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Volume 3

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The Limited Knowledge Series

 

Volume Three

 

 

Galatians

An Introduction

Galatia was not a city.  It was a state or province.  The churches mentioned in the book were located in the area we now know as Turkey. Paul made at least three journeys through this region, some think he may have even made four trips.

The First Missionary Journey: Is found in Acts 13 & 14.  Paul and Barnabus traveled together, being sent from Antioch, a city in Northern Syria (Acts 13:1-3), to the island of Cyprus, which was the home of Barnabus.  They preached in Salamis and Paphos, where they encountered a sorcerer named Bar-Jesus, (Vs. 5, 6).  When he tried to persuade the person to whom they were preaching to not believe, (v. 8) the Lord blinded him “for a season” (vs. 10-12) and afterward, the man become a believer.

From Cyprus, they traveled to Antioch of Pisidia, not the same as Antioch of Syria.  Many of that city came to hear the disciples preach. (Acts 13:44-50)  The Jews of that city were “filled with envy” (v. 45) and “stirred up” the devout Jews (v.50) and kicked Paul and Barnabus out of the country.

In the book of Galatians, you will find it is almost always the “devout Jews” that caused so much trouble for Paul and his companions.  The devil loves for people to be so devoted to religion and religious works. Why? He recognizes that sort of behavior leads them away from the truth of God’s Word.  These “devout and honorable women” did not fully understand they were playing into the hands of the great deceiver.

From Antioch of Pisidia they traveled to Iconium. (Acts 14:1-5)  The Jews made trouble for them there also and succeeded in turning the Gentiles against them (v.2) However, they stayed there for a while (v. 3) before uncovering a plot to kill them Vs. 4-5) and they escaped to Lystra and Derbe (Vs. 6-7).

At Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14: 8-11).  The people there thought they were gods and made plans to worship them and offer sacrifices to them (Vs, 12-13).  Paul and Barnabus heard of these plans and stopped them (Vs. 14-18).  Jews from Antioch and Derbe came and persuaded the people to stone Paul.  They took him out of the city, assuming that he was dead. (Vs. 19-21)  The next day Paul went with Barnabus to Derbe and other cities.

The Second Missionary Journey:  (Acts 15-18:22)

In Acts 15 & 16 is where you will find this Journey.  There was a problem between Paul and Barnabus concerning John Mark. (Acts 15:36-41)  So Paul took Silas and went to Derbe and Lystra, where Timothy made his home.  (Acts 16:1)  Timothy became one of Paul’s most trusted helper.

Timothy’s mother was a Jew and his father a Greek. (v. 2) He wanted Timothy to go with him, so he had him circumcised.  (v. 3) This becomes an important issue latter on and seems contradictory to some, since Paul did not require Titus to be circumcised.  Why?  The reason was Titus was 100% Gentile.

In Acts 16: 6 we read the word Galatia for the first time.  Obviously this is all there is concerning that region as the Bible is silent concerning it. However, there is much Scripture about Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi and Thessolanica.  Maybe their quick departure from the truth did not prompt God to discuss them anymore than He did.  But who can know for sure?

The Third Missionary Journey:  (Begins at Acts 18:23)
Some observations about Galatians

Paul seemed to be somewhat concerned about the Galatians from the very first.  It seems as though he was always telling them what he had told them before, always repeating himself.  (Gal. 1:9; 5:21)

The Book is about law and grace.  The “religious” perverted grace with their strict adherence to the laws, which had been added to the original Ten Commandments.  (Gal. 3: 19)

The religious system was also trying to cause division between Paul and the Apostles in Jerusalem, i.e. Peter, James and John.
We can make this statement of fact: The Jews were very bitter toward Paul.  In fact, they hated him and the gospel he preached and did any and everything they could do to hinder him from preaching that truth, even to the point of persecuting and stoning him.

Everywhere Paul went the Jews did all they could to turn people, especially the Gentiles, away from him and to discredit him and the Christ he preached.  (Acts 15:1-5; 20: 31; Phil. 3:2; 2 Tim. 1: 1-5)  The sad part is they were very successful in their labors most of the time.  The book of Galatians was written in order to meet, head on, an attack by these evil men and their attempt to discredit Paul.

The Jewish hierarchy was shrewd enough to undermine only portions of what Paul taught: “It’s good to leave your heathen ways,’ they said, “But you must be circumcised and keep the law.”  (Acts 15:1) Paul disputed that claim.  (Acts 15: 24) They also said Paul was not really an apostle, as he didn’t have the blessings of the apostles in Jerusalem.

Some Differences Between Paul and the Jewish Teachers

Paul preached that God’s Son was “all sufficient,” and not the law.

He said:
1. The law will justify no flesh.  All the law did was give one the knowledge he was a sinner. (Rom. 3:20)
2. Justification was a free gift by the grace of God and through the sacrifice of Jesus. (Rom. 3: 24)
3. And finally, why would one boast about being justified by works when it is by the faith of Christ alone. (Rom. 3: 27-28)

The Jewish religious leaders insisted that Christ was not sufficient, but an imposter and wanted Him dead. (John 5: 18)

Paul said it’s the faith of Christ that saves. (Gal. 2: 16)

The Jews said Christ alone wasn’t good enough; circumcision must be done to complete the salvation process. (Acts 15:1)

Christ, at the cross, said, “It is finished.” (Acts 15:24)

The Jews said, “No, add circumcision and the keeping of the law to make it a finished process. (Acts 15:1)

Paul’s refusal to allow Gentiles to be circumcised was salt in the wound for Jews.  No wonder they hated him.  So, Paul wrote a very stern letter to these churches in Galatia.  I want you to think about this; He was more severe in his criticism toward the Galatians, who were going back to the law, than he was with the Corinthians, whose behavior was out of line.  The Galatians attacked Christ and His finished work; the Corinthians allowed the flesh to run rampant.

“Why such a severe letter?” you ask, because the enemy was trying to destroy the very foundation of Christianity.  Paul was only doing what the Spirit of God led him to do.  Since God gave His only begotten Son so that we might have this great salvation, Paul was not going to let false teaching take it away without a fight.  (Gal. 2: 21)

There are many in the “so-called” Christian circles that say love is the most important issue of the day, that there should be no contentions even though there might be errors. 

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! 

These same people say, “Preach the truth but do not run down someone else who isn’t preaching the truth.” Wrong again. One has said, Let the truth of God suffer, but let not love suffer.”  I say, “Hogwash!”  This is exactly what the devil wants people to say.  That kind of teaching is not godly teaching but the devil’s teaching.  We are to contend (struggle) for the faith. Jude 1:3: Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Underlining Added)

It began with Cain and it continues today, man has always tried to substitute his own works for salvation instead of trusting in the salvation provided for him on Calvary.  There are two messages being preached in pulpits across the world: Man’s way and God’s way.  Which will you choose?

Man’s way teaches salvation by works.  Whether it’s burning incense and worshipping idols or by doing good works, the actions are the same.  Men are feverishly trying to keep the law, doing the best they can, giving to the poor or by confession and repentance trying to find salvation.  None of that works!  You will not get to heaven thinking your works or deeds will save you.

Salvation by works is of the devil.  It is false.  It is counterfeit.  It leads to destruction.  Do not be misled.  These false teachers are just as active today as they were during the days of Paul.  Christ plus something or Christ plus anything does not produce salvation.  That is the theme of the book of Galatians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One
Galatians 1:1: Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Paul’s enemies said he was
1) Not an apostle,
2) Not one of the twelve,
3) Had not seen the Lord,
4) And that the apostles at Jerusalem had not sent him out, nor trained him, nor given him permission to go and teach.

 Today, you might have heard something like, “Why he has never attended a seminary or been properly ordained!”

Paul attacks that philosophy from the very first verse.

The word apostle in the Greek is: apostolos – “sent forth, sent from, one sent, or messenger.”

The enemy said:  “You have no authority from Jerusalem.”

Paul’s reply:  “Right on brother.  I got my instructions from out of this world, from God Himself!”

Paul’s instructions came from a higher authority.  The very highest you can get – God.

Proofs of an Apostle

There are certain proofs an apostle must have:
1. He must have seen the Lord.
(Jo 15:27; Acts 22: 14-15; 1 Cor. 15:8-9)

2. He must have been called and chosen by Christ.
(Lk. 6:13; Gal.1:1)

3. Infallible inspiration was necessary.
(Jo. 16:13; Gal. 1:11-12; 1 Thes. 2:13)

4. The “Apostolic Commission” was attested by signs.
(Heb. 2:4; 2 Cor. 12:12)

5. The apostles were not preachers of local churches, but had the care of all the churches.  (2 Cor. 11:28) and had power to settle all controversies, (Acts 16:4) and to exercise discipline. (1 Cor. 5:3-6; 2 Cor 10:8; 13:10)
God Calls People To Service

In this first verse of Galatians One, there is something else that stands out very vividly.  Jesus Christ is linked with God the Father and they are both higher than man is.

“Not of men” (plural) “Neither by man” (singular).
Missionaries are usually sent by a group of people, society or committee.  Then the chairman or President of the group acts for the committee.  Paul says, “I am an apostle sent, neither from a group of people nor one single man; God sent me.”

Something else stands out in this verse.  Jesus Christ and God the Father are put in contrast to man – both as Deity.  Yet, look at Gal. 1:19: But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.  And Mark 6:3: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 
In these verses, the Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned as a brother (man).  So, He was all man and all God.  Confusing to some, but those of faith accept it for what it is – truth.

What a great commission!  When Christians go out into the ministry, from where is their authority – heaven or earth?  “Why heaven of course”, you say. Then why do men and wome today consider it an honor to be sent by a denomination or the head of that denomination, to be a member of a denomination, to have attended a specific Bible College, etc?

 It seems as though that proof of their ties with men is important to today’s preachers or missionaries.  How different this is to what we have just read in Paul’s opening statement to the Galatians. The twelve apostles were sent from God, (John 15:16) so shouldn’t it be God who sends forth the preachers and teachers of today and not missionary board or ordination committee?

Am I saying that Bible Colleges serve no purpose? No I am not. What I am saying is that the colleges should be subservient to the called and not the called to the colleges or a mission board.

Note!  Paul was an apostle from the resurrection side of the cross (Christ seated in heaven).  (Eph. 1:11; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1-2) All of his writings bear this characteristic. It was after Christ’s resurrection that Paul was instructed to write 2 Cor. 5:18-21: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

It is this resurrection power that we need to call upon today. And that is why we must pay close attention to the meaning of 2 Cor. 5:16:  “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.”

All of the miracles that Jesus performed while He lived on the earth pale in comparison to the power exemplified in His resurrection. It is that power we are to remember.  All those miraculous things performed: healing the sick, raising the dead, turning the water into wine, etc., as significant as they were at the time, were insignificant when compared to the resurrection power. We are thereby told to forget the acts of Christ in the flesh and to concentrate on things produced because of His resurrection.

Paul’s authority was not from Jesus plus man or a committee of men.  No man added anything to his authority and commission, and he would not let men usurp that authority. Paul answered to God and God alone – so should we.

 

Paul’s Commission: Before birth and forward.

1. Galatians 1:15 – set apart by God Almighty from his mother’s womb.
2. Acts 9:13-16 – The commission to go to the Gentiles, kings and Israel. (see also Acts 26:13-18)
3. Paul says that he, who was a blasphemer, was a pattern of God’s long suffering. (1 Tim. 1:11-16)
4. Galatians 1:16 – not sent of flesh and blood.
5. Did not go to Jerusalem at the first, but rather went into the desert. (Gal.1:17)  Apparently this was to get his teaching and training from the Lord.
6. It is thought that he spent three years in the desert: (Gal. 1:17-18) this coincides with Acts 9:23-25.
7. He comes back to Damascus (Gal. 1:17) Then he goes to Jerusalem and meets with Peter and James. (Gal. 1:18-19; Acts 9:26-29)
8. The preaching, early in his ministry, focuses on one simple truth – Jesus is the Son of God, is raised from the dead and is the long awaited Messiah. (Acts 9:20) We will call this the Gospel of God for the sake of teaching.  It was the very same gospel being preached by Peter (Mat. 16:15-16), Philip (Acts 8: 5, 29-37) and others of the Jerusalem apostles. (Gal. 1: 22-23)
9. From Jerusalem, Paul goes “into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.” (Gal 1: 21)
10. He then goes to Tarsus. (Acts 9:39)  It was here that Barnabus comes to get him. (Acts 11: 25)
11. They both go to Antioch. (Acts 11:26)
12. They take up an offering and go back to Jerusalem. (Acts 11:29-30)  Whether this is the same trip as the one recorded in Galatians 2:1 is not known, but –
13. 14 years later, he makes a trip to Jerusalem. (Gal. 2:1) and states the following (Acts 22:17-21), so they leave and –
14. Go back to Antioch. (Acts 12:25)
15. Paul began a new ministry in Acts 13:1-4, and taught a new gospel (which we will call the Gospel of Christ for the purposes of teaching) – Christ died for our sins.

According to Acts 13:1-4, Paul was sent by the Holy Ghost.  There are no records in Scripture that we know of where a church has power or authority to send men or women out to work for the Lord.  God alone has that unique authority.  True, the people of Antioch ministered, fasted, prayed and laid hands on them and then sent them on their way with their blessings.  But the verse is clear; it was the Holy Ghost that sent them forth, (V. 4) that is why Paul could be adamant about who sent him in Gal. 1:1.

The Christians at Antioch showed they were happy to be affiliated with Paul and Barnabus and the work they were called to do.  That’s the way it should be. (Gal. 6:6)  All servants of God need and covet the fellowship of other Christians. (1 Sam. 12:23) But servants of God should answer only to God.

Notice that Acts 13:1 says that Barnabus and Paul were prophets and teachers, but in Acts 14:4, they are called apostles only.  It is the first time that Paul is called an apostle.

 

Galatians 1: 2-5: And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul was a classy individual.  He was always giving credit where credit was due and never failed to list those who helped him in the ministry.  Such is the case here in the opening statement.  We do not know from the text the person traveling with him, but we do know he traveled with Barnabus, Silas, Timothy, Mark, Titus and Luke.  Whoever it was that was with him is not mentioned again. 

Since Paul’s authority was being questioned, you will notice that throughout the letter to the Galatians he used his name only or simply the word “I”.

As we mentioned in our introductory remarks, Paul usually could find some kind words of praise to begin the letters he wrote, (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3-8; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:3-7; Col. 1:4-9; 1 Thes. 1:3) but in Galatians he doesn’t do that.  There is not one word of praise or thanksgiving mentioned in this book.  It is obvious he had very little he could give thanks for; another indication as to how serious the problem was in that region.

Paul was dealing with a people that now believed salvation was faith – PLUS.  Know anybody like that?  Know any churches that practice Jesus plus something else: plus repentance, plus overcoming, plus keeping the law, plus keeping church ordinances?  To add anything to the finished work of Christ is to prostitute grace and if you do those things, you are no better than these Galatians.  These are some of the things Paul had to say about the Galatians:
1) Gal. 1 6 – believe an altered gospel
2) Gal. 1:8-9 – your are cursed
3) Gal. 5:4 – you are fallen from grace. (This does not mean lost, it is a condition of falling out of grace.)

Verse 3 – Even though Paul cannot praise them, he does offer them grace and peace, which means Divine influence on the heart and rest.

Verse 4 – It was Christ who died for our sins and God the Father who was willing to let Him die, so it is fitting they are seen together in the passage. (Jo. 10:27-30; Gen. 22:6-8)

As we study this Book, you will notice the two main subjects of Galatians are
 1) The attack on Paul’s authority, and
2) The attack on the grace of God, which saves sinners without any of their own doing.

Look at verse 4: “Christ – gave Himself for our sins.” Picture the scene of the crucifixion: pain, agony, blood, thorns, nails in the hands and feet, and spear in the side.  Not a pretty picture, right? Look at Mat. 27:46: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  Now do you see why: God had turned His back on His Son because of my sins, because of your sins.

Now look at Galatians 3:1.  Paul was asking, “Who has caused you to change your mind?” The Galatians had seen it, believed it, but had turned away from it.  What about us?  Has the truth of the cross really entered into our very souls?  Is it real to us?  Christ gave Himself!  And because he gave, as was the will of the Father, Christ was satisfied. 

So I ask you, If God was satisfied, why shouldn’t we be? Who has bewitched you into believing you must DO something once you believe in order to complete your salvation.

Have you ever tried to go into a computer program and add something to a bill that has already been paid?  The screen says, “This bill is paid in full, you cannot enter new data.”  So it is with salvation.  Jesus paid the bill for sin some 2000 years ago.  You can not add anything to something that has been paid in full.  But the Galatians and many Americans as well, were trying to do so.

Compare Gal. 1:4 and 2:20.  Christ died for everyone, but He also died for me – personally.  Salvation is a personal thing, a personal relationship. Praise God!  I have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.  How can I doubt Him?  Yet some do, the Galatians are just one example.  (Galatians 3:1) Are you, too?

Back to Gal. 1:4.  Look at “This present evil world.” What is it?  It is all that is around us: fears, hate, hope, desires, the air we breath, the food we eat, the water we drink.  All that we do in this world is “the present evil world.” 

