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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Galatians Chapter 3 Part Two

Galatians Chapter 3
Verses 15-22: Paul anticipated and refuted a possible objection to his use of Abraham to prove the doctrine of justification by faith that the giving of the law at Sinai after Abraham brought about a change and a better method of salvation. The apostle dismissed that argument by showing the superiority of the Abrahamic Covenant (verses 15-18), and the inferiority of the law (verses 19-22).
Galatians 3:15
"Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though [it be] but a man's covenant, yet [if it be] confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto."
Brethren”: This term of endearment reveals Paul’s compassionate love for the Galatians – which they may have begun to question in light of his stern rebuke (verses 1, 3).
Man’s covenant”: Even human covenants, once confirmed, are considered irrevocable and unchangeable, how much more a covenant made by an unchanging God (Mal. 3:6; James 1:17).
Confirmed” (ratified, validated): The stipulations of a will, once ratified, cannot later be invalidated or added to.
A covenant is actually an unbreakable agreement. Many times the covenant was sealed with blood. Even covenants between two earthly men were binding.
The word "disannulleth" means neutralize, or violate. A covenant was more than just an agreement. It was an unbreakable agreement. We see then that the covenant that God made with Abraham was not ever to be broken.
Galatians 3:16
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
Promises”: Those associated with the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:3, 7; 13:15-16; 15:5, 18; 17:8; 22:16-18; 26:3-4; 28:13-14). Because they were made both to Abraham and his descendants, they did not become void when Abraham died, or when the law came.
Seed”: Verse 19. The quote is from Gen. 12:7. The singular form of the Hebrew words, like its English and Greek counterparts, can be used in a collective sense. Paul’s point is that in some Old Testament passages (e.g., Gen. 3:15; 22:18), “seed” refers to the greatest of Abrahams’ descendants, Jesus Christ.
This leaves no doubt at all, that the promises that were made to Abraham belong to all believers in Christ. We need not try to explain this Scripture, just know that it is true, and accept it.
Romans 12:5 "So we [being] many are one body in Christ, and every one member’s one of another."
We see beyond a shadow of doubt that these promises made to Abraham were for all who believe in Christ.
Galatians 3:17
"And this I say, [that] the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."
Four hundred and thirty years”: From Israel’s sojourn in Egypt (Exodus 12:40) to the giving of the law at Sinai (1445 B.C.). The law actually came 645 years after the initial promise to Abraham (2090 B.C.; Gen. 12:4; 21:5; 25:26; 47:9), but the promise was repeated to Isaac (Gen. 26:24) and later to Jacob (1928 B.C.; Gen. 28:15).
The last known reaffirmation of the Abrahamic Covenant to Jacob occurred in Gen. 46:2-4 (1875 B.C.) just before he went to Egypt – 430 years before the Mosaic Law was given.
The covenant”: The Abrahamic Covenant.
Confirmed before of God”: Once God ratified the covenant officially (see notes on Gen. 15:9-21), it had lasting authority so that nothing and no one could annul it.
The Abrahamic Covenant was unilateral (God made the promise to Himself,) eternal (it provide for everlasting blessing), irrevocable (it will never cease), unconditional (in that it depended on God, not man), but its complete fulfillment awaits the salvation of Israel and the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ.
The verse might be read as follows: “I say this: the law, which appeared 430 years later, cannot void the covenant earlier ratified by God, so as to make the promise ineffective.” Paul’s point is this: If a human will, once confirm, cannot be altered (verse 15), how much less will the divine covenant be changed 430 years after its ratification by God.
The Abrahamic covenant promised justification by faith. In the 430 years after its ratification by God. The Abrahamic covenant promised justification by faith. In the 430 years between the giving of this covenant and the law’s appearance, God justified man by faith.
When the law appeared it did not – indeed, it could not – void this principle of justification by faith. Had it done so, the law would have made God’s promise of no effect.
This is saying, that even though the law was given to Moses about 430 years after this promise was made to Abraham, it does not fulfill the promise made to Abraham, or do away with it. God had to bring them this way, so they could see that law alone would not save anyone.
These 430 years was really the time the family of Jacob lived in Egypt before Moses, sent by God, delivered them. This is certainly not the exact time from the time of Abraham, until the children were delivered out of Egypt.
The law was like Ishmael. It was of the flesh. Grace and Isaac were of the Spirit. This covenant, made with Abraham, was not flesh, but Spirit. The first is not the Spirit, but the second.
Galatians 3:18
"For if the inheritance [be] of the law, [it is] no more of promise: but God gave [it] to Abraham by promise."
Paul again emphasized that there is no middle ground between law (works) and promise (grace); the two principles are mutually exclusive ways of salvation (Rom. 4:14). An “inheritance” by definition is something granted, not worked for, as proven in the case of Abraham.
