Archive for the ‘Galatians’ Category

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Galatians 3

August 12, 2008
Galatians 3
1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
6Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

———————————————————————————————

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” What a way to start a chapter! Paul goes right into the foolishness of going back to the Law once one has found Grace. What foolishness to forsake freedom for slavery! Paul reminds them how he presented Christ crucified for them, and that they did not find Grace and freedom through observing the Law. If one has fallen into legalism, one should ask, “was if by the works of observing the Law, or by believing in Jesus that saved them? Even more, one need remember that if one can not be saved through observing the Law and its requirements, why go back to it and try to save one’s self by human effort?

It is by grace we are saved, and by grace, we are sustained. Many have forgotten this, or worse never have been taught this. So many are taught that they must “do” something to maintain, or sustain, or somehow keep themselves saved. What bondage some are in, as I was myself so many years, foolishly thinking I can add to the finished works of Jesus. The Galatians had been persecuted and even suffered for their faith, yet; still some did not hold to the truth of the power of the Gospel of Grace to save them and returned to their own effort. Even miracles happened and Paul points to them as proof these miracles were to confirm the truth he imparted to them.

I believe that Paul addresses a misunderstanding that might have come from James. Not that James did not understand Grace; yet, some may have taken what James stated, “faith without works is dead” and twisted it to mean that one must do the works of the Law to sustain their salvation. Paul refers earlier to “certain men that came from James” in chapter 2. Yet, I am sure that James teaching was not in returning to the Law, but an exhortation to live the faith and Life imparted to us through Jesus Christ.

Paul makes it clear that Abraham was a saved through faith, “”He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” and that Abraham’s belief was credited as righteousness. We too, are given credit for our faith, which in itself is a gift from God, and Christ’s righteousness is imputed, to us. Our belief is the response to the actions God took for our salvation.
Further Paul points out that those that rely on observing the Law are under a curse. For to put faith in the Law is to not have faith in Jesus. If one chooses the path of relying on the Law for their righteousness, they must hold to all of it perfectly. If one does not do so, then they will receive the promise of the curse. Even Jesus who held the Law perfectly was cursed as he was “hanged on a tree.” The cross was the curse, or promise that reveals that we will die for our sins. Now, Jesus did not sin, yet was willing to be cursed for our sake. How then if one perfect, received the promised curse, do we expect anything else ourselves?

Paul again tells the purpose of the Law. It is to reveal our sinful transgressions. For the Law cannot give life, but only reveal our death. It was given to reveal that the wages of sin is death.

Paul states the Law is not of faith. One cannot have faith and still hold to their own works of righteousness to save them. To think one can save themselves by their own righteousness denies that they need Jesus. The Law was given to show us we need Jesus! Is the law then opposed to the promise of God? Certainly not as Paul states. Yet, as Paul points out if Life could have come through the Law, then God would have not needed to send His Son to die for us and raise again to new Life so we might be part of the Promise.

This saving faith in Christ Jesus was locked away and hidden until Christ came to reveal it. The Law was given to lead us to Christ Jesus. To make us fall on the mercy of God for salvation and New Life. Now, if one has found faith in Christ, the Law is no longer needed to supervise us for we have become sons of God by our faith in Jesus. For we now are baptized in Christ… we are immersed in Him… we are clothed in Him. No longer do we look at each other as Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free… we now only see each other as joint heirs to all the promises of God. What a joy to know we are accepted in Christ. So many never know acceptance on a human level; how much more the acceptance of God Himself. Even knowing all our sin, and still choosing to love and accept us for the sake of Christ’s obedience. May this draw us ever deeper into the great love of God. May this compel us to learn the Way of Love.

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Galatians 3

August 12, 2008
Galatians 3
1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
6Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

———————————————————————————————

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” What a way to start a chapter! Paul goes right into the foolishness of going back to the Law once one has found Grace. What foolishness to forsake freedom for slavery! Paul reminds them how he presented Christ crucified for them, and that they did not find Grace and freedom through observing the Law. If one has fallen into legalism, one should ask, “was if by the works of observing the Law, or by believing in Jesus that saved them? Even more, one need remember that if one can not be saved through observing the Law and its requirements, why go back to it and try to save one’s self by human effort?

