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Biblical Research Library – Dickson

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Biblical Research Library – Dickson

This book is one of the E-BOOK Collection of digitalbooks that are sent throughout the world. E-BOOKSdo not come in a printed format, but are freely distrib-uted through electronic means. Recipients are encour-aged to pass them on to other people in order to en-courage the restoration of New Testament Christian-ity. The E-BOOK Collection is also a part of the Bibli-cal Research Library that is freely distributed on a DVD.For a copy of the BRL Disk, or other books of the E-BOOK Collection, email the following:

[email protected]

The E-BOOK CollectionE-BOOK 1: Worship GodE-BOOK 2: One Lord With All Authority Over All ThingsE-BOOK 3: A Call For RestorationE-BOOK 4: Escape From BondageE-BOOK 5: The Lord’s Supper (available in December 2011)

E-BOOK 6: Worship Freely

Africa International MissionsP.O. Box 1919Bellville 7535South Africa

ESCAPE FROM BONDAGE

A Narrative CommentaryOf Galatians

Roger E. Dickson

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INTRODUCTION

God created man with a desire to seek after Him. He “made of one man allnations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their ap-pointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, so that they should seek theLord” (At 17:26,27). We are spiritual beings, seeking God who is above our mortalcreation. In our seeking, and without revelation, we will create a god after our ownimagination. We will thus bring themselves into the bondage of our own createdreligiosity. No civilization has been found throughout the world that did not havesome practice of religion, and some belief in either spirits or gods. But withoutrevelation from the one true and living God, men will bring themselves into thebondage of their own religiosity.

Even when God does reveal His will to man, we are traditional beings wewill almost always add to the word of God our countless traditions. We will blendGod’s word with our traditions and come up with a bondage of religiosity by whichwe divide ourselves from one another. In writing to religious Gentiles who becameChristians, and yet were looking back to those ordinances of men from which theyhad been delivered by their obedience to the gospel, Paul asked, “Therefore, if youdied with Christ from the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you wereliving in the world, do you submit yourselves to ordinances?” (Cl 2:20). So whydo we submit ourselves to our man-made religious ordinances? Such “things haveindeed a show of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and neglect ofthe body, but not in any value in restraining the indulgence of the flesh” (Cl 2:23).

The letter to the Galatians was possibly the first inspired document to bewritten to the early Christians. It was sternly written as a letter of rebuke to those whohad been delivered from the bondage of the religosity of men. Nevertheless, theywere seeking to return to a legal system of justifying themselves before God by per-formance of commandments and meritorious works. After their initial conversion,the Galatian Christians were being influenced to return to a practice of religiosity thatdemanded perfect keeping of law. It was a religiosity that focused on man’s perfor-mance of law, and thus, they were minimizing the grace of God. This is Paul’s de-fence of the sufficiency of God’s grace. It is his urgent appeal that the Galatians notbecome entangled again in a religiosity that focused on the perfect performance ofman in order to justify oneself before God, for law was never given as a system ofsalvation. It was not simply because no man can keep law perfectly. All have sinned.And no man can do good works to atone for one sin. Salvation is thus by our faith inGod’s grace to bring us into eternity regardless of our inability to keep law perfectly.

Introduction To Remain Free

(Cover by Triston Jacobsohn)

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Chapter 1Greetings

1 ¶ Paul, anapostle—not frommen nor by man, butaby Jesus Christ andGod the Father,bwho raised Himfrom the dead—2 and all the breth-ren who are with me,to the churches ofGalatia.3 ¶ Grace to you andpeace from God theFather and our LordJesus Christ,4 cwho gave Himselffor our sins so thatHe might deliver usdfrom this presentevil age, accordingto the will of our Godand Father,5 to whom be gloryforever and ever.Amen.

Chapter 1: At 9:6 b At 2:24c Mt 20:28 d Hb 2:5

EXCAPE FROM BONDAGE

Chapter 1GREETINGS FROM PAUL

Paul reminded the Galatians that he was a Christ-sent apostle. He was not sent out by men, nor did hisapostleship exist because of his desire to remain in fellow-ship with those who recruited disciples for their own selfishreasons. He was called directly by Jesus Christ on a Dam-ascus road and by God the Father. His calling was thus man-dated by God who raised Jesus from the dead.1 The letter hewrites was also coming from all those brethren who werewith him at the time of writing. It was addressed to all theassemblies of the disciples throughout the region of Galatia.2

The letter came with his wishes that God’s eternalfavor be with them, which favor would result in their peaceof mind because God’s grace had been poured out on themfor their spiritual well-being.3 God’s grace was manifestedthrough Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross. It was Jesuswho gave Himself for our sins, for no sacrifice of animalscould ever atone for the sins of man. Therefore, Jesus be-came our atoning sacrifice in order to deliver us from the evilof this present world. Jesus’ death was not an accident be-cause the Jews had rejected Him. The atoning sacrifice ofthe cross was according to the eternal plan of God to bringbelievers into a covenant relationship with Him. The Jewshad sought an earthly king, but Jesus came as a saving Kingwho would reign from heaven.4 Because God took the initia-tive to save us from our eternal doom because of our sins, allglory must go to Him, not only in this time, but throughouteternity. When all Christians finally come into an eternaldwelling with Jesus, then they will fully understand the bless-ing of salvation that came through Jesus.5

Greetings

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The Other Gospel6 ¶ I am amazed thatyou are so quicklyturning away efromHim who called youinto the grace ofChrist to anothergospel,7 fwhich is not an-other, but there aresome gwho are dis-turbing you and wantto hpervert the gos-pel of Christ.8 But even if iwe oran angel fromheaven preach anyother gospel to youthan what we havepreached to you, lethim be accursed.

THE OTHER GOSPELAs one would be amazed at the occurrence of a

miracle, so Paul was amazed that the Galatian disciples wereso quickly turning away from the freedom that they receivedwhen they obeyed the gospel. Their initial joy for freedomfrom the bondage of the legalistic religions of men was fad-ing as they were being tempted to return to a system of meri-torious righteousness.6 They continued to believe the gospelof the death of Jesus for our sins and His resurrection for ourhope. However, the grace that was revealed through the crossand resurrection was being subsidized by other requirementsfor salvation, specifically, works of the Old Testament law ascircumcision. Some were binding on them things that werenot bound by God, and thus making requirements for salva-tion that God had not made. This constituted another gospelthat was being preached among the Galatians. Since theyhad formerly found confidence and joy in the gospel of free-dom that Paul had initially preached to them, those who wereadding further requirements for salvation were troubling theGalatians. Those who trouble the disciples are those whoadd requirements for salvation that God never required. Whatthese teachers were actually doing was twisting, or pervert-ing the simple gospel that Paul had preached. Their preach-ing of other requirements for salvation other than obedienceto the gospel was a perversion of the gospel.7 At the time theGalatians had heard the gospel, Paul said that there were nomore requirements for salvation than their simple obedienceto the gospel and faithfulness to their commitment to serveGod. Therefore, even if an angel came after him and preachedother requirements for salvation, that angel must be rejected.Paul says that that angel who would preach another require-ment for salvation is accursed, or destroyed from the pres-ence of God.8 Paul is emphatic in these statements. He goes

e Gl 1:15; 5:8 f 2 Co 11:4 gGl 5:10,12 h 2 Co 2:17

The Other Gospel

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9 As we said before,so now I say again,if anyone preachesany other gospel toyou jthan what youhave received, lethim be accursed.10 For kdo I nowlpersuade men orGod? Or mdo I seekto please men? Forif I still pleased men,I would not be thebondservant ofChrist.

Revelation fromGod

11 ¶ But nI want youto know, brethren,that the gospelwhich was preachedby me is not accord-ing to man.

beyond angels to anyone who might come and preach an-other gospel other than the death of Jesus for our sins andHis resurrection for our hope. Obedience to this gospel wasby immersion into the death, burial and resurrection of thegospel. If anyone would preach less of this truth of the gos-pel, then he is not preaching the gospel. If anyone wouldpreach more, then he is preaching another gospel. If onewould do such, then he is under the condemnation of God.Paul had known that there would be others who would comeafter him and preach other gospels. His admonition was thusbased on warnings that he had proclaimed to them while hewas yet in the regions of Galatia.9 The accusation had beenmade against Paul that he was preaching in order to remainin favor with men. They accused him of such, assuming thathe did so in order to remain in favor with men. Since all menhave the desire to be accepted by others, instead of beingpersecuted, some among the Galatian disciples assumed thatPaul was no different. But if he were still pleasing men as inhis former days before he crucified himself with Christ, thenhe would not be preaching the gospel that brought hardshipin his life. Those who would be bondservants of Christ, there-fore, must not allow their desire to be accepted by others toturn them from preaching the truth of the gospel to preachingtwisted versions of the gospel.10

DIRECT REVELATION FROM GODPaul preached the good news of the revelation of

God’s grace that was revealed through the death of Jesus forour sins and His resurrection for our hope. He preached thismessage throughout the regions of Galatia. However, hewanted the Galatians to understand that the message hepreached was not the invention of men.11 It came to him bydirect revelation from God. Therefore, the gospel was not

i 1 Co 16:22 j Dt 4:2 k 1 Th2:4 l 1 Sm 24:7 m 1 Th 2:4 n1 Co 15:1

Direct Revelation From God

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12 For oI neither re-ceived it from man,nor was I taught it,but I received itpthrough the revela-tion of Jesus Christ.13 ¶ For you haveheard of my behav-ior in the past in Ju-daism, how beyondmeasure qI perse-cuted the church ofGod and rtried to de-stroy it.14 And I advancedin Judaism abovemany of my contem-poraries in my ownnation, sbeing moreextremely zealoustfor my ancestral tra-ditions.

passed on to him as a teaching that came from his Jewishheritage. He did not go to a Bible school to learn it.12 It cameto him directly from God. It came by revelation, and waspreached and written by inspiration. We are reassured, there-fore, that we can believe the message to be true because it didnot originate from men.