The first half of this verse is only hypothetical. Were “the inheritance” (salvation) a result of obeying “the law,” then it would not be the result of believing God’s “promise.” The verse’s latter half rejects the hypothesis of the first half: “Abraham” was divinely given justification because of his faith in God’s “promise.”
If the keeping of the law could bring the inheritance, it would not be an inheritance. An inheritance is something you receive at the death of another, which you have not earned. It is given to you because of your relation to the one who died. This shows, not only the greatness of the inheritance, but the greatness of the giver of the inheritance. God, through Jesus Christ, willed us the great inheritance. It is ours by Sonship.
Verses 19-22: Having shown the superiority of the promise to Abraham (verses 15-18); Paul described the inferiority of the law, and its purpose.
Galatians 3:19
"Wherefore then [serveth] the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; [and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator."
Was added because of transgressions”: Paul’s persuasive argument that the promise is superior to the law raises an obvious question: What was the purpose of the law? Paul’s answer is that the law reveals man’s utter sinfulness, inability to save himself, and desperate need of a Savior – it was never intended to be the way of salvation (Rom. 7:1-13).
By angels”: The bible teaches that angels were involved in the giving of the law (Acts 7:53; Heb. 2:2), but does not explain the precise role they played.
Seed”: Jesus Christ.
Since the law can neither save (verses 10-14) nor can it annul the Abrahamic covenant (verses 15-18), what purpose did it serve? “It was added” [alongside the covenant] “because of transgressions,” that is, to reveal the hideous character of man’s sin. Transgression was subsequent, not prior to, the law.
The law laid down the divine standard, and when man overstepped it, he became guilty of transgression. The inferiority of the law to the Abrahamic covenant is seen in three ways.
(1) The law “was added” after the covenant and thus was subordinate to it.
(2) The law was temporary; being in effect only “till the seed” [Jesus] “should come.”
(3) Unlike the covenant God gave directly to Abraham, the law “was ordained” (handed down) indirectly by God through “angels” to its “mediator,” Moses (Acts 7:53).
The laws and ordinances were for a purpose. Had there been no law, we would not have been aware of our need for the Savior. Every man was doing what was right in his own sight, and God gave the law to show the error. All of the sacrifices for sin and transgressions were a type and shadow of the great sacrifice that Jesus made all of us.
The mediator (go between) we see here, is no other than Moses. Moses received the law and passed it on to the people. God used angels to communicate with man, as he did with the three angels that appeared to Abraham. The seed (singular) the promise was made to, of course, was Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:20
"Now a mediator is not [a mediator] of one, but God is one."
Mediator”: Paul’s point is apparently that a “mediator” is required when more than one party is involved, but God alone ratified the covenant with Abraham.
We see from this, that the mediator is actually a go-between. In the case of Moses as mediator, he is between God and mankind. He represented God to mankind and mankind to God. The way “God is one”, is in the Spirit.
1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
Galatians 3:21
"[Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law."
Paul uses the strongest Greek negative to disdain the idea that the law and the promise are at opposite purposes. Since God gave them both and does not work against Himself, law and promise work in harmony; the law reveals man’s sinfulness and need for the salvation freely offered in the promise. If the law could have provided righteousness and eternal life, there would be no gracious promise.
The many differences between law and covenant (“promise”) might seem to imply that the two are opposed to one another. This is not the case. Assuming for the moment that “righteousness” (salvation) could come by meritorious works, then law and promise would be in competition. But as it is, they are complementary.
This is saying, if man could have lived up to the law, it would have brought life. Man, however, could not keep every little detail of the law. Jesus did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill the law. He took care of all the sacrifices and the ordinances for us.
The sacrifice of Jesus body on the cross took care of all sacrifices for all time for everyone who will believe. Our righteousness is ours, because we have been washed in the blood of Jesus and been clothed in His righteousness.
Verses 22-24: In antiquity the “schoolmaster” was a family slave who led a boy to and from school, overseeing his conduct. In like manner, “the law” pointed out our “sin” and led us to “Christ,” who alone can put away sin.
Galatians 3:22
"But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."
Concluded all under sin”: The Greek verb translated “shut up” (concluded), means “to enclose on all sides.” Paul portrays all mankind as hopelessly trapped in sin like a school of fish caught in a net. That all people are sinners is the express teaching of Scripture (Rom. 3:19; 1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9-19, 23; 11:32).
If you say you have not sinned, you are a liar, and the truth is not in you. We have all sinned; we are just forgiven if we believe that Jesus was our payment for our sin.
John 3:17 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
Romans 4:13 "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith."
Galatians 3:23
"But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed."
Before faith came”: From the viewpoints of both the history of redemption and through all times in the area of individual salvation (verses 19, 24-25; 4:1-4), only saving faith unlocks the door of the prison where the law keeps men bound.