It is by grace we are saved, and by grace, we are sustained. Many have forgotten this, or worse never have been taught this. So many are taught that they must “do” something to maintain, or sustain, or somehow keep themselves saved. What bondage some are in, as I was myself so many years, foolishly thinking I can add to the finished works of Jesus. The Galatians had been persecuted and even suffered for their faith, yet; still some did not hold to the truth of the power of the Gospel of Grace to save them and returned to their own effort. Even miracles happened and Paul points to them as proof these miracles were to confirm the truth he imparted to them.

I believe that Paul addresses a misunderstanding that might have come from James. Not that James did not understand Grace; yet, some may have taken what James stated, “faith without works is dead” and twisted it to mean that one must do the works of the Law to sustain their salvation. Paul refers earlier to “certain men that came from James” in chapter 2. Yet, I am sure that James teaching was not in returning to the Law, but an exhortation to live the faith and Life imparted to us through Jesus Christ.

Paul makes it clear that Abraham was a saved through faith, “”He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” and that Abraham’s belief was credited as righteousness. We too, are given credit for our faith, which in itself is a gift from God, and Christ’s righteousness is imputed, to us. Our belief is the response to the actions God took for our salvation.
Further Paul points out that those that rely on observing the Law are under a curse. For to put faith in the Law is to not have faith in Jesus. If one chooses the path of relying on the Law for their righteousness, they must hold to all of it perfectly. If one does not do so, then they will receive the promise of the curse. Even Jesus who held the Law perfectly was cursed as he was “hanged on a tree.” The cross was the curse, or promise that reveals that we will die for our sins. Now, Jesus did not sin, yet was willing to be cursed for our sake. How then if one perfect, received the promised curse, do we expect anything else ourselves?

Paul again tells the purpose of the Law. It is to reveal our sinful transgressions. For the Law cannot give life, but only reveal our death. It was given to reveal that the wages of sin is death.

Paul states the Law is not of faith. One cannot have faith and still hold to their own works of righteousness to save them. To think one can save themselves by their own righteousness denies that they need Jesus. The Law was given to show us we need Jesus! Is the law then opposed to the promise of God? Certainly not as Paul states. Yet, as Paul points out if Life could have come through the Law, then God would have not needed to send His Son to die for us and raise again to new Life so we might be part of the Promise.

This saving faith in Christ Jesus was locked away and hidden until Christ came to reveal it. The Law was given to lead us to Christ Jesus. To make us fall on the mercy of God for salvation and New Life. Now, if one has found faith in Christ, the Law is no longer needed to supervise us for we have become sons of God by our faith in Jesus. For we now are baptized in Christ… we are immersed in Him… we are clothed in Him. No longer do we look at each other as Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free… we now only see each other as joint heirs to all the promises of God. What a joy to know we are accepted in Christ. So many never know acceptance on a human level; how much more the acceptance of God Himself. Even knowing all our sin, and still choosing to love and accept us for the sake of Christ’s obedience. May this draw us ever deeper into the great love of God. May this compel us to learn the Way of Love.

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Galatians 2

August 10, 2008

Galatians 2
1Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
6As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. 10All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15″We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

17″If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

——————————————————————————————-

Paul begins to explain that the Apostles also acknowledged him and his gospel to the gentiles. Paul states that fourteen years ago from the time of the letter to the Galatians, that he and Barnabas and Titus went to Jerusalem to meet with the “leaders”. If one reads closely one might note that Paul wanted to meet with them to share the revelation he received to the leaders to make sure he was on the right path. Noting his statement, “for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain.” One might see that he wanted to be sure that he was not mistaken in his understanding and wanted to make sure that the “leaders” might correct him. Paul also seemed concerned as he met with these “leaders” privately, and not publicly. I point this out that even if one receives a great vision, or revelation, one should always seek counsel of others. If one plans to embark on a mission, as Paul understood his to be, he was wise in his choice of persons and seeking their input.