But the child of God is not of this world. (Rom. 3:19, 4:13, 5:12, 13:12; 2 Cor. 4:4, 7:10; Gal. 1:4, 6:14; Eph. 2:2 & 12, 6:12; Col. 2:8 & 20; 1 Tim. 6:7, 17-19; 2 Tim. 4:10)  Jesus said: (Jo. 8:12, 23; 12:25, 31, 46, 47; 15:19; 16:33; 17:14-25)

We are part of a New World.  Think about it!  Believe it!  Accept God’s grace and believe that we were part of this evil world before Christ rescued us from it.

Galatians 1: 6-9: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

We have already stated that Paul did not address the Galatians as saints or as the faithful or as holy brethren.  He just calls them brethren, all the more reason to emphasize the problems that occur when we turn from grace to the law and works.  I believe that Paul is making a clear statement, “Do not add anything to the finished work of Christ, for if you do, you deserve the severest of reprimands.”

Look at Vs. 6-7: marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (Underlining Added)

There are two Greek words used to translate the one English word “another.”
1. In V. 6 it is heteros – which is translated as “different or altered or a different kind.”
2. In V. 7 it is allos – which is translated as “the same kind.”

The Galatians had been called into the grace of God (v. 6), but had “removed” themselves from it.  The word removed in the Greek is metecho – which is translated, “turned away or deserting.” And the word “trouble” (V. 7) is tarasso – which is translated as “disturb or agitate.”

Now let’s read the two verses, inserting some of the translated words.

V. 6 “I am amazed that you have so quickly deserted Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto a completely different gospel than what you received.”
V. 7 “Which is not the same gospel at all, but there are those that have disturbed and agitated you because they would pervert the doctrine of Christ (which is the real gospel.)”

Look at the two verses carefully!  Do they say it was God in His grace that called them or God in law that called them?  It was grace, right? The false teachers had come to persuade the Galatians not to accept the real truth, but to believe an altered version of the truth.  They agitated them so that they became disturbed and confused.  Paul was trying to show them they were free from the law, but they wanted to remain in bondage to the law.

We see a lot of disturbing types of teaching today.  There are far too many teachers who are disturbing their flock rather than feeding them.  They had better beware!  Why do the majority of preachers in pulpits today try to put their fellowship under the law? Why do they try to shame them into doing things or abstain from doing things?  I’ll tell you why.  So that they can have more control over people’s lives. Ordinances and commandments of denominations are made so that those in authority of that denomination can exercise some degree of control over their constituents.  That is wrong! That is perversion!
 
Read Colossians 2:20-23
V. 20 “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
V. 21 ‘(Touch not; taste not; handle not;
V. 22 ‘Which are all to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
V. 23 ‘Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh “

Then read Colossians 2:13-17
V. 13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
V. 14 ‘Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;
V. 15 ‘And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
V. 16 ‘Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days;
V. 17 ‘Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ “

Teachers who insist on people “doing things” are not feeding their people; they are disturbing them so that they do not know what to believe.  It’s wrong, but it happens all the time. If anyone tells you that you have to keep the law in order to be saved, or in order to complete your salvation, or to have a rewarding life – that is not “Good News,” it is terrible news. So do not believe them, run from them.

No one can keep the whole law!  Look at James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend (to err, sin, fall, stumble) in one point, he is guilty of all.” It was not God’s intention that man could keep the law.  The law was given to show man’s sinful state. Look!
Rom. 3:19-20: “… by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom. 7:7: “… I had not known sin, but by the law.
Gal. 2:19: … Am dead to the law.

Read Galatians 1:8-9 again.

These are some very serious words.  Did you get the full impact of them?  There is a curse here, not a blessing.  Anyone who goes about adding to the liberty that grace brings is under a curse. Read them again and let them soak into your brain.

That curse for adding to grace is all inclusive and includes a man that has the word Doctor of Divinity in front of his name, or a man who may have the title of Bishop, Cardinal, Priest, Reverend, Rabbi, Pastor, Preacher or Pope.  If the angels from heaven are included in the curse, all of these people are surely included.

Don’t get mad at me!  I didn’t say it’ I’m just the messenger.  God said it!  If anyone adds works to the gospel of grace Scripture says, “Let him be accursed.”  God has spoken!  The curse is pronounced!

Just the other day someone brought a pamphlet to me.  The front of it read “Jesus Christ Plus Nothing?”   It was written in the form of a question. As I opened up the pamphlet and looked inside, I read, “Yes, Plus this thing and that thing, and it went on to list several things.  That pamphlet would fall under the curse, for it implied that there were many things that must be added.  It is false advertising and if it disturbs one of God’s babies, God will deal harshly with whoever promoted that kind of false teaching.

Think about it.  If an angel from heaven were to come to you and say that grace is over simplified and that you need to do various works to be saved, don’t believe them.  Not only are you not to believe them, but you are warned that they are cursed.  Any angel that would preach adding to grace anything must be an angel of the devil, or the devil himself.  2 Cor. 11:13-15 says, “For such are false apostle. deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angle of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his minister also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 

DO NOT BE DECEIVED!  You have been warned, so take heed!
Galatians 1:10-14: For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Verse 10

Paul is asking a question.  “What do you think are my motives for writing theses things, to please man or to please God?”

The word persuade in the Greek is peitho – to convince by argument, true or false, persuade, satisfy, to pacify or be conciliatory.

I think Paul might have been just a little angry when he asked the question here. He then says that if he pleases men he cannot please God, and vice versa.  If I attempt to please man I am not a servant of Christ.  We are in the ministry to serve God and God alone. If you get upset about what I told you the Word said, I am sorry that your feelings are hurt but I am not sorry for having said what caused your discomfort.

The word servant in Greek is doulos – and means slave or bondservant.  When you are a slave you have one master, and Paul’s master was the Lord Jesus Christ.  As a slave, he was to do the will of his master and no one else. So are you.

These false teachers had said Paul was a man-pleaser.  I can hear them now say, “If you don’t believe what I say, listen to his own words.” And they would quote from the first letter to the Corinthians: (1 Cor. 9:20) Then they might have said, “Why did he circumcise Timothy and not Titus?” (Acts 16:3; Gal. 2:1-3) “He circumcised Timothy to please men,” they said. “Now isn’t that hypocritical?”

Paul settled the question in his heart.  He would be a slave to Christ, not to men.  What about you, is Christ your Lord and Master, or are you a slave to something or somebody else?  If we are to be stewards of the mystery (1 Cor. 4:1) we must accept the fact that we will not please most of the people we talk to concerning the mystery of grace. That’s what happened in the time of Jesus when he walked upon the face of the earth.  Some people loved Him; but many more did not love Him.  Some people worshiped Him and still others put Him to death. Stewards of the Mystery will be loved by a few and hated by many. So I ask you again, “Who is your master, the Lord Jesus Christ or men?”

The servant of Christ must have a single eye that is fixed on Christ, having only one purpose in mind – to serve Him the very best way that he can, even if it “hair-lips” every cow in Texas.

Verses 11-12

This is a re-statement of verse one.  The word “certify” comes from the Greek word gnorizo – which is translated in English – to make known or give to understand.  I believe the extra emphases here is simply to affirm that his objectors were correct in saying, “This man did not get his knowledge or training from any of the apostles at Jerusalem.”  Paul states his knowledge came by revelation of Jesus Christ.

Revelation in Greek is apokalupsis – disclosure, coming, manifestation.

Paul’s authority was from a much higher source.  There was no man, teacher, or seminary that was higher.  Paul was not following tradition, or a public commission, or a denominational Theological Seminary, nor was he a part of a celebrated faculty.

If we use the second word in the translation of revelation from Greek to English (coming) we gain significant insight which Paul received from Christ.

Often times we are asked why we place so much emphasis on Paul and the Pauline Epistles.  There are 27 New Testament books:

Person who wrote the book # of books written
Matthew 1
Mark 1
Luke 2
   (He also wrote the book of Acts)
John 5
   (The Gospel of John, 1st, 2nd & 3rd John,
    Revelation)
James 1
Jude 1
Peter 2
    (1st & 2nd Peter)
Paul 13
(Romans –Philemon)
Unknown (Hebrews)  1 
  27

So why do we place so much emphasis on Paul?  Because the Holy Spirit inspired him to write more New Testament books than any other person, that’s why?  Plus, Mark and Luke traveled with him and received a lot of their information from him.  So, Paul either wrote or influenced the writing of 16 out of 27 books in the New Testament.

Luke, who wrote Acts, uses 17 of the 28 chapters in that book to tell of the conversion of Paul and the experiences of Paul on his various missionary journeys.  After the 15th chapter of Acts Paul is the only apostle mentioned in the book.

Forty-eight percent of the New Testament is concerned with the unique ministry of the apostle Paul.  Isn’t that sufficient reason for us to spend a lot of time discussing his ministry?  How can one be New Testament oriented without acknowledging the importance of Paul?

Paul’s message was very challenging to the people of his time.  Quite frankly, it was not very well received at all, nor is it well received today. Why?
1. Because Paul was not ordained by men.  Even today the public honors and respects men that have received a commission to preach from a seminary over someone who has not.  If you want to climb the ladder of success in the religious system, you’ll try to please the higher authority of the denomination.
2. His message was diametrically opposed to the teaching of the law, which was being taught and practiced in most existing churches of that day.  His greatest opposition came from the legalist, who were called “Judaizers.”

In the 21st Century we are finding that more “independent” churches are springing up all over the country, but what are their motives for doing so? Is it so they can preach as Paul did, completely unattached from the law and those adherents of the law?  Maybe that is true in some cases but in most cases it is not. The majority of independent, non-denominational churches are as steeped in the practice of the law as the Judaizers of Paul’s day.  An appropriate title for them could well be “legalist” or followers of Jesus and His practices before He was resurrected.

“And what is wrong with being a follower of Jesus while he was still living?” you may ask. “Didn’t he heal the sick, lame and blind to show His love?” another may ask.

Over the years I have heard the statement, “I get my doctrine from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  If it was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for me.”  Most people who say such things do not really understand their Bible at all, and that puts them in the same category as “Judaizers” and “legalist” – ill informed or advised.

The purpose of the miracles and healing was not to prove His love but to prove He was the Messiah. If those people had been still enough they would have heard the voice of God declaring such. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10.  They would have known that the one coming and performing the miracles was the long awaited Messiah.

The problem then and now are basically the same, i.e. people listened to what someone else said rather than look for what the Scriptures say. And 2 Corinthians 5:16 says this: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.”

Think about the passage above  What does that mean? Why did the Lord have Paul pen the words? If everything the Bible says has a meaning and a purpose, what do you suppose those are in this passage? Let’s let the Word speak for itself: “Wherefore then serveth the law? It (the law) was added because of transgressions, TILL THE SEED SHOULD COME (Jesus) to whom the promise was made; (Israel) and it was ordained in the hand of a mediator. (God)” Galatians 3: 19 “But before faith came, (Jesus) we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith (Jesus) which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (The faith of Christ)” (Words in parenthesis are added)

Think about this for a moment, would your salvation be complete apart from the death of Christ?  The answer is it would not be. If Christ had not died for my sin, your sin, you would never be a regenerated being. Therefore the reason for Paul saying do not remember Christ after the flesh anymore was because he was saying remember Him in His resurrection, that’s why we’ll never live eternally in hell.  All things Christ did before He died were to prove to Israel who He was.  But when He died on the cross, was buried and resurrected he purchased salvation for everyone who, by faith, trusts His work (death and resurrection) for his or her sin.

Verses 13-14 “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many of my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

Here we see the kind of zealot Paul was. To understand it better, let us look at three words, first in English and then the Greek definitions of them.
1. Conversation – In the Greek anastrophe – behavior or conversation
2. Jews’ Religion – In the Greek ioudaismos – Judaism
3. Wasted it – In the Greek portheo – to ravage, destroy

Before Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, his single focus was on persecuting and destroying the followers of Christ.  From among those of his own Jewish faith, he was recognized to have superior abilities and brought about more activities against the followers of Christ than all other Jews combined.  That is why he says he was “exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

In Acts 7:58; 8:1-3; 9:1-2 we are told of some of the things he did.  We see in these verses just how much hatred he had for followers of Christ. He spent almost every waking hour of the day in either persecuting and ravaging the believers or thinking and plotting how he could.  Of course this all changes after his conversion experience in Acts chapter nine, as we see here.
Verses 15-24: “ut when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.”

The words, “called me by His grace,” match the Acts nine conversion story.  The 15th verse also reveals that Paul had been chosen and dedicated for this ministry before he was born.  In verse 16 we see, “preach Him among the heathen.”  Heathen in the Greek is ethnos – a foreign race or tribe, in this instance non-Hebrew.

There are those who believe that Paul was supposed to be the twelfth apostle.  They believe that Peter and the others were a little too impatient and proceeded to elect another to fill Judas’ place, therefore being “out of the will of God.”  Those who say such things usually quote Acts 1:15-16 and say, “they had no authority to hold such a meeting in the first place.”

Then there are some that say, “they violated the instructions of the Lord.”  Proceeding to quote Acts 1:4: “And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me.”

The passage does not say anything about waiting before they should elect another apostle.  It simply says do not leave Jerusalem until you receive the promise of the Father.  That promise was “the power” of Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receiver power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and knew that it was necessary to have the full contingent of twelve apostles be endued with the power that had been promised. Plus, if you look in Acts 1:14 you will find that they prayed and were all in one accord before they proceeded with choosing a replacement. If you want further proof, look at John 20:22: “…. He breathed on them and saith unto them, receive the Holy Ghost:” The Scripture here lets us know that they were already filled with the Holy Ghost before they were endued with the power of the Holy Ghost.

And then there are those who question why only two were chosen to be voted upon?  That is simple! Read Acts 1:21-22: “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto the same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection.”  They chose only two for consideration because only two of them met the qualifications for the position.  That’s not hard to comprehend, is it?

So, we see that the apostles were filled with the Spirit, and if they were filled they were surely led to do what they did.  They were waiting for the power that would be needed to go forth and heal the sick, raise the dead, etc. so that all Isreal knew they were men of God.
Chapter Two

Galatians 2:1-5: “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”

This section of Galatians matches up with the 15th Chapter of Acts. It would be beneficial if you would go there and read that entire chapter before continuing.

Acts 15:1-12

In verse 1, it is evident that some Jews were very concerned about the new converts to Christianity.  Why?  Because the law said, “except ye be circumcised … ye cannot be saved,” (Look at Leviticus 12:1-3; John 7:22; and Gal. 5:3) You see, under the law, circumcision was a requirement for salvation.  If one were not circumcised it was as though he was thumbing his nose at the law.  This was a very serious thing to legalistic Jews.  These people were not the false brethren of Galatians 2:4, but Jews of genuine concern. However, they traveled to Antioch without any authority whatsoever.  Their intentions were good, but instead of making things better, they made them worse. Read Acts 15:24.

So, what was the problem with the Jews who came to teach at Antioch?  They were teaching according to what had been revealed to them scripturally, but they had not been evidently been enlightened about any dispensational change. What these people were telling others was in the Scriptures, they just did not know of the new revelations the Lord had given unto Paul. In other words, they did not understand the “mystery” that had been revealed unto Paul, and which Paul was now preaching. Good intentioned people are sometimes ignorant of God’s Word.

 It is the same today.  Too many preachers/teachers do not fully understand the mystery that God revealed unto Paul.  They have a great deal of scriptural knowledge and preach or teach based upon a limited knowledge of the Pauline Epistles, and specifically the mystery.  The Jews who had come to Antioch were wrong about the message Paul had delivered; and the preachers/teachers of today are wrong about the uniqueness of the mystery being taught today. Their ignorance of the “new” truth did not release the Jews at Antioch from their fault nor justify their actions. Neither does the action of preachers/teachers today excuse them for their ignorance of Pauline truth.

People who teach works as a requirement for salvation pervert the Gospel of the Grace of God. Works nullify grace for grace is a gift from God. (Rom. 4:4,15,20; 6:14-15; 11:5-6; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-8)  Preachers/teachers today who teach works as a part of salvation would do well to heed Galatians 1:6-9.

Was the mystery one single thing?  No!  It involved many things.

•The mystery which had been kept secret Rom.16:25-26 •The mystery of being grafted into
   the Olive tree Rom. 11:24-25
•The mystery of the purpose of Christ’s death 1 Cor. 2:7-8
•The mystery of the resurrection 1 Cor. 15:51-53
•The mystery of the Father’s will Eph. 1:9-11
•The mystery that had been hid in God Eph. 3:1-9
•The mystery of the Gospel Eph. 6:19
   Which is the death of Christ for our sins 1 Cor. 15:1-4
•The mystery “hid from ages and generations” Col. 1:25-27

The mystery, of which Paul preached, was revealed unto him (Eph. 3:3-6) by the Lord Jesus Christ. (Gal. 1:11-12)

Now let us go back to our study of Paul’s journey. (Gal. 2:1-5)  He goes back to Jerusalem with his companions to tell them more of what God had revealed to him. You must understand that the full revelation had not been received at this point in time. Upon arriving at Jerusalem he has at least two meetings:
1) A private one to “those of reputation”, which I believe was the religious order. (Acts 15:4-5) and
2) A separate meeting with the apostles (Acts 15:6; Gal. 2:7-9).