We were kept under the law”: Paul personifies the law as a jailer of guilty, condemned sinners, on death row awaiting God’s judgment (Rom. 6:23).
The faith … afterwards be revealed”: Again Paul was looking at the coming of Christ, historically and at each believer’s salvation, individually. Faith in Christ alone releases people from bondage to law, whether the Mosaic law, or the law written on the hearts of Gentiles (Romans 2:14-16).
Those who depended on the law did not operate in faith. They felt that the keeping of the law made them perfect in the sight of God. The sad thing about all the sacrifices that they made was that it did not clear their conscience of their sin. Their sin was covered for a year, but not done away with.
Jesus does away with our sin. He put our sin as far away as the east is from the west, and He does not want us to remember it any more. His blood washed our sin completely away. The "we”, which was spoken of in the verse above, is all God's people, not just Jews.
Galatians 3:24
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
Schoolmaster”: The Greek word denotes a slave whose duty it was to take care of a child until adulthood. The “schoolmaster” escorted the children to and from school and watched over their behavior at home.
Schoolmasters were often strict disciplinarians, causing those under their care to yearn for the day when they would be free from their tutor’s custody. The law was our schoolmaster which, by showing us our sins, was escorting us to Christ.
When I study the laws and ordinances of the Old Testament, I feel terrible guilt. That is what is meant by the law being our schoolmaster. The law taught us how guilty of sin we really are and that within ourselves there is no way to pay the awful price that we owe.
We needed a Savior. Jesus Christ took our place on the cross. The pain that He bore should have been paid by each of us. He substituted Himself for us. He paid our debt in full.
Verses 25-26: Believers, through faith in Jesus Christ, have come of age as God’s children. Thus, they are not under the tutelage of the law (Rom. 6:14), although they are still obligated to obey God’s holy and unchanging righteous standards which are now given authority in the New Covenant (6:2; Rom. 8:4; 1 Cor. 9:21).
Galatians 3:25
"But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."
After one’s conversion to Christ, he is no longer under the curse of the law, as it has fulfilled its divinely intended purpose.
There is a confidence that comes in knowing (having faith) the Lord Jesus has taken care of it for us. We do not go around trying to keep a group of laws in a book. We keep the law God has placed in our heart.
Jesus said, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. His commandments are written on the fleshly part of every believer's heart. We no longer need a schoolmaster; we just follow Jesus in our heart.
Galatians 3:26
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
Children of God”: While God is the Father of all people in a general sense because He created them (Acts 17:24-28), only those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ are God’s true spiritual children. Unbelievers are the children of Satan (Matthew 13:38; John 8:38, 41, and 44; Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:10; Eph. 2:3; 1 John 5:19).
For” corroborates the assertion of the Christian’s no longer being under law. The reason is “ye are all the children” [or, sons] “of God.” The Greek word rendered “children” is huioi, which means full-grown, adult sons. As the minor is no longer under his schoolmaster upon reaching adulthood, so one is no longer under the condemnation of the law upon believing in Christ and becoming God’s son.
Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
Look, with me, at what happens just because we believe in Jesus.
John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:"
In the following Scripture, we will see that the promise to the seed of Abraham is our promise, as well, if we believe in Jesus.
Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together."
Galatians 3:27
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
Baptized into Christ”: This is not water baptism, which cannot save (see notes on Acts 2:38; 22:16). Paul used the word “baptized” in a metaphorical manner to speak of being “immersed,” or “placed into” Christ (2:20) by the spiritual miracle of union with Him in His death and resurrection. Rom. 6:3-4: 1 Cor. 6:17.
Put on Christ”: The result of the believer’s spiritual union with Christ. Paul was emphasizing the fact that we have been united with Christ through salvation. Positionally before God, we have put on Christ, His death, resurrection, and righteousness (Phil. 3:8-10). Practically, we need to cloth ourselves with Christ before men, in our conduct (Rom. 13:14).
For” confirms the Galatians’ place as the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus. “As many of you” means “all of you.” “Baptized into Christ” means “brought into an intimate relation with Christ.” As such they “have put on Christ.” To “put on someone” is an ancient idiom for assuming the standing or position of another person.
To “put on Christ,” therefore, means to assume (adopt); His standing before God. Since Jesus is God’s Son, the Galatians are God’s sons, thus confirming verse 26. This verse may be paraphrased, “For all of you who have been brought into an intimate relationship with Christ have assumed His own standing before God, namely, His Sonship.”
True baptism for a believer is being buried in the watery grave and rising to new life in Him. We no longer live, but Christ liveth in us. We are actually clothed in His righteousness. We were clothed in sin, before we became a Christian, but after we receive Him, He takes our sin and clothes us in His righteousness.
Galatians 3:28
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
For ye are all one in Christ Jesus”: All those who are one with Jesus Christ are one with one another. This verse does not deny that God has designed 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 roles of headship and submission in the church, society and at home. Jesus Christ, thought fully equal with the father, assumed a submissive role during His incarnation (Phil. 2:5-8).
