NBC Sunday School Manual For October 15, 2023 :Topic – JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, NOT LAW.
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Theme for the Month: “FAITH TRIUMPHS, LAW FAILS.”
DATE: SUNDAY, 15TH OCTOBER, 2023.
TOPIC: JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, NOT LAW.
Devotional Reading: Galatians 2:1-10.
Background Scripture: Galatians 2:11-21.
Lesson Scripture: Galatians 2:11-21.
“The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20b
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Define the terms ‘Justification’ and ‘Faith.’
● Identify three ways Christians can avoid hypocritical living.
● Make a commitment to lovingly correct erring brethren.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was an English Baptist preacher. He was highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he was known as the “Prince of Preachers.” Sometimes ago after he had finished preaching a sermon on ‘Justification by grace’, a man came to him and said, “Oh sir, I have been praying and I don’t think God will forgive me unless I do something to deserve it.” Spurgeon replied, “I tell you sir, if you bring any of your deserving, you shall never have it. God gives away His justification freely; and if you bring anything to pay for it, He will throw it in your face and will not give His justification to you.” The term justification means to be declared righteous or innocent of an accusation. Justification by faith therefore refers to God’s pronouncement that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is no longer guilty of any offence but righteous in the sight of God. Louis Berkhof described justification as “a judicial act of God, in which He declares on the basis of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus that all claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner.” Faith is described as the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). However, the works rejected by Paul in his letter to the Galatian brethren are those which the Jews claimed as earning God’s favour and salvation. In his view, no amount of works and observance of Jewish law can offer salvation. It is through our faith in Christ Jesus that we are saved and justified.
Today’s lesson focuses on how believers are justified. Paul made it clear in the epistle to the Galatians that justification cannot be obtained through the law or good deeds, but that God works through the Holy Spirit to make those who believe righteous. Therefore, it involves no human effort because by the works of the law, no one will be justified
(Galatians 2:21; 3:21).
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. PETER’S HYPOCRITICAL LIFESTYLE CONDEMNED:
The church in Antioch was a mixture of Jews and Gentile believers which perhaps made the spread of Christianity faster than expected. Unfortunately, the Judaizers invaded the city with their false teachings that except they are circumcised, their claim about salvation is not complete. When Peter arrived at Antioch, he failed to eat with the Gentile brethren and distanced himself from them because he was afraid of those who belong to the circumcision group. As a result, Paul considered it a hypocritical lifestyle and confronted him publicly for failing to practise what he taught. In verse 14, Paul expressed his displeasure over Peter’s inconsistency when he said, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs” For Paul, this meant compromise of faith as well as treating the Gentile Christians as second class members of the church.
It is obvious from the passage that Paul was disappointed by Peter’s hypocritical lifestyle which he condemned before them all. According to him, the real sin does not lie in breaking the Jewish tradition of food laws, but in turning back to the law for salvation which automatically undermines the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. The major lesson from Paul’s explanation is that believers should avoid hypocritical attitude no matter the pressure to do so. We are expected to be true to what we believe, preach and teach. This is important because hypocritical living is a sin and must be avoided. We should never pitch our tent with any form of hypocrisy. Christian leaders should be mindful of their actions because they are capable of leading others astray (v.13). More importantly, Christians should endeavour to correct erring believers and leaders, not with ulterior motive but in love and in the aim of expanding God’s kingdom (Galatians 6:1; 1 Timothy 5:20).
1. Discuss whether Paul’s open rebuke to Peter is a good model to emulate.
2. Should Christian leaders be corrected when they err? yes, what are some of the best ways to do so?
B. JUSTIFICATION THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST ALONE:
Peter’s hypocritical lifestyle gave Paul the opportunity to further explain that justification cannot be attained by simply keeping the law except by faith in Jesus Christ (vv.15-16). He reminded them in verse 15 that they are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles. He stressed the fact that keeping the law is not needed to obtain salvation since no human being can fulfil the requirement of the law order than to put their faith in Christ Jesus for the sake of being justified. Paul had decided to die to the law in order to live for God (v.19). He affirmed this in verse 20. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” “He expressed the importance of the grace of God because if righteousness could be attained through keeping the law, the death of Christ would have been nothing (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8).
The major reminder in the passage is that our good deeds cannot earn us justification. It only comes through our faith in Jesus Christ who died and was raised back to life. It is therefore important to know that Christian faith must be deeply rooted in Christ (vv. 11-14). Faith that justifies is not achieved by strict observance of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ only (vv. 1516). The lesson should serve as a reminder to believers that they have been justified because they believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and not by any human effort. After all, no human effort is adequate to obtain God’s salvation. Therefore, our salvation should be cherished.
1. What did Paul mean when he said, “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God” in verse 19?
2. Discuss some of the ways one can be regarded as a law breaker according to the passage.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
● Let class members list some hypocritical behaviours found in believers and the best ways to correct them based on today’s lesson.
Take Home: Write down some lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson?
● Based on today’s lesson, make a personal commitment to avoid any form of hypocritical lifestyle contrary to God’s standard.
Happy Sunday in Advance.
🌨 Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!