In his former days of persecuting the church, the an-tagonism of Paul against the church was well known through-out the world of Judaism. His former religion was the Jews’religion, for it was the Old Testament law that was combinedwith countless Jewish religious traditions. As a former Jew-ish religious leader, he, as well as his fellow religious lead-ers, had developed their own religiosity. Though this religi-osity was based on the traditions of the Jews, with the addedbeliefs of Jewish tradition, Paul wanted his readers to under-stand that his former religion (Judaism) was not from God.Judaism, therefore, was the Jew’s religion, not a faith thatcame from God. The vast majority of the Jews failed to seethe fulfillment of the prophecies in the coming of Jesus asthe Messiah. For this reason, Paul and the Jewish religiousleaders initially poured out great persecution against the dis-ciples in Judea, for they thought that Christianity was abreakaway sect of Judaism. In his efforts to promote the Jew’sreligion, Paul zealously took every opportunity to destroy thechurch.13 Paul’s legal approach to the Jews’ religion (Juda-ism) was carried out in his zeal to work against anyone whoworked contrary to what he believed. He had studied theoral and written traditions of Judaism, advancing above hisfellow students of the religion. His zeal was in protecting hisreligious heritage, the traditional religion of the Jews. Be-cause of his great respect for his religious heritage, he waszealous to persecute anyone who worked against his Jewishheritage. He was thus blinded by his heritage because he

o 1 Co 15:1 p Ep 3:3-5 q At9:1 r At 8:3; 22:4,5 s At 26:9t Jr 9:14

Direct Revelation From God

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15 ¶ But when itpleased God, uwhoseparated me frommy mother’s womband called methrough His grace,16 vto reveal HisSon in me so that wImight preach Himamong the Gentiles,I did not immediatelyconsult with xfleshand blood,17 nor did I go up toJerusalem to thosewho were apostlesbefore me. But Iwent to Arabia andreturned again toDamascus.

could not see in Jesus the fulfillment of prophecy concerningthe Messiah.14

God allowed Paul to persecute the church. It was atime in the history of the church when the early believersneeded to have a faith that was tested by fire. Persecutionthus grew the faith of the early disciples. But God knewwhat He would eventually do with Paul, even before Paulwas born.15 Paul was being used by God to strengthen thefaith of the disciples through his persecution of the church.At the time Paul persecuted the church, he reasoned that hewas working against an apostasy from his Jewish heritage, aheritage he assumed was from God. Though he was workingagainst God’s work through the church, he was actually work-ing for God to strengthen the church. But when the timecame for God to use Paul for the defense of Christianity, Jesusappeared to him on the Damascus road. His call, therefore,was by grace, not because he had earned the calling. Hisargument to the Galatians was that he was not called by man,but by God. He was so far away from God’s work throughHis church that only God could call him to his destiny. Hiscalling, therefore, was by grace because of the behavior ofhis life in persecuting the church of God. Thus Jesus person-ally revealed Himself to Paul for a special purpose, that is,that Paul be a special witness to preach the gospel of grace tothe Gentiles. However, when he was called on the Damascusroad, Paul did not seek the instruction of men concerning thegospel that was revealed to him.16 He did not go to Jerusa-lem where the gospel was first preached. Instead, he went tothe deserts of Arabia. Because he was so entrenched in hisconvictions for Judaism, he needed time alone in order tomentally reconcile the revelation of the gospel with his Jew-ish religiosity that had twisted the prophecies concerning theMessiah. Arabia was thus a time for reflection. He possibly

u Is 49:1,5 v 2 Co 4:5-7 w At9:15 x Mt 16:17

Direct Revelation From God

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18 ¶ Then after threeyears yI went up toJerusalem to seePeter, and stayedwith him fifteendays.19 But zI saw noneof the other apostlesexcept aJames, theLord’s brother.20 (Now the thingsthat I write to you, Iaffirm before Godthat I do not lie.)21 bAfterward, Icame into the re-gions of Syria andCilicia.

spent a long period of time in Arabia before he returned againto Damascus where he had first obeyed the gospel.17

When Paul returned to Damascus, he went to workpreaching the gospel. However, it was not long before theJews rose up in persecution against him. Though he wasformerly their champion in persecuting those who believedin Jesus, he was now their enemy because he preached Jesus.After escaping the Jews by being let down in a basket overthe wall of the city of Damascus, Paul returned to Jerusalem.We can only imagine the surprise of Peter when Paul knockedon his door. It would have been great to have sat in on theirconversation for the fifteen days that Paul remained in Jerusa-lem.18

As Paul continued his historical argument to theGalatians, he wanted them to remember that he preached thegospel first in Damascus even before he stayed with Peter forfifteen days. His stay with Peter, therefore, was not for thepurpose of being instructed in the gospel, but to let Peterknow that they were both on the same page concerning thegrace of God. When in Jerusalem, Paul did not see any of theother church-sent apostles. He saw only James, the brotherof Jesus. At this time in history, James was a prominent leaderof the church in Jerusalem, and was known as such through-out the world.19 That which caused him persecution in Dam-ascus, the preaching of the gospel, was known by Paul be-fore he saw either Peter or James. The brothers in Damascuscould confirm this truth, and thus, Paul reassured his readersthat he was not fabricating a lie.20

After his visit to Jerusalem, Paul went into the re-gions of Syria and Cilicia. He thus went back home to Tar-sus of Cilicia, possibly to teach his family what had beenrevealed to him.21 Before Barnabas brought him to Antiochof Syria, he was possibly in the regions of Syria and Cilicia

y At 9;26 z 1 Co 9:5 a Mt13:55 b At 9:30

Direct Revelation From God

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22 I was still un-known by face to thechurches of Judeathat cwere in Christ;23 but they donlykept hearing that hewho epersecuted usin the past nowpreaches the faiththat he once tried todestroy.24 And theyfglorified God in me.

Chapter 2Visit to Jerusalem

1 ¶ Then after four-teen years aI went upagain to Jerusalemwith Barnabas, tak-ing Titus also withme.2 And I went up byrevelation and com-municated to themthe gospel that Ipreach among theGentiles, butbprivately to thosewho were of reputa-tion, lest by anymeans cI run, or hadrun in vain.

for five years, during which time he made no trips to Judea inorder to be known by the brothers of Judea. After his obedi-ence to the gospel, therefore, he spent only fifteen days inJerusalem, and then went on to Syria and Cilicia. He wasthus not schooled in the faith by anyone in Jerusalem. Hewas not sent out by the churches of Judea, for they did notknow him.22 The only thing they knew about him was that hehad been converted. Since they did not know him person-ally, he could not have been sent out by them to preach in theregions of Galatia. What the Galatians heard from him, there-fore, was the result of God’s direct revelation. The faith ofthe Galatians was based on God’s revelation to Paul.23 Thoughthe Judean brethren had not personally met Paul after hisconversion, they glorified God because of his obedience tothe gospel.24 They did not glorify Paul, but God who throughHis grace revealed the power of the gospel to man throughJesus. The converting power of the gospel was so great thateven one who zealously persecuted the church could be con-vinced that Jesus was the Christ and Son of God.

Chapter 2VISIT TO JERUSALEM

In stating that it was fourteen years from the time ofhis first visit to Jerusalem to see Peter and James until hevisited Jerusalem again, Paul continued his argument to theGalatians by stating that he had no other opportunity to go toJerusalem.1 It was only when God revealed to him that heshould go to Jerusalem that he eventually went. He thus didnot seek to consult with others in Jerusalem concerning themessage that he preached, for he was confident in the revela-tion of the gospel that he had received from Jesus. Afterfifteen years, however, he went to a meeting in Jerusalem toparticipate in discussions that are recorded in Acts 15. He

c Rm 16:7 d At 9:20,21 e At8:3 f At 11:18 Chapter 2: aAt 15:2 b At 15:1-4 c Ph2:16

Visit To Jerusalem

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3 But not even Titus,who was with me,being a Greek, wascompelled to be cir-cumcised.4 But this happenedbecause of dfalsebrethren secretlybrought in, whosneaked in to spyout our eliberty thatwe have in ChristJesus, fthat theymight bring us intobondage.5 To whom we didnot yield in subjec-tion even for anhour, so that gthetruth of the gospelmight continue withyou.

took with him Barnabas, his companion in his first mission-ary journey, and Titus a Gentile evangelist. When he arrivedin Jerusalem, Paul revealed the gospel of grace that he waspreaching among the Gentiles. He had discussions with someof the key leaders of the area. He met with them in private inorder to make it clear that he preached the gospel that wasrevealed directly to him by God. He met with these brethrenconcerning the message in order to verify that all of themwere preaching the same thing in reference to the preachingof the gospel of grace. And because they were preaching thesame revelation of the gospel, there was no need that he workunder some supposed authority by the Jerusalem leaders.2

While in Jerusalem some legalistic teachers had comein among the brethren and were teaching that unless one wascircumcised, he could not be saved. A heated discussion en-sued between Paul and these Jewish teachers. At the time,they were seeking to force Titus, a Gentile, to be circum-cised. But on this occasion, Paul stood for the truth that oneis saved by grace, and not with the added work of circumci-sion.3 Circumcision was not a requirement for salvation.Those who were teaching the gospel plus the necessity ofcircumcision, or legal works of law, were actually false breth-ren. They were false because of their legalistic view of sal-vation, and thus, their efforts to recruit followers by compel-ling the saved to be circumcised. They believed, as Paul wouldlater explain, that one earns his salvation by meritorious worksof law.4