This expresses the logical outcome of the Galatians’ having “put on Christ” (verse 27) and, hence, being “the sons of God” (verse 26). God views them all the same (“ye are all one”) – as His sons, there being no ethnic (“Jew, Greek”), social (“bond, free”), or sexual (“male, female”) distinctions.
I have said so many times in these lessons, that God is not interested in the flesh of mankind. It is in the flesh that we are different nationalities and different genders. The spirit does not have a color or a sex. It is the spirit of mankind that Jesus quickens, not the flesh. The part of us that is made in the image of God is the spirit. God is a Spirit.
If we are in the image of someone who is Spirit, then we must be spirit, too. The real me, is not the flesh you see with your eyes, but is the spirit which dwells within this body of flesh. My spirit is a son of God. Look in the words of Jesus, how we are one in Him.
John 17:21 "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
Galatians 3:29
"And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Abraham’s seed”: See note on verse 7. Not all physical children of Abraham are the “Israel of God” (6:16), that is, true spiritual children of Abraham (Rom. 9:6-8). Gentile believers who are not physical children of Abraham are, however, his spiritual children in the sense that they followed the pattern of his faith (Rom. 4:11-12).
Heirs according to the promise”: All believers are heirs of the spiritual blessing that accompanied the Abrahamic Covenant – justification by faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3-11).
The only "if" in all of this, is if ye be Christ's. Have you given yourself over completely to Christ? Are you truly His, or are you pretending? He knows the difference. He will separate the pretenders, when we stand before Him on judgment day.
His sheep will be gathered into heaven to be with Him. The pretenders will go the way of the goats to eternal damnation. The seed of Abraham is Jesus. We inherit the promises, because we belong to Jesus. Do not let even one more hour pass, before you give yourself completely to Jesus.

2 Corinthians Chapter 11 Part Two


2 Corinthians 11:16
After digressing to discuss the issue of financial support and to expose the false teachers as emissaries of Satan, Paul returned to the ‘foolish” boasting the Corinthians had forced him into.
Boast, seems to be the prominent word in the last few chapters including this chapter. It seems to me that it is very painful to Paul to have to defend himself. Paul has already mentioned that he thought it foolish to boast. This boasting is in defense of his character.
Paul’s concern was not personal preservation; rather, the apostle knew that by rejecting him in favor of the false apostles, the Corinthians would be rejecting the true gospel for a false one. So by establishing himself and his ministry as genuine, Paul was defending the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:17
Paul is not speaking for the Lord here, but for himself. Paul will be sure to give his things that he has suffered for the Lord to prove who and what he is about.
Paul does acknowledge that the boasting is “not according to the Lord”, but the desperate situation in Corinth (where the false apostles made their “boast according to the flesh) had forced him to boast, not for self glorification, but to counter the false doctrine threatening the Corinthian church.
2 Corinthians 11:18
This boasting is a fleshly thing in answer to the boasting of the new teacher who has stirred them up against Paul.
 In these next 3 scriptures from 19-21, Paul pens some of the most scathing sarcasm that he had even penned, demonstrating the seriousness of the situation at Corinth and revealing the jealous concern of a godly pastor. Paul did not view his disagreement with the false apostles as a mere academic debate; the souls of the Corinthians and the purity of the gospel were at stake.
2 Corinthians 11:19
The Corinthians, who had written Paul sarcastically, should have no trouble bearing with a “fool” like him, since they themselves were so wise.
Paul is saying, you are so intelligent that you listen to fools gladly. This is really saying to them that their judgment of character is not what it should be.
2 Corinthians 11:20
Bring you into bondage” is a Greek verb translated by this phrase appearing elsewhere in the New Testament only in Gal. 2:4, where it speaks of the Galatians’ enslavement by the Judaizers.
The false apostles had robbed the Corinthians of their freedom in Christ. The false apostles were attempting to catch the Corinthians like fish in a net.
The new teachers, it seems, were putting them under great bondage. It seems they had these Corinthians so convinced they were right, that they would put up with most anything from these new teachers.
2 Corinthians 11:21
Paul’s sarcasm reached its peak as he noted that he was “too weak” to abuse the Corinthians as the false apostles had done.
Paul says, I may have appeared to you as weak, but if you want boldness, I can be bold, also.
2 Corinthians 11:22
Here, again, we see Paul being all things to all men that by all means he might save some. If they claim they are a Hebrew, they have nothing on Paul. He is a Hebrew. Paul always reminded the Israelites that he was not only an Israelite, but a Pharisee of the Pharisees. All believers in Christ are seed of Abraham.
To each of these questions Paul replied simply, truthfully and powerfully, “so am I”.