The other point of notice in this is Paul’s humility. If he was mistaken in his understanding and needed to be straightened out, one can only assume his heart was such that he would have heeded the counsel of those who had walked with Jesus in Person and sat directly under his teaching.

Now, it is evident that Titus was a Gentile. The main way to tell is that Paul points out that he was not circumcised. I understand that Paul brought Titus as proof of the fruit of his gospel. Yet, there is a deeper issue going on. Paul is building up to a point. He is stating that those that came to Galatia and set out their gospel, taught that one must convert to Judaism and be circumcised. Now, at first glance we must realize that logically this plays out. God choose the Jew, then became a Jewish man, this Jewish man was the Jewish messiah so naturally the conclusion would be that one must convert to Judaism, and come under the Judaic law, thus become circumcised. In other words, one must become a Jew and live as a Jew to serve the Jewish God and Messiah. Jesus revealed to Paul a much greater thing as he stated in Ephesians, “His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two”. Paul understood that God now abolished the Law in Christ Jesus and set us free from the Law so that we are free to live by faith through Grace.

Both Jew and Gentile were to live under the New Covenant of Grace through Faith and not be under the Law and it’s righteous requirements. Now, some might state that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. I will state here that by fulfilling it, He abolished it as Paul writes in Ephesians 2: 14 – 16:
:
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

So, my argument is that fulfilled the law; and by that abolished the Law. Paul states that there were some that tried to persuade him and others that they must become as Jews, Paul states that this is slavery. It was then and it is still today. If someone places a yoke of works on someone else, it is slavery and not freedom. Many call themselves righteous by their own works. They show their “fruit” as the Pharisees once showed their phylacteries. They brag of their own holiness, then judge and condemn others in the Name of Christ. These people are no different from the “false brothers” Paul speaks of who want others to follow them and be enslaved as they are and not enjoy the Freedom that is in the Person of Jesus Christ. In fact I will be so bold as to state their purpose is anti–Christ as Jesus stated:

John 8: 34-36 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Only the Son can set us free. Even those who “seemed” important could not deny that Paul had received the truth in his Gospel. Paul goes on to James, Peter and John all agreed that Paul had received the message of Grace from God.
Many state that Peter was the one that was charged to go to the Gentile. In a way he was. Yet, if he was, he failed miserably as he never left Jerusalem and here Paul states his ministry was to the Jew and not the Gentile. Peter was the door to the Gentile as God revealed to and through him that Gentiles were saved just as the Jew was. Yet, it was Paul who was chosen to go to the Gentiles first by Jesus, then confirmed by James, Peter and John.

Next Paul relates a story that is told in Acts, where Peter ate in the home of a Gentile, yet seemed to have fallen back into fear of being condemned by associating with Gentiles. One may surmise that maybe Peter did fail, and then chose Paul. I am not sure I fully agree, yet I see Peter seems to have a pattern of boldness then fear. One can understand why his last request was to be crucified upside down as he felt unworthy to be crucified as Jesus was. One can only wonder at Peter at times. Sometimes I see the wonder of a great God who loves us and uses us in spite of our failures. I wonder at the Great God who while we might fail, does not and will accomplish His plan.

Paul confronts Peter in this time of weakness. Interestingly, Paul states boldly, “I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.” I see this was to show those in Galatia that Paul would stand up to even one of the Great Pillars if needed to bring them to account to the Gospel. For what person would stand up to one of those who walked with Jesus! Yet, Paul did, and the story is of great interest if one takes the time to read it in Acts 15.

Paul now begins to explain the purpose of the Law… that is to kill us. The Law was to show we were sinners and from it we cannot gain righteousness. Yet, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus we find Life! How glorious is it that the One who has shown we are not able to attain our own righteousness, becomes our righteousness. Many miss that if we could have obtained righteousness from the Law, then Christ died for nothing, yet, Christ died so that we could be free from the slavery of the Law and raised to New Life in Him by His Grace.