We are not told the origin of these false brethren.They could possibly have been brought into the fellowshipof the church by those who were opposing Paul in the matterof legal salvation by works of law. Paul had been preachingamong the Gentiles. He was not asking the Gentiles to becircumcised. With some of the Jewish brethren in Jerusa-

d At 15:1,24 e Gl 3:25; 5:1,13f Gl 4:3,9 g Gl 1:6; 2:14; 3:1

Visit To Jerusalem

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6 ¶ But from thosehwho seemed to beimportant—what-ever they were, itmakes no differenceto me; iGod showsno partiality toman—for those whoseemed to be impor-tant jcontributednothing to me.

lem, this was a threat to their legal system of salvation withwhich they interpreted their conduct as Christians. Thesebrethren evidently recruited others to align with their side inthe controversy, and thus, they brought in support by Jewswho were actually not baptized believers. They came in se-cretly as spies. They sought to spy out the freedom that wehave in Christ. Legalistic brethren behave as spies. Theyseek to spy out where someone might not be in obedience towhat they consider to be legal requirements of law. In thiscase, they were seeking to spy out the freedom of the Gen-tiles who were not to be circumcised in order to be saved.The Gentiles were free, and thus no legalistic spy could bringthem under law in order that they be saved by circumcision.When one gives up his freedom in order to be obedient to thereligious traditions of men, he has brought himself into bond-age. If one turns the law of Christ into a legal system ofjustification by works, then he has brought himself into bond-age.4 If Paul had succumbed to the pressure of the Judaizingteachers, and thus encouraged Titus to be circumcised, thenhe would not have continued in the truth of the gospel offreedom in Christ. The truth of the gospel is that we aresaved by grace, not through meritorious works of law or goodworks. If we would continue in the truth of the gospel, there-fore, we will not submit ourselves to the bondage of legalobedience to those things that God does not bind on us. Nei-ther will we submit ourselves to focus on our own perfor-mance of law and good works.5

Some had assumed that the leaders among the Judeandisciples walked with authority in reference to what they said.It was the people who considered them important, and thus,they assumed that their proclamations were authoritative inreference to what the church should do. But in reference towhat is required for the church to do, Paul did not consider

h Gl 2:9; 6:3 i At 10:34 j 2Co 11:5; 12:11

Visit To Jerusalem

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7 But on the con-trary, kwhen theysaw that the gospelof theuncircumcision lwascommitted to me asthe gospel of the cir-cumcision was toPeter8 —for He who ef-fectively worked inPeter for theapostleship to themcircumcision, thesame neffectivelyworked oalso in metoward the Gen-tiles—9 and when James,Cephas and John,who seemed to beppillars, perceivedqthe grace that wasgiven to me, theygave to me andBarnabas the righthands of fellowshiprso that we shouldgo to the Gentilesand they to the cir-cumcision.10 They only de-sired that we re-member the poor,swhich thing indeedI was eager to do.

the pronouncements of key figures in the church to be impor-tant. What was binding on the church, was spoken clearly byGod, not man. Since the gospel was all-inclusive concerningwhat was necessary for salvation, then no man had any rightto include any other requirements. When it comes to under-standing what is the law of God, only that which God says isimportant, for God shows no partiality between those whowould be leaders of the church and all the church members.In this case, therefore, those who were considered to be im-portant by the disciples could not by their proclamations re-veal any further truth to Paul than what he already knew con-cerning the truth of the gospel.6 However, those who seemedto be important did see something wonderful in Paul. Theysaw that God had destined him to be a special apostle to theGentiles. As Peter had a special mission to preach to theJews, so Paul was given a special mission by God to preachto the Gentiles.7 What they understood was that it was Godwho was effectively working in the life of Peter to reach theJews. As Peter was effective with the Jews, so Paul waseffective in preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.8 When thekey leaders in the church in Judea, James, Peter and John,realized that God had commissioned Paul to the Gentiles,then they gave their full agreement and consent to what Pauland Barnabas were doing in preaching the gospel to the Gen-tiles. Therefore, they did not require the Gentiles to be cir-cumcised. They agreed that Paul and Barnabas should con-tinue to reach out to the Gentiles, while they, James, Peterand John, should continue to reach out to the Jews. In com-ing to this conclusion, they realized that each person has cul-tural skills by which he can better reach different culturalgroups of people.9 Regardless of the people groups to whomthey went, as they had done in Judea, so they encouragedPaul and Barnabas to remember the poor. Paul reminded

k At 9:15; 13:46; 22:21 l 1 Th2:4 m 1 Pt 1:1 n Gl 3:5 o At9:15 p Mt 16:18 q Rm 1:5 rAt 13:3 s At 11:30

Visit To Jerusalem

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Not Justified byWorks of Law

11 ¶ But twhen Pe-ter came to Antioch,I opposed him to hisface because hestood condemned.12 For before cer-tain men came fromJames, uhe ate withthe Gentiles. Butwhen they came, hewithdrew and sepa-rated himself, fear-ing those who wereof the circumcision.13 And the otherJews likewise joinedin his hypocrisy, tothe point that evenBarnabas was car-ried away with theirhypocrisy.

them that in his preaching of the gospel, that to the best of hisability he was eager to help those who were truly sufferingfrom the unfortunate times of economic depression. Becausehe was a self-employed tentmaker by profession, Paul wasalways eager to help the poor.10

IMPOSSIBILITY OF JUSTIFICATION BY WORKSAt one time Peter came from Jerusalem to the Gen-

tile church of Antioch of Syria. We do not know if he hadbeen designated an elder of the church in Jerusalem by thistime, though it was about fifteen years after the establish-ment of the church. He was a Christ-sent apostle, but on thisoccasion he behaved contrary to the gospel of grace that bothhe and Paul had preached. His behavior was so contrary tothe gospel of freedom that he stood condemned in referenceto his salvation.11 When Peter first came to Antioch, he openlyand willingly fellowshipped with the Gentile disciples of thechurch. But certain Jewish brethren came from Jerusalem,whose coming possibly threatened his Jewish heritage, andthus, his fellowship with his Jewish brethren. He was intimi-dated by these brethren who came. Though he was previ-ously eating with the Gentiles, which was contrary to Jewishcustom, the coming of fellow Jews intimidated him, and thus,he discontinued his relationship with the Gentile brethren.As a result, he openly separated himself from the Gentiles inthe presence of both the Gentile and Jewish disciples. Hewas afraid of the intimidating cloud of authority that camewith those who came from Jerusalem.12 His example alsospread to the other Jewish brethren in Antioch. They toojoined with what was considered hypocrisy, for they preachedfellowship in Christ, but they practiced separation when in-timidated by those of their own culture. Barnabas was alsocarried away with this behavior which contravened the gos- t At 15:35 u At 10:28; 11:2,3

Impossibility Of Justification By Works

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14 ¶ But when I sawthat they were nots t r a i g h t f o r w a r dabout vthe truth ofthe gospel, I said toPeter wbefore themall, x“If you, being aJew, live like theGentiles, and not asthe Jews, why doyou compel theGentiles to live asthe Jews?15 y“We who areJews by nature andnot zsinners amongthe Gentiles,16 a“knowing that aman is not justifiedby works of law, butbby the faith of ChristJesus, even wehave believed inChrist Jesus so thatwe might be justifiedby the faith of Christ,and not cby works oflaw; for by works oflaw no flesh will bejustified.

pel of freedom and unity in Christ.13

The truth of the gospel was the fact that Jesus diedfor all men, both Jews and Gentiles. When one obeyed thegospel, he came into a fellowship of disciples where neitherrace nor nationality can separate one disciple from another.What Peter, Barnabas and the other resident Jews of Antiochdid was to behave contrary to the spirit of fellowship that allpeople have in Christ. Their behavior was so contrary to thenature of the gospel that Paul dealt with the matter in a publicconfrontation with Peter before the entire church. Before thelegalistic Jewish brethren came from Jerusalem, Peter wasliving as the Gentiles. But when the Jewish brethren arrivedfrom Jerusalem, his behavior taught that they should live asthe Jews, and thus maintain their separation from the Gen-tiles.14 Peter stumbled for a moment in thinking that his Jew-ish heritage was more important than living by the faith ofJesus that resulted in His death on the cross. Therefore, ifone died with Christ, then he died to any cultural heritagethat would keep him away from fellowshipping all those whohad obeyed the gospel.15 One is not justified by perfect keep-ing of law, nor does he atone for sins by doing good works, orkeeping his cultural heritage. When Peter and Paul initiallyrecognized that Jesus was the grace of God who appeared onthe cross, they and all Jews by faith fled for deliverance fromthe necessity of perfect law-keeping in order to obey the gos-pel. They did so because they realized that they could notkeep law perfectly in order to save themselves. And sincethey could not keep law perfectly, then they had to walk byfaith in the grace of God. They had no choice because theywere honest enough to realize that one cannot perform theworks of the law perfectly, and thus, demand salvation on thebasis of works.16

If one seeks to be justified by works of law, while at

v Gl 1:6; 2:5 w 1 Tm 5:20 xAt 10:28 y At 15:10 z Mt 9:11a At 13:38,39 b Rm 1:17 cPs 143:2

