Monday, March 12, 2018

Ephesians Chapter 2 – Part One

Ephesians Chapter 2 
In the first ten verses Paul presents the past, present and future of the Christian: what he was (verses 1-3); what he is (verses 4-6, 8-9); and what he will be (verses 7, 10). Within this framework he gives six aspects of salvation: it is from sin (verses 1-3) by love (verse 4); into life (verse 5); with a purpose (verses 6-7); through faith (verses 8-9); and unto good works (verse 10). The first aspect is in the past, the next four aspects (except for the second part of “purpose,” verse 7) pertain to the present, and the last aspect, (including verse 7) is in the future.
Ephesians 2:1
"And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;"
First, salvation is from sin, which characterizes life before Christ. In the first three verses there is perhaps no clearer statement in Scripture on the sinfulness of man apart from Christ.
Quickened means “made alive.” In 1:19 Paul prays for his readers to recognize what God’s power has done in them. As part of the answer to this prayer, verses 1-10 inform them of some of the effects divine might has accomplished in them.
The wages of sin is death. (Romans 3:23) Because man is born into sin he is born to death. Man does not become spiritually dead because he sins, he is spiritually dead because by nature he is sinful. When we are walking in our sin unforgiven, we are marking time to death. Each day becomes a little more hopeless, because it is one day closer to death. Trespasses and sin bring physical and spiritual death.
Man’s principal problem is that he has no right relationship to God, from whom he is alienated by sin. It has nothing to do with the way he lives; it has to do with the fact that he is dead even while he is alive.
He is spiritually dead while being physically alive. Because he is dead to God, he is dead to spiritual life, truth, righteousness, inner peace and happiness, and ultimately to every other good thing.
Jesus took the punishment of death on His body on the cross and marked their bill paid in full, for all who would turn from their sin and accept Him as their Savior.
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."
John 5:21 "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth [them]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will."
Men apart from God are spiritual zombies, the walking dead who do not know they are dead. They go through the motions of life, but they do not possess it.
Dead in trespasses and sins”: A sobering reminder of the total sinfulness and lostness from which believers have been redeemed. “In” indicates the realm or sphere in which unregenerate sinners exist. They are not dead because of sinful acts that have been committed but because of their sinful nature.
Committing sinful acts does not make us sinners; we commit sinful acts because we are sinners. Jesus confirmed this when He said, “The evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil” (Matt. 12:35)
A sinner’s doing well is good, but it cannot change his nature or his basic sphere of existence, and it cannot reconcile him to God.
Jesus is the Spirit of Life. Though I was dead, yet shall I live in Him?
Before we were saved we were like every other person who is apart from God – dead in … trespasses and sins. We were not dead because we had committed sin but because we were in sin. In this context, trespasses and sins do not refer simply to acts but first of all to the sphere of existence of the person apart from God.
Ephesians 2:2
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
In the state of spiritual death, the only walking, or living, a person can do is according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
Ye walked” means you lived. The “course of this world”, the word course signifies all the tendencies, thoughts, pursuits, deeds and so on, that characterize the present period of history. “This world” (kosmos) means “world system,” that is, those philosophies, values, and life styles that are opposed to God and hostile to Him.
As Paul makes clear, the course of this world follows the leadership and design of Satan, the prince of the power of the air. Sinful men have many different ideas and standards, but they are in total agreement that the network of things in this world is more important than the divine perspective of God.
They are of one mind because they have a common leader and lord, the prince of the power of the air. Satan is now “the ruler of this world,” and until the Lord casts him out (John 12:31) he will continue to rule. The power (or authority) of the air probably refers to Satan’s host of demons who exist in the heavenly sphere.
This world system is characterized by three elements, humanism, materialism and illicit sex. Humanism places man above all else, materialism places high value in physical things, especially money and sexual perversion dominates modern western society as it has no other societies since the lowest periods of ancient Greece and Rome.
Before conversion the Ephesians used to conduct themselves in accordance with such ungodly values. The prince of the power of the air may be read “the ruler of the kingdom in the air.” They also used to live by the dictates and wishes of Satan.