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Galatians 2

August 10, 2008

Galatians 2
1Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
6As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. 10All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15″We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

17″If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

——————————————————————————————-

Paul begins to explain that the Apostles also acknowledged him and his gospel to the gentiles. Paul states that fourteen years ago from the time of the letter to the Galatians, that he and Barnabas and Titus went to Jerusalem to meet with the “leaders”. If one reads closely one might note that Paul wanted to meet with them to share the revelation he received to the leaders to make sure he was on the right path. Noting his statement, “for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain.” One might see that he wanted to be sure that he was not mistaken in his understanding and wanted to make sure that the “leaders” might correct him. Paul also seemed concerned as he met with these “leaders” privately, and not publicly. I point this out that even if one receives a great vision, or revelation, one should always seek counsel of others. If one plans to embark on a mission, as Paul understood his to be, he was wise in his choice of persons and seeking their input.

The other point of notice in this is Paul’s humility. If he was mistaken in his understanding and needed to be straightened out, one can only assume his heart was such that he would have heeded the counsel of those who had walked with Jesus in Person and sat directly under his teaching.

Now, it is evident that Titus was a Gentile. The main way to tell is that Paul points out that he was not circumcised. I understand that Paul brought Titus as proof of the fruit of his gospel. Yet, there is a deeper issue going on. Paul is building up to a point. He is stating that those that came to Galatia and set out their gospel, taught that one must convert to Judaism and be circumcised. Now, at first glance we must realize that logically this plays out. God choose the Jew, then became a Jewish man, this Jewish man was the Jewish messiah so naturally the conclusion would be that one must convert to Judaism, and come under the Judaic law, thus become circumcised. In other words, one must become a Jew and live as a Jew to serve the Jewish God and Messiah. Jesus revealed to Paul a much greater thing as he stated in Ephesians, “His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two”. Paul understood that God now abolished the Law in Christ Jesus and set us free from the Law so that we are free to live by faith through Grace.

Both Jew and Gentile were to live under the New Covenant of Grace through Faith and not be under the Law and it’s righteous requirements. Now, some might state that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. I will state here that by fulfilling it, He abolished it as Paul writes in Ephesians 2: 14 – 16:
:
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

So, my argument is that fulfilled the law; and by that abolished the Law. Paul states that there were some that tried to persuade him and others that they must become as Jews, Paul states that this is slavery. It was then and it is still today. If someone places a yoke of works on someone else, it is slavery and not freedom. Many call themselves righteous by their own works. They show their “fruit” as the Pharisees once showed their phylacteries. They brag of their own holiness, then judge and condemn others in the Name of Christ. These people are no different from the “false brothers” Paul speaks of who want others to follow them and be enslaved as they are and not enjoy the Freedom that is in the Person of Jesus Christ. In fact I will be so bold as to state their purpose is anti–Christ as Jesus stated:

John 8: 34-36 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Only the Son can set us free. Even those who “seemed” important could not deny that Paul had received the truth in his Gospel. Paul goes on to James, Peter and John all agreed that Paul had received the message of Grace from God.
Many state that Peter was the one that was charged to go to the Gentile. In a way he was. Yet, if he was, he failed miserably as he never left Jerusalem and here Paul states his ministry was to the Jew and not the Gentile. Peter was the door to the Gentile as God revealed to and through him that Gentiles were saved just as the Jew was. Yet, it was Paul who was chosen to go to the Gentiles first by Jesus, then confirmed by James, Peter and John.

Next Paul relates a story that is told in Acts, where Peter ate in the home of a Gentile, yet seemed to have fallen back into fear of being condemned by associating with Gentiles. One may surmise that maybe Peter did fail, and then chose Paul. I am not sure I fully agree, yet I see Peter seems to have a pattern of boldness then fear. One can understand why his last request was to be crucified upside down as he felt unworthy to be crucified as Jesus was. One can only wonder at Peter at times. Sometimes I see the wonder of a great God who loves us and uses us in spite of our failures. I wonder at the Great God who while we might fail, does not and will accomplish His plan.