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17 ¶ “But if whileseeking to be justi-fied by Christ, weourselves are alsofound to be dsinners,is Christ thereforethe minister of sin?Certainly not!18 “For if I buildagain the things thatI destroyed, I makemyself a transgres-sor.19 “For I ethroughlaw fdied to law, sothat I might glive toGod.20 “I have beenhcrucified withChrist. And it is nolonger I who live, butChrist lives in me.And the life that Inow live in the fleshiI live by faith in theSon of God, jwholoved me and gaveHimself for me.21 “I do not nullifythe grace of God, forkif righteousnesscomes through law,then Christ died invain.”

the same time he seeks to be justified by Christ, then he is asinner, for no one can keep law perfectly in order to savehimself. Christians, therefore, cannot make the law of Christa legal system of justification. They cannot because all mensin, and sin condemns. Jesus did not bring us into the bond-age of having to keep law perfectly in order to be saved. Hedelivered us from the curse of the law by our faith in Him.17

Christians must be careful about reverting to their former lifeof seeking to be legally justified by the rites of former religi-osity. If one makes the law of Christ a legal system by whichto justify himself before God, then he has made himself atransgressor who has no hope. He has made himself a trans-gressor of law because no man can keep law perfectly in or-der to earn his salvation.18 Law kills because no one cankeep it perfectly. When one realizes that he cannot keep lawin order to save himself, then he will, as Paul and Peter, fleeto Christ for justification by faith. Law kills, but faith bringseternal life.19 It is for this reason that we crucify our effortsto seek justification by perfect keeping of law. The Christianhas been crucified with Christ in that he has denied his ownefforts to save himself in order to trust in the grace of Godthat was revealed on the cross. The result of one’s crucifix-ion with Jesus is that he no longer lives for himself, but forChrist who lives in him. Our living, therefore, is not an ef-fort to justify ourselves, and thus boast in our performance oflaw. The Christian lives because he has been justified byfaith in the Son of God, who because of love, died on thecross to set us free. The Christian life, therefore, is a life ofthanksgiving in response to the grace of God.20 The point tothe argument is that if we could justify ourselves before Godwith perfect keeping of law, or atoning good works, then therewould have been no need for Jesus to die on the cross. There-fore, through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, we do

d 1 Jn 3:8 e Rm 8:2 f Rm6:2,14; 7:4 g Rm 6:11 h Rm6:6 i 2 Co 5:15 j Is 53:12; Ep5:2 k Hb 7:11

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Chapter 3Law and the Curse1 ¶ O foolishGalatians. Who hasbewitched you, be-fore whose eyesJesus Christ hasbeen publicly por-trayed as havingbeen crucified?2 This only I want tolearn from you. Didyou receive the Spiritby works of law aorby hearing of faith?3 Are you so fool-ish? bHaving begunin the Spirit, are younow being perfectedby cthe flesh?

not nullify the grace of God. Christ did not die uselesslybecause we assert ourselves righteous before God because ofour legal performance of law and good works.

Galatians 3LAW AND THE CURSE

There were social dynamics being played out in theGalatian Christians’ move back to a legal system of religios-ity. Behind the scenes, there was a debate raging betweenthe influence of those we would refer to as Judaizing teach-ers and what the Galatians were taught by Paul when theyobeyed the gospel. Because of the freedom that came fromthe bondage of legal religiosity, Paul proclaimed that theywere foolish to consider going back into the legal bondage oflaw. He had clearly manifested before the Galatians the free-dom that they had received when they became Christians.Therefore, there was some intimidation by those who cast aspell of deception over them that they should return to the“Jew’s religion” from which they had been set free.1 There-fore, Paul asked them some very penetrating questions, ques-tions for which they knew the answers. He wanted them toidentify who was bewitching them to leave the freedom ofgrace in order to go into bondage again in legal religiosity.They had been endowed with the spiritual gifts that camethrough the laying on of Paul’s hands. They did not receivethe Holy Spirit because they earned His blessings throughperfect obedience of law. The receiving of the gifts was ablessing of the Spirit that came with their obedience to thegospel. It was a result of their faith, not their works.2 Nowthat they had begun a new life in Christ, they were foolish tobelieve that they could go on to perfection by efforts to jus-tify themselves through perfect keeping of law. Their worksin the flesh could not perfect what was started by the Spirit.3

Chapter 3: a Rm 10:16,17 bGl 4:9 c Hb 7:16

Law And The Curse

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4 dHave you suf-fered so manythings in vain—if in-deed it was in vain?5 ¶ Therefore, Hewho provides to youthe Spirit and workspowerful deedsamong you, does Hedo it by works of lawor by hearing offaith?6 Even so Abrahamebelieved God, and itwas credited to himfor righteousness.7 Therefore, knowindeed that fthosewho are of faith, thesame are the sonsof Abraham.8 And gthe Scrip-ture, foreseeing thatGod would justify theGentiles by faith,preached before-hand the gospel toAbraham, saying,h“In you will all na-tions be blessed.”9 So then those whoare of faith areblessed with believ-ing Abraham.10 ¶ For as many asare of the works oflaw are under thecurse, for it is writ-ten, i“Cursed is ev-eryone who doesnot continue in allthings written in thebook of the law, todo them.”

If they believed that they could through the flesh justify them-selves before God, then their persecution that they enduredwhen they first became Christians was useless.4

Jesus provided the Spirit to them through the layingon of Paul’s hands. And it was Jesus through the Spirit whoworked powerful miraculous wonders among them. In otherwords, the coming of the gospel to them through Paul wasnot in work only, but with the confirming miraculous worksof the Spirit. Paul worked miracles among them, but he didnot do such because of law, but because of faith.5 Abrahamacted on his faith in God. And because he was obedient be-cause of his trust in God, he was justified before God.6 Thosewho are obedient in response to their faith in God, therefore,are the true sons of Abraham.7 Through promises made inthe Old Testament, God revealed that He would justify allmen through faith, not by keeping of any law, including theOld Testament law. Since no man can be justified by perfectkeeping of law, then all men must come to God through faithin Jesus in order to be considered righteous before God. Thisgood news was first revealed to Abraham when God calledhim from among the nations. His promise to Abraham inGenesis 12 was that from the seed of Abraham, all nationswould be blessed when the Messiah came.8 Those who areof faith, are blessed by the coming of Jesus because they be-lieved that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. In re-sponse to their belief, they obeyed the gospel. Because Abra-ham believed the promise of God, the blessing of the gospelcame from his seed, and thus, all men of obedient faith havebeen blessed because Abraham walked by faith.9

If one would seek to be justified by perfect keepingof law, he is under the curse of the law. The curse of the lawis that one sin condemns one as a lawbreaker. Since no onecan keep law perfectly, then all men are under condemna-

d Hb 10:35 e Gn 15:6 f Jn8:39 g Rm 9:17 h Gn 12:3;18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14 i Dt27:26

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11 But that no oneis justified by law inthe sight of God isevident, for j“the justwill live by faith.”12 And kthe law isnot of faith, but l“theman who does themwill live in them.”13 ¶ mChrist re-deemed us from thecurse of the law,having become acurse for us, for it iswritten, n“Cursed iseveryone whohangs on a tree.”14 oHe redeemedus in order that theblessing of Abrahammight come on thepGentiles throughChrist Jesus, so thatwe might receiveqthe promise of theSpirit through faith.

Law and thePromise

15 ¶ Brethren, Ispeak in the mannerof men. rEventhough it is but aman’s covenant, yetwhen it is ratified, noone annuls or addsconditions to it.

tion, for all have sinned. The curse of law, therefore, is thatno one can keep law perfectly in order to justify himself be-fore God. Now if one resorts to law-keeping in order to bejustified, then he would have to keep the law perfectly.10 Butthe fact is that no one is justified by keeping law, for no mancan keep law perfectly. All honest people confess their weak-ness in keeping law. They realize that law was never givenby God as a means to acquire salvation, for all men sin bybreaking law. Therefore, the righteous seek to live by faithby trusting in the grace of God.11 It is for this reason thatlegal law-keeping is not a walk of faith. Law-keeping is walk-ing by faith in oneself to keep law perfectly.12

Through His atoning death on the cross, Jesus deliv-ered us from the necessity of having to keep law perfectly inorder to be justified before God. Those who walk by faith,therefore, have been delivered from the curse of having tokeep law perfectly.13 Those who walk by faith, therefore,have been purchased by the blood of Jesus in order that theblessing to all nations that would come through Abrahammight be poured out on all nations. This blessing was pouredout in order that all the obedient by faith might receive thepromise of the Holy Spirit by faith, not by perfect keeping oflaw. Through law, we could not receive the Spirit, for wecould not keep law perfectly in order to put God in debt toaward us with the Spirit.14

THE PROMISE VERSUS THE LAWWhen two men make a covenant with one another,

once the covenant is ratified by the agreement of the twoparties, the conditions of the covenant cannot be changed,neither can the covenant be annulled.15 Now God made acovenant with Abraham and his descendents. The covenantthat God made with Abraham was that through his seedline

j Hk 2:4 k Rm 4:4,5 l Lv 18:5m Rm 8:3 n Dt 21:23 o Gn12:3; 22:18; Rm 4:1-5,9,16 pIs 49:6; Rm 3:29,30 q Is 32:15r Hb 9:17

The Promise Versus The Law

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16 Now to Abrahamand his seed werethe promises made.He does not say,“And to seeds,” as ofmany, but as of sone,t“And to your seed,”who is uChrist.17 And this I say,that law vwhichcame four hundredand thirty years latercannot annul a cov-enant previouslyratified by God, wthatit should make thepromise of no effect.18 For if xthe inher-itance depends onlaw, yit no longer de-pends on promise.But God gave it toAbraham by prom-ise.19 ¶ Therefore, whythen the law? zIt wasadded because oftransgressions untilthe aSeed shouldcome to whom thepromise was made.And it was bordainedthrough angels bythe hand cof a me-diator.