Paul refers to these ideologies that are like fortresses in which people are imprisoned, need to be set free and brought captive to Christ and obedience to the truth.
Before we come to Christ, we are living in sin. The life without Jesus is a life to please the flesh of man. Satan appeals to the flesh of man. All have sinned. We are first of the flesh. We live for pleasing our own self, before we come to Jesus. These Ephesian were no different.
Not all unsaved people are necessarily indwelt at all time by Satan or are demon possessed. But knowingly or unknowingly they are subject to Satan’s influence. Because they share his nature of sinfulness and exist in the same sphere of rebellion against God, they respond naturally to his leading and to the influence of his demons. They are on the same spiritual wavelength.
World and air would be almost synonymous, both of them representing a realm or sphere of influence.
1 John 2:15-17 "Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." "For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."
Ephesians 2:3
"Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
Paul’s primary purpose here is not to show how unsaved people now live, though the teaching is valuable for that purpose, but to remind believers how they themselves formerly walked and formerly lived. All of us once lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
We all had our conversation means “we all conducted ourselves.” In contrast to “ye,” in 2:2 which refers to Gentiles, note the “we” of this verse, which refers to Jews. In essence Paul admits, “We Jews were no better than you Gentiles, both ethnic groups were sinful.” Children of wrath refer to people subject to divine punishment.
Our body of flesh came from the earth and causes us to want to be of the earth. We must crucify our flesh and put the Spirit of God in control of our life. The carnal mind is an enemy of God. The battle that has been raging since Adam and Eve, is the battle for the soul of man.
The flesh wants to control the soul of man. If the flesh wins, then you are not a Christian. The Spirit of God will come and dwell in you, if you become a spirit person. The breath of life is the spirit of mankind. The breath of life within us is of God. He breathed the breath of life into us, and we became a living soul. The soul is like the will of man.
God will not force you to follow Him. We have a choice to choose whom we will follow. The soul of man is the decision maker. The flesh of man, connected with the earth, desires to sin.
The battle comes between the flesh and the spirit over the soul. Which will rule in your life, the spirit or the flesh? Flesh man brings death and hell. Spirit man brings life and that more abundantly. Is there really any choice?
Ever believer was once totally lost in the system of the world, the flesh, and the devil, who is the prince over the demons, who are the power of the air. Those are fallen man’s three great arenas where he is in a losing battle with spiritual enemies, yet they are enemies with whom, by nature, he is not allied (1 John 2:16).
Rather than all men being children of God, as most of the world likes to think, those who have not received salvation through Jesus Christ are by nature children of wrath, John 3:18. Apart from reconciliation through Christ, every person by nature (through human birth) is the object of God’s wrath, his eternal judgment and condemnation.
They are characterized most accurately not only as sons of disobedience but consequently as children of wrath, object of God’s condemning judgment.
 In verses 4-6, “But” begins to disclose God’s response to man’s sin of verses 1-3. This divine response is expressed in three main verbs:
(1) God … hath quickened us. Because they were morally dead in sins, the Lord gave them spiritual life;
(2) And hath raised us up together, that is, God has not allowed these Christians to remain in the grave of their old life with its sinful ways and habits, but He brought them into a new life and demonstration of it; and
(3) God made us sit together in heavenly places, that is, He has brought us into His presence and into an intimate relationship with Himself.
Ephesians 2:4
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,"
Salvation is from sin and by love. The two words “but God” show where the initiative was in providing the power of salvation. His great desire is to be rejoined with the creatures He made in His own image and for His own glory. The rebellion and rejection is on man’s side.
Salvation for God’s glory is by the motivation and power of God’s great love. God is intrinsically kind, merciful and loving. And in His love He reaches out to vile, sinful, rebellious, depraved, destitute, and condemned human beings and offers them salvation and all the eternal blessings it brings. Man’s rebellion is therefore not only against God’s lordship and law but against His love.
Though greatly offended and sinned against (as depicted in the parable of Matthew 18:23-35), because of God’s rich … mercy and His great love He offered forgiveness and reconciliation to us as He does to every repentant sinner.