The first group accepted Paul’s calling but insisted Jewish believers who believed must be circumcised. But Titus, a Gentile, was not compelled to be circumcised. (Gal. 2:3)

You will notice in Galatians 2:9 that James, Peter and John are the key players in this discussion with Paul, but that soon changes. Peter’s role is significantly reduced from this point on and James; the brother of Jesus becomes the more dominant figure. (Acts 15:13-21)

But you will find that in Acts 15:7 Peter states that “by my mouth the Gentiles should hear.” The twelve had not been commanded to go to the Gentiles, only Peter. Why?  The twelve were given a commission to go to begin their ministry at Jerusalem. (Lk. 24:47) Then in Acts 2:6-8, while they were waiting to be endued with power from the Holy Spirit, the Lord told them that after Jerusalem, they were to proceed to Judea, then Samaria and only then were they to go to the rest of the world were Jews lived.

You must remember that the ministry of the twelve was a Jewish ministry.  Look at Matthew 10:5-10.  What did Jesus command them?  He said do not go to the Gentiles but go to the Jews. Now look at Matthew 15:21-28.  What does he tell the Syrophenician woman?   In verse 24 He says, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  And then He proceeds to tell her, “it is not meet (good) to take the children’s (Jews) bread (gospel of the Kingdom) and cast it to the dogs (Gentiles). (The italicized words are mine.)

In light of this information we can see why, in Galatians 2:9, James, Peter and John stated that they would go to the circumcision only.  We should also be able to see that the purpose of Peter going to Cornelius (Acts 10 & 11) was that of preparing the way for Paul. Look at Acts 15:11 and notice that it says, “we shall be saved even as they.”  It does not say, “they shall be saved even as we.”

When James addresses the group (Acts 15:13-21), you will notice he was not replying to the remarks of Paul and Barnabus, but the words of Peter (v.14).  James was pointing out that the message of Paul was not contrary to God’s purpose that Gentiles should be saved.

Let us look at Galatians 2:3-5 again.  That Titus was not compelled to be circumcised is one issue, but I want to draw your attention to verse 4. These “false brethren” who came to spy on them were not believers.  That’s why we have the word false in the passage – Greek pseudadelphos (a spurious brother, i.e., pretended associate, false brethren.). You will find that word in only one other place, 2 Cor. 11:26.  We have those same kind of people in our churches today, Christian in name only, not knowing Christ or trusting Him for salvation but very vocal about what is right and wrong. .

Who were they?  They were the enemy who only pretended to be friends. They are insiders, not outsiders.  They spy from within with the intent of overthrowing the enemy (saved People). The words “spy out” in the Greek is kataskopes – working or spreading harmfully in a secret way in order to entrap. It was their intent to destroy the credibility of Paul.  But being of their father, the Devil, they did it very subtlely, which is defined as “so sleight as to be difficult to detect or analyze; not immediately obvious; a subtle mind characterized by skill and ingenuity; clever, sly, devious, operating in a hidden and usually injurious way.”

These sly devils said they were believers but their actions told a different story. There are many in Christendom today who are just like these people in Galatians 2:4. They claim to be friends, but they are the enemy and go about doing their insidious work with one goal in mind – destroy the grace of God.  What is their purpose?  Look at the last part of the verse, “that they might bring us into bondage.”  Bondage is just another word for slavery, with no hope of being released, but grace makes one free.

Did Paul have mercy on them?  Did he say we should give them a chance to explain?  No!  Look at verse 5. Paul was not trying to make peace with these people; he was trying to expose them for what they were.  There are those who would condemn such an attitude today.  Why?  “So there would be peace among the brethren of the fellowship.”  Not Paul, not even for an hour would he tolerate their behavior.  And what was the reason he gave? “That the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”  Paul wasn’t about to let these people discredit the message of grace he preached. They wanted the “law message” to dominate.  They wanted the people to follow after the teaching of Peter and the 12, not Paul.  They wanted to place people under the bondage of the law.  And Listen, people of the 21st Century, there are those who are doing the same thing today.
Galatians 2:6-10: But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed [to be somewhat] in conference added nothing to me: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

Paul stands up for the gospel of the grace of God

What I want you to think about when you read these verses is what fundamental Christians do NOT emphasize.  For example:

When explaining these verses, most Christians say, “We must not suppose that the Gospel of the Uncircumcision is any different from the Gospel of the Circumcision.”

“Why,” I ask?

“Paul is not talking about two separate messages to two distinctly separate groups of people,” they say. “There is only one message.  It is presented one way to the Jew and another way to the Gentiles.”

“I don’t think so,” say I.  And then I begin to explain my answer for the meaning this way:

1. There is only one way to be saved today, but at the time Paul wrote the Book of Galatians there were two gospels being preached with two distinct messages – one for the Jew and one for the Gentile.

2. There is only one Savior, but there are two different relationships: One for members of the Church the Body of Christ and one for members of the Earthly Kingdom (Jews).

3. There is but one saving faith, and that is the faith required of God for the dispensation at hand. (If you will study you will see dispensational changes.)

Let me explain the three points.

1.  There is but one way to be saved today – but at the time of this writing of Galatians there were two different instructions to accomplish God’s plan of salvation.

 a.   For the circumcised, one must repent and be baptized.
 Mark 16:14-18; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21
b.  For the Uncircumcised, there seems to be a contradiction to the above “repent and be baptized issue.”
 1 Corinthians 1:17; 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9

Which way is the correct way?  Both are. Before you label me a heretic, let me hasten to say, “Christ died for the Jew and the Gentile and His blood is what washes away all sin – for the Jew and the Gentile.”  One of the issue here is about baptism. 

What was the purpose for water baptism?

a.  For the Circumcised: Luke 3:3 reads: “And He came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Jesus (at the time the passage was written) was teaching that all who would believe must repent and be baptized before they could receive remission of sins. 

As He was about to depart the Earth, He instructed His disciples to teach likewise.  This they did, as is evident from Peter’s Pentecostal Address. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38

Did baptism forgive them of their sins? No!  Did baptism have anything to do with saving them from their sins? No!  Christ blood does that.  Then why were the disciples instructed to preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins?

Before I can answer that question we must first have a definition of the word remission.  Question:  If you were diagnosed with cancer and were later told that cancer was in remission, would that mean the cancer was gone, never to return?  No!  Remission, in this case, means there is no outward evidence that the cancer exists.  That was the case with water baptism.  It was an outward evidence of sins being taken care of until they could be blotted out completely.  Which is exactly why Peter followed that statement in Acts 2:38 with the following statement from Acts 3: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” Acts 3:19 (Underlining added)

Question:  Then why did people have to be baptized if it was not for remission/forgiveness of sin?  Simple, the Lord commanded the people to be baptized. That is why baptism had to be taught and subsequently done.  “Yes, but that all changed when He died on the cross, didn’t it?”  No!  Christ had died, was buried and resurrected when Peter was preaching in Acts two and three. 

FACT: The Gospel of the Circumcision committed unto Peter and the other disciples carried with it a command from the Lord – water baptize.

b.  For the Uncircumcised, Water baptism does nothing more than get one wet. There was no command given to Paul to baptize people for remission of sins.  That is what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:17: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” “Did Paul baptize any believers?”  Yes! He says so in 1 Corinthians 1:14-16, BUT HE QUICKLY ADDS IN VERSE 17: That water baptism was not a command from the Lord for him to preach.

“Why do denominations baptize today?”  Good Question, but there is not an easy answer for it.  For the Catholic it means one thing; For the Baptist it means another thing; For the Church of Christ it means yet another, which by the way is the same meaning as it was for Peter and the twelve apostles.  But regardless of the denomination, the fact remains that water baptism has no purpose today, other than getting the person being baptized wet or becoming a member of a denomination.

What does the passage in Ephesians 4:5 say? “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” Which baptism is the passage speaking of? That’s easy, the baptism in the passage is spiritual, not water. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:13.

What about the baptism mentioned in Romans 6:3-5?  It too is spiritual.  Don’t get too emotional over this explanation of the passage without examining the verses carefully. “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:”

Question: Are you physically dead?  Have you been physically resurrected from the dead?  The answer is no. But if you have trusted that Christ died for your sins, was buried and resurrected for your justification, then you are spiritually dead, buried and resurrected.

The circumcised believers who received the gospel preached by Peter and the 12 are still waiting for the atonement of their sins.  That will occur at the Second Coming of the Lord. (Acts 3:19-21)  The uncircumcised believers that believed the gospel committed unto Paul have their sins atoned for the moment they believe. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him, For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have NOW received the atonement.” Rom. 5 8-11. (Look also at Eph. 1:7 and Col. 1:14)

Now let’s look at statement number two.
2.  There is but one Savior but two Different Relationships

a. For believers of the gospel of the circumcision, their inheritance is an earthly one.  When Christ comes back to the Earth the second time, he not only will blot out sins being held in remission, but He will rule and reign for 1000 years on this earth. Christ will be the King over the people on earth.
b.  For the believers of the gospel of the uncircumcision, their inheritance is a heavenly one. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual
Blessings in heavenly places.” Eph. 1:3. Christ will be the head of a body.

Statement number three:
3.  There is but one Saving faith

a.  For the believers of the Gospel of the Circumcision, their faith must include water baptism (a work) for salvation. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38

b.  For the believers of the Gospel of the uncircumcision, the Faith of Christ saves. He did the work. Eph. 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Forgiveness of sins for both groups of believers was accomplished by trusting Christ’s shed blood for remission of sins, forgiveness of sin and atonement for sin.  The atonement for believes in this dispensation comes the moment one believes, but it will come for believers in past dispensations at the Second Coming of the Lord.

Galatians 2:11-14: “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

To get a clearer picture of the significance of the passage under discussion, may I direct your attention to the reading of Acts 15:7-11.  In the passage, Peter is defending the Pauline position of grace, and concurred that Gentiles were not to be placed under Jewish law.  May I point out one verse for your further consideration?  “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ WE shall be saved (future tense), even as they.” Acts 15:11.  Peter knew that their salvation would be forthcoming, just as Paul was preaching.  But He also knew they must follow the command to baptize until that time occurred.

When Paul goes to Jerusalem (Gal. 2:6-10) there seemed to have been some decision reached about that same issue. But in the verse we are considering at this time, Peter is at Antioch – at a Gentile gathering. When he was the only apostle there, he did not see anything wrong about his eating with Gentiles.  But once a group of Jews that had been sent there by James appeared, Peter withdrew from having any fellowship with the Gentile believers.  Reason:  he was afraid of his fellow Jewish comrades.

It is apparent from this section of Galatians (Vs. 11-15), that Paul called Peter to task on that issue. In verse 11 it says that Paul “withstood him.” Withstood in the Greek is anmtistemi – to oppose, resist, withstand, or to stand firm. What Peter says specifically is not known for a certainty. But it must have been something about the law, for what follows in the next few verses is some of the best information on Law versus Grace of all the Pauline epistles.

Paul was the chosen apostle of the Gentiles and a great leader.  He was not timid, nor did Peter, James or any of the Jewish hierarchy intimidate him.  In Ezekiel 22:30, God looked for someone who would “stand in the gap” but found none.  But He did not have that problem with Paul.  Paul was a fighter, a zealot for whatever the cause.  He did not know how to give anything but the very best he had, regardless of whom he came up against.

Peter was a great leader, too.  But like so many of us, he had a few character flaws. Remember it was Peter who denied the Lord thrice. What do I hope you see in this?  Just because someone is a “leader in the church” does not mean that he is not subject to err, nor does it mean that they are always right.

Be careful whom you “blindly” follow.  Men, whether they are pastor, teacher, Rabbi, Priest or Pope, all make mistakes.  When you do not fully understand, ask questions. Make your religious leaders prove what they say – from Scripture.  Do not be afraid to challenge them or to stand against them.  God is looking for a few good people to stand in the gap. And never forget that Satan is an angel of light, seeking to destroy all who would trust Christ. His ministers will stand and fight back, so beware of them.

Make sure that the Scripture you use is from the translation found in a King James Bible.  It is the one translation that is solid and dependable.  I believe that Satan’s goal is to get people to read the watered down Living Bible, the revised text that de-emphasize the shed blood of Christ for salvation or the Deity of Christ. Or Satan will encourage you to read those translations that deny that the faith of Christ is what saves, not your faith in Christ.

So you can add to the list of unacceptable translations the following: The New English New Testament, The Revised Standard Version, The New American Standard, Goodspeed, Moffatt, Wuest, Amplified, The New Testament by J. B. Phillips, New International Version, Good News for Modern Man, The New Testament in Modern English, The New Berkley Version, The Jerusalem Bible, and the New King James Version.

Try checking out a few verses and compare them against a King James’ text: Galatians 2:16 (Faith of Christ become faith in Christ); Luke 3:3 (Joseph is changed to father); Mark 15:39 (The Son of God is “A” son of God); Luke 4:41 (the Christ is out); Luke 22:20 (The verse is omitted in RSV); Romans 1:16 (of Christ is out or in parenthesis);

The blood of the Lord is omitted in Matthew 27:4,24,25; Acts 5:28; 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13; Colossians 1:14, 20; Hebrews 10:19; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 1:5,5:9.
Galatians 2:15-17: “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,” Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.”

After Paul rebukes Peter, he proceeds to write verses 15-17.  Jews considered all Gentiles sinners.  That’s sort of like saying I had a painter that was a drunk, so all painters must be drunks. The Jews believed they were better than the Gentiles were. So I believe Paul, in verse 15, sarcastically makes the statement listed there.

Please notice verse 16 carefully. The verse states that justification is by the Faith OF Christ, not faith IN Christ, as so many translation say.  It says that those who believe in Christ are justified by the faith OF Christ.  If you were justified by your faith, that would be a work you could perform, something you could do. But Paul says that man is NOT justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Christ. Christ alone paid the debt for your sins.  That debt was the shedding of His blood on Calvary.

It made Paul mad that Peter had endorsed the message of grace at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1-10) and that now he was “running scared” because of some trouble makers from the church at Jerusalem telling him Jews were better than Gentiles. People today are also running scared for fear of the wrath they might have to endure from the hierarchy of their respective denomination; whether it comes from Nashville, Evansville, Rome or anywhere else.

Galatians 2:18-21: “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.  For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. “

Verse 18 says Christ does not make us sinners, we do.

Paul tells Peter, in no uncertain terms, “I told you once and I told you twice, now I’m telling you for the last time – I am dead to the law.” (V. 19) Why?  Because Jesus Christ nailed the law to the cross. (Col. 2:14) It is not because of anything I have done, but it is because of what He did. (Rom. 7:4, 25; 8:4)

In other Epistles that Paul wrote he says:

I am not under the law but grace Rom. 6:14
Believers are loosed and delivered from the law Rom. 7:2, 6
Christians are free from the law Rom. 8:2
Christ is the end of the law Rom. 10:4

And here in Galatians 2:19, Paul says we are dead to the law.

Suppose you were executed for murder and a month after they laid you in your grave it was discovered that you had committed other murders than you were not tried for.  Can the law punish you for murder after you are dead?  No! The law had condemned sinners to die (Rom.6:23). So the whole world stands guilty before God. (Rom. 3:19) It was the law that condemned us, but in Galatians 2:20 it states that I have been crucified with Christ, therefore the law has no power over me because Christ died for my sins, He died in my place. I can’t be tried for something there has been a death for already.

God Almighty has judged the sins of the world, and has sentenced Jesus Christ to die for them.  When I trusted Him as my Savior, I died too.  I was buried, and you can’t bring charges against me for sinning since I am already dead to sin.  The law is powerless to touch me.   It has killed me, and that’s that. The Bible said it and I believe it.

When the Romans put Christ on the cross and killed him, they saw only one man, the God-man Jesus Christ on that cross.  But God saw me and you, and you, and you. God saw all of mankind on the cross that day, some 2000 years ago. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:26. Jesus paid the price for my sin – his blood. Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ can make me clean. When I stand before Almighty God he will not see me as a sinner, He will see me cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ. As a matter of fact, God only sees Jesus, for we are all part of his body.

I am dead, but I am alive. I am alive because Jesus Christ arose from the dead. And since I am a part of His body, I arose from the dead too. Look at Romans 8:1-4. In there it says: I am crucified with Christ;  I am dead with Christ;  That I’m dead to the law and dead to the flesh.  But yet, I go on living.  And there is no condemnation to those of us who have been made spiritually alive in Christ.  There is no condemnation because to condemn me would be to condemn Christ.

In 2 Peter 2:22 Peter says that a washed pig will go right back and get in the mud as soon as you release her. Sure, you can go get that prize pig, wash her up real good, put a ribbon around her neck and let her stay in your house for a spell.  You may even sit down and talk to her about what you expect her to do or not do.  When you let that pig out and she sees a big old mud puddle, do you think that pig is going to remember those rules you gave her?  No!  That pig that had just been washed will return to the mud hole. That pig is not subject to rules.