the Blessing (Christ) would come into the world for all na-tions. The promise was made that the Blessing would notcome through seedlines other than Abraham’s seedline. Fromthe seedline of Abraham, the Christ would come into theworld, bringing the blessing of salvation by grace.16 Now thepromise was made to Abraham before the giving of the OldTestament law, which law came with the covenant that Godmade with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. The makingof the covenant with Abraham, therefore, did not depend onAbraham’s keeping of the Old Testament law, which law wasgiven only to Israel. The law came 430 years after the mak-ing of the promise to Abraham. And when the law came, itdid not annul the covenant that God had made with Abrahamconcerning the promise. The covenant had already been rati-fied with Abraham before the coming of the Old Testamentlaw.17 The inheritance of the promise, therefore, did not de-pend on one’s keeping of the Old Testatment law, which lawwas given only to Israel. The promise and its fulfillment didnot depend on the ability of men to keep the Old Testamentlaw. If the fulfillment of the promise depended on the keep-ing of law, then the promise could never have been fulfilled,for no man can keep law perfectly. The Blessing that wouldcome through the seed of Abraham, therefore, had to be bypromise, not law-keeping.18

But why did God give to Israel the Old Testamentlaw? It was given because it is not in man to direct his ownpaths. If Israel did not have the tutorialship of the Old Testa-ment law, then she would have gone in the way of all thosewho were destroyed by the flood of Noah’s day. Guidelinesof obedience (law), therefore, were necessary in order to pre-serve a portion of humanity (the seed of Abraham, Israel).The promise came through the seedline of Abraham, and thus,the seedline had to be preserved by the guidelines of law.

s Gn 22:18 t Gn 12:3,7;13:15; 24:7 u 1 Co 12:12 vEx 12:40 w Rm 4:13 x Rm8:17 y Rm 4:14 z Jn 15:22 aGl 4:4 b At 7:53 c Ex 20:19

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20 Now a mediatoris not a mediator ofonly one, dbut God isone.21 ¶ So is the lawthen against thepromises of God?Certainly not! For ifthere had been a lawgiven that couldhave given life, cer-tainly righteousnesswould have been bylaw.22 But the Scripturehas confined eall un-der sin so fthat thepromise by faith inJesus Christ mightbe given to thosewho believe.

The law preserved the seedline in order that the promise befulfilled. It was for this reason that the Old Testament lawwas given through angels to Moses who mediated on behalfof the nation of Israel.19 But Moses’ mediatorship was notfor Israel alone. He mediated on behalf of Israel in order thatthrough Israel the Blessing might come for all nations, forGod is the God of all mankind. For this reason, Moses medi-ated for all men in that through Him the law was given inorder to preserve the seedline of Abraham, the nation of Is-rael.20

So one might ask if the Old Testament law was againstGod’s power to fulfill the promise of the Blessing. The ful-fillment of the promise did not depend on keeping of the law,for if such were true, then the promise could never have beenfulfilled. Now if there could have been a law given that wouldguarantee the fulfillment of the promise because of the per-formance of man in keeping law, then certainly such couldhave been accomplished through the giving of the Old Testa-ment law. The law was given by God. It was holy, just andgood. It was the best law that could have been given if justi-fication were through law-keeping. The problem was notwith the law, but with men who cannot keep law perfectly inorder to justify themselves before God. So if a law couldhave been given in order to give men eternal life, then cer-tainly such a law could have been given to man by God.21

The fact is that the Old Testament law themselves condemnedmen to sin. And since all are confined to sin because of law,then the promise had to be given to those who responded toJesus by faith. The giving of the promise to Abraham wasbased on the faith of Abraham. The acceptance of the bless-ing of the promise is based on the faith of the recipients.22

Before all this was revealed through Jesus, those who wereof the faith of Abraham were in bondage. They were in the

d Rm 3:29 e Rm 11:32 f Rm4:11

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23 But before faithcame, we were keptunder guard by law,being shut up to thefaith that would after-ward be revealed.24 Therefore, gthelaw was our head-master to bring us toChrist hso that wemight be justified byfaith.25 But now that faithhas come, we are nolonger under aheadmaster.

Sons throughBaptism

26 ¶ For you iare allsons of God throughfaith in Christ Jesus.27 For jas many ofyou as were bap-tized into Christkhave put on Christ.28 lThere is neitherJew nor Greek,mthere is neitherbondservant norfree, there is neithermale nor female, foryou are all none inChrist Jesus.

bondage of their own sin which was the result of man’s in-ability to keep law perfectly. They were guarded in bondageby the law, for those who were of the faith of Abraham knewthat they could not keep the law perfectly in order to justifythemselves before God.23 In this way, the Old Testament lawwas a school headmaster who controlled those who were ofthe faith of Abraham until they were handed over to Christthrough their obedience to the gospel in order that they bejustified by faith.24 Now that those who are of the faith ofAbraham have been handed over to Christ, the headmaster,the Old Testament law, was released from its duty. Chris-tians, therefore, are no longer under the guard of the Old Tes-tament law.25

SONS THROUGH BAPTISMThe Gentile Christians were sons of God because of

their obedient faith, not because of their perfect obedience tolaw. Law was established in their lives by faith. Faith wasnot established by law-keeping.26 When they were immersedinto Christ, they put on Christ. They were thus dressed in thegarments of salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ. And having puton Christ, they stood justified before God. It was at the pointof their immersion in obedience to the gospel when they werebrought into a saving relationship with Christ. It was not byperfect keeping of law, or meritorious good works.27 Andwhen they came into Christ, their nationality or race no longerseparated them from one another. Peter, Barnabas, and therest of the resident Jews in Antioch, had withdrawn from theGentiles on the occasion when Jewish brethren came fromJerusalem to Antioch. Such an action contravened the natureof the Christians’ oneness in Christ that resulted from theirbaptism into Christ. Their behavior of separation manifestedan effort to return to the law of the past, which law had ful-

g Rm 10:4 h At 13:39 i Jn1:12 j Rm 6:3 k Rm 10:12;13:14 l Cl 3:11 m 1 Co 12:13n Ep 2:15,16

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29 And oif you areChrist’s, then youare Abraham’spseed and qheirs ac-cording to the prom-ise.

Chapter 41 ¶ Now I say thatthe heir, as long ashe is a child, doesnot differ from ab o n d s e r v a n t ,though he is lord ofall.2 But he is underguardians and stew-ards until the timeappointed by the fa-ther.3 So we also, whenwe were children weawere in bondageunder the elementsof the world.4 But bwhen the full-ness of the timecame, God sentforth His Son, cborndof a woman, ebornunder law,5 in order fto re-deem those whowere under law, gsothat we might re-ceive the adoptionas sons.

filled its purpose in bringing us to Christ.28 So now that webelong to Christ because of our obedience to the gospel, wecontinue the spiritual seed of Abraham by faith, not by keep-ing any ordinance of the Old Testament law. We thus inheritthe promise that was made to Abraham, the Blessing thatblessed all nations. We have inherited the salvation that Jesus,the Blessing, brought into the world.29

Chapter 4In order to illustrate our inheritance of the Blessing

that was promised to Abraham, consider the fact that when ason is an heir of his father, while the father is still alive he isno different in reference to the possessions of the inheritancethan one of the father’s bondservants. Though he will even-tually inherit all that the father owns, he is still subject to thefather, just as the bondservant.1 He is under the guardiansand stewards until the time that the father has appointed whenhe should receive the inheritance.2 Therefore, the Jews wereunder the bondage of the Old Testament law until the timeappointed by the heavenly Father when they should inheritthe Blessing.3 But when the time set by the Father was com-pleted for the fulfillment of the promise, the Father sent forHis Son in order to deliver all those who lived under the bond-age of the law. The promise was made to Abraham. The OldTestament law was given to Israel only for a determined pe-riod of time. When this period of time was fulfilled, the prom-ise was given, and thus, the law was taken away. It had ful-filled its purpose of bringing the heirs to the fulfillment ofthe promise in Jesus.4 When Jesus came, therefore, He de-livered us from that which we could not deliver ourselves.He set us free from the bondage of the law in order that wemight be the adopted sons of the Father.5

Now that they had become sons of God by their obe-

o Gn 21:10; Hb 11:18 p Rm4:11; Gl 3:7 q Gn 12:3; 18:18;Rm 8:17 Chapter 4: a Cl2:8,20 b Gn 49:10 c Jn 1:14d Gn 3:15; Is 7:14; Mt 1:25 eMt 5:17; Lk 2:21,27 f Mt 20:28g Jn 1:12

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6 ¶ And becauseyou are sons, Godhas sent forth htheSpirit of His Son intoyour hearts, crying,“Abba, Father.”7 Therefore, you areno longer a bondser-vant, but a son; iandif a son, then an heirthrough God.