Though in their sin and rebellion all men participated in the wickedness of Jesus’ crucifixion, God’s mercy and love provide a way for them to participate in the righteousness of His crucifixion.
I know what you are and what you have done,” He says; but because of My great love for you, your penalty has been paid, My law’s judgment against you has been satisfied, through the work of My Son on your behalf. For His sake I offer you forgiveness. To come to Me you need only to come to Him.”
Not only did He love enough to forgive but also enough to die for the very ones who had offended Him. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). Compassionate love for those who do not deserve it makes salvation possible.
Mercy … love”: Salvation is for God’s glory by putting on display His boundless mercy and love for those who are spiritually dead because of their sinfulness.
I want to cry, when I see this. Why did He love us? We did not deserve to be loved. His mercy endures forever. This love {agape} is that unconditional love. It is above human love. He loved us in spite of all the wrong in our life. The following familiar verse is the greatest proclamation of love that I know of.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
While we were yet in sin, God loved us enough to save us. We were headed for total destruction, and God blocked the way, and turned us to life everlasting in His precious Son. God is love. What this was that Jesus did for all of Christendom, is love in action.
Ephesians 2:5
"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)"
Above all else, a dead person needs to be made alive. That is what salvation gives, spiritual life. To encourage believers who doubt the power of Christ in their lives, Paul reminds them that if God was powerful and loving enough to give them spiritual life together with Christ, He is certainly able to sustain that life.
The power that raised us out of sin and death and “made us alive” (aorist tense) together with Christ (Romans 6:1-7) is the same power that continues to energize every part of our Christian living (Romans 6:11-13). The “we” may emphasize the linking to the Jew with the Gentile “you” in verse 1. Both are in sin and may receive mercy to be made alive in Christ.
We were dead in sins … Made us alive”: Quickened means to make alive. Far more than anything else, a spiritually dead person needs to be made alive by God. Salvation brings spiritual life to the dead. The power that raises believers out of death and makes them alive, Romans 6:1-7, is the same power that energizes every aspect of Christian living, Romans 6:11-13.
In Adam all die, In Jesus Christ all live. Jesus is the Quickening Spirit which brings life everlasting. He is the Resurrection and the Life. Because He lives, we live also. Jesus took our sin upon His body on the cross. Our sin died on the cross.
In the place of our sin, Jesus clothed us in His righteousness washed in His precious blood. We are saved in Jesus, not because we deserve to be saved, but because He loved us. Grace is unmerited favor. Jesus offers this to everyone. It is up to us to accept this free gift from Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:45 "And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit."
When we became Christians we were no longer alienated from the life of God. We became spiritually alive through union with the death and resurrection of Christ and thereby for the first time became sensitive to God. Paul calls it walking in “newness of life” (Romans 6:8).
For the first time we could understand spiritual truth and desire spiritual things. Because we now have God’s nature, we now can seek godly things, “the things above” rather that “the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2).
That is what results from being alive together with Christ. “We shall also live with Him (Romans 6:8) says the apostle, and our new life is indistinguishable from His life lived in us (Gal. 2:20). In Christ we cannot help but be pleasing to God.
Ephesians 2:6
"And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:"
Raised us up … seated us with Him”: The tense of “raised” and “seated” indicates that these are immediate and direct results of salvation. Not only is the believer dead to sin and alive to righteousness through Christ’s resurrection, but he also enjoys his Lord’s exaltation and shares in His preeminent glory.
Salvation has a purpose, in regard to us and in regard to God. The most immediate and direct result of salvation is to be raised up with Him, and (to be) seated with Him in the heavenly places. Not only are we dead to sin and alive to righteousness through His resurrection in which we are raised, but we also enjoy His exaltation and share in His preeminent glory.
In Heavenly Places”: The supernatural realm where god reigns. In 3:10 and 6:12, however, it also refers to the supernatural sphere where Satan temporally rules.
This spiritual realm is where believers’ blessings are, v.1:3, their inheritance is, 1 Peter 1:4, their affections should be, Col. 3:3, and where they enjoy fellowship with the Lord. It is the realm from which all divine revelation has come and where all praise and petitions go.
