Verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus"
Part 43 - PAULS LETTER to the GALATIANS
PAUL'S AUTHORITY AS AN APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES
43.1 GREETINGS; JESUS' SACRIFICE TO RESCUE US FROM OUR SINS
Galatians 1:1-5 - I, Paul, who am appointed and commissioned a messenger (apostle) not by man but by Jesus Christ and God the Father (who raised him from the dead), I and all the brothers with me send the churches in Galatia greeting. Grace and peace to you from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to the Father's plan gave himself for our sins and thereby rescued us from the present evil world-order. To him be glory for ever and ever!
43.2 WE LIVE BY BELIEVING IN CHRIST, NOT BY OBEYING THE LAW; OTHERWISE HE DIED FOR NOTHING
Galatians 2:15-21 - And then I went on to explain (to the apostle Peter, who during a visit to Syrian Antioch ate with Gentiles until the arrival of Jewish Christians from Jerusalem caused him to stop) that we, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, know that a man is justified not by performing what the (Jewish) Law commands but by faith in Jesus Christ. We ourselves are justified by our faith and not by our obedience to the Law, for we have recognised that no one can achieve justification by doing the "works of the Law". Now if, as we seek the real truth about justification, we find we are as much sinners as the Gentiles, does that mean that Christ makes us sinners? Of course not! But if I attempt to build again the whole structure of justification by the Law then I do, in earnest, make myself a sinner. For under the Law I "died", and now I am dead to the Law's demands so that I may live for God. As far as the Law is concerned I may consider that I died on the cross with Christ. And my present life is not that of the old "I", but the living Christ within me. The bodily life I now live, I live believing in the Son of God, who loved me and sacrificed himself for me. Consequently I refuse to stultify the grace of God by reverting to the Law. For if righteousness were possible under the Law then Christ died for nothing!
THE CHOICE IS SLAVERY UNDER THE LAW OR FREEDOM IN CHRIST
43.3 IT IS ONLY BY BELIEVING IN THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST THAT GOD GIVES YOU HIS HOLY SPIRIT
Galatians 3:1-5 - O you dear idiots of Galatia, who saw Jesus Christ the crucified so plainly, who has been casting a spell over you? I will ask you one simple question: did you receive the Spirit of God by trying to keep the Law or by believing the message of the Gospel? Surely you can't be so idiotic as to think that a man begins his spiritual life in the Spirit and then completes it by reverting to outward observances? Has all your painful experience brought you nowhere? I simply cannot believe it of you! Does God, who gives you his Spirit and works miracles among you, do these things because you have obeyed the Law or because you have believed the Gospel? Ask yourselves that.
43.4 ABRAHAM AS AN EXAMPLE OF LIVING IN FAITH, A FAITH FREELY AVAILABLE TO ALL
Galatians 3:6-9 - You can go right back to Abraham to see the principle of faith in God. He, we are told,
'believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' (Genesis 15:6)
Can you not see, then, that all those (Jew or Gentile) who "believe God" are the real "sons of Abraham"? The scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles "by faith", really proclaimed the Gospel centuries ago in the words spoken to Abraham,
'In you all the nations shall be blessed.' (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14)
All men of faith share the blessing of Abraham who "believed God".
43.5 NO ONE CAN MEET ALL THE DEMANDS OF THE LAW; FAITH IN JESUS SAVES US FROM THAT IMPOSSIBILITY
Galatians 3:10-14 - Everyone, however, who is involved in trying to keep the Law's demands falls under a 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.' (Deuteronomy 27:26)
It is made still plainer that no one is justified in God's sight by obeying the Law, for:
'The just shall live by faith.' (Habakkuk 2:4)
And the Law is not a matter of faith at all but of doing, as, for example, in the scripture:
'The man who does them shall live by them.' (Leviticus 18:5)
Now Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law's condemnation, by himself becoming a curse for us when he was crucified. For the scripture is plain:
'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.' (Deuteronomy 21:23)
God's purpose is therefore plain: that the blessing promised to Abraham might reach the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, and the Spirit might become available to us all by faith.
43.6 GOD TOLD ABRAHAM ABOUT THE COMING OF JESUS LONG BEFORE HE GAVE MOSES THE LAW
Galatians 3:15-18 - Let me give you an everyday illustration (of God's promise), my brothers. Once a contract has been properly drawn up and signed, it is honoured by both parties, and can neither be disregarded nor modified by a third party.
Now a promise was made to Abraham and to his seed. (Note in passing that the scripture says not "and to seeds" but uses the singular
'and to your seed' (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7),
meaning Christ.) I say then that the Law, which came into existence four hundred and thirty years later (Exodus 12:40; this 430 years is onlypart of the time between God's promise to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3, and Moses receiving the Law, Exodus 19-31), cannot render null and void the original "contract" which God had made, and thus rob the promise of its value. For if the receiving of the promised blessing were now made to depend on the Law, that would amount to a cancellation of the original "contract" which God made with Abraham as a promise.
43.7 THE LAW WAS GIVEN TO SINFUL MAN TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR CHRIST'S COMING
Galatians 3:19-25 - Where then lies the point of the Law? It was an addition made to underline the existence and extent of sin until the arrival of the "seed" (Jesus) to whom the promise referred. The Law was inaugurated in the presence of angels and by the hand of a human intermediary (Moses). The very fact that there was an intermediary is enough to show that this was not the fulfilling of the promise. For the promise of God needs neither angelic witness nor human intermediary but depends on him alone.
