Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Bible Study Series - Galatians Chapter 6

Doing Good to All

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

V1. Brothers and Sisters or Fellow Christians, if someone be overtaken in a fault, you which are Spiritual, should restore such a person, by way of gentleness; however you need to watch yourselves, unless you also are tempted.

Being overtaken in a fault, or being overwhelmed or unexpectedly fallen into, slipping into or falling away into sin; we who are of the Spirit should gently restore or help this person return to their moral state, but beware you do not get entangled in the same snare.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

V2. We are to bear one another burdens, in other words we need to support one another to fulfil the law of Christ.

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Romans 13:8 “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Romans 13:10 “10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Love is the law of Christ which fulfils the entire Law.

Galatians 6:3 “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”

V3. We should bear one another’s burdens because he who thinks himself to be something or better than others, when in actuality he is in fact nothing at all, these types of person deceive themselves because they think they are better than everyone else.

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

V4. But let every man try and test his own deeds, the believer should be right in his own deeds first, before he even should attempt to assist other people. Consider if you have issues with other people or that person, you should refrain from giving them assistance or advise whilst you are still holding a grudge with others.

Matthew 7:3-5 “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

We have nothing to boast of ourselves, we should not be boasting that our very own Christian life is better than the other Christian who is not doing too well. When we rejoice, we rejoice only in ourselves for glory in the Lord, because it is what the Lord did, through the spirit that all things are possible.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 12:12-18 – to read more

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

V5. Every man, especially believers will bear their own faults and issues of life, we all have our own “load” to bear. Whatever job God gave you to do, it is yours alone. You should not try to offload or “handball” this to another person completely; God has chosen you, because he knows you are the best to do the job.

Galatians 6:6 “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”

V6. If God has revealed to you some wisdom or teaching from his Word, we should communicate that message to all teachers who teach in all good things as well; so that the truth may be taught.

Galatians 6:7-8 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

V7-8. Be warned and do not deceive yourselves, God is not mocked. As a believer, what you sow here on earth in the flesh, you will reap here on earth and what you sow in the Spirit will you be rewarded accordingly at the Judgement. For unbelievers, they will reap what they sow here on earth, but at Judgement there is only one place they will be going, and it’s not very pleasant place to say the least.

Galatians 6:9-10 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

V9-10. Paul says let us not be weary in doing good works, he is talking about believers remember Romans 3:31 says that we do not make the Law void through faith, we establish the law once we are saved, justified by faith and not in the letter.

As Christians we should labour to do good works to advance the kingdom of heaven for glory to the Godhead. In due season we shall reap the rewards, in other words at the Lords return we shall be rewarded with heavenly gifts from our Lord, if we don’t give up; that is, in no way meaning you have lost your salvation: the truth of the matter is that Christians never seem to tire of doing good.

That’s what separates us from the rest of the world. The world is selfish, wicked and you can see it for yourself should you decide to one day step out of the box. Christians are thoughtful of others. When the Lord returns to redeem his people, we should be found working to get that “one” more saved, before it is too late; before the door is closed, the close of business day.

When the opportunity arises, take that moment to preach the Gospel and get that soul saved. Perform the good works in the Lords name and especially to those who are called our brethren, and wait in earnest, when the Lord returns in that great and glorious day.

Not Circumcision, But the New Creation

Galatians 6:11 “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.”

V11. Paul states here to the Galatians, “You see how large a letter I have written to you with my own hand.” Paul is stating that he is using large letters to write this letter with his own hand, could it be that he was trying to make it emphatically clear to them? Could Paul be meaning that the letter was long and detailed?

Galatians 6:12 “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”

V12. Many of them desire to boast or glory, or to try and impress by way of the flesh, their works, and they try to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.

These Judaizers wanted to look good to their Jewish friends. It appears that even though they have proclaimed Jesus as their Saviour, they are not willing to suffer the ridicule from their Jewish brothers. They were not willing to suffer for Christ. Remember when the Apostles rejoiced when they got flogged by Jewish officials and counted it for joy that they suffered shame for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? – Acts 5:40-41

Galatians 6:13 “For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”

V13. The Judaizers themselves did not keep the law; they wanted the Gentiles to be circumcised so that they could glory at how good they were at proselytizing. - Matthew 23:15

As a former Pharisee Paul knew the thoroughness involved in keeping all the laws, these people don’t have that kind of zeal, he says. They just want to brag about bringing proselytes into the Jewish fold.

