Archive for the ‘Galatians’ Category

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Pastor promotes killing gays.

September 5, 2009
Methodology without love is not the Gospel.
It is sad when the “sinner” shows more love for others than the pastor.
Note the logic from the pastor… where have you all heard this sort of logic before? I have… from the ODM’s who claim to be above the higher Law of Love.
This pastor’s method is not of love… not of God… and is spreading a gospel of hate and fear through judgmentalism and condemnation…
And this is what I hear the ODM’s doing… maybe a milder form of it… but deep down it is all the same hate based gospel. Personally I am saddened… and want to apologize to the GLBT community for so called Christians like this and what they say. Hate is not a Christian virtue…

Thanks to Existential Punk for pointing this out.

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Galatians 6

January 5, 2009

Galatians 6

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.

6Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[a]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!

12Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[b] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

———————————————————————————-

This is the last installment of my study through Galatians. I am a little sad as this is one of my favorite books. Chapter 6 sums up the book as Paul brings the letter to a close.

In this day of Online Discernment Ministries (ODM) one can see why Paul exhorts us to us gentleness to bring someone who we see is in sin to restore them. Though Paul at times used strong words and often a caustic tone toward those who tried to persuade the Galatians away from Grace, one can see in his words the hurt and love he had for the churches of Galatia. Gentleness is a reflection of the kindness of God Paul wrote of in Romans 2 and it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Often some think much to highly of themselves and disregard others as a less worthy of the Grace that saved them. So gentleness toward others is our vocation in the ministry of reconciliation. Often some think that we should only be kind to other believers… yet if one looks at the verse itself, Paul does not make a distinction whether one is a believer or not… he simply states:

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Notice also that a major reason is that we also may fall into the temptation that person is trapped in. So with a humble heart and kindness we are to reach out to those who are trapped in sin.

Humility is core to the Gospel. Jesus modeled humility in the very Incarnation and death for we who deserved judgment and wrath. In this simple act of humility we also need to realize that thinking too highly of our “self” cut across the grain of the Gospel and in fact impedes not only the Gospel but our own growth. We need to constantly check our own hearts and actions, and not look at others for some imaginary level of spirituality. To do so we deceive ourselves in two ways.

1. That we are doing better that someone else.
2. That we are doing worse than someone else.

Either of these can lead on to a false sense of worthiness and deceive one to think that they are doing better or worse that where God has them at that time. In this way, we can take “pride” (this is the godly type that is of proper self worth in respect to our position in Christ Jesus) in our own growth and journey as we see from where we came to where God has led us. One can look at the milestones of their life to see how God has changed their hearts and minds and rejoice in God transforming them into the image of Christ.

If one needs a sense of perspective on their position they need only look at Jesus for the standard we all miss and in that understand the kindness and gentleness of God and His love for us. In this way we share the goodness we receive from God with God and other may see God in us our hope of Glory.

Though works is not part of us getting saved, and we cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit ourselves, only bear it, our actions do reflect where we are and show if we are in Christ or not. To act in ways contrary to God’s will and continues to do so reflects that they may not come to salvation and will end in destruction. Yet, if we persist in doing good we will have the reward of eternal life. This good is not of our own works, but the out working of God in and through us. So Paul exhorts all believers to continue in doing the good works of God. Interestingly Paul states “especially” to those in the family of believers. How unfortunate that often the ones we should love the most, being our family we treat the worst at times.

There is some speculation that Paul wrote this letter or at least this last part with his own hands. Some state that he may have had problems with his eyesight, though I once heard an excellent sermon by Jason Clark of Sutton Vineyard speak of Paul’s hands. In this sermon he spoke of the many beatings, stonings, his tent making and other things Paul went through and did. In that one naturally hold their hands up to protect themselves, Jason speculated that Paul’s hands took major beatings and were most likely injured during his life. One clue is in verse 17:

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

Either way, Paul personally wrote the message himself.

Again, Paul warns of doing things to show one is more godly that others and that this motive is not of God. They do this for the reason so that others will accept then and that they may get the glory if someone is converted to their way. Sadly I confess that at times when I have witnessed my motives have not been pure and that I too have sought to get glory out of someone else’s conversion. Of course that is wrong and to read this does bring up some pain in my own actions in the past. God alone should get the Glory in someone’s salvation.