2 Corinthians 11:23
"Fool" means insane in verse 23. Paul is saying that it is insane to speak this way. Paul, in comparing himself to these teachers who have come against him, says that he is a better minister. He has labored harder than them all. He had been imprisoned most of the time he was ministering. In Rome, he was under house arrest and yet ministered regularly. He had been beaten, and stoned, and even left for dead. Paul was reminding him the suffering he had endured for the sake of the gospel. I am sure this rejection hurt him more than all the beatings.
In this scripture Paul had emphatically denied that they were ministers of Christ, however, some of the Corinthians still believed they were. Paul accepted that belief for the sake of argument then went on to show that his ministry was in every way superior to the false apostles’ so called “ministry.”
 This general summary of Paul’s sufferings for the gospel in the next few verses give specific examples many of which are not found in Acts Paul was often in danger of death.
2 Corinthians 11:24
Jesus had told Paul in the beginning that he would show him what great things he would suffer for him. These beatings were just one of these things he suffered. Forty stripes were thought to be too much, and a man would die so the most that was allowed was 39. Any more than that and the one doing the beating could be put to death.
Deut. 25:1-3 set 40 as the maximum number that could legally be administered; in Paul’s day the Jews reduced that number by one to avoid accidentally going over the maximum. Jesus warned that His followers would receive such beatings. (Matt. 10:17)
2 Corinthians 11:25
With rods is referring to Roman beatings with flexible sticks tied together. He was stoned at Lystra.
We know that Paul was shipwrecked on the way to Rome to be heard of Caesar, but when this scripture was written, this had not yet taken place. Paul had been on several sea voyages up to this time, giving ample opportunity for the 3 shipwrecks to have occurred. On one of those shipwrecks was so severe that Paul spent an entire day floating on the wreckage waiting to be rescued.
All of these things, Paul gladly endured so that he might be able to bring the gospel message to the lost world.
2 Corinthians 11:26
These perils are those connected with his frequent travels. Waters (rivers) and robbers posed a serious danger to travelers in the ancient world. Paul’s journey from Perga to Pisidian Antioch for example, required him to travel through the robber infested Taurus Mountains and to cross two dangerous, flood prone rivers. Paul was frequently in danger from his “own countrymen” and less often, from Gentiles.
From the time that Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and the time he was killed in Rome, Paul travelled widely in missionary journeys. On one of these journeys, he established the church at Corinth that this letter was written to. Paul was hated by the Jews, and they followed him and tried to kill him. The Christians, here at Corinth, it appeared were turning against Paul and the Romans finally killed Paul. This is not exaggeration that he was speaking.
2 Corinthians 11:27
Paul had gone right on ministering in the face of all these troubles. He ministered many times immediately after he had been beaten or stoned. He and Silas were praying and singing at midnight in the prison. He went on, weary or not. Paul gave no thought at all for the physical handicaps he faced. He went right on ministering.
He learned to be content whatever state he found himself in at the time.
2 Corinthians 11:28
Far worse than the occasional physical suffering Paul endured was the constant, daily burden of concern for the churches that he felt.
Paul could pretty well endure the hardships from without, but it truly hurt him when the very churches he had started were against him. Paul dearly loved all the churches he had begun. He loved them as a parent loves a child. He felt responsible for the churches he had begun. This is the very reason he wrote this letter. All pastors who begin a work are always concerned for that church staying true to the teachings it began with.
2 Corinthians 11:29
Those “who were weak” in faith or were made to stumble into sin caused him intense emotional pain.
Paul felt every problem right along with them. Their troubles were his troubles, too. He loved them and wanted things to go right for them.
Who is offended, and I burn not” That is, “Who is caused to stumble, and I am not indignant?” The apostle is deeply concerned about the weaker brethren, and he burned with indignation when he thought of those who would lead them into sin.
Remember that if one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers.
2 Corinthians 11:30
They have forced Paul to glory. He does not like to glory at all. He says, if I must glory, I will glory in my infirmities. To do so magnified God’s power at work in him.
Many church people of our day would say that Paul was not right with God or he would not have had these problems. My Bible says exactly the opposite.
II Timothy 2:12 "If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us:"
2 Corinthians 11:31
Realizing how incredible the list of his sufferings must have seemed, Paul called on God to witness that he was telling the truth that these things really happened.
Really, this is the only One that it is important to know that he is not telling anything false. When the final judgment comes, it will not matter what man thinks of you. It will be very important what God knows about you.
2 Corinthians 11:32-33
It seemed as though it was not just the religious leaders of Paul's day who had tried to destroy him, but some of the rulers of which we read of one here.
Paul related his humiliating escape from Damascus as the crowning example of the weakness and infirmity in which he boasted.
The Acts narrative names the hostile Jews as those who sought Paul’s life, whereas Paul here mentioned the governor under the Nabatean Arab king Aretas (9 b.c. – 40 a.d.) as the one who sought him. Historians believe the man mentioned here was the father-in-law of Herod.