Galatians 6:14-15 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”

V14-15. Paul says that he glories in the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, unlike the Jews of Judaism, who bragged about their religious accomplishments; Paul takes pleasure only in the Lord Jesus Christ’s atonement and all the spiritual blessings it brings.

The world, Paul is talking about is the worldly system, the things of the flesh, the outward appearance. Paul has renounced his old life and all its ways, along with its values and religious accomplishments in which he used to boast in.

Believers’ home is in heaven. Paul, like all believers, had the hope of the resurrection.
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision profits or avails anything when we are in Christ. We are born again, a new creature in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
John Chapter 3 for more about being born again.

This current vessel of flesh means nothing, it is stained by the effects of sin, that why the flesh wars with the born again Spirit. We will discard this house of flesh and receive our spiritual body. Christ lives in us and us in him. This world is not our home. We are a stranger in this land. Our home is in heaven with Jesus.

Galatians 6:16 “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”

V16. As many as walk according to this rule, what rule? The rule in verse 15, that circumcision nor uncircumcision does not matter at all. So when we walk according to this rule, may peace be on us and mercy. To be a part of the Israel of God, we should walk in the Spirit, NOT in the flesh.

Galatians 6:17 “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

V17. Paul says from this time or from now on, to let no man trouble him. The people of the circumcision make much fanfare about their now irrelevant mark of the circumcision, but Paul says he bears the marks of the Lord Jesus; meaning the scars and stripes he suffered for in the Lord’s name.

Paul, is an apostle called of the Lord, no doubt he is. He was persecuted for Christ, and he points to all the scars he had received because of faith in the Lord. He is not trying to please any man, but only to God.

Closing Statement

This Epistle is such an eye opener, what we saw happening at the Church in Galatia is actually happening in the world today. So many churches claiming to be the true church on earth, most of them claiming that you aren't saved till you have the works, the ordinances.

Look, after reading this Epistle and you come away thinking that Faith + Works = Salvation, then I’m afraid that you are spiritually blind and have chosen to reject the true Gospel of God and God himself.
I leave you with the final verse in this Epistle…

Galatians 6:18 “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

Go to Chapter 1 2 3 4 5

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bible Study Series - Galatians Chapter 5

Freedom in Christ Jesus

Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

V1. Stand Fast! Hold your ground, refuse to give up what you have been taught of the true Gospel, for that reason we have liberty by which our Lord Jesus Christ has made us free. Jesus fulfilled all requirements for us, died and was resurrected; his sacrifice made it possible for ALL mankind to enter heaven.
Paul completes his statement by telling the Galatians to not be entangled with the yoke of bondage ever again.

What is a Yoke?

A yoke is a like a noose or a collar, usually to wrap around the neck of two or more animals linked together by ropes for pulling things, they are bonded together. Or consider, cuffs around slaves/prisoners necks which are linked to each other to keep them bound to each other making it harder for them to escape.

There were certain false teachers that came from Judaea telling the Gentiles of Galatia that they had to do all the things required of in the Old Testament to obtain God’s Blessings and Salvation. This can be read in Acts Chapter 15.

Galatians 5:2-3 “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.”

V2. Paul says to the Gentile Galatians that if you still seek to be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. Read that? Did you hear that?? That’s right, Christ shall profit you NOTHING! Works of the Flesh cancels out Grace, and cancels out the Promise of the Spirit. You see, there is nothing wrong with being circumcised, even Paul mentioned that in Acts 16:1-3 but, to be so, does not have any spiritual benefit or merit with God.

V3. Every man who seeks God’s glory and Salvation by the works of his own flesh is in debt to do the whole Law. Failing in one point of the Law; fails the entire Law. – James 2:10

Galatians 5:4-6 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”

V4. If you try to justify yourself by the Law, Christ has become of no effect to you; you have fallen from Grace. Trying to make yourself perfect through the Law, you will be under the Law instead of Grace.

