March 6, 2012

Galatians {Notes}

We have been studying through the book of Galatians in church the past month or so, and I have gleaned many helpful and convicting gems from this book. 

"Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.  For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."  Galatians 2:11-21
 Dad began our study with a question:

In what basis do I stand in a right relationship with Jesus Christ?

  • We do not have a works based relationship with our Savior.  Although good works should follow after Jesus transforms our life, as an evidence of our salvation. 
  • It is through Jesus alone that we are saved! 
The Gospel is proclaimed beginning in Genesis (e.g. Gen. 3:15, 15:6)

The book of Galatians has been called the Magna Carta of Holy Scripture. 

The Christian faith doesn't begin where every other religion does: with the command DO!  The true Gospel begins with DONE - the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."  Titus 3:4-7
Overview / Outline of Galatians:

- Why was it written?
  • The Jerusalem conference (see Acts 15; Gal. 1-2) trying to answer the question: How are Jewish Christians to relate to Gentile Christians?
  • Theological background: Do you have to become a Jew to become a Christian?  The answer was no. 
  • Ch. 1-2  Defense of the Gospel of Grace
  • Ch. 3-4  Explanation of the Gospel; allegorical examples of Old Testament / Old Covenant works / faith righteousness
  • Ch. 5-6  Application of the Gospel of Grace; outcomes of Christian liberty / ethic 
 Peter's hypocrisy:
  • Rebuked (vs. 11-13)
  • Are 'we' (Jew/Gentile) one in Christ?
  • Motivating factor?  People pleasing (Prov. 29:25)
  • Harmful effects
    • Caused fellow brothers, including Barnabas, to be hypocritical (vs. 13)
    • Frontal confrontation, publicly rebuked by Paul (vs. 14) 
    • Public sin, public ramifications 
    • Powerful question (vs. 14) - "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?" 
Doctrinal / Behavioral (or Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy)

Right orthodoxy (doctrine) leads, or should lead, to right orthopraxy (living)!


O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."  Galatians 3:1-14
Paul is not just talking about Salvation through Jesus Christ, he's also talking about Sanctification.  He uses the example of the two Israels:

  • Physical Israel (Jewish heritage, blood-line) 
  • Spiritual Israel (through Salvation, a 'Jew')
Paul goes back to Abraham - He had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.  One was the son of the flesh (Ishmael) the other was the son of Promise (Isaac).

We become part of spiritual Israel through the finished work of Christ.  "Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham" (vs. 7)

We are one in Christ: "For He Himself is our Peace who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making Peace."  Ephesians 2:14-15

We have been redeemed from the curse of the Law - through Jesus' death.  "his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God."  Deuteronomy 21:23

And we have received the blessing of Abraham, through Christ and have received the promise of the Spirit

Purpose of the law:

  • It was added because of transgressions (restrictions on man's sinfulness)
  • It is a tutor to bring us to Christ
  • It is a way to look forward to the promises of Christ
  • It confined us so that we would trust in Christ
The law ultimately served as an arrow - pointing forward to Christ!

Works based righteousness removes Jesus and His sacrifice for sins.  "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (vs. 26)  "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (vs. 27)

The Gospel brings us together:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.Galatians 3:28-29
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."  Philippians 2:5-8

All those who are one with Jesus Christ are one with each other.  This verse does not deny that God has designed for racial, social, and sexual distinctions among Christians, but it affirms that those do not imply spiritual inequality before God.  Nor is this spiritual equality incompatible with the God-ordained rules of headship and submission in the church, society, and at home.  Jesus Christ, though fully equal with the Father, assumed a submissive role during His incarnation." - John MacArthur  

 Galatians 3:15-18, 5:1-f


"Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise." 
Defending the Gospel is just as important today as it was during Paul's ministry.

We trust in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  It is enough!

The Law (Galatians 2:14-16):
  • Offers no justification (futile)
  • Puts us to death (fatal) vs. 19
  • Makes Christ's death meaningless (flatly null / void)
  • Gives us the mindset of human efforts (works based) righteousness / sanctification (3:1-6)
  • Christ profits us nothing (5:1)
  • We are debtors to keep the whole law (vs. 3)
  • We are estranged from Christ, fallen from Grace (vs. 4)  "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."  Galatians 5:1 
Those who preach another "gospel" are absolutely accursed!  This is serious business.  Revelation 22:18-19 states that if we add to or take away from the scriptures, there will be serious consequences: 
"For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
 Galatians 5:12-6:15

"I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!


I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.


Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.


 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation."
 In Christ, we are free from the Jewish law stipulations.  There is a problem however with freedom - people's hearts, being sinful, lustful, etc.  We are not free to do anything or everything.  We are still bound to purity, holiness, and godly living.  Living lawfully, more than we could be before we were 'in Christ.'

Law of liberty - serving one another in love

Steps to being fruitful:
  •  I must have crucified the flesh (Gal. 5:24; Rom 6:3; Mk. 7:34-38)
  • I must walk in the spirit (Gal. 5:16-18; Jn. 15:25-26; Mt. 26:41)
  • I must overcome pride (Gal. 5:26, 6:3)
  • I must make loving service to others my focus (Gal. 5:6, 13-14, 22)
  • I must value Jesus above anyone or anything else (Gal. 5:2, 6:14-15)
Jesus Christ working in us produces the fruit. 

Consequences of bearing fruit: 
  • I am not obligated to the Old Testament law, but I am obligated to fulfill the Law of Christ (Gal. 5:18; 6:1-2)
  • Others burdens are there for me to assist in bearing (Gal. 5:13-14, 6:1-2)
  • Biting, devouring, provoking, envying, destroying others is something I now avoid, shun, reject (Gal. 5:13-15, 19-21, 22-26)
Is producing spiritual fruit really that important? 

Yes - "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me."  John 15:4 

  • Those who do not produce fruit cannot inherit the kingdom of God - "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."  Galatians 5:19-21 
  • Those who sow to the flesh will reap corruption - "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith."  Galatians 6:7-8 
  • When we bear fruit, we show ourselves to be His disciples -
    "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."  John 15:8 
    Those who bear fruit will be the recipients of God's grace, mercy and peace -  "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God."  Galatians 6:16
     

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