Evidently the Jews stirred up the secular authorities against him as they were later to do repeatedly in Acts.
Paul is just telling of one of the many times when he escaped from prison. The letting down with the basket means that someone helped Paul escape, probably his Christian friends.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Galatians Chapter 3 Part One

Galatians Chapter 3
Verses 3:1 – 4:31: In the first two chapters Paul has argued that his gospel is the true one. Now the question is: “What is Paul’s gospel?” So in chapters 3 and 4 the apostle defines his gospel. In short, it is that justification (salvation) comes as the result of one’s faith in Christ, not as a result of trying to obey the law.
Paul argues this point by appealing to the Galatians’ own experience (3:1-5), to Old Testament Scripture (3:6-14), to the Abrahamic covenant (3:15-18), to the purpose of the law (3:19-29), to the law’s temporary nature (4:1-11) and to allegory (4:21-31).
Galatians 3:1 "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?"
Foolish”: This refers not to lack of intelligence, but to lack of obedience (Luke 24:25; 1 Tim. 6:9; Titus 3:3). Paul expresses his shock, surprise, and outrage at the Galatians’ defection.
Foolish does not denote natural stupidity, but failure to use moral and spiritual discernment. “Bewitched” means to cast an evil spell on someone; Paul is thus saying that the only way to account for their theological deception is by malicious magic.
Who”: The Judaizers, the Jewish false teachers were plaguing the Galatian churches.
Bewitched”: Charmed or misled by flattery and false promise. The term suggests an appeal to the emotions by the Judaizers.
Set forth”: The posting of official notices in public places. Paul’s preaching had publicly displayed the true gospel of Jesus Christ before the Galatians.
The Greek word rendered “hath been evidently set forth” means to show forth as on a placard (billboard). The message of salvation had been set forth before the Galatians’ “eyes” (spiritual understanding) as on a billboard: they had clearly understood the gospel, now they were confused about it.
Paul is not calling these Galatians a fool, but is saying that their actions are foolish. Foolish means to give the appearance of a fool. Paul reminds them that they have been blessed with the glorious Truth.
Crucified”: The crucifixion of Christ was a one-time historical fact with continuing results into eternity. Christ’s sacrificial death provides eternal payment for believer’s sins (Heb. 7:25), and does not need to be supplemented by any human works.
God thought enough of them that He sent Paul to them to open their eyes to the Truth of God. Paul had taught Jesus Christ and Him crucified. As we said before, Paul taught that Jesus fulfilled the law. He became the substitute for our sin. The law was fulfilled and all who believe live in the grace of God.
Galatians 3:2 "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"
Received ye the Spirit”: The answer to Paul’s rhetorical question is obvious. The Galatians had received the Spirit when they were saved (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 John 3:24; 4:13), not through keeping the law, but through saving faith granted when hearing the gospel (Rom. 10:17).
The hearing of faith is actually hearing “with” faith. Paul appealed to the Galatians’ own salvation to refute the Judaizers’ false teaching that keeping the law is necessary for salvation.
Paul appeals to the Galatians’ own spiritual experience to argue salvation by faith. Note that here the apostle refers to salvation by the reception of the Spirit. Why? Because the moment one is converted he receives the Holy Spirit. By a question, Paul states that they received the Spirit not “by the works of the law” (meritorious or good works), but “by the hearing of faith” (as a result of their faith).
Look, with me, at the Scriptures which describe exactly what happens to those who are believers.
Ephesians 1:13-14 "In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise," "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Paul is attempting to make them realize that the law was of the flesh and true Christianity is of the Spirit. Why would anyone who had known the Spirit of God go back to a fleshly religion of ordinances? The answer is so obvious in verse 2 above. The Spirit comes through faith, and not works.
Galatians 3:3 "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
Are ye so foolish”: Incredulous at how easily the Galatians had been duped, Paul asked a second rhetorical question, again rebuking them for their foolishness.
Begun in the Spirit … by the flesh”: The notion that sinful, weak (Matt. 26:41; Rom. 6:19), fallen human nature could improve on the saving work on the Holy Spirit was ludicrous to Paul.
That which they have “begun in” [by] “the Spirit” is the Christian life. To be “made perfect by the flesh” is to bring the Christian life to successful completion by human achievement and one’s religious accomplishments. Paul’s rhetorical question denies the possibility; one begins and ends his Christian career through the work of God’s Spirit.
The Spirit that fell at Pentecost was jubilee, as well. It set them free from the bondage of the law. It empowered them to minister. What a foolish thing to even consider giving up the freedom of the Spirit to go back into the bondage of the law. The flesh has nothing to offer, but suffering. Hope comes through the Spirit.
Hebrews 7:19 "For the law made nothing perfect but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by which we draw nigh unto God."