What we do in the flesh means nothing… so Paul states “15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” Again sadly we forget that what counts is that we are a new creation… the old is gone the new is here.

This new creation is that we are now in the New Israel who is Jesus Himself. For only in Christ do we receive peace and mercy and only through Christ can we give peace and mercy of God to others.

And so now I close with the prayer of Paul to my readers.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers [and sisters]. Amen.

I hope to have this all availabe in Word and PDF format so you can download the whole commentary if you desire.

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Galatians 6

January 5, 2009

Galatians 6

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.

6Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[a]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!

12Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[b] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

———————————————————————————-

This is the last installment of my study through Galatians. I am a little sad as this is one of my favorite books. Chapter 6 sums up the book as Paul brings the letter to a close.

In this day of Online Discernment Ministries (ODM) one can see why Paul exhorts us to us gentleness to bring someone who we see is in sin to restore them. Though Paul at times used strong words and often a caustic tone toward those who tried to persuade the Galatians away from Grace, one can see in his words the hurt and love he had for the churches of Galatia. Gentleness is a reflection of the kindness of God Paul wrote of in Romans 2 and it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Often some think much to highly of themselves and disregard others as a less worthy of the Grace that saved them. So gentleness toward others is our vocation in the ministry of reconciliation. Often some think that we should only be kind to other believers… yet if one looks at the verse itself, Paul does not make a distinction whether one is a believer or not… he simply states:

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Notice also that a major reason is that we also may fall into the temptation that person is trapped in. So with a humble heart and kindness we are to reach out to those who are trapped in sin.

Humility is core to the Gospel. Jesus modeled humility in the very Incarnation and death for we who deserved judgment and wrath. In this simple act of humility we also need to realize that thinking too highly of our “self” cut across the grain of the Gospel and in fact impedes not only the Gospel but our own growth. We need to constantly check our own hearts and actions, and not look at others for some imaginary level of spirituality. To do so we deceive ourselves in two ways.

1. That we are doing better that someone else.
2. That we are doing worse than someone else.

Either of these can lead on to a false sense of worthiness and deceive one to think that they are doing better or worse that where God has them at that time. In this way, we can take “pride” (this is the godly type that is of proper self worth in respect to our position in Christ Jesus) in our own growth and journey as we see from where we came to where God has led us. One can look at the milestones of their life to see how God has changed their hearts and minds and rejoice in God transforming them into the image of Christ.

If one needs a sense of perspective on their position they need only look at Jesus for the standard we all miss and in that understand the kindness and gentleness of God and His love for us. In this way we share the goodness we receive from God with God and other may see God in us our hope of Glory.

Though works is not part of us getting saved, and we cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit ourselves, only bear it, our actions do reflect where we are and show if we are in Christ or not. To act in ways contrary to God’s will and continues to do so reflects that they may not come to salvation and will end in destruction. Yet, if we persist in doing good we will have the reward of eternal life. This good is not of our own works, but the out working of God in and through us. So Paul exhorts all believers to continue in doing the good works of God. Interestingly Paul states “especially” to those in the family of believers. How unfortunate that often the ones we should love the most, being our family we treat the worst at times.

There is some speculation that Paul wrote this letter or at least this last part with his own hands. Some state that he may have had problems with his eyesight, though I once heard an excellent sermon by Jason Clark of Sutton Vineyard speak of Paul’s hands. In this sermon he spoke of the many beatings, stonings, his tent making and other things Paul went through and did. In that one naturally hold their hands up to protect themselves, Jason speculated that Paul’s hands took major beatings and were most likely injured during his life. One clue is in verse 17:

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

Either way, Paul personally wrote the message himself.

Again, Paul warns of doing things to show one is more godly that others and that this motive is not of God. They do this for the reason so that others will accept then and that they may get the glory if someone is converted to their way. Sadly I confess that at times when I have witnessed my motives have not been pure and that I too have sought to get glory out of someone else’s conversion. Of course that is wrong and to read this does bring up some pain in my own actions in the past. God alone should get the Glory in someone’s salvation.

What we do in the flesh means nothing… so Paul states “15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” Again sadly we forget that what counts is that we are a new creation… the old is gone the new is here.