Concern for theGalatians

8 ¶ Previously, jwhenyou did not knowGod kyou served asbondservants thosethings that by natureare not gods.9 But now lafter youhave known God, orrather are known byGod, mhow can youturn back again tonthe weak andworthless elementsto which you desireagain to be in bond-age?10 oYou observedays and monthsand times andyears.11 I fear for you,plest I have laboredover you in vain.

dience to the gospel, God has given to them the Spirit, whichSpirit moves the adopted sons to look to the Father as thesource of their salvation. Their thanksgiving is to the Fatherfor their salvation, not to their own abilities to walk meritori-ously by law in order to justify themselves.6 Because wehave responded by faith to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus onthe cross, we are no longer bondservants without an inherit-ance. We have been adopted by the Father, and thus, we aresons of God.7

As the Gentiles, and thus bondservants of our ownimagination, we were idolatrous in our behavior and beliefs.Because we had created gods after our own imagination, wedid not know the one true and living God. We believed onlyin that which was imagined, and thus, the gods in which webelieved were not gods at all.8 Now here is the problem fac-ing those who would seek to justify themselves through lawand works. God adopted those who have obeyed the gospel,and thus, the obedient are known by God to be His sons. Butif His sons turn back to those things that were useless in ref-erence to salvation, then the gospel will benefit one nothingin reference to salvation. If one returns to the bondage of hisvain religion which he had created after the imagination ofhis own thinking, then his obedience to the gospel will benullified.9 In the case of many of the Galatians, they werelegally observing certain days, months and festivities thatrelated to their idolatrous religions of the past.10 If they re-turned to these legal systems of religiosity, then Paul wouldhave labored in vain to preach the gospel to them. His laborswould have been useless because they would have fallen fromthe grace of God.11

Paul thus pleaded with them to remain as he in thegrace of God. Paul had previously in his life lived in thelegal system of law, being obedient to the Judaism that he

h Rm 5:5; 8:9,15,16 i Rm8:16,17 j Ep 2:12 k Rm 1:25l 1 Co 8:3 m Cl 2:20 n Hb7:18 o Rm 14:5 p 1 Th 3:5

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12 ¶ Brethren, I urgeyou to be as I am, forI am as you are.qYou did me nowrong.13 You know howrthrough physicalweakness Ipreached the gospelto you at the first.14 And my trial thatwas in my flesh youdid not despise norreject, but you re-ceived me sas amessenger of God,teven as ChristJesus.15 Where then isthe blessing you en-joyed? For I bearyou witness that if itwere possible, youwould have pluckedout your own eyesand given them tome.16 Therefore, haveI become your en-emy because I tellyou the truth?17 ¶ They uzealouslyrecruit you, but notfor good. Yes, theywant to exclude youso that you might bezealous for them.

had received from his Jewish fathers. However, when Jesuscalled him, he remained faithful to the calling. If the GalatianChristians fell away from the grace of God, they would notendanger his salvation, for he had fulfilled his responsibilityof preaching the gospel to them. They would endanger theirown salvation, for each person is held accountable for hisown behavior.12 It was not easy for Paul to carry out hismission to preach the gospel to the Galatians. They knewthat he had to endure great physical weakness in order tostand before them and preach the grace of God.13 They knewthat he was suffering physically while carrying out his mis-sion to preach the gospel. Whatever his physical infirmity,we are not told. But when he initially came into Galatia, theGalatians looked past his physical infirmity in order to hearwhat he had to say concerning the gospel of Jesus. Theywere so interested in his message, that they received him asthe messenger of God, even as they would have personallyreceived Jesus.14 It may have been that Paul was sufferingfrom some eye ailment. We are not told. But the Galatians’compassion for him while he was with them was sincere. Itwas sincere because they understood the blessing of salva-tion that they received as a result of his labors for them.15

But now, it seems that he had become their enemy becausehe was chastising them with the truth by telling them thatthey were ungratefully turning away from the message hehad preached, as well as turning away from him as the mes-senger of God.16

Now what was happening among the Galatian dis-ciples was the recruiting by those Judaizing teachers whowere seeking a following among men. With great zeal, theseteachers were turning the people away from Paul, and thus,away from the message that Paul preached. But such was notfor the good of the Galatian disciples. It was not good be-

q 2 Co 2:5 r 1 Co 2:3 s Ml2:7 t Lk 10:16 u Rm 10:2

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18 But it is alwaysgood to be zealousin a good thing, andnot only when I ampresent with you.19 vMy little childrenfor whom I labor inbirth again untilChrist is formed inyou,20 I desire to bepresent with younow and to changemy voice, for I amperplexed aboutyou.

Hagar and Sarah21 ¶ Tell me, youwho desire to be un-der law, do you nothear the law?22 For it is writtenthat Abraham hadtwo sons, wthe oneby a bondwomanand xthe other by afreewoman.

cause if they did return to a system of law-keeping, they wouldbe cut off from the grace of God. They would also be cut offfrom the fellowship of the worldwide body of Christ. Thesepolitical Judaizers, therefore, were playing church politics.They were seeking the favoritism of the people in order thatthe people listen to them.17 Now it is always good to be zeal-ous. But if one uses his zeal in order to recruit others tofollow him, then his zeal is being wasted on matters of self-ish ambition. The Galatians were zealous to receive Paulwhen he was with them. But they must continue to be zeal-ous for him in his absence, lest they stop believing the mes-sage that he preached to them.18 Paul was as a father to themin that he fathered them in Christ by the preaching of thegospel. He personally labored in their presence as a lovingfather. Now he was again laboring as a woman in birth painsin order to keep them faithful to the grace of God.19 He waswriting with sternness in his words, for he was laboring fortheir salvation. If he were present with them, then he couldnurture his words with love in order to encourage them to betrue to their confession.20

HAGAR AND SARAHThe Galatians needed an illustration from the Old

Testament in order to understand that the Old Testament lawhad been cast out. In order to better understand that the OldTestament law was cast out in order to make room for thenew covenant, Paul gave them an allegory that was based onthe historical incident of a confrontation between Hagar andSarah.21 Abraham had two sons. Isaac was born to Abrahamthrough Sarah. Ishmael was born to Abaham through Hagar,Sarah’s handmaid. Hagar was a bondwoman, but Sarah wasthe wife of Abraham.22 Ishmael was born as a result of Abra-ham and Sarah making a plan that Abraham have an heir

v 1 Co 4:15 w Gn 16:15 xGn 21:2

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23 But he who wasof the bondwomanywas born accordingto the flesh. But zhewho was of thefreewoman wasborn through thepromise.24 These things arean allegory. Forthese are two cov-enants, the one fromMount aSinai, bring-ing forth children tobondage, which isHagar.25 For this Hagar isMount Sinai in Ara-bia and correspondsto Jerusalem thatnow is, and is inbondage with herchildren.26 But thebJerusalem that isabove is free, whichis the mother of usall.27 For it is written,c“Rejoice barrenwoman who doesnot bear. Break forthand cry you who donot labor. For thedesolate has manymore children thanshe who has a hus-band.”

through whom the promise of God would continue. Throughworks, therefore, they sought to work out the promise of God.He and Sarah were old in age, but had no son. Therefore,they formed a plan that Hagar go in to Abraham, and fromthis union, an heir would be born to continue the promise ofGod through the seed of Abraham. But this was a work ofAbraham and Sarah. In order that they might know that itwas God working in the matter to fulfill His promise to Abra-ham, Isaac was born to Sarah in her old age. She was thefreewoman who would give birth to the One who would even-tually come into the world and deliver to freedom all thosewho were confined to the bondage of law. Thus Isaac wasborn according to the work of God to bring about His prom-ise. Ishmael was born according to the works of Abrahamand Sarah.23 The two sons, therefore, illustrate two covenants.The first was God’s covenant with Israel that was given toIsrael at Mount Sinai. However, this covenant, with its law,the Old Testament law, was a covenant of bondage, for byworks of the Old Testament law no one could be justifiedbefore God. Instead of bringing life, therefore, the law of theold covenant brought death. The law was thus a curse inreference to salvation. No one could keep it perfectly in or-der to justify himself before God.24 All those who wouldseek to be justified by keeping of the Old Testament law,therefore, are still under the bondage of the law.25 In contrastto the Old Testament law that brought sin and death, the newbrought freedom from the curse of sin and death. It broughtfreedom from the necessity of having to keep law perfectlyin order to be justified before God. Sarah is thus the motherof the free.26 Sarah broke forth with joy when she becamepregnant with Isaac. She became the mother of many na-tions. She brought forth the one who would continue theheritage of Abraham, and thus the fulfillment of the promise

y Rm 9:7,8 z Hb 11:11 a Dt33:2 b Is 2:2 c Is 54:1

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28 ¶ Now dwe, breth-ren, as Isaac, arethe echildren ofpromise.29 But as fhe whowas born accordingto the flesh perse-cuted him who wasborn according tothe Spirit, geven so itis now.30 Nevertheless,what does htheScripture say? i“Castout the bondwomanand her son, for jtheson of the bond-woman will not beheir with the son ofthe freewoman.”31 So then, breth-ren, we are not chil-dren of a bond-woman, but of thefree.

that would come about two thousand years later on a crossoutside Jerusalem.27

Because Isaac was the result of God’s work to carryout His plan of fulfilling His promise to Abraham, we be-come children of the promise. We are not children becauseof the Old Testament law, but children by the grace of Godthat was poured out on Sarah in her old age to bring forthIsaac.28 When Isaac was but a small child, he was persecutedby Ishmael because Ishmael was jealous of him. Ishmael hadbeen born to Abraham because of the works of the flesh, theplan that he and Sarah had devised that Hagar go in to Abra-ham in order that Abraham have an heir. Isaac, however, wasborn according to the Spirit of God who worked in the wombof Sarah that she give birth. But as Ishmael persecuted Isaac,so the legalistic Jews who continued to cling to the Old Tes-tament law, persecuted those who believed in Jesus and hadobeyed the gospel.29 God told Abraham to cast out Hagarand Ishmael in order to bring peace to his family. He was tocast them out because the fulfillment of the promise wouldnot come through Ishmael. It would come through Isaac.30

We must keep in mind, therefore, that we are not sons of Godthrough Ishmael. We received the fulfillment of the promisethat was promised to Abraham that came through the work-ing of God. We are heirs of the promise that continued, notby the flesh of Abraham and Sarah working to fulfill the prom-ise, but by God working through Abraham and Sarah in theirold age to continue the fulfillment of His promise to themthrough the birth of Isaac.31

Chapter 5SET FREE, STAY FREE

d Gl 3:29 e At 3:25 f Gn21:9 g Gl 5:11 h Gl 3:8,22 iGn 21:10,12

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Chapter 5Set Free, Stay Free1 ¶ aStand fast there-fore in the liberty bywhich Christ hasmade us free, anddo not be entangledagain with a byoke ofbondage.2 Behold I, Paul, sayto you that cif you arecircumcised, Christwill profit you noth-ing.3 For I testify againto every man who iscircumcised, dthathe is a debtor tokeep the whole law.4 eYou have beensevered from Christ,you who seek to bejustified by law. fYouhave fallen fromgrace.5 For we throughthe Spirit eagerlygwait for the hope ofrighteousness byfaith.6 For hin JesusChrist neither cir-cumcision availsanything noruncircumcision, butifaith workingthrough love.