Galatians 3:4 "Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if [it be] yet in vain."
Suffered”: The Greek word has the basic meaning of “experience,” and does not necessarily imply pain or hardship. Paul used it to describe the Galatians’ personal experience of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Many things”: This refers to all the blessings of salvation from God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:30).
It be yet in vain”: See Luke 8:13; Acts 8:13, 21; 1 Cor. 15:2; 2 Cor. 6:1; 13:5-6.
This verse could be translated, “Have you experienced so many wonderful things without effect? If so, then it really would be to no avail.” The “wonderful things” experienced are an understanding of the gospel (verse 1), reception of the Spirit (verse 2), and seeing miracles performed in their midst (verse 5).
Should they try to earn salvation by good works, then all these “wonderful things” they have experience would have had no positive influence on them.
It seems that the suffering, spoken of here, is the persecution of the Christians by the Jews. It was not a popular thing to be a Christian. Much ridicule came against them. Paul is saying, why did you suffer all of that to turn back now?
Galatians 3:5 "He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you [doeth he it] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"
Hearing of faith”: Of the Gospel.
Ministereth” (or, supplies): God gives the Spirit to new converts and “worketh miracles among” the readers not “by” [because of] “the works of the law,” but “by” [as a result of] “the hearing of faith.”
Paul is reminding them, that his ministry was accompanied with signs and wonders. There was no healing going on in the Jewish synagogue. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Jesus had said; your faith has made you whole, when He healed them. Faithful Abraham was accepted, because of his faith, not because of his works.
Faith is the key to receive anything from God. Acts 19:11-12 "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:” "So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them."
Paul's ministry was one of many miracles. The Jewish faith brought no miracles. What proof did they need?
Galatians 3:6 "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
As he does in Romans (see note on Rom. 4:30), Paul, quoting Gen. 15:6, uses Abraham as proof that there has never been any other way of salvation than by grace though faith. Even the Old Testament teaches justification by faith.
Even as” (or, “just as”): These two words draw a similarity between the Galatians and Abraham: they received the Spirit by faith (3:2, 5) “just as” Abraham received “righteousness.” This verse quotes Genesis 15:6: When “Abraham believed God,” his faith “was accounted” [credited, reckoned] “to him for” [as] “righteousness.”
Righteousness is the moral condition in which one ought to be, hence, that state acceptable to God.
Romans 4:3 "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
We know that all those who ever pleased God did so because they believed. Read the 11th chapter of Hebrews, and you will see a long list of those who put their faith in God.
"Righteousness" means being in right standing with God. The Christians are righteous, because they are washed in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). They have placed their faith in Jesus.
Galatians 3:7 "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham."
Believing Jews and Gentiles are the true spiritual children of Abraham because they follow his example of faith (verse 29; Rom. 4:11, 16).
The verse may read: “therefore recognize that those who believe these only, are Abraham’s sons.”
If we are truly the children of Abraham, then we must believe the same thing he believed. The one thing that set Abraham aside from all others was that he believed God. The thing that should separate all believers in Christ from the rest of the world is that we believe Christ. We are like Abraham in the fact that we have faith in God, and faith that what He promised He will do.
Galatians 3:8 "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed."
Scripture, foreseeing”: Personifying the Scriptures was a common Jewish figure of speech (4:30; John 7:38, 42; 19:37; Rom. 7:17; 10:11; 11:2; 1 Tim. 5:18). Because Scripture is God’s Word, when it speaks, God speaks.
Preached before the gospel unto Abraham”: The “good news” to Abraham was the news of salvation for all the nations (quoted from Gen. 12:3; 18:18). See Gen. 22:18; John 8:56; Acts 26:22-23. Salvation has always, in every age, been by faith.
Preached before the gospel” is better said, “announced good news beforehand.” Paul equates “justify” with being “blessed.”
The physical house of Abraham is just one nation. The Hebrew nation is the physical house of Abraham. They are the physical house of Israel. All believers in Christ make up the spiritual house of Israel and are the nations, plural, mentioned here as nations blessed through Abraham. We are children of Abraham, because we have faith as he had faith.
Galatians 3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
This seed of Abraham is in the spirit realm. Jesus is the seed spoken of. The justification of the heathen is in Jesus Christ, because they believed.
Galatians 3:9 "So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."
They which be of faith … with faithful Abraham”: Whether Jew or Gentile. The Old Testament predicted that Gentiles would receive the blessings of justification by faith, as did Abraham. Those blessings are poured out on all because of Christ (John 1:16; Rom. 8:32; Eph. 1:3; 2:6-7; Col. 2:10; 1 Pet. 3:9; 2 Pet. 1:3-4).
This verse might be, “so then they who believe are blessed along with believing Abraham” – that is, they are justified.
Faith pleases God.