This new creation is that we are now in the New Israel who is Jesus Himself. For only in Christ do we receive peace and mercy and only through Christ can we give peace and mercy of God to others.

And so now I close with the prayer of Paul to my readers.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers [and sisters]. Amen.

I hope to have this all availabe in Word and PDF format so you can download the whole commentary if you desire.

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Galatians 5

December 2, 2008

Galatians 5

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Life by the Spirit
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Freedom…This is the truth that comes when one is free in Christ Jesus. One is no longer a slave to sin but free to live righteously in Christ. How sad that we forsake what the Cross and Resurrection gained for us. So many turn to the law to receive a righteousness it cannot give. They willingly take upon themselves the yoke of slavery and claim they are free!

In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us. In the time of Jesus many Rabbis would call out to gain followers by saying, “Take my yoke upon you” This was a way of saying, “Follow my teachings.” They taught strict rules and called for their disciples to live lives of holiness. This seems to those who do not know Jesus, to be a good thing, yet it is slavery to the Law that leads only to death. Galatians 3:24 already taught us that the Law was a schoolmaster to lead us to the Life in Christ Jesus. It was to bring us to maturity which comes by faith. Yet, it seems that some find security in seeking their own righteousness instead of trusting in Christ Jesus.

The yoke that God gave to Abraham was circumcision. This was to show that God’s people we set apart to Himself. Yet, here Paul states that to set one’s self under part of the Law makes them obligated to obey the whole Law. Many teach grace and then negate it by teaching one must be obedient. This is true if one understands obedience is that of Christ and not of our own. For it is of the obedience of Christ that we are made righteous. (Romans 5:19) How if one is made righteous by the obedience of Christ Jesus can one suppose they can make themselves more righteous? It is as if some believe they can add to Christ Jesus’ righteousness… and in doing so negate the only righteousness they have. For one cannot trust in Jesus and trust their own righteousness to be saved. Paul speaks strongly and rather boldly of those that follow the way of the circumcision and tells them to cut it all off for all its worth which is nothing.

So many start out trusting Jesus, and fall into corrupt teaching. They start with the purity of Christ alone and then are taught to add their own works. Worse they are taught they must produce fruit… We are not fruit producers but fruit bearers. The branch cannot produce fruit without the vine.

The higher Law of Love is what we are called to. Paul states, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sadly many fail to do this but appoint themselves as judges of righteousness forgetting that no one is right with God. Only Jesus is truly righteous. We must live by the Holy Spirit in total dependency. In that way we only find freedom; freedom from sin and its wages which is death. It is easy to spot those who are not free and follow the sinful nature. They practice the very sins they claim to be against! “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Paul paints a sad picture. There are some of these judges that have even confessed they have a hard time not hating people who live free in Christ. They practice rage and cause dissension… and glory in their factions. Yet… even with all this how glorious is the contrast of those who live by the Spirit and practice Grace.

Those that live by the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control” and as Paul states; there is no Law against these things.

Yet, also as we live by the Spirit we need be careful to not become proud and fall into the trap of the flesh. We must not become conceited that we are better than others. Humility is the conduit of Grace. Without humility, we cannot bear the very fruit we seek to bear.

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Galatians 5

December 2, 2008

Galatians 5

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Life by the Spirit
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Freedom…This is the truth that comes when one is free in Christ Jesus. One is no longer a slave to sin but free to live righteously in Christ. How sad that we forsake what the Cross and Resurrection gained for us. So many turn to the law to receive a righteousness it cannot give. They willingly take upon themselves the yoke of slavery and claim they are free!

In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us. In the time of Jesus many Rabbis would call out to gain followers by saying, “Take my yoke upon you” This was a way of saying, “Follow my teachings.” They taught strict rules and called for their disciples to live lives of holiness. This seems to those who do not know Jesus, to be a good thing, yet it is slavery to the Law that leads only to death. Galatians 3:24 already taught us that the Law was a schoolmaster to lead us to the Life in Christ Jesus. It was to bring us to maturity which comes by faith. Yet, it seems that some find security in seeking their own righteousness instead of trusting in Christ Jesus.