V5. Through the Spirit, we through the Holy Spirit wait for the promise to be fulfilled at the Lords 2nd coming by faith in him. Christians have already been imputed with righteousness upon belief, we wait for the day of the Lord to receive the completeness of righteousness; we put off the corruptible and put on the incorruptible, our bodies of flesh will be made new and glorified. – Romans 8:18, 21

V6. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth anything, meaning anything done in the flesh accounts for nothing. For we are in Jesus, in the Spirit and we worship in the Spirit by Faith in our Lord Jesus; whom we love. By our Love we work our faith in Jesus Christ.

Christianity is in the Spirit, Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ.

·         Romans 2:28-29 “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

Running the Race!

Galatians 5:7-10 “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.”

V7. Paul tells the Galatians that they started off well that is, until the Judaizers came along as a stumbling block to them in light of the truth.

V8. This persuasion, what is it? Well, simple enough, the Galatians were being persuaded that they had to essentially come to Salvation through their own works, the deeds of the Law. Any doctrine that claims Gods gracious work is insufficient to save is false doctrine; it is a doctrine of men and devils.

V9. One of my favourite quotations! “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”. Leaven in the bible mostly refers to things that aren’t good; sin. A little leaven here being the false doctrines. 

Leaveneth is the spreading of the corruption, like cancer. The lump, the body, the church.

V10. Paul then encourages the Galatians that through the Lord, he is confident that they will not be swayed into becoming heretics, and will not fall into the false teachings of the Judaizers.

Interesting enough, the question I would ask you is how many religions out there proclaim that we must merit our Salvation? How many have fallen victim to these Judaizers?

It is a very dangerous thing to teach anything but the pure gospel message. Paul states that whosoever will trouble you with these things; being works of the law, they will face the judgement of the Lord, for it is fearful thing to fall into the hands of the almighty living God. I would choose Grace any day over the Law.

Galatians 5:11-12 “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”

V11. Paul asks the Galatians, if he preached circumcision, why does he still suffer persecution?
Obviously the Judaizers were telling the Galatians that Paul was teaching circumcision, along with Judaism. Paul refutes this idea and says, if this is so, then why am I still being persecuted by the Judaizers?

Paul suffered with Christ. Paul really counted it as gain to be persecuted, bringing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ; the teaching of the cross was an offense to the Jews.

V12. I wish they would be cut off from you, cut off these false teachers.

Life by the Spirit

Galatians 5:13-14 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

V13. Believers are called to freedom on the basis of Grace, no longer oppressed in bondage by the deeds of the Law; you should not use your freedom to indulge in sins whenever you feel like it, but to serve one another by love. Remember when the lawyer asked Jesus which of the Law is the Great Commandment?
Jesus Answers –

·         Matthew 22:37-40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

V14. The Great Commandment which fulfils all the Law; Is to Love the Father in Heaven foremost, and everyone else as we would love ourselves; period.

Galatians 5:15-18 “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

V15. A graphic depiction of biting and devouring one another, liken to wild animals attacking and killing one another. This is what’s happening spiritually when we do not love one another.

·         James 3:14-16 “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

V16. As believers we must walk in the Spirit, when we do this we will not give into the lusts of our flesh, the very temptations of this world.

All believers have the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us as personal, as our way to have the ability or power to please God in the way we walk.

·         1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
·         Romans Chapters 8-9 – for more information

How do we walk in the spirit and not in the flesh?

·         If we are unsure when we are tempted, we should pray to God for the Wisdom so that he might reveal to us through the Holy Spirit.
o   James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
·         You must believe that the Holy Spirit is in you.
o   Galatians 4:6 “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father”
·         In every spiritual confrontation the believer must yield to the Spirit, you need to submit your own desires to those of the Spirit.
·         We must depend on the Spirit to help us; the Spirit is he which leads us to a God pleasing life.
·         We should listen or anticipate when the Spirit is guiding us.

What does the Flesh refer to?

