all to go, "one". When I say it the second time, I want you to say, "two," and so forth, until I get us through the first 12 verses of Galatians 1. Lord, bless the reading of your holy Word, 1:1, "Paul, an apostle, not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead, and all the brothers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia. Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. To Him be glory forever and ever, amen. I am amazed", the ESV says, "astonished", "that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him. As we have said before, I now say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him. For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still striving to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ".
That powerful enough for you? How many times you got "gospel" goin' there? Oh, it's a beautiful thing, isn't it? You think maybe his point is pulling us back to the Gospel? Here's what I want you to see, and I think you'll love is that, actually, there is a seventh form of the word. There is a form of the same word in the Greek that you'd find. You just can't see it in the English, but you'd find that there in 11, verse 11, "For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin". That the word that translates into "gospel," "euangelion," "euangelion," say that with me, "euangelion," "euangelion," that word is repeated again. It's given in a noun form, and then it's repeated in a verb form.
So I want you to see it. It's gonna be what I just read out of the CSB as preached. I want you to hear it in Richard B. Hays excerpt. It says this, "is impossible to render exactly into idiomatic English. Literally, it means 'the gospel that was gospeled by me.'" "The gospel that was gospeled by me". It's used several other times as well in the New Testament, but what a beautiful thing that he's using it both as a noun and a verb, "the gospel that I gospeled to you". We can put it like this: "The good news that was good news'd by me". It's God's message of salvation through Jesus Christ, and here's the thing. "This is good news," he says, "about the good news," because it cannot be reconfigured into bad news. In fact, if you make the good news any less good, what he is saying is "You have just distorted the Gospel, and that is not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ".
That's why you can good-news the good news because there's nothing you can do to it and it still be the same Gospel. You cannot add to it, you cannot subtract from it and have Christ's Gospel. He is calling us back home to what the true Gospel is. Paul's premise for the letter to the Galatians is this: The gospel was given by God and cannot be co-opted by man. The version that I have done and am doing my memory work out of for Galatians is the ESV, and I love it so much. This was what began to grab me from the very beginning because he says this in verse 11, "For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ". The gospel is to be received, not reconfigured. So this is the gift, you know, take the gift and go, "Well, I'mma take this part off of it, and I'mma add this to it". No, no, it is a gift, and you leave it exactly like it is because it was given in perfection in every way.
The Gospel is to be received, not reconfigured. As is. I wanted to tell you a little "CliffsNotes" version of my own journey with the Gospel. I grew up with the Gospel. I literally did. I'm sure that I was in the church nursery by the time I was three weeks old. In those days, our mothers didn't think about waiting months and months to take us. They just threw us in. It was just a different day. They went to sleep and had us, and then woke up later and go, "Well, where are they? And what was it"? But, you know, it was just a whole different day, a whole different mentality, and so I was raised on it. I do not remember a time, of course, there came a time when I received Jesus as Lord and Savior, but I don't remember ever not knowing his name. I would've known it as early as I would've known my brothers' and sisters' names.
I was in church multiple times a week. It was the way I grew up. I grew up in an evangelical church, so I heard the Gospel. I heard the word "gospel," and I heard the Gospel worded over and over and over again, and what I was taught, I believed without question. It was all I ever knew. Even the systematic theology that I was taught, it was the only way that could possibly be truth. Does anybody know what I'm talkin' about? Never occurred to me that anyone could be right about end-time events that was not a card-carrying pre-trib believer. You understand what I'm sayin'? I mean, it never even crossed my mind. In those days, I had one set of commentaries, and I had one, a main Bible mentor and teacher that taught Bible doctrine, a class that I attended week after week after week, and ultimately, was trained and mentored by him for several years, and, I mean, his way was the only way there was. I wouldn't have had any other way to think.
What I've been taught about the Holy Spirit was what was exactly right about the Holy Spirit, and there was no more or no less to believe. I wonder if anybody can relate with what I'm saying? And nobody else was right. We were. And then you start growin' up, and you start studying a wider range of theologians and commentators, and you start getting outside your little bubble, and you realize, "Wow, we might not have been exactly right about all of it". At this point, you're still goin', "Most of it, yes," maybe not all of it. And then you start thinkin', "Oh, I'm not sure there are not places that we're not flat-out wrong". And then you're also growing into a much wider world by then, ear to the rest of the world that offers all sorts of answers and thinks we're fools for even believing in Jesus as the Son of God, preeminent in all things and Savior of the world. We find out that there are a whole lot of people that think we're idiots.