Paul confronts Peter in this time of weakness. Interestingly, Paul states boldly, “I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.” I see this was to show those in Galatia that Paul would stand up to even one of the Great Pillars if needed to bring them to account to the Gospel. For what person would stand up to one of those who walked with Jesus! Yet, Paul did, and the story is of great interest if one takes the time to read it in Acts 15.

Paul now begins to explain the purpose of the Law… that is to kill us. The Law was to show we were sinners and from it we cannot gain righteousness. Yet, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus we find Life! How glorious is it that the One who has shown we are not able to attain our own righteousness, becomes our righteousness. Many miss that if we could have obtained righteousness from the Law, then Christ died for nothing, yet, Christ died so that we could be free from the slavery of the Law and raised to New Life in Him by His Grace.

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Galatians 1

August 7, 2008

Galatians 1
1Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers with me,

To the churches in Galatia:
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
10Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
11I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
18Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they praised God because of me.

————————————————————————————————

Galatians is one of my favorite books. It is often referred to as the “Little Romans” as it is a precise and condensed version of Romans. Yet, within this epistle, there are many insights given that Romans alludes to, but does not fully expound upon. It is also known as the “Grace Epistle” the topic is of the Church of Galatians falling away from the Grace based Gospel that Paul had originally explained to them.

Paul is clear that he was not sent by men. He will often refer to the fact that unlike others, he received his knowledge from Jesus himself. Paul had a dramatic conversion. He was well known as an enemy of the “Christian” cult. Yet, to be far, Paul was truly a believer in Christ before his conversion. Paul, like most of the Jews of his day, believed in Messiah. The issue though was that Paul did not understand until Jesus gave the revelation of what the mission of Messiah, the Christ… or the coming King would be. He states in Acts 22 that he was taught under Gamaliel, a teacher of the law. N. T. Wright, in his book contends though that though he was taught under Gamaliel, he was most likely also taught or greatly influenced by Hillel who was a more political sect who believed that the Coming King would overthrow the Romans. Gamaliel was more passive in the sense that he taught that one could be a Jew and live at peace under Roman rule. Hillel saw that this could not be. His thoughts were that the Jew must be free from Roman rule. I believe both these influences, moved in and through Paul even after his conversion. I see that he moves between “be a good citizen” in Romans 12 to the subversive idea that Caesar is not the true God and King, and that Jesus truly rules all.

Paul gives a greeting that in itself deserves much more comment. The reference, “the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” is very significant that it must not be overlooked. For it was by the will of the Father Jesus came to save us. It was as John states, the “for God so loved the world He gave His One and only Son” of Galatians. It also can take us back to the idea in Ephesians 1 where Paul talks of being “predestined” in Christ Jesus “according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

From here, we move to chastisement! Paul jumps straight to what is on his heart. This is that the Galatians have begun to forsake the gospel they were originally called to. It seems there were some that had visited and preached a much different gospel than Paul. I will not go into this now, as Paul will elaborate more in the coming chapters. Yet, this other gospel had caused great confusion amongst the church in Galatia. Paul is so forceful in this initial rebuke that he states that even if an Angel appeared and taught them otherwise that this angel should be condemned! It is evident that Paul’s heart is breaking. I see that this opening shows the love he had for the church of Galatia. Paul even states that the people who taught them this other gospel should also be eternally condemned.

Paul is not concerned at this point about their feelings. He is stressing the point that he, unlike the men that came in “so-called” authority, did not receive his gospel from other men, but from Jesus Himself. This was to show that since there was perceived authority from the men who had caused this confusion, Paul had much more as his Gospel was from the authority of Jesus and not other men. Paul did not need men’s approval; he already had God’s.