The flesh does not simply refer to the physical body, but the thoughts of the mind, the heart, and your emotions; which are all subject to sin. We have not yet received our glorified bodies as of yet, not until the time of when the Lord returns.

2 Corinthians 5:3 “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.”

The lusts of the flesh is what brings us grief and trouble, this is what causes us to sin.

V17. The flesh lust against the Spirit, the desires of the flesh always opposes the Spirit. The flesh will lead to sinful behaviour; something you would not be compelled to do.

Romans 7:14-25 – See for more details.

The Christian, the believer has this internal battle going on inside himself. It is a war between the Flesh and the Spirit to control the will of man, the flesh has destroyed many men since the beginning of creation.

V18. But if you be led of the Spirit, you are not under the law, your choice really…
The Spirit is opposed to our sinful fleshly desires, but it is also opposed to the law. They are mutually incompatible. Believers are of the Spirit, we are the sons of God who worship in the Spirit, not of the letter. The Spirit will lead us into acts of service and love, not into old covenant rituals.

Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

V19-21. Paul lists various kinds of behaviours and attitudes of the flesh; they that do such things, who are they? The unsaved, for which do such things will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
You see, the law does not deal with these things; it shows you that you are these things, for by the law is condemnation; where by Grace is to Eternal life.

Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

V22-25. Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit, the good things, the righteous things. We who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with all the passions and lusts, if we live in the Spirit, we should also walk in the Spirit. Let us not continue in vain glory, boasting and/or self-righteousness of the flesh, not provoking one another and without envy toward one another.


Go to Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Bible Study Series - Galatians Chapter 4

Children of God

The final paragraph of Chapter 3 where we learn that we become Children of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we put on Christ. – Galatians 3:26-27

Chapter 4 is a continuation of this talk but begins this chapter with an analogy.

Galatians 4:1-7 “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.  Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

The heir or the one receiving the inheritance while he is still a child is no different to that of the servant even though he owns the whole estate.

Servants in those days have a very different meaning to that of a slave in modern times. Servants in Abraham’s time were delegated with specific duties such as looking after the affairs of the home, financial affairs, teaching the children and in Abraham's case with his son Isaac, had entrusted a servant to go find him a wife.

A child is considered the same as a servant, who must remain obedient to his father, and will not receive his inheritance till the appointed time. If the father dies whilst the child is still underage, the child would still be the owner of the inheritance but a trustee would be elected to manage the affairs, that is; until he reaches the specified age or the appointed time. The trustee would have authority over the legal owner until then.

This analogy that Paul has set forth is talking about the Israelites/Jews who are the child. They were given the promise of salvation; they were heirs but did not yet receive the blessings. They were under the authority of the Law, their Schoolmaster until the time set by our Heavenly Father.

Now that the appointed time has passed, God wants us to come out from bondage, from the authority of the Law; not to be put back into bondage or slavery by the Law. At the appointed time, God sent forth his son, Christ Jesus: who was made from a woman, of flesh, made under the Law; who is obligated to keep the old covenant.

God sent his son under the law, and fully human to redeem us, who are human and under the Law; so that we could also inherit the promise and receive the adoption of sons.

Jesus had to become like us, to be subject to all things we were subject to do, to fulfil all righteousness (Matthew 3:15); to do it all for us perfectly and claim the authority to do so: By Faith in him, that we receive his Spirit in our hearts, we are no longer servants, but sons of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. God is treating us as adults no longer the small child, trusting us to be led by the Spirit.

Galatians 4:8-11 “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

Howbeit then, when you did not know God, you worshipped by nature no god at all? Paul is addressing the Gentiles that when they did not know the one true God, they worshipped their false Gods and idols. But now, that they know God or rather they are now known by God; how can they turn back again to be in bondage of the Law?

Paul is telling the Gentiles that now that God knows them, how can they turn back to the works of the Law? How can they want to turn back to enslavement or bondage? The Jewish Judaizers wanted the Gentiles to get circumcised, and keep the Law in addition to having faith in Christ. The Gentiles would have come out of their Pagan ways and into another religion that was not solely based on faith.