Is the Law then to be looked upon as a contradiction of the promise (of the coming of Jesus Christ)? Certainly not, for if there could have been a law which gave men spiritual life then law would have produced righteousness (which would have been, of course, in full harmony with the purpose of the promise). But, as things are, the scripture has all men "imprisoned", because they are found guilty by the Law, that to men in such condition might come to release all who believe in Jesus Christ.
By faith we are rescued from the Law and become sons of God
Before the coming of faith we were all imprisoned under the power of the Law, with our only hope of deliverance the faith that was to be shown to us. Or, to change the metaphor, the Law was like a strict governess in charge of us until we went to the school of Christ and learned to be justified by faith in him. Once we had that faith we were completely free from the governess's authority.
43.8 EVERYONE WHO BELONGS TO CHRIST RECEIVES EVERYTHING THAT GOD PROMISED ABRAHAM
Galatians 3:26-29 - For now that you have faith in Christ you are all sons of God. All of you who were baptised "into" Christ have put on the family likeness of Christ. Gone is the distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female - you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, you are true descendants of Abraham, you are true heirs of his promise.
43.9 UNDER THE LAW WE ARE SLAVES TO THE WORLD; IN CHRIST WE BECOME SONS OF GOD
Galatians 4:1-7 - But you must realise that so long as an heir is a child, though he is destined to be master of everything, he is, in practice, no different from a servant. He has to obey a guardian or trustee until the time which his father has chosen for him to receive his inheritance. So is it with us: while we were "children" we lived under the authority of basic moral principles. But when the proper time came God sent his son, born of a human mother and born under the jurisdiction of the Law, that he might redeem those who were under the authority of the Law and lead us into becoming, by adoption, true sons of God. It is because you really are his sons that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts to cry "Father ("Abba" in Aramaic), dear Father". You, my brother, are not a servant any longer; you are a son. And, if you are a son, then you are certainly an heir of God through Christ.
43.10 ABRAHAM'S TWO SONS ILLUSTRATE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SLAVERY TO THE LAW AND FREEDOM THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST
Galatians 4:21-5:1 - Now tell me, you who want to be under the Law, have you heard what the Law says?
It is written that Abraham had two sons (starting at Genesis 16), one by the slave and the other by the free woman. The child (Ishmael) of the slave (Hagar) was born in the ordinary course of nature, but the child (Isaac) of the free woman (Sarah) was born in accordance with God's promise. This can be regarded as an allegory. Here are the two agreements represented by the two women: the one from Mount Sinai bearing children into slavery, typified by Hagar (Mount Sinai being in Arabia, the land of the descendants of Ishmael, Hagar's son), and corresponding to present-day Jerusalem - for the Jews are still, spiritually speaking, "slaves". But the free woman typifies the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all, and is spiritually "free". It is written:
'Rejoice, O barren (woman), you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who do not travail! For the desolate (woman) has many more children than she who has a husband.' (Isaiah 54:1)
Now we, my brothers, are like Isaac, for we are children born "by promise". But just as in those far-off days the natural son persecuted the "spiritual" son, so it is today. Yet what is the scriptural instruction?
'Cast out the bondwoman (slavewoman) and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.' (Genesis 21:10)
So then, my brothers, we are not to look upon ourselves as the sons of the slave woman but of the free, not sons of slavery under the Law but sons of freedom under grace.
(Chapter 5:1 ....) Plant your feet firmly therefore within the freedom that Christ has won for us, and do not let yourselves be caught again in the shackles of slavery.
43.11 CIRCUMCISION IS VALUELESS; ALL THAT MATTERS IS FAITH IN CHRIST LEADING TO ACTION IN LOVE
Galatians 5:2-6 - Listen! I, Paul, say this to you as solemnly as I can: if you consent to be circumcised then Christ will be of no use to you at all. I will say it again: every man who consents to be circumcised is bound to obey all the rest of the Law! If you try to be justified by the Law you automatically cut yourself off from the power of Christ, you put yourself outside the range of his grace. For it is by faith that we await in his Spirit the righteousness we hope to see. In Jesus Christ there is no validity in either circumcision or uncircumcision; it is a matter of faith, faith which expresses itself in love.
43.12 THOSE WHO HINDER THE GALATIANS PROGRESS AS CHRISTIANS WILL PAY A PRICE
Galatians 5:7-10 - You were making splendid progress; who put you off the course you had set for the truth? That sort of "persuasion" does not come from the the one who is calling you. Alas, it takes only a little leaven to affect the whole lump! I feel confident in the Lord that you will not take any fatal step. But whoever it is who is worrying you will have a serious charge to answer one day.
43.13 PAUL'S TOTAL CONDEMNATION OF THOSE WHO PREACH CIRCUMCISION
Galatians 5:11-12 - And as for me, my brothers, if I were still advocating circumcision (as some apparently allege!), why am I still suffering persecution? I suppose if only I would recommend this little rite (of circumcision) all the hostility which the preaching of the cross (of Jesus) provokes would disappear! I wish those who are so eager to cut your bodies would cut themselves off from you altogether!
PAUL'S EPILOGUE IN HIS OWN HAND
43.14 IN CONTRAST, THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST'S CRUCIFIXION
Galatians 6:14-16 - Yet God forbid that I should boast about anything or anybody except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which means that the world is a dead thing to me and I am a dead man to the world. But in Christ it is not circumcision or uncircumcision that counts but the power of new birth. To all who live by this principle, to the true Israel of God, may there be peace and mercy!
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continuing preaching the "Gospel of Jesus", on to Part 44, Romans OR back to Harmony of Jesus & Early Church