We are no longer of this present world or in its sphere of sinfulness and rebellion. We have been rescued from spiritual death and given spiritual life in order to be in Christ Jesus and to be with Him in the heavenly places. Here, as in 1:3, heavenly places refer to the supernatural sphere where God rules, though in 6:12 it refers to the supernatural sphere where Satan rules.
The Greek verb behind seated is in the aorist tense and emphasizes the absoluteness of this promise by speaking of it as if it had already fully taken place. Even though we are not yet inheritors of all that God has for us in Christ, to be in the heavenly places is to be in God’s domain instead of Satan’s, to be in the sphere of spiritual life instead of the sphere of spiritual death.
That is where our blessing are and where we have fellowship with the Father, the Son, the Holy spirit, and with all the saints who have gone before us and will go after us.
It is finished. Jesus did it all for all who believe in Him. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. If I am in Him, I am seated there too. My spirit soars to heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I can easily relate to John, when he was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. The door to heaven {Jesus} is open to all who will enter in.
Colossians 3:1-3 "If ye then be raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
Ephesians 2:7
"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
It is not only for our benefit and glory, but God’s greater purpose in salvation is for His own sake, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. That, too, is obviously for our benefit, but it is first of all for God’s, because it displays for all eternity the surpassing riches of His grace, 3:10.
Through His endless kindness toward us in Christ Jesus the Father glorifies Himself even as He blesses us. From the moment of salvation throughout the ages to come we never stop receiving the grace and kindness of God.
That he might show (or demonstrate): This denotes the ultimate purpose for all that God did for the Ephesians in verses 4-6. It is that throughout eternity He might make us understand more and more His goodness to us.
Salvation, of course, is very much for the believer’s blessing, but it is even more for the purpose of eternally glorifying God for bestowing on believers His endless and limitless grace and kindness. The whole of heaven glorifies Him for what He has done in saving sinners, 3:10; Rev. 7:10-12.
Jesus Christ is the mediator.
1 Timothy 2:5 "For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"
Notice in the next verse, that the covenant He mediates is not of the law, but of grace.
Hebrews 8:6-7 "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." "For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."
Our covenant with God {Christians} is one that Jesus sealed with His own blood. It is the free gift of grace.
Ephesians 2:8
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:"
Our response in salvation is faith, but even that is not of ourselves (but is) the gift of God. Faith is nothing that we do in our power or by our own resources. In the first place we do not have adequate power or resources. More than that, God would not want us to rely on them even if we had them. Otherwise salvation would be in part by our own works, and we would have some ground to boast in ourselves. Paul intends to emphasize that even faith is not from us apart from God’s giving it.
Some have objected to this interpretation, saying that faith is feminine, while the word “that” is neuter. That poses no problem, as long as it is understood that “that” does not refer precisely to the noun faith but to the act of believing. Every person lives by faith.
When we open a can of food or drink a glass of water we trust that it is not contaminated. When we go across a bridge we trust it to support us. Life is a constant series of acts of faith. No human being, no matter how skeptical and self-reliant, could live a day without exercising faith.
When we accept the finished work of Christ on our behalf, we act by the faith supplied by God’s grace. That is the supreme act of human faith, the act which, though it is ours, is primarily God’s, His gift to us out of His grace.
For” gives the reason for this future demonstration of divine grace. It is because man owes his salvation to this grace or undeserved divine favor. The force of the Greek perfect tense “are ye saved” indicates that the Ephesian were spiritually saved at some point in the past, and at the present time of writing they remain in this state of salvation.
The grammatical gender of the word “that,” occurring in the expression “that not of yourselves”, is neuter, hence, “that” cannot refer to the preceding “grace” or “faith,” both of which are feminine nouns, nor can it refer to “are ye saved” which is a masculine participle. Instead the neuter “that” refers back and embraces the entire foregoing “grace, are ye saved,” and “faith."