The yoke that God gave to Abraham was circumcision. This was to show that God’s people we set apart to Himself. Yet, here Paul states that to set one’s self under part of the Law makes them obligated to obey the whole Law. Many teach grace and then negate it by teaching one must be obedient. This is true if one understands obedience is that of Christ and not of our own. For it is of the obedience of Christ that we are made righteous. (Romans 5:19) How if one is made righteous by the obedience of Christ Jesus can one suppose they can make themselves more righteous? It is as if some believe they can add to Christ Jesus’ righteousness… and in doing so negate the only righteousness they have. For one cannot trust in Jesus and trust their own righteousness to be saved. Paul speaks strongly and rather boldly of those that follow the way of the circumcision and tells them to cut it all off for all its worth which is nothing.

So many start out trusting Jesus, and fall into corrupt teaching. They start with the purity of Christ alone and then are taught to add their own works. Worse they are taught they must produce fruit… We are not fruit producers but fruit bearers. The branch cannot produce fruit without the vine.

The higher Law of Love is what we are called to. Paul states, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sadly many fail to do this but appoint themselves as judges of righteousness forgetting that no one is right with God. Only Jesus is truly righteous. We must live by the Holy Spirit in total dependency. In that way we only find freedom; freedom from sin and its wages which is death. It is easy to spot those who are not free and follow the sinful nature. They practice the very sins they claim to be against! “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Paul paints a sad picture. There are some of these judges that have even confessed they have a hard time not hating people who live free in Christ. They practice rage and cause dissension… and glory in their factions. Yet… even with all this how glorious is the contrast of those who live by the Spirit and practice Grace.

Those that live by the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control” and as Paul states; there is no Law against these things.

Yet, also as we live by the Spirit we need be careful to not become proud and fall into the trap of the flesh. We must not become conceited that we are better than others. Humility is the conduit of Grace. Without humility, we cannot bear the very fruit we seek to bear.

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Galatians 4

October 14, 2008

Galatians 4

1What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

12I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.

24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

27For it is written:
“Be glad, O barren woman,
who bears no children;
break forth and cry aloud,
you who have no labor pains;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”

28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

————————————————————————————————–

Here in chapter 4, Paul carries on the thought that one is no longer under the Law. He points out that even an heir is still a child; that he may own all the land; he is still nothing more than a slave as he is subject to others. Interestingly, Paul states “guardians and trustees” which were most often slaves put in charge over the child. It was not until the father set the child free that the child then was over his guardian or trustee. We were under the Law until set free by the Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus was God, yet many seem to forget he was born of a woman and human like us. This is important. If Jesus was not born of a woman, then the promise would not have been kept; the promise of our salvation. Once we were slaves. Now, we are sons! Yet, more than just sons but an heir of all God has for us.

Before we were sons, we were slaves to many things as sin, worldly rulers and their rules, laws, observing holy days that seem to not have meaning… the list of things can go on and on. None of these were god… nor gods… but we were still subject to them. Often people look at sin as just bad, and it is bad. Yet, if one can look at our old way of life as something to learn from to propel us forward, we will see that sin in itself only shined the light of God’s loving kindness. Our only response should be humbly admitting our wrong and to be set free by the grace of God. Now having been set free, why would anyone want to go back to the ways of slavery? Why would anyone want to be subject to another when they can be free?

I was a biker for a time. I rode with some interesting characters. Some of my friends wanted to be Hell’s Angels… which was strange to me. I asked them why they rode and they always proudly stated, “Freedom baby.”… I would then ask them, “Why do you want to be part of a club that will either kill you or at the very least take your bike away if you decide to leave them? Why would you then want to be subject to rules such as being fined $100 a week if your bike is not running?” Most the time I received blank stares. They seemed to not grasp that they would not be free. They would have to do as the club told them and would not longer truly be their own man.

Often we forget that we are free. We desire the old way as it seems easier than having to depend on God and be subject to Him alone for it is His way that is best.
Paul pleads with the Galatians to understand this. He states, “Become like me, for I became like you.” Paul was once under the bondage of the Law and became free. His desire is that the Galatians return to the freedom Paul showed them.