Romans 4:16 "Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,"
Read the 4th chapter of Romans beginning with about the 15th verse to get the full impact of this. In fact, it continues on in the 5th chapter as well for a few verses. The fact is, if we believe as Abraham believed, then the covenant promises made to Abraham are ours as well through faith.
Galatians 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
As many as are of the works of the law”: Those attempting to earn salvation by keeping the law.
Under the curse”: Quoted from Deut. 27:26 to show that failure to perfectly keep the law brings divine judgment and condemnation. One violation of the law deserves the curse of God. Deut. 27 and 28.
All things”: See James 2:10. No one can keep all the commands of the law – not even strict Pharisees like Saul of Tarsus (Rom7:7-12).
As many as are of the works of the law” refers to all who rely upon obedience to the Mosaic Law as the means of winning divine approval (salvation). To be “under the curse” is to be subject to God’s wrath and condemnation. “Continueth” is explained by “to do,” which means “to obey.”
The recipient of divine wrath is “everyone” who, believing salvation can be obtained by meritorious works, fails to obey the law perfectly. Complete obedience to the law is impossible for sinful man (Acts 15:10; James 2:10). All, then, who attempt to secure salvation by this route are doomed.
The law was impossible to live up to. If you are under the law, you would be cursed if you did not do every little thing the exact way it was given. Even in the Old Testament, we find that to obey God was better than sacrifice.
1 Samuel 15:22 "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams."
God wanted our love and loyalty from the beginning. He wanted us to have unwavering faith in Him. Every time I read the law that was given Moses, I praise God for the gift of grace through faith. There would be no way to remember all of the sacrifices and ordinances, much less keep them.
Galatians 3:11 "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith."
No man is justified by the law”: Rom. 3:20.
Justified”: Made righteous before God.
The just shall live by faith”: See note on Rom. 1:17. Paul’s earlier Old Testament quote (verse 10; Deut. 27:26) showed that justification does not come from keeping the law; this quote from Hab. 2:4 show that justification is by faith alone. (Heb. 10:38).
The last part of this verse means, “He who is just because of his faith shall live,” that is, forever.
There is no one who ever completely kept the law, it is impossibility.
Isaiah 53:6 "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
The law condemns, grace sets us free.
Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Romans 5:21 "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
The law brings death to the law breaker. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ brings life eternal.
Galatians 3:12 "And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them."
Justification by faith and justification by keeping the law are mutually exclusive, as Paul’s Old Testament quote from Lev. 18:5 prove.
This verse declares that the law is a matter of performance, not of faith; it is a principal of doing, not believing.
The law is obligations and ordinances. Those who are under the law must keep every single one of them.
Galatians 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:"
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law”: The Greek word translated “redeemed” was often used to speak of buying a slave’s or debtor’s freedom.
Christ’s death, because it was a death of substitution for sin, satisfied God’s justice and exhausted His wrath toward His elect, so that Christ actually purchased believers from slavery to sin and from the sentence of eternal death (4:5; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18; Rom. 3:24; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:12).
Being made a curse for us”: By bearing God’s wrath for believers’ sins on the cross (see note on 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18), Christ took upon Himself the curse pronounced on those who violated the law.
For it is written”: The common New Testament way (61 times) of introducing Old Testament quotes. Deut. 21:23 is quoted.
The curse of the law”, from which “Christ hath redeemed” [delivered] “us,” is that of verse 10, incurred because of incomplete obedience to the law. “Being made a curse for us” means “by becoming accursed for us.”
Jesus Christ is the redeemer of all who have faith in Him. He became our substitute on the cross. He took the sin of the whole world upon His body on the cross. The curse of the cross was the sin that we each laid upon Him. The Father turned away at the moment that the sin was placed upon the body of Jesus on the cross.
This was the moment Jesus said, Father why hast thou forsaken me? God had not turned away from the Spirit within the body, but had turned away from the sin upon the body. God cannot look upon sin. Sin died on the cross for all who will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Accept the salvation Jesus offers you in the place of your sin.
Galatians 3:14 "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
The blessing of Abraham”: Faith in God’s promise of salvation.
Promise of the Spirit”: from God the Father. Isa. 32:15; 44:3; 59:19-21; Ezek. 36:26-27; 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:28-29; Luke 11:13; 24:49; John 7:37-39; 14:16, 26.
The word “that” appears twice in this verse, identifying two reasons “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (verse 13): (1) that Gentiles might receive “the blessing of Abraham” (i.e., justification as in verses 8-9); (2) that believers “might receive … the Spirit” (i.e., the indwelling of the Holy Spirit).
This implies that when one is justified, he is at the same time divinely granted the Holy Spirit.
The following Scriptures tell of the promises made to faithful Abraham. These are the promises to all believers in Christ, as well.
Genesis 12:2-3 "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:" "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Isaiah 44:3-4 "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:" “And they shall spring up [as] among the grass, as willows by the water courses."
1 Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."