In view of the fact that we must remain in our free-dom that came through our obedience to the gospel, Paul re-veals a fundamental principle of the Christian life. It is theprinciple that in Christ we must remain free from believingthat we must keep law perfectly in order to be saved. It isimperative, therefore, that we stand fast in our freedom inChrist in view of the sacrifice that Jesus paid in order to makeour salvation possible. Christians must make every effortnot to become entangled in the web of religious doctrinesand practices that are a burden to all those who seek to retainsuch in their lives. They must not view the law of Christ as asystem by which they would justify themselves before God.1

If one would seek to be circumcised as an indication that hewas returning to a legal system of religiosity in order to jus-tify himself, then the atoning sacrifice of Christ would notprofit him in reference to his salvation.2 If one would seek toreturn to efforts of perfect keeping of law in order to justifyhimself, then he must keep perfectly the law he chooses toobey.3 But the fact is that no man can keep any law perfectly,even the law of Christ. It is for this reason that no man can bejustified before God through the keeping of law. Law, there-fore, was never given to save man, or as a means of salvation,for by works of law no person can justify himself before God.If one would seek to justify himself through law-keeping,then he is actually fallen from the grace of God by which hewas once saved. He is fallen from grace because his faith isnot in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God that was re-vealed through the gospel.4 But those who walk by the Spirit,have hope of eternal life because of their faith in the grace ofGod.5 One can eagerly wait with anticipation for the comingof Jesus if he puts his trust in the grace of God and not inhimself. If he puts his faith in his own works, then he willalways be in doubt concerning his salvation, and thus, will

j Jn 8:35 Chapter 5: a Ph4:1 b At 15:10 c At 15:1 dRm 2:25 e Rm 9:31 f Hb12:15 g Rm 8:24 h Gl 6:15

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7 ¶ You jwere run-ning well. Who hin-dered you fromobeying the truth?8 This persuasiondid not come fromthe One who callsyou.9 kA little leavenleavens the wholelump.10 I have confi-dence in you in theLord, that you will beof no other mind. Butthe one troublingyou will bear hisjudgment, whoeverhe is.

always be apprehensive concerning the coming of Jesus.6

Some Christians, as the Galatian disciples, start offtheir Christian life well. They begin with their trust in Jesus,but then begin to establish religious codes by which they bringthemselves into their own bondage. If there are those whowould bind on Christians those things that God has not boundthrough His word, then they are hindering the salvation ofChristians. Those who would teach the traditions of men tobe binding on men are thus hindrances to the salvation ofthose they teach.7 We must keep in mind that law-keeping asa means to salvation was not brought into the world by Jesus.He came to set us free from the bondage that is of our ownmaking. It is men who bring people into bondage, not Jesus.8

Christians must keep in mind, therefore, that a few teacherscan bring into bondage the whole church. If bondage teach-ing is not stopped, it can affect the church as a whole. It isfor this reason that Christians must be diligent not to bindtraditions on the church that are not bound in the word ofGod. They must not turn the law of Christ into a legal systemby which they would seek to justify themselves.9 Paul hadconfidence in the sincere obedience of the Galatians. Heknew that once they remembered their faith with which theystarted their Christian life, they would not be moved awayfrom that faith. But the teacher who was troubling them withthe binding of religious codes that God did not bind wouldsuffer judgment for what he was doing in reference to dis-turbing the household of God. Those who would trouble thechurch by teaching their religious traditions, or teachings thatare found nowhere in the word of God, will give account forleading the church into bondage. The same is true of thosewho would use the law of Christ as a legal system of justifi-cation.10

The fact that Paul was not teaching a legal system ofi 1 Th 1:3 j 1 Co 9:24 k 1 Co5:6

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11 ¶ And I, brethren,if I still preach cir-cumcision, lwhy do Istill suffer persecu-tion? Then mthe of-fense of the crosshas ceased.12 nI could wish thatthose owho are trou-bling you would cutthemselves off fromyou.13 ¶ For you, breth-ren, have beencalled to liberty, onlypdo not use your lib-erty as anqopportunity for theflesh. But rthroughlove, serve one an-other.14 For sall the law isfulfilled in one word,even in this, t“Youwill love your neigh-bor as yourself.”

religiosity was proved by the fact that he was suffering per-secution from those who were teaching such a system. Le-galistic brethren, therefore, always persecute those who preachfreedom in Christ. The free are persecuted with slander, andsometimes as in the case of Paul, with stoning as he sufferedwhile in Galatia. Therefore, one’s persecution is often theresult of his defense of the freedom that we have in Christ.11

Since the fundamental principle of freedom in Christ is a foun-dation upon which our salvation depends, then Paul wishedthat the legalistic brethren would disfellowship themselvesfrom the free. If division in the church must result in order tomaintain our freedom from those who would bind where Godhas not bound, then division must occur. The freedom of thechurch must never be sacrificed in order to remain in fellow-ship with those who would bring the church into the bondageof legalistic religiosity.12

Christians have been called by the gospel into theliberty that they have in Christ. They are free from the ne-cessity of having to keep law perfectly in order to be saved,for they understand that law was never given as a means tosalvation. It was given to direct our lives, not as a standardby which we would be saved. However, though we are setfree from the necessity of keeping law perfectly in order tobe saved, then we must not feel that we have the freedom tosin against the law of God. Love is the identity of the familyof God. Christians serve one another because of love, notlaw. And thus, instead of using our freedom to ignore oneanother, or cause another to sin after the flesh, Christiansshould respond to the needs of one another because of love.13

Christians keep the law of God because of their love. Theydo not love because of law. If one serves his neighbor, there-fore, it is out of love, not law.14 If there is no love amongbrethren, the brethren will be involved in quarrels by which

l 1 Co 15:30 m 1 Co 1:23 nJa 7:25 o At 15:1,2 p 1 Co8:9 q 1 Pt 2:16 r 1 Co 9:19 sMt 7:12; 22:40 t Lv 19:18

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15 But if you biteand devour one an-other, take heed thatyou not be con-sumed by one an-other.

The Flesh and theSpirit

16 ¶ I say then,uwalk in the Spiritand you will not ful-fill the lust of theflesh.17 For vthe fleshlusts against theSpirit, and the Spiritagainst the flesh.And these are con-trary to one another,wso that you cannotdo the things thatyou desire.18 But xif you are ledby the Spirit, you arenot under law.19 ¶ Now ythe worksof the flesh aremanifest, which are:fornication, unclean-ness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery,hatred, strife, jeal-ousy, outbursts ofanger, selfish ambi-tions, dissensions,heresies,

they will destroy their fellowship with one another. A churchof people who have lost their love for one another will even-tually cease being a church of Christ.15

THE FLESH AND THE SPIRITIf one walks according to the law of love, he will not

seek to please his own selfish desires. Walking after the Spirit,therefore, is a walk of focusing on others. It is a walk that isnot directed by law, but by love. If one walks according tothe Spirit, he is not seeking to live for himself.16 If one thinksthat life is about himself, then he is working against the Spiritwho would direct us to live for others. Living according toour own will, therefore, is against what the Spirit would haveus do as Christians. If one would walk according to the de-sires of the flesh, then he cannot accomplish the work of theSpirit.17 When Christians are led by love, they are walkingafter the desires of the Spirit. When one is walking accord-ing to love, he needs no law to direct him to do good to hisneighbor.18

Now one who would seek to live according to hisown desires will not live in order to serve the needs of others.He will commit those sins that violate relationships betweenpeople. He will commit sexual immorality wherein peopleare hurt. He will live an impure life of filthiness. He willbecome involved in lewd dancing, sensuality, debauchery,immoral dress and conduct.19 He will create a god after hisown imagination by which he will convince himself that hisgod is pleased with his immoral behavior. Some will be-come involved in drugs and senseless behavior by bindingon themselves fictitious beliefs of imagined spirits and ghosts.Others will harbor enmity toward others, manifesting a be-havior of contention and jealousy. They will not be able tocontrol themselves in their relationships with others for they

u Rm 6:12 v Rm 7:18,22,23;8:5 w Rm 7:15 x Rm 6:14;7:4; 8:14 y Ep 5:3,11

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21 envyings, drunk-enness, revelries,and such like, ofwhich I tell you be-forehand as I havealso told you in thepast, that zthose whopractice such thingswill not inherit thekingdom of God.22 ¶ But athe fruit ofthe Spirit is blove, joy,peace, patience,k i n d n e s s ,c g o o d n e s s ,dfaithfulness,23 gentleness, andself-control. eAgainstsuch there is no law.24 Now those whoare Christ’s fhavecrucified the fleshwith its passions anddesires.25 gIf we live in theSpirit, let us alsowalk in the Spirit.