A pig is a pig is a pig. The only thing you can do to ensure that that pig won’t get back in the mud is to kill her. But, take a living Lamb, clean without spot or blemish and put the Lamb inside that dead pig.  What you have is a pig that doesn’t want to go lay down in the mud with the other pigs anymore.  The other pigs call her names and speak badly about her.  They say this is not a real pig.  Sure, it looks like a pig, smells like a pig, but it doesn’t act like a pig. The reason?  The Lamb of God is inside her.  And now the Lamb is the life of that pig. Sure, every now and then you might see some of that old pig’s nature popping up.  She may even get down and roll in the mud on occasion.  But that pig with the Living Lamb inside will never be completely happy until she gets out and cleans herself up.

I know this is not a very good example of what Christ has done for us.  But Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, lives inside a person who has trusted Him for salvation. He is your life.  You still have the old “pig like” body you’ve always had, but Christ now resided within.

“And if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal. 2:21) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.  Our salvation is dependent upon the shed blood of Christ.  My flesh is not subject to the law because Christ, in the flesh, died for the sins of my flesh. 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:3-5; 2:7; 5:27, 30; Col. 3:3.

 

 

 

Chapter Three

Galatians 3:1-5: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

Paul continues his effort to prove the law is a dead issue. In theses verses he is asking if the Holy Spirit is a product of the law or of grace, but before detailing that he wants to know something else – “who has bewitched you?”

The Greek word for “bewitched” is baskino: to change from one condition to another; to drive out of his mind; to confuse, as in witchcraft exercised through looks and words.

So Paul wants to know who has confused them so that they are nearly driven crazy.  Why the concern here?  Jesus Christ had been preached to them.  They, by faith, had received Him, having trusted in Christ’s finished work on Calvary for their salvation, and now they were being turned away from the truth by some outside force.  It was as though they were bewitched. Why?  They were now looking for righteousness to come to them by the law, not by grace. “…For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal. 2:21) Not only that, but also all that Christ did would be in vain too.  Look at 1 Cor. 15:1-17 and count the number of times the word “vain” is mentioned.  The number is five”
 V.   2 “Unless ye have believed in vain.”
 V. 10 “Grace bestowed (on Paul) was not in vain.”
 V. 14 “Preaching vain…your faith vain.”
 V. 17 “Your faith vain.”

Paul uses the words “in Vain often. In 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul warns us not to receive the grace of God in vain. In Galatians 2:2, he is cautious when speaking to the Jews lest, “ that he had run in vain.” In Galatians 2:21 his concern was, “if righteousness came by the law, Christ is dead in vain. Then finally in Galatians 4:10 he was concerned that their observance of things in the law meant that his work among them was in vain.

In the Strong’s Concordance, vain or in vain has four different meanings:

Dorean without cause, for naught, in vain – Gal. 2 21

Elke/Elko without a reason, without a cause, to be weak, To yield   Gal. 3:4; Gal. 4:11; 1 Cor.15:2

Kenos Empty, without content, effect or purpose – 1 Cor. 15: 10, 14;2 Cor. 6:1; Gal. 2:2
Galatians 3: 1

For these Galatians to think that the death of Jesus Christ was insignificant made Paul sick to his stomach. That’s why he calls them foolish in Galatians 3:1.  Foolish in the Greek is – anoetos: unintelligent, unwise, and foolish. In today’s American vernacular we would probably use the words: stupid or idiot.

To “Obed-ize” the verse, it would read: “O, stupid, lacking in any kind of intelligence, Galatians, who has cast their evil eye on you so that you won’t believe the truth.”

In no uncertain terms, Paul was letting the Galatians know that whoever or whatever it was that had turned them from the truth was not God, but the Devil. Witchcraft was present in those days even as it is today.  The people they were listening to were not preachers sent from God, but preachers of the devil. They were listening to false preachers that had perverted both their minds and the truth. It doesn’t matter that they were from Jerusalem and acted as though they were God’s elect and chosen.  Paul in essence says they were heathens, fortunetellers and soothsayers practicing their witchcraft on them. (2 Cor. 11:13; Gal. 2:4; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Pet. 2:1-2)

The first verse of Galatians Chapter three links chapter two and three together. You must fully understand all of chapter two to get the full impact of Galatians 3:1.

2:7-9 Paul’s Gospel of Grace was a different gospel than that being preached by the twelve apostles.

2:10-14 Peter knew the uniqueness of Paul’s gospel but was uncertain and wavering.

2:16 This Gospel of Salvation Paul preached was the sole work of Christ and His faith.

2:20-21 Paul’s new life was not a result of his own faith, but by the faith of Christ. Grace is free, whereas the law demanded something. If righteousness came by the law then Christ died for nothing.
Galatians 3: 2

Paul knew the Galatians had accepted the grace of God by simple faith, and he knew they were aware of that fact.  Paul was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people knew this change was a result of the power of the Holy Spirit.  Paul never once gave the law any validity in the salvation process, and that is why he posed the questions of verses one through three. 

“Do you have the Holy Spirit?”

“If you do, How did you get it?”

“You know that answer without my having to ask, don’t you?”

Yes they knew, but they had disregarded what they knew in favor of a more charismatic, emotional, thought-provoking premise.  And that is exactly what more and more people are doing in this day and age.  Many “church goers” are constantly praying to receive a “special” kind of spirit and working themselves half to death to get it. Others spend their time learning certain words and how to “spit them out” in rapid fire succession and call it speaking with new tongues.

Know this of a certainty.  The moment a lost sinner trusts in the all-sufficient work of Christ, the Spirit of God comes to indwell the believer. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”(1 Cor. 3:16.) Also: (1 Cor.12: 13, 27; 1 Cor. 2: 11;1 Cor. 6:17-20) And once the Spirit is in us, we have liberty: “Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor. 3:17), plus we know that we are children of God. (Rom. 8:14-17) 

We are no longer servants of sin, we are Sons of God. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Gal. 4 6-7, and have been adopted into the family of God.  The Spirit of God that now dwells within us assures our own spirit that:

1. We are a part of God’s family and
2. We have an inheritance with God in heaven.

Everything that God has is ours because we are joint-heirs with God. (Rom. 8: 5-17)

Ephesians 4:4 states: there is but one Spirit. We received that Spirit when we were justified by the faith of Jesus Christ. (Gal. 2:16; 3:2) Others may say you can have more of the Spirit if your faith is strong enough.  But I tell you there is no Scriptural evidence of that.  To be filled with the Spirit means what it says – filled.  Full is full, no doubt about it.  Going to church every time the door is opened will not make you any more filled with the Spirit than someone who only attends services once a week or never attends a worship service at all.  If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, the Spirit of God came into you in its fullness.

True, the Bible exhorts the believer to “be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph.5:18) And Ephesians 5:19-21 goes on to tell us how this is accomplished.  The filling is not accomplished by getting more of the Spirit, but getting rid of more of the flesh.  If there is no evidence of the Spirit in our lives, it is because we have quenched the Spirit (1 Thes. 5:19) and when we quench the Spirit, allowing the flesh to dominate, that in turn grieves the Spirit. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30)

The Greek word for quench is abennumi – to extinguish, to go out, to quench a fire. What are some ways we can quench the Spirit?

1. By neglecting the study of the Word of God.

2. By failing to give thanks unto God for all He has done.

3. By allowing our fleshly desires to destroy a marriage.

4. By allowing our children to grow up without proper discipline and love.

5. By believing men more than you believe the Word of God.

In these verses, Galatians 3:2-3 that we are considering, it seems as though the people had believed, but they thought that their perfection in the Spirit was completed by their faithfulness in the keeping of the law.  “Not so,” says Paul. “You did not receive the Spirit by anything you did and cannot be made perfect by anything you do.  You received the Spirit by the faith of Christ and it is He, and He alone that makes your perfect.”

People who teach that “speaking in tongues” has anything to do with the perfecting of the saints are no different from those who came from Jerusalem to the Galatians saying; “you must be circumcised.”  The speaking of tongues is a work that people do by their own volition, whereas the Biblical principal of “the filling of the Spirit” comes by the grace of God.

In Galatians 3:2-3, God says you did not receive the Spirit by the law and you cannot perfect it by the efforts of the flesh. The law cannot be anything more than what it is.  Even thought the law falls into three distinct divisions,
 Moral obligations
 Godly worship, and
 Social regulations;

The law must be viewed as one; and to offend in one part is to offend in all. (James 2:10)

The Bible says the law was never intended to justify man.  It was given to show mankind how guilty he was before God and to show that the only way man could please God was through the faith of Jesus Christ. (Gal. 2:16)  If you think that by your trying to keep any part of the law will make you holy, you have prostituted the grace of God.  It is Christ, and Christ alone that sanctifies and justifies the believer.

To think that you can begin in the Spirit and expect perfection to come from being good or by keeping the law is being foolish. “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3) God forbid! Why would God set you apart by the Spirit, send the Spirit to reside within you and then leave it up to you to make you complete?  He wouldn’t and He doesn’t, it’s as simple as that. Man is complete in Christ. “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power;” (Col. 2:9-10)

So, verse three, Obed-ized, says: “Are you so stupid to think that God would do all the work in salvation, cleanse you of all sin by the blood of Christ, justify you and then leave it up to you to make you complete, you must be crazy.”

 Why would God do that?  He doesn’t!  Anything done in the flesh is not pleasing to God. (Rom. 8:5-10)

In Galatians 3:3, the word perfect in the Greek is epiteleo – to completely fulfill, make oneself complete. The Bible word sanctify in the Greek is hagiazo- to make Holy. And 1 Corinthians 6:11 says we are sanctified in the name of Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.

The law cannot save; neither can it make one complete or perfect. The law can only do one thing – kill! Anything that is a work of the flesh can do nothing to make one complete.  So you could never be made complete if you spoke in tongues 24 hours of every day for the rest of your life.  God said it, I believe it, and that settles it!

Galatians 3:4-5:

If we look at the letter to the Galatians closely we see that after these people first accepted the gospel that Paul preached, they endured much suffering.  But Paul says if you are convinced that the law justified you, all those sufferings you experienced are in vain.  From whom did their suffering come? It came from the group of people who were trying to get them to be circumcised. Hey, want to be free from suffering? “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” (Gal. 6:12-13)

I could say the same thing about the people who implore others to speak in tongues. They jump up and down, holler as loud as they can, walk on the pews from the front of the church to the back and fall out on the floor. They are glorying in the flesh – your flesh, if you jabber just a little for them.

What is Paul saying in verse 5? “Everything you received was by the Spirit. If you place yourself under the mandates of these people, your faith is in vain or without a reason. I came to you doing the things I did in the power of Almighty God. That power came by faith, not by works.”
Galatians 3:6-10: “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”

Paul continues by saying, “Furthermore, it is the same kind of faith as Abraham. They which are of faith are the children of Abraham.”  How could these Gentiles be counted as the sons of Abraham?  The answer is found in Genesis 12:1-4. 

God said:
1. “Get of the country.”  Abraham got out. 
2. “Go unto a land that I will show you.”  Abraham went – not knowing where he was going.
3. “I will make thee a great nation and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shall be a blessing.”  And what did Abraham think about that? 

Look at Genesis 12:4: “So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken unto him.”  Abraham did not give any excuses as to why he couldn’t go, nor did he add something to what God said or ask how God was going to bless him, he just went.  He simply believed God. Read Romans 4:1-4.
I list verse 3 for you: “For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

He simply believed God. That is not a simple statement, but it is very much a powerful one.  Look at it closely.  He did not believe “about” God.  He did not believe “in” God.  He simply believed God.  Psalms 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.  They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” What does the verse say? No one but a fool would say there is no God. You may believe there is a God. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (JA. 2:19) You may believe a lot of things about God, but that is not the same as just believing God.

It was Abraham’s faith in God that saved him, not Abraham’s faith. Abraham’s faith trusted God. God never told him where he was going and God did not give him any directions on how to get where he was to go.  But did that prevent him from going? No! Abraham went anyhow. He believed God would take him where He wanted him to be.

Look at the sequence of events surrounding the issue of Abraham’s faith:

1. He heard God,
2. Believed God,
3. And obeyed God. 
4. He accepted the Word of God unconditionally. 
5. He offered no excuses, as many do, like: “I’ll go just as soon as I can get enough money to sustain me on my journey;” or “I’ll go after I see if my wife agrees to it;” or “I’ll go if you can give me a vision of where I am going.”

All Abraham had was God’s promise – God’s Word.  Faith in God is believing God will do what He says. Faith hears, believes and then acts upon that belief. (Rom. 10:9-10, 13, 17;1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9).

It would have been easy for Abraham not to believe.  Why?  He was very old and past the age of being fertile.  His wife Sarah was past the age of being fertile too. (Gen. 18:11; Rom. 4:18-22; Heb. 11:11) But Abraham did not take the easy way out, he believed God –  and Isaac is the proof of it.

Galatians 3:10-12: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.”

Once again the law is compared with faith. Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26. Galatians 3:10 “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Deuteronomy 27:26 actually says, “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of the law to do them.”  But the meaning is the same: if you cannot keep all the law, the law becomes a curse to you.

Notice what Deuteronomy 28 says (Go there): Verse 1 – starts with “if thou shalt keep the commandments” there would be certain blessings to follow (Vs. 9, 13, and 15).  If they did not keep the commandments then, beginning with verse 16, tells of the curses to come.  I caution you to pay attention to the prepositions and conjunctions found in Scripture. The fact remains that salvation through the keeping of the law is impossible. And that is what Paul states in Galatians 3:11.

Galatians 3:11 is taken from Habakkuk 2:4, only Habakkuk reads: ”The just shall live by His faith.”  Which is exactly what Galatians 2:16 says? This verse is the very foundation of truth, and yet all Bible versions other than The King James Bible say something else, and in essence destroy the real truth of the passage.  It is Christ’s faith that saves not man’s faith in Christ. (See the author’s book: Faith of Christ)

Faith believes God.  Simple but true.  If we are to be saved in this present dispensation, we must believe:
1. That it is Christ’s faith that saves us,
2. It is Christ blood that is for remission of sins,
3. It is Christ who conquered death and is resurrected and guarantees us a resurrected life and a heavenly inheritance.

We can now stand in the very presence of God and be declared righteous, not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done.
Galatians 3:13-14: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Let us look at the word redeemed in verse 13.  In the Greek it is exagorazo – to purchase out, buy up from the power of possession, to redeem, release, set free from bondage.

In other words, Christ freed all that were under the bondage of the law, the curse of the law that had been imposed upon the Jew. Christ, in death, gave Himself as the accepted sacrifice. Jesus, who was without sin, became a substitute for all sinners who would believe; became a curse for mankind and shed His blood and died so that all might live.

When the Jews executed criminals it was usually by stoning one to death.  However, if they wanted to bring shame on the person they hung them, which under Jewish law was a curse. (Deut. 21:22-23) It was evident from their act that the Jewish leadership wanted to bring shame upon Jesus.

Now that we have a picture of what Christ did, let’s muddy the waters for a moment.  Who are the “us” of the verse? Is it Jew or Gentile? Look at Galatians 4:4-5.  The only Gentiles who were under the law in the first place were those who blessed Israel or feared God.  God gave the law to the nation Israel. The Gentiles did not have the law. (Rom. 2:14)

If we Gentiles were never under the law, why do denominations want to enslave you with their mandates: don’t do this, don’t do that, etc.? I’ll tell you. They do not understand how to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)  The blessings that Gentiles receive are because of what Christ did on Calvary. And since Christ is the seed of Abraham, those Gentiles in Galatia who blessed Israel were partakers of the promises given unto Israel through Abraham’s seed, which is Jesus. (Gal. 3:16)

But beware!  There are some Gentiles who never blessed Israel and were not subject to the promises or blessings of Abraham. (Eph. 2:11-12)

These Gentiles were
1) Without Christ,
2) Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,
3) Strangers from the covenants of promise,
4) Having no hope, and
5) Without God.

How will they be saved?  They will be saved by the grace of God, through the faith of Christ. (Eph. 2:8-9)

What you need to understand is there were some Gentiles who were saved from the curse of the law and some who were saved in spite of it.  If we rightly divide the Word, we can separate those who were and those who were not. Why?  Because there are some today who teach we are under the law and are subject to its curse.  These people are the ones who want you to be in bondage to the hierarchy of the denominational system or the local church affiliate. They want to rule over you and control your actions.  They are the ones who tell you can’t do this or that.  They are the ones who say if you do not attend church regularly you are not pleasing God.

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. Bible study is important, and you ought to attend a good Bible study whenever you can.  However, you should be motivated to attend because you want to increase your knowledge of God, not because the local church intimidates you.

What we are discussing here in Galatians 3 are two different types of Gentiles.

1) Those who were saved from the curse of the law, and
2) Those who were not. 

Look at Ephesians 1:12-13.  In these passages of Scripture you will notice two distinct groups of people.  They are identified by two pronouns: we and ye.

1. We who first trusted in Christ
2. Ye who also trusted

Most Bible scholars believe the passage is discussing the distinction between Jew and Gentile. They use Eph. 2:14 to validate their position, saying the middle wall of partition of the verse is the law, and the law is what separated the Jew and the Gentile since the law was given to Israel.