Verse 10 indicates that the Gentiles were also trying to keep unnecessary Laws like the Sabbaths and Festivals, such as the Passover, Feast of Tabernacles and as such. Paul says ye observe, days, months and years; it is childish to observe such certain times: our relationship with God is based on Jesus Christ his son and the Holy Spirit, not through observing events by way of the calendar.

Verse 11 Pauls says he fears for them, for they are in effect giving up Grace in the Lord for enslavement again and that somehow; he had wasted his efforts on them.

Galatians 12-16 “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. 16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

V12 – Paul says, “Brethren I urge you to be as I am”. Paul is saying here to be like him, free from the law; not put into bondage again by the works of the Law. Paul then goes to say, “For I am as you are: you have not injured me at all”, Paul being a Jew who once devoutly kept the Law has now become like the Gentile Galatians; Free from the Law.

When Paul first went to Galatia (Acts 13:42-50 and Acts 14:19), He was persecuted by the Judaizers, but whole heartedly accepted by the non-Jewish Galatians when he started preaching the Gospel to them.
Paul’s remark about not hurting him at all was a reference to the first time he came unto them with the Gospel; they did not hurt him then, why would they want to reject him now?

V13. Paul talks about his “infirmity of the flesh” he was ill (Acts 13:13-14), he was currently in Perga, which was a city of Pamphylia. Due to Paul’s physical illness, which led him to Galatia to preach unto the people residing there.

V14. Paul tells the Galatians that even though he was physically sick, they had still received him and they did not despise him nor reject because of his infirmities; rather they accepted him as a messenger of God with open arms, likewise when they heard Paul preaching they accepted the message because they knew the Lord was speaking through Paul.

V15. When Paul first came to the Galatians, they were so grateful to receive the Gospel that they would have plucked out their own eyes and given them over to him.

V16. Since the initial preaching of the Gospel to the Galatians, some of them no longer regarded Paul and his message. The Judaizers that crept into the church had corrupted the Galatians; they became confused, even so to view Paul as their enemy. Paul reminds them that he had never harmed them, but told them the truth of the Gospel.

The Parable of the Tares and the Wheat is a good example of what is happening here at the church in Galatia. The children of the Devil came in after Paul had preached the truth of the Gospel, and corrupted their views and perverting the Gospel. Paul is writing this letter to tell them that he wants them to know that he speaks the truth and wishes them to accept the truth.

Galatians 4:17-20 “They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. 18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, 20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.”

“They zealously affect you”, meaning the Judaizers, the false teachers are trying to win the Galatians over, but for no good. They want to alienate the Galatians from the truth, from the Apostles so that that the Galatians would show more enthusiasm to the false teachers.

V18. Paul says it is good to be zealous, so long as it is for a good thing; not just when Paul is around.

V19. Paul calls them my little children, this is an affectionate term used mainly by John. Paul here is trying to tell them that his pain in them is likening to that of a woman giving birth until Christ is formed in them. They are still spiritually immature and still on milk and honey after their conversion, they haven’t fully spiritually grown with Christ in them being tossed around the waves because of these false teachers.

V20. Paul wishes he were there standing amidst them so that he could change his tone; for he stands in doubt of them, he is perplexed, at wits end with them!

The Bondwoman and the Free Woman

Galatians 4:21-22 “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.”

V21. Paul here starts to shift his direction to the people who want to keep the Law; he says to if you desire to be under the Law, what does the law say?
V22. Paul recites the Old Testament scripture in Genesis chapter 16-21 of Abraham, for it is written, had two sons, one of the bondwoman, Hagar and the other a freewoman, Serai.

Galatians 4:23 “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.”

Ishmael was born of Hagar the bondwoman, a slave; born after the flesh. Isaac was born of Serai (Sarah) the freewoman, by the promise; the Spirit.

Galatians 4:24-25 “Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.”

Paul speaks of this as an analogy or figurative speech: Ishmael and Isaac represent the two covenants; the one from Mount Sinai gives birth to children under the Law, to be in Spiritual bondage.