From here, Paul retells a bit of his conversion story to show the power of the gospel. It is the power to change a man from a persecutor of the people of God to the one who cares most for them. This is the true power of the gospel, the power to change a man from the inside out. It is the power to give a man a new heart… to make a new man out of the old.

He then states that after his conversion and the revelation, he went and met with Peter and then James. From there he went to Syria and Cilicia where they had not known of him, yet had heard the story of him as one who once persecuted the church and was now changed. In this, they praised God over the change of Paul and the Power of our Great God who can change a man from a murderer, to a man who will be one of the greatest influences of the history of the Church.

h1

Galatians 1

August 7, 2008

Galatians 1
1Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers with me,

To the churches in Galatia:
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
10Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
11I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
18Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they praised God because of me.

————————————————————————————————

Galatians is one of my favorite books. It is often referred to as the “Little Romans” as it is a precise and condensed version of Romans. Yet, within this epistle, there are many insights given that Romans alludes to, but does not fully expound upon. It is also known as the “Grace Epistle” the topic is of the Church of Galatians falling away from the Grace based Gospel that Paul had originally explained to them.

Paul is clear that he was not sent by men. He will often refer to the fact that unlike others, he received his knowledge from Jesus himself. Paul had a dramatic conversion. He was well known as an enemy of the “Christian” cult. Yet, to be far, Paul was truly a believer in Christ before his conversion. Paul, like most of the Jews of his day, believed in Messiah. The issue though was that Paul did not understand until Jesus gave the revelation of what the mission of Messiah, the Christ… or the coming King would be. He states in Acts 22 that he was taught under Gamaliel, a teacher of the law. N. T. Wright, in his book contends though that though he was taught under Gamaliel, he was most likely also taught or greatly influenced by Hillel who was a more political sect who believed that the Coming King would overthrow the Romans. Gamaliel was more passive in the sense that he taught that one could be a Jew and live at peace under Roman rule. Hillel saw that this could not be. His thoughts were that the Jew must be free from Roman rule. I believe both these influences, moved in and through Paul even after his conversion. I see that he moves between “be a good citizen” in Romans 12 to the subversive idea that Caesar is not the true God and King, and that Jesus truly rules all.

Paul gives a greeting that in itself deserves much more comment. The reference, “the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” is very significant that it must not be overlooked. For it was by the will of the Father Jesus came to save us. It was as John states, the “for God so loved the world He gave His One and only Son” of Galatians. It also can take us back to the idea in Ephesians 1 where Paul talks of being “predestined” in Christ Jesus “according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

From here, we move to chastisement! Paul jumps straight to what is on his heart. This is that the Galatians have begun to forsake the gospel they were originally called to. It seems there were some that had visited and preached a much different gospel than Paul. I will not go into this now, as Paul will elaborate more in the coming chapters. Yet, this other gospel had caused great confusion amongst the church in Galatia. Paul is so forceful in this initial rebuke that he states that even if an Angel appeared and taught them otherwise that this angel should be condemned! It is evident that Paul’s heart is breaking. I see that this opening shows the love he had for the church of Galatia. Paul even states that the people who taught them this other gospel should also be eternally condemned.

Paul is not concerned at this point about their feelings. He is stressing the point that he, unlike the men that came in “so-called” authority, did not receive his gospel from other men, but from Jesus Himself. This was to show that since there was perceived authority from the men who had caused this confusion, Paul had much more as his Gospel was from the authority of Jesus and not other men. Paul did not need men’s approval; he already had God’s.

From here, Paul retells a bit of his conversion story to show the power of the gospel. It is the power to change a man from a persecutor of the people of God to the one who cares most for them. This is the true power of the gospel, the power to change a man from the inside out. It is the power to give a man a new heart… to make a new man out of the old.

He then states that after his conversion and the revelation, he went and met with Peter and then James. From there he went to Syria and Cilicia where they had not known of him, yet had heard the story of him as one who once persecuted the church and was now changed. In this, they praised God over the change of Paul and the Power of our Great God who can change a man from a murderer, to a man who will be one of the greatest influences of the history of the Church.