think only of themselves. And because they think only ofthemselves, they have a contentious spirit, speaking thosethings that are contrary to the truth. They will have a sectar-ian spirit that promotes division rather than unity.20 Theirrelationship with others will always be strained because theythirst for the possessions or positions of others. And becauseof their low self-esteem and baseless life, they will seek toescape reality through intoxicating liquor, the result of whichwill be a life of excessive drunken parties. Such behaviormanifests a walk according to the lusts of the flesh. In suchbehavior, one cannot have a correct relationship with his fel-low man. One can have no hope of dwelling in eternity withothers who live according to behavor that destroys relation-ships.21

Contrary to the walk after the lusts of the flesh, thewalk after the Spirit is based on love. Those who seek joy,will seek peace with their fellow man. And in order to havepeace, one must be patient with the faults of others. Patiencedepends on showing kindness to others. And when one iskind he seeks to do good to others. In order for two people tomaintain a relationship with one another, both people mustremain faithful and committed to one another.22 When twopeople remain faithful to one another, they manifest a spiritof gentleness in order to maintain their relationship. Theythus control their behavior and speech in order not to endan-ger their relationship.23 Christians, therefore, have giventhemselves to others. For this reason, they do not walk ac-cording to their own desires. They put their fellow brothersand sisters in Christ first, and thus maintain their relationshipwith the family of God.24 Therefore, those who would live inthe Spirit, must walk according to the instructions of the Spirit.Upon the foundation of love, the Spirit directs through theword of God.25 In order to maintain our relationships with

z 1 Co 6:9,10 a Jn 15:2 b Cl3:12-15 c Rm 15:14 d 1 Co13:7 e 1 Tm 1:9 f Rm 6:6 gRm 8:4,5

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26 hLet us not bedesirous of vainglory, provoking oneanother or envyingone another.

Chapter 6Obedient Faith

1 ¶ Brethren, if aman is overtaken inany trespass, youwho are spiritual re-store such a one ina spirit ofagentleness, consid-ering yourself lestyou also betempted.2 bBear oneanother’s burdens,and so fulfill cthe lawof Christ.3 For dif anyonethinks himself to besomething when eheis nothing, he de-ceives himself.4 But flet each oneprove his own work,and then he willhave reason forboasting in himselfalone and gnot in an-other.

h Ph 2:3 Chapter 6: a Ep4:2 b Rm 15:1 c Js 2:8 dRm 12:3 e 2 Co 3:5 f 1 Co11:28 g Lk 18:11

one another in Christ, we must desire the good of others, notseeking glory for ourselves. We must be patient with oneanother, kind and gentle in spirit lest we provoke others tolose their gentleness toward us. Those who are disciples inChrist, exalt and encourage others to do their best. Chris-tians are not in competition with one another as to who is thegreatest. The family of God is a community of servants whoseek to serve one another’s needs.26

Chapter 6OBEDIENT FAITH

In reference to the disciples’ relationship with oneanother, it is a principle of fellowship that those who are moremature in the faith have a responsibility to those who arenew in the faith. Therefore, if one who is new in the faith isovertaken in a sinful behavior that is according to the worksof the flesh, he must be encouraged to remain faithful to hiscommitment. It is the responsibility of those who are strongin the faith to seek to restore the fallen. They must do thiswith a spirit of gentleness, knowing that every disciple canbe overcome with sin, and thus, fall from the grace of God.1

It is thus our responsibility to carry one another’s spiritualburden of faithfulness. We are responsible for one another.By being responsible for one another, we fulfill the law ofChrist, that we love one another as Christ also loved us.2 Butif someone thinks that he is too good to help others, then hehas deceived himself. If one thinks that he is better thanothers, and thus not able to be tempted to fall, then he hasdeceived himself.3 There is no room for boasting among dis-ciples. If one would prove his work, then he must look toGod for approval. One must never become involved in com-paring his works with the works of others. Since every dis-ciple has been given different abilities or gifts, then no dis-

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ciple can ever compare his works with another disciple.4 Sobecause each person has been given different abilities or gifts,then each person is responsible for his own works. He is notresponsible for the abilities or gifts of another, neither can hecompare the benefit of his gifts with the benefits of the giftsof another disciple.5

It is a principle of brotherhood, the furtherance ofthe gospel, and continued teaching of the word of God, thatthe students of the word should financially support the teach-ers of the word. If one teaches the good things of the word ofGod, then he deserves to be supported by those whom heteaches. Those who neglect their responsibility to supportthe teachers of the word have not understood the principle bywhich God intends that the word of God be taught.6

One must not think that he can live a life after theflesh and not at the same time reap the consequences of suchbehavior. God has stated that we will reap the consequencesof sinful behavior.7 If one lives according to the sins of theflesh, he will reap the consequences of such by suffering inthis life, both physically and in his relationships with others.But if one lives according to the directions of the Spirit, thenhe will reap eternal heaven.8 For this reason, we must notbecome tired of doing that which is good to others. When wedo good to others, then they will do good to us in life. Wewill also reap eternal life as a result of our good life.9 Sincewe will reap eternal life as a result of living after the Spirit,then we must take every opportunity to do good. Christiansmust do good not only to fellow Christians, but to every per-son who is in need. In fact, one cannot be sincere in hisgoodness if it is poured out only on those who are Christians.Christians do good works toward those who are disciples ofJesus, but such goodness also spills over to everyone withwhom one comes into contact.10

5 For heach one willbear his own load.6 ¶ iLet him who istaught the wordshare in all goodthings with the onewho teaches.7 ¶ Be not deceived,God is not mocked,for jwhatever a mansows, that he willalso reap.8 For he who sowsto his flesh will of theflesh reap corrup-tion. But he whosows to the Spirit willof the Spirit reapketernal life.9 And llet us not be-come weary in doinggood, for in due timewe will reap mif we donot give up.10 nTherefore, as wehave opportunity, oletus do good to allmen, pespecially tothose who are of thehousehold of thefaith.

h Rm 2:6 i 1 Co 9:11,14 jRm 2:6 k Rm 6:8 l 1 Co 15:58m Js 5:7,8 n Pv 3:27 o Ti3:8 p Rm 12:13

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Paul’s message to the Galatians, and all Christians,was critical. It was critical because the Galatian Christianswere in the process of being influenced by those teacherswho were teaching a legal system of justification. If theGalatians succumbed to the influence and teaching of theJudaizing teachers, then they would fall from the grace ofGod. Therefore, with his own hand he wrote this urgent let-ter to the Galatians.11 It seems that some Judaizing teachershad succumbed to the intimidation of their fellow Jews. Theythus taught what they were compelled to teach because theydid not want to suffer persecution for preaching the gospel offreedom from law-keeping.12 The irony of the situation wasthat those who were forcing the Galatians to be circumcisedin order to manifest their keeping of the Old Testament law,were themselves not able to keep the law perfectly. The realreason they were compelling the Galatians to be circumcisedwas that they wanted to boast to the Jews that they had cir-cumcised so many people, manifesting that they had convertedthe saved.13 Paul’s boasting was only in the sufferings ofJesus for the salvation of all men. And because he was will-ing to suffer for preaching the gospel to the world, the thingsof the world meant nothing to him. It was Christ who wasliving in him, and thus, the things of the world did not detourhim from his destiny of preaching the gospel to the world.14

Works as circumcision cannot accomplish salvation. If oneremains uncircumcised, it still does not accomplish anythingtoward salvation. What does count is if one has been im-mersed into Christ in order to become a new creation in Christ.Obedience to the gospel, therefore, is what is important inreference to our salvation, for obedience to the gospel is nota work of merit, but a response to the cross and resurrectionof Jesus.15

All those who walk in response to their obedience to

The New Creation11 ¶ You see withwhat large letters Ihave written to youwith my own hand.12 As many as de-sire to make a goodshowing in the flesh,they compel you tobe circumcised, qonlythat they might notsuffer persecution forthe cross of Christ.13 For not eventhose who are cir-cumcised keep thelaw, but desire tohave you circum-cised so that theymay boast in yourflesh.14 But God forbidthat I should boast,except in the rcross ofour Lord JesusChrist, through whomthe world has beencrucified to me and sIto the world.15 For tneither cir-cumcision accom-plishes anything, noruncircumcision, but anew creation.

q Gl 5:11 r 1 Co 1:18 s Cl2:20 t 1 Co 7:19

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the gospel will have peace of mind and peace with God. God’smercy will be upon them. Peace and mercy will be individu-ally upon all Christians, as well as upon the spiritual Israel,the church.16 Paul wanted no further debate on this matter. Ifthere were those who wanted to return to law-keeping as ameans of salvation, then they must cut themselves off fromthe church of God. Paul had sought to be faithful to his call-ing to preach the gospel. As a result, he suffered the persecu-tion that came from his fellow Jews.17 If one would walkaccording to Paul’s life, therefore, then the grace that wasmanifested through Jesus would continue with him.18

16 ¶ And as many aswalk according tothis rule, peace andmercy be upon them,and upon the Israelof God.17 ¶ From now on letno man trouble me,for I bear in my bodythe marks of the LordJesus.18 ¶ Brethren, thegrace of our LordJesus Christ be withyour spirit. Amen.

Obedient Faith