V25. Hagar represents Mount Sinai, which is fitting because that is where the law was given to Moses (Exodus chapter 19). Notice how Paul reveals that Mount Sinai is located in Arabia? On the contrary to what modern society believes; that it is situated in Egypt.

Mount Sinai is compared to earthly Jerusalem; much more it is Judaism, which is in bondage to the Law.

Galatians 4:26-27 “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.”

V26. But Jerusalem which is above is the Heavenly Jerusalem, it is free from bondage and she is the mother of all; like her son Isaac, all believers are by the Promise!

For all believers are free from the Mosaic Law, from works, from bondage; we are free from trying to please God by things of the flesh.

V27. Paul makes reference to Isaiah here which says:

·         Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate
than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.”

This is a spiritual statement, not a literal statement. Hagar is the one who had a child but barren Sarah who grieved (before Isaac) would be the one to rejoice. God promised her countless descendants, not only physical Israel but Gentiles who would become spiritual children in the faith of the God of Israel.

Galatians 4:28-31 “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

V28. Like I explained before, all believers just like Isaac are children of the Promise.

V29. Ishmael, who was born after the flesh, persecuted Isaac who was born after the Spirit.

·         Genesis 21:8-9 “And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.”

Paul adds, “even so it is now” meaning that those who still choose to seek salvation by works still persecute those who seek God’s divine grace through faith, by the promise.
You see, unbelievers will always persecute believers for this reason. Unbelievers include all who trust in their own works to gain favour from God.

If you are trusting in any work performed of your own accord to get to Heaven then you really do not have 100% faith or trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; who did it for all of you.

Christians are born of the Spirit of God; the flesh will always be at war with the Spirit: but we are not of the flesh.

Our Lord Jesus told us that we must be born of the Spirit, be born again to see the Kingdom of Heaven. – John 3:3-8

The flesh will put you under bondage, the Spirit will free you.

V30. What does the scripture say! Paul cites from Genesis –

·         Genesis 21:10 “Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.”

Paul is advising the Galatians to cast out the Judaizers from within their ranks. Look, surely by now you Pauls message to the Galatians is quite clear, Justification by works does not mix with Justification by Faith, Period.

V31. Brothers and Sisters, my brethren and would be all believers, we are not children of the bondwoman, we are children of the freewoman; heirs to the promise.

Go to Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Bible Study Series - Galatians Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - Faith or Works of the Law?

Chapter 3 begins with Paul rebuking them with a series of questions.

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

You foolish Galatians, who has pulled the wool over your eyes, that you no longer obey the truth, whose eyes which have clearly seen or understood the crucifying of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Jesus’ crucifixion is foundational to our beliefs; we also should know the reason why he died for us as well. That he died for our sins, all of them for every man. The Lords death changes everything; Salvation is through him, and not by the letter.
Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?
Well the answer to this question is pretty simple and another foundational point to Christianity. We received the Spirit by the hearing of Faith; by accepting what they heard.

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect in the flesh?

The Spirit is received by the Grace of God, not by the law. These false teachers were teaching the Galatians that they still had to be Torah observant; being justified by grace they then made the error of adding works of the law.

Why would you keep the works of the law if you have received the Spirit by grace? Paul makes it perfectly clear here, that Salvation is by faith in what Jesus had done on the cross; this is the foundation of Salvation, it is not merited by us in work performed by us.

As far as Salvation is concerned: the Holy Spirit is received as a gift on the basis of faith, and not the works of the law. In verse 4 the Galatians would have suffered persecution for their faith, and that turning to the works of the law would effectively cause their faith to be in vain.

God worked his miracles by the Spirit by faith, and not the works of the law. Why do they need to entertain the idea of adding works, when it is by faith?

Galatians 3:6-9 “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

Paul cites scripture from the Torah as written in Genesis, even supports Salvation by faith alone.

Genesis 15:6 “And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”

Abraham was imputed righteousness long before he was circumcised, and years before he offered his son Isaac up for sacrifice. Knowing for that reason, those who are of faith are the counted as the children of Abraham; those who are of faith are classed as the seed of Abraham.
Because Abraham believed, not because he was obedient; God will justify the Heathen the very same way Abraham was justified by his faith.