Paul was truly humbled by the love of the Galatians. He apparently was ill at the time of his visit and they restored him to health. Paul was impressed by their sacrificial joy. Now it seems with the teaching of those who confused them, this joy was now lost. We only experience the joy of the Lord if we are free to love others. Remember Paul had once persecuted those of the Faith in Christ, yet the Galatians rejoiced in his conversion. We can lose our joy if we look to other things. Joy comes only from God and doing His will. His will is that we be free to love others and not be pressed by the Law or rules of man. The Law had requirements for separation. The Jew could not enter or eat in the house of a Gentile. Today we set up rules of separation that are not of God. True we need be separate from the world and not do as those do who are caught up in its clutches. Yet, we are freed from such rules that keep us from loving those the world deems unacceptable.

Paul speaks of two women. Sarah and Hagar both bore a child for Abraham yet only one was of the promise of God. How often do we do things that we think God is in while all along He promised nothing in that direction? How much time money and energy is wasted by us as we follow the way of Hagar? We devise our ways yet God has given us the way of freedom or the way of the Promise. Only though the Promise are we saved. Are you on still one Mount Sinai? Do you need to come down from the Mountain of the Law to the Life in the Lush valley of Grace?

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Galatians 4

October 14, 2008

Galatians 4

1What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

12I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.

24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

27For it is written:
“Be glad, O barren woman,
who bears no children;
break forth and cry aloud,
you who have no labor pains;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”

28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

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Here in chapter 4, Paul carries on the thought that one is no longer under the Law. He points out that even an heir is still a child; that he may own all the land; he is still nothing more than a slave as he is subject to others. Interestingly, Paul states “guardians and trustees” which were most often slaves put in charge over the child. It was not until the father set the child free that the child then was over his guardian or trustee. We were under the Law until set free by the Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus was God, yet many seem to forget he was born of a woman and human like us. This is important. If Jesus was not born of a woman, then the promise would not have been kept; the promise of our salvation. Once we were slaves. Now, we are sons! Yet, more than just sons but an heir of all God has for us.

Before we were sons, we were slaves to many things as sin, worldly rulers and their rules, laws, observing holy days that seem to not have meaning… the list of things can go on and on. None of these were god… nor gods… but we were still subject to them. Often people look at sin as just bad, and it is bad. Yet, if one can look at our old way of life as something to learn from to propel us forward, we will see that sin in itself only shined the light of God’s loving kindness. Our only response should be humbly admitting our wrong and to be set free by the grace of God. Now having been set free, why would anyone want to go back to the ways of slavery? Why would anyone want to be subject to another when they can be free?

I was a biker for a time. I rode with some interesting characters. Some of my friends wanted to be Hell’s Angels… which was strange to me. I asked them why they rode and they always proudly stated, “Freedom baby.”… I would then ask them, “Why do you want to be part of a club that will either kill you or at the very least take your bike away if you decide to leave them? Why would you then want to be subject to rules such as being fined $100 a week if your bike is not running?” Most the time I received blank stares. They seemed to not grasp that they would not be free. They would have to do as the club told them and would not longer truly be their own man.

Often we forget that we are free. We desire the old way as it seems easier than having to depend on God and be subject to Him alone for it is His way that is best.
Paul pleads with the Galatians to understand this. He states, “Become like me, for I became like you.” Paul was once under the bondage of the Law and became free. His desire is that the Galatians return to the freedom Paul showed them.

Paul was truly humbled by the love of the Galatians. He apparently was ill at the time of his visit and they restored him to health. Paul was impressed by their sacrificial joy. Now it seems with the teaching of those who confused them, this joy was now lost. We only experience the joy of the Lord if we are free to love others. Remember Paul had once persecuted those of the Faith in Christ, yet the Galatians rejoiced in his conversion. We can lose our joy if we look to other things. Joy comes only from God and doing His will. His will is that we be free to love others and not be pressed by the Law or rules of man. The Law had requirements for separation. The Jew could not enter or eat in the house of a Gentile. Today we set up rules of separation that are not of God. True we need be separate from the world and not do as those do who are caught up in its clutches. Yet, we are freed from such rules that keep us from loving those the world deems unacceptable.

Paul speaks of two women. Sarah and Hagar both bore a child for Abraham yet only one was of the promise of God. How often do we do things that we think God is in while all along He promised nothing in that direction? How much time money and energy is wasted by us as we follow the way of Hagar? We devise our ways yet God has given us the way of freedom or the way of the Promise. Only though the Promise are we saved. Are you on still one Mount Sinai? Do you need to come down from the Mountain of the Law to the Life in the Lush valley of Grace?