I believe the law is the middle wall of partition too. I also believe the law was given specifically to the Jew and not to the Gentile. (Rom. 2 14)  There are some others things I believe about the law: it was divisive, righteous, Holy,“worketh wrath” to name a few. However, I believe the middle wall of partition of Ephesians 2:14 separated the “we who first trusted” from the “ye who also trusted,” and that the two groups are Gentiles, not Jew and Gentile. (Se the authors Book on the Middle Wall, http://www.soundwordsministry.org 

There were Gentiles at Ephesus who trusted Christ and blessed Israel, therefore were under the blessings of Abraham. However, there were some Gentiles who obviously did not think well of Israel and were “…aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12)

The things I want you to see clearly are:
1. Gentiles were never under the law. (Proselytes were, but they had converted to Judaism and must live as a Jew)
2. Non-proselyte Gentiles were blessed because of the promises given to Abraham through his seed, Jesus.
3. Some Gentiles were blessed on the merits of God’s grace alone. These Gentiles were:

a. Not circumcised
b. Were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel
c. Were stranger from the covenants of promise
d. Were without God and had no hope of salvation
e. Did not fear God
f. Did not bless Israel
g. Were not “workers of righteousness.”
h. Were idol worshippers (Acts 19: 35)

Read carefully.  At one point in time, there was a group of people who could not be saved under the existing Biblical guidelines of the present-day dispensation, the dispensation of the law. Why?  They were in open defiance to any of God’s requirements for salvation.  They did not love nor fear the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They refused to bless Israel because they hated them.  They were idol worshippers and thereby fell under the curse of Almighty God.

Were Gentiles being saved in the Old Testament and in Matthew through John? Yes!  This is no big secret nor was it a mystery. Here are just a few verses of Scripture from:
1) The Old Testament that mention such: (Gen. 22:18; 26:4; Deut. 32:8; Psalms 18:49; 67:1-2; 72:17; 117:1; Isa. 11:10; 42:6; 49 6, 22; 60:3; 62: 2; Jer. 16:19; Mal. 1:11)
2) The New testament (Matt. 12:21; Lk. 2:32; acts 10: 45; Rom. 15:8-12)

In the letter to the Ephesians Paul records things not found anywhere else in the Old or New Testament.  Please read Ephesians 3:1-12 – now.  What you just read, simply stated, was there were some things concerning Gentiles that were unknown until the Lord revealed them to Paul. These things (mystery) were not recorded in any Scripture, but were “hid in God.” (Eph. 3:9)

Ephesians 3:8 tells us they were “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” The word unsearchable in the Greek is anexichniastos and is defined as past finding out. The word is used only one more time in Scripture: Romans 11:33.

God had a special plan for a group of Gentiles.  He kept that plan a secret until He raised up Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and revealed His plan unto him. He had chosen these Gentiles “before the foundation of the world.” (Eph. 1:4) “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:” In the passage the Greek word for foundation is katabole and translates as casting down or overthrow, disruption, destruction ruin. In all occurrences of this word, except for one (Heb. 11:11) it is connected with the world.

With this fact in mind then you can clearly see that Ephesians 1:4 tells about a group of people who had been chosen by God to be holy and without blame long before the overthrow of Satan and the subsequent destruction of the world. (Gen. 1:1-2) This is sometimes referred to as the Gap Theory. In Verse one God creates heaven and earth.  In verse two the Earth was “without form and void.” Got to http://www.soundwordsministry.org and look for Time Line.

The Hebrew words for form and void are tohuw va bohuw. Tohuw translates as: “to lie waste, in ruin, a worthless thing;: while bohuw translates as: “to be empty, an undistinguishable ruin, emptiness.” Isaiah 45:18 states that God did not create the world as a worthless waste land. So if the world is an empty wasteland in verse two of Genesis one, then it became that way after the overthrow of Satan.

In Ephesians 3 we find the Dispensation of the Grace of God mentioned. “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward;”(V. 2) We find it was a mystery, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery;…”(v. 3) hid in God, “…Which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God…”(v. 9)

What was that Mystery? It was that a certain group of Gentiles, who, at one point in time had no hope of salvation, was now receiving a message from Paul that God had kept a secret for hundreds of thousands of years. That secret was that Gentiles would be blessed, not through the Jews but by the preaching of the gospel. He determined this long before He called out Abraham to be the Father of the Jews. What is the gospel? “…That Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1Cor. 15:1-3-4)
Galatians 3:15-20: “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though [it be] but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”

Verse 15: “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannuleth, or addeth thereto.”  This verse simply states the covenant between God and Abraham has been confirmed.  Nothing man does will change it and God will not change it.  Everything God promised Abraham will happen.  The questions then are: 1) has it already happened, or 2) is it going to happen at a latter date? The answer is, it will occur when the Lord comes back to earth and reigns as king.

Verse 16: We discussed this earlier.  The main point of consideration in the verse is it was to Abraham’s Seed (singular) that the promise would come, and that Seed is Christ, the Seed of the woman that would bruise the head of the serpent. (Gen. 3:15)  Notice that in a King James Bible the Seed is capitalized, indicating a proper noun, and is followed by the word “it.”  “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” However, the Catholic Vulgate translates the word “it” as “she.” I wonder why?  This is the very root of Mariolatry, which is defined: excessive or idolatrous worship of the Virgin Mary; and the reason Mary is given a place equal to that of Jesus.  This is idolatrous thinking and must be exposed for the heresy it is.

Verses 17-18: Nothing can add to or set aside the covenant of promise given 430 years before the law came into existence.  It was an unconditional covenant and could not be broken.  Although the Promise was unconditional, the condition of blessing was predicated upon ones attitude toward Israel, i.e. “Bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee.” (Gen. 12:1-3)

Verse 19 tells us why the law was given in the first place. It was added because of transgressions.  The law was given to show that sin would abound. (Rom. 7:13; 5:20)  But here in verse 19 it says the law was added, “till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made.” Look at Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” And Galatians 3: 19 continues and says the law was “ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” That mediator was Moses.

Verse 20: “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one” This verse used to confuse me, but stop and think about it; if there is to be mediation, there must be two parties involved.  Moses stood between God and man, but God was the only one in connection with Abraham.  The law depended upon God and man (two) but the promise was only dependant on one – God.  Therefore the covenant with Abraham became as strong and reliable as God Himself. But the covenant made with Moses, the law, was only as good as man’s reliability, and who can depend upon man in the flesh? The answer: nobody!

God had dealt with man for over 2000 years without the law.  When the law was given, man began to live under its curse. The law demanded death for mankind. We have just come to know that the law was added because of sin. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God (Jesus Christ) is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”(Rom. 6:23)

The law became a yoke around man’s neck.  It became burdensome and impossible to live under, and yet if man broke even one part of it he was guilty of all. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (Ja. 2:10) Listen to me carefully: “The law was never intended to make one righteous; it was to show man how bad he was.”  Isaiah 64:6 says: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all…” our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” And Jeremiah 17:9 states that: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it.”  Christ placed Himself under the law, then died to free mankind from the curse of it. Praise God Almighty for such a wonderful Savior.

 

Galatians 3:21-29: “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Verse 21 is self-explanatory.  The law does not go against the promises of God.  If the law could have given mankind eternal life, then righteousness would have come by the law and not through Jesus Christ.

Verse 22: “The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith OF Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Once again we see the words by faith of Christ. Christ believed that if He were to die at Calvary that God would raise Him from the dead.  “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in hope.  For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”(Psalms 16:9-10) Look also at Acts 13:32-37)

Faith simply believes God, and Jesus believed. Jesus died on the cross. He did the work necessary for mankind’s salvation.  All who believe the work He did on Calvary was for their salvation will live eternally in heaven with Him. This is God’s gift, His only begotten Son. (Eph. 2:8-9) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

We who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1) know “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecc. 7:20) We who “were without Christ, being aliens from the common wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in this word;” now have a hope because of what Christ did for us.  It is by His faith I am saved.  It is by His faith you are saved.  It is by His grace that we are made free from the law. (Gal. 5:1)

Verse 23: “But before faith (Jesus) came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. (Through the Apostle Paul) That faith which was to be revealed was the faith of Christ to go to the cross. Even though the death of the Lord was in Scripture, the full meaning for His death had been kept a secret until the Lord revealed its meaning unto Paul. (Romans 16: 25-26) Why? (1 Cor. 2:7-8)  “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the foundation of the world unto our glory(the Church the Body of Christ): which none of the princes of this world (Satan and his angels) knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Satan would not have killed Jesus had he known the death of Christ would be salvation for all that believed. (Parenthesis added)

Even though the Lord told His disciples that he was going to die, be buried and resurrected, they did not understand it. Let’s go to the book of Mark. In Mark 8:31-33 Jesus first mentions He would be killed and be raised from the dead. This was such a sock for them that Peter refused to believe it. (V. 32) As a father would scold his child, Peter began to rebuke Jesus.  Rebuke in the Greek is epitimao: “censure or admonish, forbid, charge or rebuke.”

Peter may have said something like, “Lord, you must be careful what you say.  I am sure you did not really mean to say you were going to have to die, did you?  Perhaps I just misunderstood, because you are suppose to establish your earthly Kingdom and you can’t do that if you are dead. You have to be careful what you say or people will not believe that you are the long-awaited Messiah.”

You will notice that the Lord did not reason with him as modern day psychology might have instructed one to do. In verse 33, the Lord called Peter “Satan.” What would psychologists say about that?  Then Jesus goes on to say that Peter’s remarks were selfish, a fleshly interest and not a godly one.  It must have “shook-up” Peter and the others pretty well, because when the Lord mentions the same thing to them again (Mk. 9:30-32) the disciples were afraid to say anything even though they still did not understand what He was saying.

The third time Jesus spoke of His death, he tells them that the people who would be responsible for His death would be the Scribes and Priests of Israel. (Mk. 10:31-34) You would think that being with the Lord on a daily basis the disciple would have understood the purpose of the coming of Christ. They did not! The reason is found in Luke 18:31-34.  Pay close attention to verse 34: “and they understood none of these things: and the saying was HID from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”

The reason we do not question why the disciple did not know is because we have the completed word of God today.  That was not so in the days Jesus was training His disciples to carry on the work He had begun. Christ did come to die, but if Satan had known His death would take away sins and make men children of God, he would not have tried to have the Lord eliminated.

Satan knew, from the beginning (Gen. 3:15) that someone from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be a problem for him. Satan, like the false Latin Vulgate, assumed it would be from a woman’s offspring and then woman would play an important role.  That is why the passage in the Vulgate reads: “SHE shall bruise the head.’  The King JamesBible reads: “It shall bruise thy head.” While Catholicism gives Mary an equal place with God, God’s Word does not.  The “it” refers back to the word “Seed.”  The Seed, Jesus Christ, shall bruise the head of Satan.

Now let’s look at Galatians 3:24: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (The faith of Christ)” The law showed us we needed a Savior, a Saviour who would come at a future date.  The law was intended to show that man could not save himself. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20)

The law was a burden to the Jew but it was also the protector of the Hebrew nation. Even though Israel failed in her attempt to live by the law, God had entrusted the law to them. They were the only nation who believed in the one true God, and it was the law of God that reminded them of that fact. So, I guess you can say that in some small way, the law was the protector of Israel.

Galatians 3:25-26: “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” After Christ died there was no need for the law. Trusting Christ replaced trusting the law.  For Israel that was a hard pill to swallow then,  and it is hard to swallow now.

Verses 27-28: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for yea are all one in Jesus Christ.” When we accept what Christ has done, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:13) and into His death. (Rom. 6:3) Yet we live. (Gal. 2:20) When the Spirit baptizes us into Christ He also comes to reside in us and becomes a part of us.  We have “put on Christ.” We are new creatures. (2 Cor. 5:17) The Greek word for creature is ktisis: “an original formation.”  There is nothing that ever existed before this time like this new group of believers.  The Church the Body of Christ is an original creation of God, one of a kind, unique in the literal sense.

The Jews were special to God, but the Body of Christ is even more special.  It was created for God’s glory. Even though at one time the Jews had a place of honor, and set apart, (Rom. 3:1-2; 9:1-5; Jo. 4:22) today all members of the body are equal.  A Jew and a gentile within the body of Christ are equal in every way.
Galatians 3:29-4:2 “And if ye then be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.”

Quite an interesting topic, heirs, who when they were children did not fully understand the “deep” things of the law.  Let us look back to Gal. 3:24.  “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster…” It says here that the law was a “child trainer.”  Therefore we can say that Old Testament believers and all believers in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and early Acts were children.  They were immature in many ways concerning the plan and purpose of God.  It’s not that they were stupid, they were not; it is just that God chose to hide some things from them until after His death.

Even after God revealed some of the things that had remained a secret to the apostle Paul, (Rom. 16:25-26; Eph. 3:3-9) these things were still hard to understand for Peter as well as others. 2 Pet. 3:15-16:  “And account that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of those things; in which are some things hard to be understood…”  Why?  They were still “babes” and were never intended to have complete understanding of some of the things yet to come.

The law acted as a guardian for the heirs according to the promise.  It was a “tutor” (Gal. 4:2) until the time the Father chose to reveal further truth.  Just as a child does not have the liberty of an adult, the person in the Dispensation of the Law did not have liberty either.  An heir under the law, as long as he was a child, was no different from one who was a slave.  The slave’s master, under the law, had complete control of him. (Gal. 4:1) Even though he was “saved”, he did not have freedom.  The law was his master.

The World Book Dictionary defines: 1) child as a newly born (or unborn) human being; baby; infant; 2) adolescent as growing up from childhood to manhood or womanhood, especially a person in the middle or late teens; 3) adult as having full size and strength; fully developed; grown-up, a person of age as defined by law, usually the age of 21.

When a Jewish boy reaches the age 13, he has reached the age of religious responsibility.  It is at this time he is barmitsvahed, a very important time and event for the Jewish male.  This age, 13, of adolescence marks the beginning of one’s responsibility to understand the law of Judaism and the religious responsibilities that go along with it.  However, it was not until one reached the age of thirty that he could become a priest, an indication of having attained the age of maturity – adulthood.  The Romans considered one full-grown at age twenty-five. In the United States we say one is an adult at age twenty-one.
Galatians 4:3-7: “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into you’re hearts, crying Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

The fourth chapter of Galatians states that all believers before Christ were just children.  God determined a time when he would no longer be a child: “When the fullness of time was come.” (V. 4) Israel was a slave to the law; they were mere children.  God had planned a time when they would cease to be children if they would accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  But Israel, as a nation, did not.  As a result, they, the “nation of Israel” are still children. They are still slaves to their interpretation of the law.

What about the non-Jews of today who say we must observe the law?  Are they not just like the Jews of the Bible?  Yes they are!  These people are “in bondage under the elements of the world.” (Gal. 4:3)  They worship buildings, abstain from things, look for signs, try to reach maturity by doing things, i. e. speaking in tongues, baptizing, etc. Maturity comes when we rightly divide and grow in our understanding of the Word of God, not in some “gibberish” a man speaks or by getting one’s self wet from baptism.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)  Let’s look at the words carefully.

Study – be diligent, labor, endeavor

Approved – acceptable, tried, approved after testing

Workman – a toiler, teacher, laborer

Ashamed – not to be put to shame (used only here)

Dividing – to cut straight, explain correctly

Then notice what follows verse 15, “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

Words without substance lead to ungodliness.

In Colossians 2:8-17 Paul warns those at Colossi about the deceit of men, those who would have you follow traditions, which are worldly.  Colossians 2:8 matches Galatians 4:3 perfectly.  Maturity does not come from the practice of worldly things, for the benefit of worldly people.  If you are a child of God, you are complete, mature in Jesus Christ.  He took away the ordinances of the law when He went to Calvary, nailing them to the tree.  “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His Cross.” Col. 2:14.

The Jews of Biblical times, as well as those of today, along with non-Jews who trust the law and attempt to keep the ordinances, are mere children. That is what the writer of Hebrews says in Heb. 5:12-14: “For when the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the Oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the Word of Righteousness:  for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

God does not like sin.  To sin means one falls short of the expectations of God, and we all sin. (Rom. 3:23)  What we deserve as sinners is death. (Rom. 6:23) Animal sacrifices were a temporary means of appeasing God but they were only good for one year.  Every year on the Day of Atonement every man was to bring an animal of God’s choosing before the High Priest. If they did this, God would “pass over their offense without punishment” for another year.

Before Jesus came, sins were never blotted out, they were held in remission only. When Jesus returns to the earth the second time, all those who are not members of the Church the Body of Christ will have their sins blotted out completely. (Acts 3:19-21)  Question, “What happened to people who died before the cross?  Were their sins blotted out?”  No they were not!  Those who died before the cross went to the grace, Sheol, and remained until Jesus died and rose from the grave.  When he arose, He brought with Him all those souls that were held captive by the grave. (Mat. 27:52-53; Eph. 4:8-10) Where are their souls today?  Paradise!

In this Age of Grace, the believer:
1. Is in the presence of the Lord the moment he believes.  When the believer dies his soul joins with his spirit in heavenly places. (2 Cor. 5:8)
2. Sins are justified and atoned for (Rom. 5:8-11)

This is not the case for those who are not members of the body of Christ; they are waiting for the Second Coming of Christ before the blotting out of sins becomes a reality. Read Acts 3:19-21.

“Repent ye therefor and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

Let’s review “Times of refreshing” and “Times of restitution.”  The word restitution in the Greek is – apokatasis – re-establishment from a state of ruin, to restore.