Galatians 3:10-14 “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

There are many that believe that by keeping the Law they are justified in the Lord, on the contrary; many who claim salvation by law are under the curse. Here is what the Old Testament (Torah) reference says.

Deuteronomy 27:26 “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do the; And all the people shall say, Amen.”

Failure to perfectly keep the law brings divine judgment and condemnation. One violation of the law deserves the curse of God. – Deuteronomy chapters 27 & 28.
Anyone seeking Salvation through works of the Law, and continues to do them are subject to God’s wrath. Our Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed us from the law; he was made a curse for us. We receive the promise of the Spirit through our Lord Jesus Christ.
James also makes the same comment about those trying to earn Salvation through their own meritorious works by the law.

James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

For it will be impossible for sinful man to merit Salvation through the deeds of the Law; because offending in one point makes him guilty of all.
Verse 11 says that NO man is justified by the Law in the sight of God; the Just shall live by faith!
As it is also written in the Old Testament by Prophet Habakkuk –

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”

Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness! You see, Abraham believed and this event was recorded in the Old Testament, Genesis 15:6. No mention of the Law here! Note, he was around 75 years old when this covenant was made with God, long before he was circumcised at 100 years old and even longer when he attempted to offer his son Isaac up for sacrifice at around 130 years old; no Isaac was not a small boy when this happened, many have been misled and out of scope of this study. What’s even more interesting is Abraham was imputed righteous approximately 430 years before the law was given and written down for Moses to give to the people.

Living by the law was impossible to keep. To live under the law, would put you under the curse should you break one of them. God tells us in the Old Testament that is better to obey him, rather than constantly making sacrifices.

1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

It is evident from these scriptures, that God wanted our loyalty and love from the very beginning.

Galatians 3:15 “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.”

Paul addressing the Galatians as brothers and sisters, He speaks after the manner of men; though it is but a man’s covenant, even though, once confirmed or validated is considered unchangeable, how much more greater it is having a covenant with God himself; who is unchangeable. Old Testament Prophet Malachi says the following –

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

And James the Lords brother says the following –

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

What is a covenant?

A covenant is an unbreakable agreement. Covenants made between men were binding and usually sealed with blood.

In verse 15 where it says “no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto” which means the covenant cannot be neutralised, be violated or even added to it. So we see the covenant between God and Abraham was not ever broken.

Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”

The “Promises” made to Abraham and his seed, what were they? You can find them in the following scriptures.

Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Genesis 12:7 “And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.”

Genesis 13:15-16 “for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.”

Genesis 15:5 “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be.”

Genesis 15:18 “ In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:”

Genesis 17:8 “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

More verses to look up:
  • Genesis 22:16-18
  • Genesis 26:3-4
  • Genesis 28:13-14 Jacob’s vision.

These promises are mad to Abraham and his descendants, this covenant was not made void when Abraham died, nor was it made void by the advent coming of the Law. The greatest of Abraham’s seed is the Lord Jesus Christ!

The promises that were made to Abraham belong to all believers in the Lord. It is also confirmed in Romans chapter 12 –

Romans 12:5 “so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members; one of another.”

In verse 17 and 18 we read the following –

Galatians 3:17-18 “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”

The last mention of the covenant was mentioned in Genesis 46:2-4 this was around the year 1875 BC Just before Jacob sojourned in Egypt, 430 years before the Laws were given.

In Genesis 15:9-21 is when God established, and declared his covenant with Abraham. This could not be broken by anyone even by the coming of the Law or else the promise becomes no promise at all.
The Abrahamic covenant promised justification by faith.

In verse 18, God gave it Abraham by Promise; look, there is no middle ground between the works of the law and the promise by grace. These are the two ways of salvation Romans Chapter 4 says the following –

Romans 4:14 “For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:”

You see an heir is someone who inherits something; he does not earn it work for it. Inheritance is receiving something that you did not work for in anyway, just like you would have a will, detailing who gets what from the person who created the will.

Abraham had faith in God’s Promise. Keeping the Law would not be an inheritance at all and would void grace altogether.