I gotta tell you something, all these years in, I have never been less naive. I have never felt more like I have had the naivete beaten out of me like pulp. Never have I been wearier of an echo chamber where we just encircle ourselves with people who sound exactly like us. I have lost confidence in some systems, in side-taking, in simplistic aphorisms. Anybody else? I have lost confidence in some people, and I have lost confidence in myself, but I'm gonna tell you something: I have not lost an iota of confidence in the Gospel of the living Lord Jesus Christ, not one iota of confidence. Forty years into adulthood, nonstop ministry throughout the whole thing, 35 years of nonstop Bible study, in the throes of life, and in throngs of people, I can tell you this without hesitation, Jesus Christ, to me, is the only one that makes any sense whatsoever of this insane world. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? Never have I had more confidence in him, never.
And I think, you think, when you are a young student or a young teacher, and your world is beginning to broaden in study, I think there is that fear, "Am I gonna find out, realize somewhere along the way", I mean it happens. You see it happen. You know people it's happened to. Well, that happened to me. Will I lose confidence in it? Will I realize, "Well, John 14, that whole, 'He's the only way, truth', I mean, probably, maybe that's not as true as we thought? Will that be my experience"? But that has not been my experience at all. In the loss of so much naivete, I'mma tell ya something. Jesus is the only one I have ever found who lives up to his press, ever, ever, who keeps his promises no matter what. You know, I tend to be a gentle teacher.
I hope I am. I know I'm not gentle in volume, and I'm not gentle in demonstrative behaviors, but I'm pretty gentle in "You know what? Do what you can do. Here are lots of different levels you can take at this," and I still mean that. I still really do. I will say to the death, a little bit of Bible study is better than no Bible study. But I wanna put a different challenge towards you this time. I am asking you to get in with everything you've got. I'm telling you, this book is killing me, and it's killing me in a lot of really wonderful days. It's crucifying some things in me that need crucifying. It's clarifying to me some things that, somewhere along the way, may have started getting fuzzy to me. It's reminding me that it is the right thing and my right in Christ to fight for the freedom that I have been given in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is right and appropriate to do so.
And so here's what I'm asking you. I'm asking you, "Would you get into the thing? Would you do it"? Because I'm gonna tell you something: All Scripture is God-breathed. All of it is equipping, teaching. It's good for reproof and for training in righteousness. We're told that in the Word of God in 2 Timothy, and we know it. If we've been in Bible study before, we know it to be true. But I'm gonna tell you something about Galatians. This not only does all of that, but it is going to do something for us that we desperately need to circle back to over and over and over again. It's going to remind us this is the Gospel. And what can happen is that we'll realize that we've just veered off just barely, just barely veered off, just barely, but we keep going barely in that direction, and it gets severely off course.
Let me tell you something. There's no better news in this entire world than the real live Gospel of Jesus Christ, not added to, not subtracted from, exactly as it is, and through these six chapters, Paul insists that we remember that, that as convenient as it would be to us to be legalistic, to believe that it's "this plus this," which is such a trap for anybody that has been in it for very long, he brings us right back home, our feet right back in step with the Gospel, showing us where we veered, not only, listen carefully, not only under worldly influence, this is a very important part, but sometimes under righteous influence.
One of the scariest things about being misled from the truth of the Gospel is that we can be taken there by somebody we respect so much, that is the godliest person we know. Know this book. Mark that letter up. Write in your margins. If you have to get a new Bible, if you think, "I don't like to write in my Bible". Get another one. Get another one. Say, "I'm just gonna do Galatians in this". Mark all over it. Write down your zone words. Write through the margins. Get your highlighters out. Do everything that it takes, but get all the way in it. Make Galatians in your Bible, know without a shadow of a doubt that you have been in it, and here's what I promise you, that, after you have, your life will leave no doubt that it has been in you the capacity this book has for clarity. It's almost unmatched, and let's see the good news, good-news'd again, and let's remember what this was about and the perfection with which it was given to us.