The Jew was very familiar with the word “restore.” The disciples, in Acts 1:8, ask, “…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”  Joel, the prophet talks about the restoration in chapter two verse twenty-five. “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

When Christ comes the second time, He will “roar out of Zion” and “cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed.” (Joel 3:16, 21) So, there is a group of people who have not had their blood cleansed and whose souls are in Paradise.  This group will be cleansed of their sins when Christ returns at the end of tribulation.  That is why Peter quotes Joel in his address of Acts 2 & 3. 

Let me remind you that as Peter is speaking during the Pentecost Feast time of Acts 2 and 3, Christ had died, had been buried, had resurrected and had re-appeared to his disciples and returned to heaven.  Peter, who was filled with the Spirit, tells those gathered at Pentecost their sins would not be blotted out until a future date.

When Jesus died on Calvary, He shed His blood for the remission of all mankind’s sin.  But for Israel, the blotting out of those sins did not occur at the time of Calvary.  The question then is “When will that happen?”  And the answer is  “When Christ comes to earth the second time, just prior to the one thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth. 

Let me say all this again.  Christ paid for the sins of all mankind when He died ON Calvary, but the blotting out of Israel’s sin did not occur AT Calvary, that comes later.  Once again, lest you do not fully comprehend what I am saying!  Christ paid for all sins by what He did at Calvary, but all sins were not eradicated at that time (at Calvary), and that’s exactly what Acts 3:19-21 says.

Why did this have to be done this way?  Let’s read Galatians 4:4-7 again in order to find one answer.  This had to be done for the Gentiles to become the adopted sons of Christ.  “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father.”  (Gal. 4:6) Abba is an Aramaic word that is easily mumbled, as a child might say Papa or Mama, words easily made with the lips.

But you will notice in the verse, it is the Spirit of God that says Abba Father, and that happens when the Spirit come to indwell a believer.  It is at that time (the coming of the Spirit)that one becomes a child of God and an heir to the inheritance. Now read Gal. 4:7: “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  Those who were under the law were servants, but those who are under grace are sons. Is there a difference?  Yes there is.  A servant could never call his master “Papa”, that right was only for sons and daughters.  A servant could only call his master, “master or boss.”

Galatians 4:8-18: “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain Brethren, I beseech you, be as I [am]; for I [am] as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if [it had been] possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? They zealously affect you, [but] not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good [thing], and not only when I am present with you.

Let’s look at verses eight and nine: “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.  But now, after that ye have know God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

We just established the fact that these people at Galatia were not servants or slaves, but sons and heirs.  However, in spite of this position they still wanted to be a slave to the things of the law.  Is that dumb or not?  Tell me, if you were a free man would you want to become a bond slave?  I think not.  What we have here are Gentiles who had never been under bondage to the law which had been given unto Israel, that are now submitting themselves to slavery voluntarily.  True, they were worshippers of idols; their gods were numerous and made out of wood, stone, mud, brass, gold, etc.  They were slaves to them, “them by nature are no gods.”

What Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, does here is to equate the law of Israel to the worshipping of idols. What the verse says is “The law is just as weak as the idols you once served.”

What happens when we try to tell people today the very same thing that Paul told the Galatians?  We usually get something like, “we are only following the whole Bible, both the Old and New Testament, and especially the words of Jesus.  After all, didn’t Jesus tell the disciples all things must be fulfilled that is written in the Law of Moses?”  Then they quote Lk. 24:44: “And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me.” And let me tell you with certainty, all things were fulfilled once he died, was buried and rose again.

Verses eight and nine of Galatians chapter four says that to go back to the law and the outward ceremonies of the law is no different than going back to the worshipping of idols, from which they had been delivered.  Bondage or slavery to one system is no different from bondage and slavery of another.  There may be a different master, but a slave is a slave, is a slave.

In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabus are confronted with “certain men which came down from Judea” concerning circumcision. “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, men and brethren, ye know that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.  And God which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did to us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  Now, therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke (the law) upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:7-11) 

Both Peter and Paul were fully aware of the bondage of the law. And Peter recognized that his salvation “SHALL BE” forthcoming at a future date and time.

The Law could never save, because no man can keep the Law.  The performing of the rituals of the Law has no saving power either. “I know that,” you might say and then add, “but these observances are such beautiful expressions of the Old Testament Scripture. When they were done, a person was considered to be more holy or religious, and beside all that, it makes me feel good when I do them.”

How one feels does not make one more holy or more precious to God.  God never placed importance on feelings.  What is important is what the Word of God says, and the Word of God says, “you are reverting back to the weak elements of the Law which is what the heathen of old practiced, and from which you have been delivered.”

Why do you suppose a Gentile would want to come under the influence of the Law given unto Jews anyway?  It is beyond all comprehension.  So tell me, why do Christians want to come under the domination of the Law today?  It is ludicrous, to say the least.  People who try to adhere to the pomp and circumstances of the rituals of Law are idolaters, just as surely as the Galatians who had turned from grace to the works of the law were.

We are living in the Age of Grace, where all that believe are redeemed by the faith of Christ. The Scriptures say,  “And the just shall live by His faith.”  Anything a person uses as an expression of worship is idolatry.  Faith believes without seeing.  We have the Holy Spirit as a permanent companion.  The moment we trust in the saving work of Christ on Calvary, the Holy Spirit comes into our bodies to reside – forever. The Bible is the only external object we need in worship, for it is the Word of God.
Galatians 4:10 & 11

“Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

Here is another “touchy” subject and needs to be compared with Colossians 2:16.  “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.”
Making Saturday a holy day is wrong. Even though it used to be a “holy day” under the law, it is no longer holy under grace.  It frightened Paul to see and hear that those he had shown grace were reverting to the practicing of idolatry.  Look!

“Ye observe:
Observances Events
Days  Sabbath
Months (2 Chron. 2:4 & 8:13) New Moons
Times or seasons (Lev. 23) Jewish Feast Days
Years Sabbath Year (Lev. 25:1-8)

 

Galatians 4:12-18

Verse twelve seems to say, “I am under grace, so are you.  I was in bondage, so were you, but it is hard for me to understand why a free man would want to return to slavery.”

There are many beliefs about what Paul’s temptation was.  Even though it doesn’t really matter what it was, in verse 13 Paul said, “you never despised me for it.”  And in 2 Cor. 12:7  he states: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure,”

The passage is very clear, the words “there was given me a thorn in the flesh,” are followed by a comma and then the words “the messenger of Satan to buffet me.” Paul’s thorn in the flesh was the messenger of Satan that was always rapping him or curtailing his activities.  Buffet in the Greek is kolaphizo – to rap with a fist.  It comes from another Greek word – kolazo – to curtail or punish. And Satan is still in the business of rapping those who deliver the truth to the world around them.

In verse 15 it is clear that at one time the Galatians would have done most anything for Paul, now it seemed as though they were his enemy.  How quickly friends cease to be friends, and over such trivial things.

Verse 16 stands out so vivid in my mind because I have used those same words before.   To be a preacher or teacher of grace, is a very trying experience the majority of the time.  You show someone the message of grace and they believe.  You know they believe it, they know they believe it.  Then one day those people quit coming to study and you find that they are going somewhere else and are no longer living free.  Let this be a warning to you, “To know grace and not live by grace places you under the bondage of the Law, and that is idolatry.”

It is so obvious that Paul had a heavy heart when He said, “Am I your enemy because I tell you the truth?”  Standing up for the truth rightly divided can be very disheartening especially if human relationships become more important than godly favor.  We cannot allow human feelings to stand in the way of commitment to the truth.  Paul sought the favor of God.  Christ was his very life. (Phil. 1:21-24) Whose favor do you seek? Is it your own, that of your spouse or the world at large?

Those who are the redeemed of God must teach the gospel committed unto Paul. To teach otherwise is to sell out for religion, not truth, for there is but one gospel. (Gal.1: 6-8) And that gospel is Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose again for your justification.

Galatians 4:17 & 18 say that false teachers were trying to win them over by being friendly.  The word affect in the Greek is – zeloo – to have warmth of feeling, for or against.  False teachers will use any and every means at their disposal to make converts.  They can be very underhanded and very, very nice.  But I choose to be as Paul on this issue, to be jealous over you with godly jealousy. And sometimes that means being very blunt often times being harsh, and many times being offensive.

There are times when we as parents have to, “put our foot down” and correct our children severely.  We do this because we love them and want to show them the error of their ways.  Many times their first thoughts are “I hate you.”  But after they have calmed down they see they over reacted.
So it is with teachers of truth.  We say what we do in order for you to grow.  You get offended because it goes against what you have believed, but after diligent study you find that there may be some merit in what was said. That’s not a bad thing.  If I can get you to see truth, I will do whatever it takes to get you there.
Galatians 4:19: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”

Paul looked upon all the people he had led to the Lord as being his very own children. (1 Cor. 4:15) He knew that if they continued to practice the things concerning the law they would never show the world the true Christ.

As we look around us today, we find many teachers putting restrictions (rules of law) on those they teach – do this, don’t do that.  Any teaching that emphasizes the flesh exalts the flesh. When one exalts the flesh, the things of God are diminished.  That is just what the devil wants from you, to be fleshly minded.  The devil wants you to be religious.  He wants you think more of your denomination than you do about God. 
People who are religious do not see the things of God very clearly, especially Pauline truth. It is much easier to share the truth that Paul teaches with the lost than it is with the religious system. Why?
1) Because people love their religion more than they do God. 
2) Because people who are religious do not want to admit that they have been subservient to their churches in deference to their service for God.
3) Because people are afraid of change, even if the change is for good.

Back to Galatians 4: 19

The Greek word for formed is morphoo and is only found here. The word carries with it the idea of the making of a child in the womb.  Paul is saying you need to become as a new born in the first month of growth in the mother’s womb, totally dependant upon the grace of God, which is freely given.  For you see in one’s spiritual life, outward change must begin with an inward change.

Galatians 4: 20: “I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.”

Paul says, “right now I question your sincerity.  I would prefer to be speaking to you face-to-face, but I send this letter since that is not possible.  If I were there, you could tell by the tone of my voice my questioning would be in the spirit of love.”  This still did not nullify his perplexity over their departure from grace to the slavery the law brings. That is why he said: “I stand in doubt of you.”

Galatians 4:21-31: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Paul says, “Okay!  You say you want to be under the law, fine.  Let me tell you what the law says.” Then he tells them the story about Abraham, Sarah and Hagar and the two sons Abraham had by each of them.  (Gen. 16 & 21)

Sarah is the FREEWOMAN whose child is Isaac.  Hagar is the BONDWOMAN whose child is Ishmael.

Abraham grew weary from waiting for the child God had promised.  So at his wife’s suggestion, (just like Adam) he went in to Hagar and Ishmael was conceived.  Of course, in God’s own time Sarah conceived and bore Isaac.  However, the damage had been done.  Ishmael was born “after the flesh” (V. 23) and Isaac was born “by promise.”

For a child of God, any act of the flesh will be a haunting one.  But this act of the flesh on Abraham’s part would come back to haunt him and all the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael for the rest of their lives.  Why?  Because the sons of Ishmael are the Arab tribes that have been a constant source of trouble to Israel all these years, as Isreal has been a constant source of trouble to the Arabs all these years.

Among fundamental Arabs who trace their roots back to Abraham, as they should, they say that God promised the land in Palestine to them the reason being that Ishmael was the first born. Of course Israel claims the land belongs to them because Ishmael was not the child of promise. So the war goes on.
On September 11, 2001 Islamic extremist attacked the World Trade Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The war to end all wars may have just begun.

Verses 24-29 says this is an allegory.  Meaning, there is some special spiritual message for us here.  The two sons represent the bondage imposed by the law given on Mount Sinai and Jerusalem, which is free.  Here the analogy is between slavery and freedom and is not to be confused with the Dispensation of Grace and Law versus Grace.

The birth of Ishmael was a birth of the flesh.  Abraham and Sarah wanted to “help” God. They had given up all hope, their faith had been tried and they were found wanting.  Abraham’s “going into Hagar” is symbolic of going into bondage, and of a lack of faith and trust in God.  So then, the allegory here is that Hagar represents the law and Ishmael represents the work of the flesh.

In verses 24-26, there is also the comment about the two covenants.  There are several interpretations concerning just what these two were.

1. One author says the first covenant is the one found in Genesis 15:18 and is expanded in 17:1-2.  This is the land of promise and the New Jerusalem and is an unconditional covenant.

He states the other covenant is the one of Exodus 19 & 20.  This is a conditional covenant. (Ex. 19:5)  The children of Israel never lived up to the conditions and subsequently were slaves to it.

2. Another author says Hagar represents the law and Sarah represents grace.  The law began at Mount Sinai and the covenant of grace began at Mount Calvary.

The first author gets off track when he states “the Jerusalem above is free, which is our mother.  The land of promise is the New Jerusalem, a place where there is no slavery.  We who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not trust in the law, we may truly say that heavenly city is our mother.”

The second author states: “The two covenants are the covenant of the law of Mount Sinai and the covenant of grace which had its beginning at Calvary when Jesus was crucified.  Paul speaks of two cities, the Jerusalem of that day and the New Jerusalem, the eternal abode of the redeemed, the Bride of Christ, the New Testament Church.”

While I respect the two authors that have been quoted, I feel they have missed the all-important “mystery” that Paul speaks of in his epistles.

It is my belief that God covenanted only with the nation Israel.  The first covenant could not be the one of Genesis 15 & 17, for that was clearly the covenant of promise.  The first covenant has to be the law of Exodus 19 & 20 and the second covenant has to do with the promise of a land inheritance, but it is the covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and not of Genesis 15 and 17, and all this is future.

As for the idea that grace is a covenant with Israel, the author of that statement must be opposed to all of the Pauline Epistles. If you read these thirteen books written by Paul you will clearly see that the Gentiles were given grace because Israel had failed in her mission, failed in her acknowledging that Christ’s death was for remission of sins.  So God, in His wisdom, ushered in grace to provoke Israel to jealousy.

The Jews who were being saved in the time this Galatians letter was being written were greatly outnumbered (V. 27) but God would be faithful to His promise made with Abraham and all Isreal would eventually be saved. When will this take place?  It will obviously be after the rapture of the Church the Body of Christ.

Paul is trying to tell these Galatians, “Okay, so you desire to be under the law, but do you really know what the law is about?  Back in the “olden days” the descendants of Ishmael persecuted the descendants of Isaac, and that is true today.”

Vs. 30-31 says we must throw out the law (the bondwoman).  It has no place in the operation for today.  Accept what Christ has done for you and live in liberty.
  Law  Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
FACTS ABOUT GRACE IN EPHESIANS

Blessed with all spiritual blessings 1:3
Chosen before the foundation of the world 1:4
Accepted in the beloved 1:6
Have redemption through His blood 1:7
Have obtained an inheritance through Christ 1:11
Believers sealed by the Spirit 1:13
We are the fullness of Him 1:23
We are quickened together with Christ 2:5
Have been raised to sit with Him 2:6
Saved by His Grace 2:8-9
Drawn near to God by Christ’s blood 2:13
He broke down the middle wall 2:14
We are reconciled by the cross 2:16
Access to the Father through the Spirit because of Christ 2:18
Gentiles made heirs by the gospel 3:5-6
Given grace according to the gift of Christ 4:7

 

Galatians 5:1-12: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”

Verse one summarizes the first four chapters. 
1) Christ has made us free from the curse of the law. 
2) Do not frustrate or prostitute the grace He has given. 
3) We are complete in Him. (Col. 2:14) 
4) We are free.

Now that we have discussed the doctrine of law and grace, let us proceed to see the practical results of each.

In Acts 15:1 we read Be circumcised and be saved
In Galatians 5:2, it says Be circumcised and you are nothing

Circumcision was a sign that you were a Jew and lived under the law.  Any man, who trusts in the law, the cross of Christ is of no value to him.  You must either choose the law or trust Christ. (Gal. 5:3-4)  And if you choose the law, you are a debtor to the whole law. (Ja. 2:10)

So many of the “Religious” say: “I try to keep the law as much as I can, and when I fail, I trust Christ to work it out for me.”  It doesn’t work that way!  Christ either does it all or He does nothing at all.  Trust any part of the law and you are debtor to it all: If you covet anything just once, you’re a goner. If you do not love your neighbor as much as you love yourself, you’re a goner. “Harsh,” you say! Let’s get one thing straight, I didn’t say it – God did.

Galatians 5: 4

Let’s look at the words, “ye are fallen from grace.”  What does that really mean?  The word fallen in the Greek is ekpipto – to lose, fail, to fall off, drop away, driven off one’s course.

These words simple say that if you attempt to keep the law in order to be saved, i.e. to be circumcised as the law states, you have fallen away from the grace position.  To turn to the law once you have known grace is to fall away from grace, but it does not mean that you have lost your salvation for salvation is a gift from God.  The grace of God brings salvation. (Ti. 2:11)

The Christian is not to:
1. Receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Cor. 6:1)
2. Set aside the grace of God. (Gal. 2:21)
3. Fall away from the grace of God. (Gal. 5:4)

The Christian is to:
1. Continue in Grace. (Acts 13:43)
2. Be strengthened by grace. (2 Tim. 2:1)

The harder a person works at trying to be saved or stay saved the further from grace he falls.  Falling from grace in the passage at hand is merely the falling away from freedom back to slavery.

