I want to know how I’m doing.
NOVEMBER 19, 2020
I want to know how I’m doing. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown, and this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the curse of the law that Paul talks about in the third chapter of Galatians. And we’ve seen that the curse is actually a blessing. It’s a gift from God, the law of God, the rules are a blessing. And it’s not for the reason you think, it’s counter-intuitive, but it’s good news. We’ve seen that the curse of the law, not only restrains us and reveals stuff to us and defines us and points to Jesus. It also measures, Galatians 3:23.
Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed.
Why are we not under restraint anymore? Because we don’t need to be, we don’t do right, and we still need to be restrained, but we need to be shown more than that. Jeremy is the producer of this program. And a part of his job description is to let me know if there are things that I can do better and do it right. When I had Erik Guzman, who used to be the producer of this program, and I’m having lunch with him next week and he’s still around, but it used to drive him nuts that I would play with a pencil and hit the microphone with it. And Jeremy said, Steve, you, you, you turn away from the microphone when you get excited about stuff and people can’t hear you. So keep your mouth close to the microphone. This is radio, and that’s how it works. Was I angry?, no. I was thankful to Jeremy because that’s what he’s supposed to do. And that’s what the law does in our lives. We’ve said this before, but let me say it again. If you put your faith in Christ, you are now in God’s eyes, as pure as pure can be. There’s not a single blot, a wrinkle on you. You are accepted. The righteousness of Christ is yours by faith. You cannot, by being good, add one iota to your salvation, period. You cannot by being bad, subtract one iota from your salvation. Your salvation is based solely alone on the finished work of Christ, period. So there, deal with it. And I wanted to make sure that you understood that before I told you this. I really want to know how I’m doing. I really do. Now, I believe that people, if you’re self righteous, you don’t know it, because it’s the nature of self righteousness. Self-righteousness is the one sin that somebody else has to tell you about, because it’s nature is that it thinks it is righteous. But let me tell you a flip side of that. Righteousness is hard to see too. And you know why? Because God knows if he gives us an inch, we’ll take a mile. He knows that if he says you’ve done good, too often. Then we’ll get proud of it and then we’ll ruin the very thing that would be grace that makes us better. But sometimes, but sometimes God will let me know that I did good. Never too much because there isn’t that much good frankly, but sometimes he wants so that I don’t get discouraged. He wants to let me know that I did it right. You know, the best thing of doing it right for one day, is the way you sleep at night, just before you go to your bed and put your head on your pillow, you think, you know, I did it, it cost me, but I did the right thing today. And that’s a good feeling. How do I know I did the right thing today? I know because of the law. The law won’t save you. And I just said that, and I want to make sure that you get that, but the law says, sometimes this is the way, walk in it and you’ll be glad that you did. And so it’s by the law and its revelation to me that I am able to measure how I’m doing with Jesus. I believe the Bible teaches not entire sanctification, but process sanctification. John Wesley would always ask of those who are being ordained to the ministry this question, are you moving on to perfection? Now, I don’t like that question very much. I mean, who am I to criticize John Wesley, but I don’t like the question, but it’s a good question. What he was simply saying is, are you in the process of sanctification? Is Jesus doing stuff in your life, are you getting better? Do you love more now than you used to? Are you more obedient than you were before? And that’s a good question. And sometimes it’s doubtful. But never so doubtful that God doesn’t encourage me on occasion to let me know, child you’re growing. You really are better. Let me show you some things that I’ve been doing in your life. And when he does, I rejoice with that. And do you know how I know, I know because of the law. If you want to follow him and you do, if you’re a Christian. I never met a Christian who didn’t want to be better than he or she was. If you want to follow him, how do you know if you are? It’s the law of dummy? That’s what it’s all about. I have to say that to myself, not to you. It’s the law that tells me you did good. It’s the law that tells me, I know that cost you, and I know that people are very critical of you for taking a stand in that place, but, but you did good. How do I know that?, it’s by the law, because it measures and it allows me to know how far along I am in the process of sanctification. Now it also lets me know how far I’ve got to go in the process of sanctification, but it also sometimes says, you did good. It’s said that Calais after achieving international fame continued to practice six hours a day. A friend said to him one time, why do you keep it up? Why do you keep at it? You have already, we achieved your fame. He simply smiled and replied. I think I’m making progress. I think I am too. In fact, I know I am. I’m, you think I’m bad now, you write critical letters. That is some of you and you write nice ones too. But I’m, I’m okay. I’m better than I was. You should have seen me before. How do I know that? How can I say that? Because of the law. And then I’ve got one other thing, and then we’re finished with Paul’s exposition on the law. But I got to turn the page to find out what it is, the curse of the law not only restraints and reveals and defines and points and measures. Listen to me, it also frees, Galatians 3:25.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian, for in Christ Jesus you are the sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Now the Greek word used here for custodian, in the King James Version, it says school master, refers to a tutor to whom children of the Greek or Roman family were entrusted. It was that tutor’s responsibility to train, to prepare the children for the responsibility of adulthood, to receive in other words the inheritance that was theirs. That’s what the law does. The law brings you to the place where you’re absolutely free. You’re alive, you’re forgiven and you can dance and sing before the throne of God. Renoir, the 19th century painter, maybe you didn’t know, he suffered from horrible arthritis. But he continued to paint and every time he would pick up the brush, he suffered with so much pain. One time a friend said to him, why in the world do you continue with your work when it causes you so much pain? This was his answer. He said the pain passes, but the beauty remains. You can say exactly the same thing about the curse of the law, the beauty remains. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. More to come soon from Steve in our guided tour of Galatians, but tomorrow, we’ll take a break from them as we do every Friday to hang out with our friend Pete Alwinson. Something we call Friday Q & A. Tomorrow. Steve and Pete will tangle with this question. What about the devil?, should be a good one. Hope you’ll join us. Well, as we begin to wind down on the year of our Lord 2020, I want to remind you to check out the 2020 edition of Key Life Magazine. There’s a great article from Steve plus thought provoking pieces from some of your favorite Key Life voices. While you still can get your free copy by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
If you’re in Canada, send your request to
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
Just ask for your free copy of the 2020 edition of Key Life Magazine. And one last thing. If you’re able, would you please give to Key Life? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or now you can simply text Key Life to 28950 in just a few minutes, you’ll be all set up. And after that, giving will take no time at all. Again, just text Key Life, one word, two words, doesn’t matter to 28950. That’s 28950. Big or small, monthly or one-time, every gift matters, and every gift really does help. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada and as always Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.