Galatians 3:18-22 “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin; that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

The law was added because of man’s transgressions, till the seed come, who is Jesus Christ; the angels were somehow involved in giving the law Acts 7:53 and Hebrews 2:2 also state this, but doesn't give us details on how they played a role in giving the Law.

The law was never meant to be the way to salvation as we read in Romans 7:1-13, it was put in place for sinful man; because of his transgressions.

The Law is Holy, it is a standard of God’s character; it is his divine standard. When man stepped over the law, he became guilty of transgression.

The laws and ordinances had a specific purpose. Without the law, man would have not been aware of his transgressions and thus not making us aware that we needed a saviour. All of man was doing what he himself considered what was right in his own sight; the law was given to show man this error. Jesus Christ our Lord was made the perfect sacrifice, eliminating the need of the people from making regular sacrifices with animals to temporarily cleanse them of their sins.

One mediator, this means the in-between person. Moses was the mediator of the law between God and the people. Whereby the Abrahamic covenant, God is one, this covenant is in the Spirit.

1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

Verse 21 Paul asks a question whether the Law and the Promise is at odds with each other, God forbid is Paul’s answer. Both the law and the Promise came from God, since he does not work against himself, the law and the promise work together in harmony: The Law reveals man his sinful nature; and Salvation is freely offered by the Promise upon the seed.

Again, if the law provided righteousness and eternal life, then there would be no need of a gracious promise.
As it is written in the scriptures, all are under sin; there is not one righteous, that the promise is by faith of the Lord Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:23-24 “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come; we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Before faith came (Faith of Jesus), we had all been kept under the law; until the seed came to deliver us from the law through his faith.

The law being our schoolmaster points us toward our Lord Jesus Christ, so we might be justified by faith.
A school master in those days was someone who was a family slave. The Greek word denotes a slave whose duty it was to take care of a child until adulthood. The Schoolmaster escorted the children to and from school and watched over their behaviour at home. Schoolmasters were often strict disciplinarians, causing those under their care to yearn for the day when they would be free from their tutor’s custody.

The law would point out sin and lead us to Christ Jesus; who alone can put away sin.
Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:26-29 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

All who place their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ are considered Children of God. Mankind is not automatically a child of God as some religious institutions erroneously teach.

While God is the father of all mankind in a general sense because he created man – Acts 17:24-28
However, from scripture this can be proven without a doubt that we, as believers who trust solely on Jesus Christ are the children or sons of God.

Unbelievers are the children of the Devil –

Matthew 13:38 “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;”

John 8:38 “speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.”

John 8:41 “Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, we be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

 Acts 13:10 “and said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”

See Also:

1 John 3:10
1 John 5:19
Ephesians 2:3

Believers in Christ are reborn of the Spirit, and are sons of God –

·        Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
·        John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
·        Romans 8:17 “and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
·        Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Baptized into Christ, this is not water Baptism, this cannot save. Baptize means to “immerse” or “placed into”. This verse is saying that many of us who believed, have been immersed or placed into Christ, symbolizing by the spiritual miracle of union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.

“Putting on Christ” means we are clothed on Christ, his righteousness. We were clothed in sin, before we became a Christian, but after we receive Him, He takes our sin and clothes us in His righteousness.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

In the sight of God, There is no distinction in ethnicity, slave or freeman; nor is there a distinction in gender for we are all spiritually one in our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no spiritual inequality in the eyes of God.
God is not interested in the flesh of man. The flesh is what distinguishes us from each other. The Spirit does not have gender or ethnicity and nationality.

Our Lord Jesus quickens our Spirit, not our fleshly bodies that have been scarred with sin; this is why we get new bodies at the Lords return.

The Spirit is the part of man which is the 2nd part of us that is made in the image of God: God is a Spirit.
If we are made in somebody’s image, and that somebody is a Spirit; then that makes us, the real us, a Spirit too.

John 17:21 “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

“If you be Christ’s”, this is a possessive punctuation using the apostrophe. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, this is his Spiritual seed; we become heirs or we inherit the Promise of God that was imputed to Abraham, which is Justification by Faith.

Go to Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6