Works apply to the law and the law only.  Works do not save us, help us stay saved, get us to heaven or keep us out of heaven.  True we need to do good works in order to be fruitful, but that does not add anything to the salvation that is mine, for Christ did the necessary work over 2000 years ago for my salvation.

A believer may fall from grace but he cannot cease to be a child of God once he has believed in the finished work of Christ.  Why?  Because the moment we trusted Christ we were sealed – forever.
  “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” Ephesians 1:13
  “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

The day of redemption mentioned in the above verse will be at the rapture of the believer.

The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation.
  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Rom. 1:16 
Once a person has trusted the Word of the gospel, (1 Cor. 15:1-4) The Holy Spirit sealed him.  The Greek word for sealed is sphragizo – “to stamp for security or preservation; to identify as ownership, to preserve until a later date or time.”  That time will occur at the rapture of the church, our day of redemption.

To try and make Galatians 5:4 mean you can lose your salvation is to miss the whole point of the book in the first place.  Galatians was written to show that one who understands the gospel of grace, trusts Christ as having done all that was necessary for salvation, then believes he must do a work, prostitutes the grace of God, and “Christ shall profit you nothing.” (Gal. 5:2)

The very moment we trust Christ as Savior, we are made the righteousness of God. (Rom. 3:19-26)  We are saved, but the whole work of being made righteous is a process of daily growth.  That’s why Paul tells the Philippians to work out your salvation.
  “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12 Work in the Greek is katergazomai – “to work fully, accomplish, to finish, and perform.”

Our growth means we are constantly striving to perform in a manner that is pleasing to God. Make no mistake about it, that is hard work.  It takes dedication.  But the working to improve oneself has nothing to do with being a child of God or with loosing one’s salvation.  Works in the age of grace has to do with rewards, not to be enjoyed on this earth but in heaven.
  “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day (of judgment) shall declare it, because it (man’s work) shall be revealed by fire; and the fire will try every man’s work of what sort it is.
  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receiver A reward.
  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet as by fire.”1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

To fall from grace means a loss of joy and peace with Christ, and that is what is meant by the phrase in Galatians 5: 2 “Christ shall profit you nothing.”  To live in this world means there will be times when our fleshly desires will be stronger than our spiritual desires, and this removes us from the closeness of God and the peace and joy associated with that closeness.  But it is us that move, not God.
Galatians 5: 5-6

This hope mentioned here is the appearing the Lord Jesus Christ coming to redeem the bodies of the saved. (Ti. 2:13)  The word wait in the Greek is: Apekedechomai – “to wait eagerly, expect fully”, as in Phil. 3 20.

In verse six the words “faith, which worketh by love” stands out.  There is an inner power that helps us to overcome the power of the flesh.  That inner power is moved by love and charity from God.  As we grow in the knowledge of God we grow to trust Him more and love Him more, which produces the power needed to stymie the wilds of the flesh. (Song of Solomon 8:7)

In Galatians 5:5-6 Paul brings together these words: faith, hope and love just as he does in First Corinthians 13.  The word love and charity in both books are the same Greek word – agape – love, affection, esteem, the supreme Christian virtue of God to men (Rom. 5: 8); of men to God (1 Jo. 2: 5); of men to men (Jo. 13:35).

Galatians 5: 7-8

Paul loves using athletic events to explain many things about the Christian walk.  Many times he uses a race to stress his point. (1 Cor. 9:24-27; Gal. 2:2; 3:12-14; Acts 20:24; 2 Tim. 4:7)  The Galatians had begun the race well, but they allowed someone to distract them, or hinder them. Hinder in the Greek is – anakopto – “to hinder, beat back, and cut into.”

Notice also the word obey and then in verse 8 – persuasion.  The word obey is – peitho – and carries a meaning – “to convince by argument, true or false, to persuade.”

I paraphrase:
“Who has interfered with you so that you will not be persuaded by the truth?”  Paul most likely knew who it was but he was trying to get them to identify the culprits. Was it Pogo that said, “we have met the enemy and the enemy is us?” That remark fits here, doesn’t it?

Verse 8 states: “This persuasion did not come from God.”

Verse 9: Remember, leaven is the word most often used to speak of evil, especially false doctrine. (Matthew 16:6, 12, 23-28; 22:16-21, 23-29; 23:14)  One false teacher can do a great deal of harm. (Matthew 13: 33)  Look at 1 Corinthians 5:1-8, which speaks of immorality.  In your study you must remember that leaven is associated with evil and unleavened with good.

Verse 10: No one can trouble God’s own without eventually paying the price for his trouble.  Paul, determined to seek out that one trying to “mess” with his children, does not care who it is. It could have well been Peter or any of the original disciples; it mattered not to Paul.  He would stand toe to toe, eye to eye with any and all, as we have already seen in Galatians 2:11. Look also at Matthew 18:6-7.

Remember the enemies of Paul said he preached whatever served his purpose, i.e. if he was with the circumcision, he preached circumcision.  If he was with the uncircumcision he preached uncircumcision.

Verse 12: What a powerful verse.  How many preachers do you know today would have the “guts” to tell the religionist of the world, the World Council of Churches, the heads of their denomination or order what Paul says here?

 
Galatians 5:13-26: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Verse 13: Compare this verse with Romans 14:1-15; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13.

A true child of God will never use his freedom as an okay to sin. (Titus 2:11-15)  The love one should have for Christ, who indwells the believer, should never allow sin to flourish or run rampant.

We are exhorted in Galatians 5:1 to stand fast in the liberty we have, but you cannot quote verse one without ending with the 13th verse, which says, “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

The Jews became slaves to the “elements of the world.” (Galatians 4:3) the law.  Gentiles were slaves to idols (Galatians 4:3).  The Bible says that everyone is a slave to sin (Romans 6:17).  When one accepts Christ as their Savior, he is made free.  We became dead to sin (Romans 6:7) and freed from sin and now we should become servants to God. (Romans 6:22)  Now there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1-2) and the law of the life we now have in Jesus Christ freed me from the law that brought death.  As Galatians 5: 3 states, Christ has made us free.

Made in the Greek is eleutheroo – “to liberate, deliver, to exempt.”  It goes much farther than the translations that change the words made free to set free.  We have been delivered from the bondage that the law imposed and we have become exempt from it altogether.

We have been called to freedom, and yet there are many standing in pulpits Sunday after Sunday who want to put their congregation back into the slave camps of the law.  Some teach the law was a rule of life, while others teach it was a necessary ingredient for salvation.  In either case they are wrong, for it puts people under slavery.  Before you believe such garbage you would do well to read Galatians 5:12 very carefully. “I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”

Traditions of churches, many of which are unwritten, bind the child of God as if he had a chain around his neck and his feet set in concrete.  He is a slave to the system of his parents, grandparents and their parents before them.  Read Galatians 5:1 again, this time soak up what it says and believe the words.  Christ has made us free! Praise God for that.

But you must also listen to the warning that freedom brings. (Galatians 5:13)  Satan will use one of his sons to entangle you and bring you under his influence.  We must constantly be on guard against the wiles of the devil. (Hebrews 12:1)  Look at 1 Kings 8:38.  What is the plague of you heart?  Whatever it is guard against it, run from it.  If you must be a slave, be one to each other. (Galatians 5:13b)

Do you get the picture?  True love for Christ makes slaves of each other.  Christ was our example (John 13:4-5) It was true love that did this, and true love delights in serving one another.  Just watch a mother or father lovingly give to each other and to their children and you’ll know what I mean. (Romans 13:8; 1 Corinthians 13)

The law makes people hard.
  “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”(Galatians 5:15
  “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” Proverbs 18: 19. If you are constantly bickering and fighting with one another, you may eventually destroy one another.

Galatians 5:16-18

What a great truth, but how can one truly walk in the Spirit?  Understand that the Spirit of God is inside every believer and allow Him control.  The Spirit of God is ready to give you power, your fleshly desires is all that holds Him back.  Get them under control by allowing the Spirit to bring you back into a deep study of the Word of God.

What is the lust of the flesh? Any fleshly desire!  But the Spirit of God will help us overcome these desires.  The flesh is strong, but the Spirit is stronger.  All we have to do is allow the Spirit to operate.

Let’ s look at some Scripture pertaining to the Holy Spirit in relationship to who and what we are and have.

1 Corinthians 12: 13 Baptized by the Spirit
Romans 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16 Spirit indwells
Romans 8:13 Helps kill the flesh
Romans 8:16-17 Confirms our sonship
Romans 8:26 Helps our infirmities
Romans 8:27 Makes intercession for us
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 Knowledge is received
Ephesians 1:13 We are sealed by the Spirit
Ephesians 4:30 How Long? Until redemption

The flesh and the Spirit are constantly opposing one another.  The flesh wants to have its own way, do its own thing.  All the while the Spirit is opposing the desires of the flesh.  Contrary to some beliefs, the flesh is not dead in the child of God.  But there are those who would deceive by saying, “since I got the Spirit I do not have the desires of the flesh.”  Well maybe the opportunity has not presented itself yet, but sooner or later the flesh will manifest itself.

My flesh really shows itself when I am driving.  Someone may stop quickly in front of me or cut into my lane and cause me to have to brake quickly and I get so mad I turn red.  It’s akin to road rage.  That, my friend, is the flesh.  My flesh is not dead I can assure you, and neither is yours.  The flesh is always raising its ugly head at the most inopportune time and I make a fool of myself.  Paul had a similar problem too. (Romans 7:15-25)

Think about it.  When does your flesh get the best of you?  Look at Galatians 5:19-21 and the works of the flesh listed.

1. The first four deals with sexual sins – Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (unbridled lust)
2. The next two affect your worship – idolatry and witchcraft. Remember, idolatry can be many things: love of house, of spouse, of children, money, etc.
3. The next nine have to do with things against a brother: hatred, variance (quarrel or contention), emulations (jealousy), wrath, strife (selfish ambitions), seditions (dessensions), heresies, envyings, murders
4. The last two are things you do that make you look bad – drunkenness, revelings (rioting)
The last part of verse 21 “…They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” has presented a problem for those who believe they can lose their salvation.  This does not refer to that at all.  The implication is that of a lost person, as in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  These were things they had done as lost people. Saved people need to recognize those things and allow the Spirit to work in helping to eliminate them.

One way to insure these things will leave is to know what the product of the Spirit is – the fruit of the Spirit, verses 22-23.  If we try to do these things, the flesh cannot get in the way for long.  Notice also, these are one.  It does not say “fruits” of the Spirit, although they are nine in number they are one in context.

The first three are those seen by the eye of God.

Love This is the love of Christ

Joy (Neh. 8:10) The Book of Philippians is all about joy, and yet Paul wrote it while in prison.

Peace This is that peace of Phil. 4:7 that passes all understanding.

The second three are directed toward someone else.

Long-suffering – Friends and relatives are sure to cause you misery and there will be suffering as a result.  They blame us, fuss at us, talk badly about us and speak of thing about which they have no understanding at all. Yet we should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit and be peacemakers. (Look at Ephesians 4:1-3)

Note: Lowliness does not give offense and meekness does not take offense.  Both are essential in order to avoid arguments and live in peace with one another.

Gentleness and kindness mean the same thing in the Scriptures.  The Greek word is chrestotes – usefulness, excellence in character or demeanor, gentleness, goodness, kindness.  Christ in the Greek is Christos. They sound alike and one, who is a Christian, should act as Christ would toward people in any given circumstance.

Goodness – this is not righteousness, (Romans 5:7) it is simple being good.

The third group of three is faith, meekness and temperance.  The first two are self-explanatory, or we have discussed them already.  So let’s look at the word temperance, or self-control. The word carries the meaning of mastery, such as mastery over your body.

1 Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  A castaway in the verse implies worthlessness, rejected or disapproved.

None of the attributes listed above can be brought about by any effort of the flesh.  That can only be accomplished through the Spirit that indwells every child of God.  (Compare Matthew 11:28 and John 14:27)

Humans do works but only the Spirit produces fruit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 see also Titus 3:14 and Philippians 4:17)  There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit.  Even if we could keep the law, which no one can, the result could not compare with these.

Verse 24 – “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lust.” The flesh must be crucified daily. (1 Corinthians 10:13)  We must make a consecrated effort every day to kill the thoughts and actions that emanate from our sinful flesh.

Verses 25-26 – “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  Walking here is like a soldier walking in line and in step, being obedient to the authority at hand.  If we heed the cry of the Holy Spirit, we will keep in step and in line with what God wants for us.  Do not desire vanity or seek to be conceited, that shows you have a concern for yourself. (1 Chronicles 12:33; 1 Peter 2:21)

 

Galatians 6:1- “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

There is a major problem in the church today; it is called “judging” or “condemning.”  Church people judge people by the clothes they wear the way they live and what they believe.  It is not for us to judge why people do certain things or believe certain things.  We are responsible for our actions and our actions only, and have the responsibility to be faithful to do the things of God. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:12)

Paul uses the term “brother or brethren” many times in the Pauline Epistles and gives specific things to do concerning them.  Let’s look at a few.

Galatians 2:4 False brethren
1 Corinthians 5:11 A brother misbehaving
2 Thessalonians 3: 5 Admonish a brother
Romans 16:17 Mark those who cause division

We must also recognize that WE are subject to do any given thing at any given time.  We saw that in Paul’s example in Romans seven, also in Philippians 3: 3.

Here in the sixth chapter of Galatians Paul is laying down some guidelines of treatment to a brother who has stumbled.  We are not to judge, condemn or damn, but restore and forgive. (Romans 14:1-13; 11:31; Colossians 2:16)  It is God, and God alone, who will judge even the secrets of men. (Romans 2:16)

Let us understand something here.  The law imposes hardships.  It also makes people hard hearted and bitter.  It is very easy for one to fall and another to condemn, but it takes the grace of God to forgive and forget. We have to make every effort to walk in the Spirit so we will not do the things that the flesh wants us to do.

Before we explore the next few verses, let’s look at the word “fault.”  In the Greek fault is paraptoma – a side-slip (lapse or deviation, unintentional error or transgression, fall, fault, offense, sin or trespass.)

There are several ways sin is described in the Bible:
One who does not obey the law,
One who misses the mark,
One who gives less than full measure,
One who crosses a line he should not cross.

Each of these things in the Greek is a different word.  Here in chapter six it addresses a person’s walk.  The implied here is, “if by chance a person should fall.”  Paul could have also said, “I do not think this will happen, but if it should then you should…” Should what?  Restore, or pick up and sustain the one who has fallen. But do not try to do so if you are not spiritual or you might fall into temptation.

Sometimes sin raises its ugly head and entraps us even though we are attempting to do good things. There was this preacher who found himself in a compromising situation.  A lady came to the church seeking the pastor and asked if he gave counseling to a non-member of his church.  The lady seemed to be distraught and the pastor was not too busy, so he consented to speak with her.  In the course of the lady’s disclosing her problems, which seemed to be many, she started to cry profusely.  The pastor got up to console her, putting his arm around her shoulder and patting it gently.  The woman grabs him in a bear hug and proceeds to put her hand down the minister’s pants, groping for his private parts. The preacher took control of the situation and dismissed the lady, fortunately.  But the point being, he had been entrapped and could have found himself involved in a sexual sin not promoted by him.

A brother who has fallen into sin needs someone to care – not to condemn. He does not need to be knocked down anymore than he already is.  He needs to be lifted up and let it be known that somebody cares for them even though they may deplore the action.

How quick we are to judge when it is someone else who stumbles.  How quick we are to condemn when we have stumbled and no one seems to care.  It would be wise to take the time to find out the circumstances before we condemn, complain or criticize.  Before responding to an act stop to consider how you would want to be treated if you were the person under suspicion. (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)

Look at words of David in Psalms 103:8: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”  If anyone could attest to the need of mercy and forgiveness, it would be David.  He committed adultery with the wife of one his most faithful captains, and then added insult to injury when he sent that captain into the heat of battle, where he knew he would be killed.

There is song written by my son Wayne and sung by Susan Ashton, a portion of the lyrics states: “We must look beyond justice to mercy.”  We find mercy in God, and the Spirit alone imparts it.

If a person should fall down, then what? Galatians 6:1 “ …Ye which are spiritual, restore…” Isn’t it amazing how those who live under the dictates of the law seem to spout off more about THEIR spirituality?  You know the ones I am talking about, they have that “holier than thou” mentality.

There is a test here in this verse that determines ones true spirituality.  It is:  “If you are really spiritual you will help bring a fallen brother back to a place of favor with God.”

The word restore in the Greek is katartizo – to make complete, restore, repair, perfect, made right.  The following is how the word is used elsewhere.

Matthew 4:21 mending
1 Thessalonians 3:10 perfect
Hebrews 10:5 prepared

Religious philosophy today is 180 degrees out of phase.  It seems the religious folks take this attitude: “Let the one who has fallen prove he can get back on his feet again, then we’ll fellowship with them, accept them and be friends with them once again.”  That’s not what Galatians 6:1 says.  We, “who are spiritual,” are responsible for helping a fallen brother make things right, but sadly we who are supposedly spiritual generally leave a fallen brother right where he is to take care of himself. And often times we give thanks to God that it didn’t happen to us.  That is proof, according to the passage, that one is not spiritual!

Why are there so few spiritual men and women?  We have not allowed the Spirit to lead us! The law has no understanding of Grace, and those who live by the law do not understand the merits of grace. The law tells us what constitutes a fall, gives the rules for meting out punishment, but the law cannot come to us, lift us up and set us on the road to recovery. It takes the Spirit of God to do that.

Read Luke 10:30-37.  Here a man fell, thieves robbed him and stole all his clothes, leaving him naked and near death. 

 The law came by in the form of a priest and passed him by.  Did he pick the man up and get him going on his way?  No!  He went as far to the other side of the road as he possible could to purposely avoid him as though he was contaminated.
 The law in the form of the Temple (Levite) came by, and even looked at the man before passing by.
 Then came the Master in the form of The Good Samaritan.  He got down in the dirt where the man lay, cleaned him up and bandaged his wounds, put his arms around him so he would not fall, and took him to an Inn.  While there He told the Innkeeper to take care of the man and paid money for cost of room and board.  He even pledged to take care of any extra charge over and above the amount He paid when He would return from His trip. That is what grace does.

You cannot pick up a fallen brother from the other side of the road, you cannot help him by standing beside him and shaking your head.  You have to come where he is, get down in the dirt beside him and help him until he is back on his feet.

In Luke 10:34 the oil represents the Holy Spirit and His healing power; the wine represents the joy that had been lost in the fall.  Jesus does all that and more for the sinner, first when he saved him, and He is constantly taking care of the child of God from that day forward.
Galatians 6:2-5: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.”
 
Burdens!  There are people all around us each and every day with heavy burdens.  Some are a direct result of sin, others because of poverty or physical and mental suffering.  Whatever the cause, there are enough people with burdens to keep us all going to the Lord, who is the only one who can handle them all.  And that is exactly what the Lord wants us to do. (Psalms 55:22)

Let’s look at Galatians 6:2. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”  The word “bear” in the Greek is bastazo – to lift up, pick up, take up, sustain, and endure.  “Burdens” is baros – weight or load.

There are enough legitimate burdens with which one need to be concerned, so why do Christians want to add the burden of the law when they do not have to?  Christ did away with the law at Calvary.

People, who try to live under the dictates of rules and regulations, either imposed by the Law or by church doctrine, are following the examples of the Pharisees. (Matthew 23:4-5)  These acts are done to “be seen of men”.  If you continue to read the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, you will see the Lord making the statement “woe unto you” eight times.  And He calls them “fools and blind” or “blind guides” four times.

The Law had a purpose of being a schoolteacher, to bring one to Christ.  The law binds one to worldly things and places a burden on those who attempt to follow it.  The Lord, in contrast, lifts away one’s burdens and carries them Himself.  Those of us under grace are instructed to do the same – carry one’s burden.  Paul says, “if you must live under a law, live under the law of Christ, who loved you so much He died for your sins i.e. burdens.” (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

In Galatians 6:1 Paul speaks of a brother who has fallen and done an intentional error.  In this scenario, the one who is spiritual is to make that error right, or restore the fallen brother.  Christ, in His role as the High Priest, made things right at Calvary.  We get a pretty good picture of the responsibility of a priest in connection with the “sin offering” in Leviticus 6:25-30.  Pay particular attention to verse 26, “The priest that offereth it(the sin offering) for sin shall eat it.”  The suggestion here is if you eat something it becomes a part of you. So the priest was instructed to eat the sin offering, talking on the sin himself, i.e. the burden. That is exactly what Christ did when He died on the cross for sin.

Galatians 6:1-2 and Leviticus 6:26 seem to carry the same meaning.  Since we are members of the body of Christ, we are to do as Christ would do.  The law of Christ is to loosen the burden brought on by sin.  Only Christ can remove sin, but His ambassadors are to point those lost in sin, or those saved under the burden of sin, to Christ.  By bearing one’s burdens, Christ is magnified.  Have you eaten the sin of a fallen brother lately? 

This thought is carried further in Galatians 6:3. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”  Pride and conceit have no place in the life of a Christian.   When men build reputations for themselves, they also build troubles for themselves. The word deceiveth in the Greek is phrenapates – mind-misleader, seducer, deceiver.
Pride is the first thing on God’s hate list.  Did you know that God has a hate list?  He does, and you can find it in Proverbs 6:16-19. Pride is a sin of the flesh, and as long as we live on this earth we need guidance to keep from falling into the sin of pride. (Romans 7:18)  The flesh is easily tempted of the devil, and to give into the desires of the flesh will rob you of the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22)  That is why Paul exhorts the believer to present their bodies as a living sacrifice in Romans 12:12.

Galatians 6:4: “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

Look at how verse four flows from verse three.  The works that come from you are your judge and jury.  You are what others see you do. (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)  Let us focus on verses thirteen, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”

Men see what you do and make judgements about your character from the things you do, but God will judge you for the works you do.  Some of your works will stand the testing by fire while others will not.  We will be rewarded for those works that stand up under extreme heat.  Bearing one’s burdens has to be in the category of gold, silver and precious stones. They may very well be the suffering spoken of in 2 Timothy 2:11-13.

Galatians 6: 5 – “For every man shall bear his own burden.”

The word burdens in verse two is baros – a load, abundance, and burden.  But the word burden in verse five is a different Greek word, phortion – an invoice (as part of freight) a task, service, something carried.

In verse two the word “burdens” implies a heavy load in regard to troubles or responsibilities of sin.  The word “burden” in verse five is a lighter load; something carried like a backpack.  Paul may have been thinking of the pack that the Roman soldiers carried on their back when they went into battle.  Each soldier was to help one another in the over-all battle plan, but each one was to carry his own goods to get the job done.

While there are burdens we must bear for others, there are those that only we can bear.  There is still that responsibility of being ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) that only we can be.  No one else can do the job I am called to do but me.  But there is also the responsibility of every Christian – “to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery” (Ephesians 3:9), a big burden if there ever was one.

If we are more concerned about our personal burdens, we cannot bear the burdens of others.  We are to give our burdens to God (1 Peter 5: 7) in order to be ready to take on our responsibility to tell the world about Pauline truth.
Galatians 6:6-10: “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

“Let him that is taught in the Word COMMUNICATE.”  Communicate in the Greek is koinoneo – to share, distribute.  Many have been the times that I have failed in my duty as a Pastor/Teacher to teach the godliness of giving to the ministers of God’s Word.  Yes, there have been those who have gotten into a ministry for money alone.  Those people are leaches and need to be exposed. But it does not mean we should withhold our money from those who are faithful to teach the truth.

We talk grace, teach grace and preach grace, but I wonder if we ever THINK grace when it comes to giving and supporting the ministry of grace.  Grace in the Greek is charis – “that which gives joy, pleasure, delight, loveliness, graciousness, undeserved favor, the Divine influence on the heart and it’s reflection in one’s life, including gratitude, acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, joy, liberality, pleasure and thanks.”

In 2 Corinthians 8 & 9, Paul speaks of giving.  In these two chapters the word grace appears ten times.  In chapter eight it is found seven times; five as grace (Vs. 1,6,7,9 & 19); once as gift (V. 4); and once as thanks (V. 16).  In chapter nine we find the word grace mentioned twice (Vs. 8 & 14) and thanks once. (V.15)

What we see in these two chapters is an activity of grace.  In 2 Corinthians 8: 5  “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” we see the people gave themselves first to the Lord, and then to the apostles who ministered to them.  That is as it should be.  Christians should be devoted to the Lord first and foremost and secondly to the one who preachers or teaches them the truth. To not give to the one who labors to bring you truth is selfish.  It means you care more for your physical welfare than your spiritual welfare.

If we would all give ourselves completely over to the Lord first, we would not have to worry about giving grudgingly or of necessity. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

The whole concept presented to the Corinthians, and subsequently to you and me is to give as Christ gave. (2 Corinthians 8:9)  How did Christ give, you ask? He never thought of himself.  He always thought of others first.  For Christ, it was God first and then others.  Can you follow in His footsteps?

In 1 Corinthians 16:2, the Corinthians were instructed to give as God had prospered them.  This kind of giving surpasses the principle of tithing.  It also provides for the times when one has nothing to give at all. And one should not be ashamed to go and listen to the man sent from God just because he has nothing to give.  In like manner, one should not get all the things he wants, but does not need, and fail to support the ministry of which he is a part.

The verse talks about our giving what we have.  If we do not have anything to give, that’s all right.  But when you do have something to give, give it regularly. In 1 Corinthians 16 it was a weekly thing.  The key to faithful giving can be found in 2 Corinthians 8:12; “For if there is a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”  It has a lot to do with one’s attitude.  Do you have the right attitude when it comes to supporting your teacher, the ministry?

The Galatians had already been taught the godly principle of giving as we see in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.  Paul apparently taught it everywhere he went.  We know he goes to great length on giving when writing to the Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 he mentions something about the way the churches of Macedonia gave, and he praises the generosity of the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 9:1-3.  He goes on to tell the Corinthians about the philosophy of giving in 2 Corinthians 9:6-9.

Even though these Galatians had been taught about giving, there is no evidence that supports they ever gave anything.  Why do you suppose that is so?  We can only speculate, but I believe we can do so with some degree of accuracy.  These people were hung up on the law, and the law tells one what he shouldn’t do while grace moves one to do that which is right. The law says do not steal or cheat, but do whatever is necessary to survive.  Grace says give to someone before he is forced into stealing or cheating to provide for his family.

Grace is the proponent of generosity.  The law is the proponent of hoarding for one’s need later on.  The law never takes into account the Lord providing for one’s needs it only focus on self, i.e. if I’m going to succeed I’m going to have to do it myself attitude.  One who truly understands grace is generous.  People who are always finding reasons for not giving are usually very legal minded with little or no concept of grace.

We must now go back to Galatians 6:5.  When Paul said, “For every man shall bear his own burden,” this could easily be construed to mean keep what you have in order to have it for a rainy day.  It would preclude giving to others at all, especially pastors and teachers. But that is not what he passage is about.

There are other verses that speak of providing for your teacher.  To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (I Corinthians 9:14)  Here in Galatians 6:6, “Let him that is taught in the Word communicate (share) unto him that teacheth all good things.”  In 1 Timothy 5: 17-18, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.  For the Scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn, and, the laborer is worthy of his rewards.”

Even though Paul chose not to accept money from the Corinthians (he had his reasons – 1 Corinthians 9:18; 2 Corinthians 12:14), he encouraged the giving to others who were ministers.  A church should take care of it pastors and Bible study groups or on-line ministry groups should take care of their teachers.  When a church has grown, the pastor should have an income commensurate with any executive running a company of like size.

I would be remiss if I did not emphasize here the importance of taking care of those who teach the Word rightly divided.  If a preacher or teacher goes about teaching any views that are not Scripturally founded, don’t support him.  As a matter of fact, if you do give to someone like that it would not be honoring unto God.

As we mentioned earlier, the word “communicate” in Galatians 6:6 means to share.  Do not let the work of the Lord go lacking because of unwillingness on your part to share.  He then says in verses 7& 8, what you sow you reap.  If you think about yourself and the things of the world you will reap corruption.  If you think about the Lord and the ministry of grace you will reap the rewards given of the Spirit. 

The Bible when speaking of corruption talks about death, decay and wickedness. (Romans 8:21; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 50; 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:19)  But if we speak of eternal life we are dealing with freedom from sin and producing fruit unto holiness. (Romans 6:22-23)

Now let’s look at verse Galatians 6: 9. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Sometimes the “reaping” takes a little more time than most of us want to wait.  As a child, growing up in north Louisiana and the son of poor common laborers, I learned to plant crops that would feed our family.  I remember the first time my parents let me plant my own little plot of land (4 feet by 8 feet).  I also remember waiting and waiting and waiting some more for that little plot to turn green, an indication that the seeds had finally broken through the sod.  Each day after school I would run to that little plot of land to see if the seeds had sprouted, but it was always the same – nothing had grown.  Soon each day became every other day, as I grew tired of waiting. And then finally my reward came, there was a little green here, a little green there, and before long all the seeds had sprouted.

The results of our spiritual labor often times takes even longer to germinate than planting seeds in a garden, but “in due season we shall reap…” So hang in there.  Fight the good fight of faith. Keep on keeping on, the Lord will honor your labor eventually.

We are living in a fast paced world, but God moves at His own pace.  As the song suggests, “He makes all things beautiful in His time.” We will often times miss a blessing, having dismissed it because it was a small thing. Do not forget that the little and seemingly useless things we do are very important to the accomplishment of a successful day, week, month or year.

There are many little tasks that need to be done around the home.  Left undone, they become a major problem.  Though they may seem insignificant and with little value, they have to be done,  such as cooking, washing clothes, caring for the children, taking out the garbage, feeding the animals and vacuuming the carpet or sweeping the floor.

As small and insignificant as they may seem, they are good and honorable in God’s eyes.  Why? They are the right things to do.  Don’t get tired of doing those things.   Even if your spouse does not seem to appreciate what you do, do them because it is the right thing to do.  Do not get weary.  God is watching you and appreciating your efforts, even if your spouse does not.

The same thing applies in your Christian service.  Don’t tire of the work you do for the Lord, even if it seems small and insignificant to you.  The grass has to be mowed at the church, the buildings cleaned and maintained, and little children need to be taught and have their diapers changed. Do not get discouraged, “ye shall reap if you faint not.”

 

Galatians 6:11-18: “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Verse 11: “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand,”

There are many theories about this verse.  Some believe the letter was written in bold printed letters rather than small script, while others believe it meant that Paul was almost blind, so he wrote in large print because it was hard for him to see.  And then there is the thought that the words “large and letter” implies it was long. Neither of the theories is as important as this fact: Paul wrote this letter and did not dictate it as he did most of the others.

Why is that so important?  This letter to the Galatians is very definitely one of the most important, if not the most important Epistle we have from Paul.  It is here, and here alone, that the law is shown in direct contrast to grace.  We cannot appreciate grace until we understand the limitations and the inability of man to keep the law.  Galatians alone shows us these things.

Verse 12: “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cause of Christ.”

The verse reminds me of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:27-28.  It also is a great verse that helps us to understand what love for the household of faith is all about.  The household of faith is the true believers, not those who call themselves believers. (Compare Matthew 23:2-5.)  Paul is warning these Galatian believers of those who solicit your trust by asking you to do those fleshly things of the law (be circumcised) are sowing to their flesh corruption.  They were just trying to make a good impression, to escape being persecuted by the Jews.  But they apparently forgot – if you do one part of the law you must do it all – or die.

You cannot have both Christ and the law.  You cannot be saved by the faith of Christ and by keeping the law.  You must choose one or the other.  If you choose Christ, you must not concern yourself with the law and vise versa.

These men who tried to get the Galatians to be circumcised were doing so to avoid being persecuted, but they did not keep the law themselves. (V. 13) They just wanted to glory over the fact that they got someone else to do it.  It is no different from those who want to glory over the number of baptisms they do in a month.  Baptism was a ritual of the law (Hebrews 9:9-10) and was done away at Calvary. (Colossians 2:14)

If the law keepers could write back to Jerusalem about the number of circumcisions that had come about under their ministry they would be praised by their peers for having performed them.  Think about it.  Now think about something else, closer to home. Why do you suppose men boast about the number of baptisms that they have performed?  It is glory of their flesh that’s why?

Now you might be thinking there is a difference, but is there?  When asking a Baptist minister about his reason for so much emphasis on baptism, his comment was – “it shows others how well we are doing.”

“But why not emphasize how many people were saved?” I asked. “They are not the same you know.”

“We are Baptist and baptisms are important,” he said. “It’s how the church authorities measure the effectiveness of a ministry.”

Sad isn’t it?  So what is the purpose and importance of baptism? Answer, for the glorying of the flesh.

“And what then is the purpose of water baptism?” It does not save, regardless of what some believe. All it can do for the person being baptized is get him or her wet.  It is Christ and Christ alone that that takes away sins.  One must simply trust that the work of Christ on Calvary was for remission of sins.  Any “fleshly act”, whether it be circumcision or baptism, can only be for someone to glory in.  If we are to glory, let us glory in the cross. (v. 14 and 1 Corinthians 1:31)

Paul said, “I cannot boast in the things of the flesh, I can only boast in what Christ did for me.  He died for my sins.  If I must glory, I will glory in that fact.”  And that should be what we say too, lest we be like those churches of Galatia.

Verse 15 is a fitting summary of the importance of the cross.  “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” The important issue is becoming a new creature, and that is what we become when we accept what Christ did for us. (2 Cor. 5:17)  Circumcision and baptism represent legalism.  They are an outward expression of the flesh.  They are a “form of godliness, but denies the power thereof.” (2 Timothy 3:5)

Verses 16-18

We as believers must not worship in any way that will bring honor to the flesh.  If we do, God will not be glorified.  Who then is glorified? Our flesh and the devil, that’s who.  For Paul, the only mark he wanted to boast in was the marks of the Lord, not circumcision, not baptism.  Circumcision was a mark of the law, as was baptism.  And guess what, Christ did away with the law?  And so- “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen”

Written by Obed Kirkpatrick
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Obed Kirkpatrick
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