This means that no part of salvation is “of yourselves” or due to what we do, the whole of salvation is the gift of God. Man is saved “by grace” that is, by the kindness of God in having Jesus die for our sins. But this grace is appropriated through faith, that is, man believes what God has done for him and relies upon Christ’s atonement to blot out his sins and bring him into a proper relationship with God.
 “That not of yourselves”: “That” refers to the entire previous statement of salvation, not only the grace but the faith. Although men are required to believe for salvation, even that faith is part of the gift of God which saves and cannot be exercised by one’s own power. God’s grace is preeminent in every aspect of salvation, Romans 3:20; Gal. 2:16.
You cannot earn your way to heaven. Just as any gift, to have it, you must reach out and receive it unto yourself. Faith was counted unto Abraham as righteousness. Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is what gives us our righteousness in God's sight.
Jesus put us in right standing with God, when He paid our debt in full with His blood at Calvary. We must say, thank you Jesus for dying for me. That is why we are saved. Jesus is our Savior. The gift of God, to all mankind who will accept it, is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The grace of God is the expression of His goodness toward the undeserving. Grace means “unmerited favor”, and can be expressed by the acrostic. “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” This grace is the basis of our salvation.
Ephesians 2:9
"Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Obviously, if it is true that salvation is all by God’s grace, it is therefore not as a result of works. Human effort has nothing to do with it (Romans 3:20; Gal 2:16). And thus, no one should boast, as if he had any part. All boasting is eliminated in salvation. Nevertheless, good works have an important place, as Paul is quick to affirm.
The reason, in part that salvation is not achieved by works is to prevent men from bragging of having earned a place in heaven by them.
There is no room for boasting. The only thing we might consider boasting of is the greatness of God and His plan of salvation. Works will not get you to heaven. If we love God, and appreciate what He has done for us, we probably will work for Him, but our work does not save us. It just tells Him we love Him.
Ephesians 2:10
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
For” verifies the assertion of man’s good works having no part in obtaining salvation. Workmanship refers not to our original or physical birth, but to our spiritual birth: what we are spiritually in the good sense is due to God, not ourselves.
Before we can do any good work for the Lord, He has to do His good work in us. By God’s grace, made effective through our faith, we become His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. God has ordained that we then live lives of good works, works done in His power and for His glory.
Although they have no part in gaining salvation, good works have a great deal to do with living out salvation. No good works can produce salvation, but many good works are produced by salvation. “By this is My father glorified,” Jesus said, “that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8). Read John 15:1-8.
These good works are expected because God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them, and that is why James says faith is illegitimate if works are not present (James 2:17-26.
Created in Christ Jesus unto good works means “having been (morally) recreated by Christ Jesus for good works”; that is, Jesus remade our spiritual lives so that we could then do good works. The same power that created us in Christ Jesus empowers us to do the good works for which He has redeemed us. These are the verifiers of true salvation.
The apostle’s thinking is this: since the Christian has been given spiritual life for the purpose of doing good works, there could have been no good works by him prior to conversion that would merit salvation? Good works follow, do not precede, salvation.
Good works do not bring discipleship, but they prove it is genuine. When God’s people do good deeds they bear fruit for His kingdom and bring glory to His name. Good works cannot produce salvation but are subsequent and resultant God-empowered fruits and evidences of it.
This is the picture then. We are saved by grace and grace alone. The fruit of our salvation shows in our actions after we are saved. As I have said so many times, we must walk in the salvation Jesus provided for us. These works are in Christ Jesus. In the works that you do, the world should be able to see Jesus.
Even Jesus Himself said in John 14:11-12 "Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
Are you fulfilling this Scripture in His own Words? Matthew 5:16 " Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Titus 3:8 "[This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men."
There are many more Scriptures on this. Look up good works in your Strong's Concordance.
Which God hath before ordained”: Like his salvation, a believer’s sanctification and good works were ordained before time began. Romans 8:29-30.
Salvation does not come from knowing about the truth of Jesus Christ but from intimately knowing Christ Himself. This coming alive can be accomplished by the power of God because of His love and mercy.


Philippians Introduction:
We will now begin the study of the Epistle to the Philippians which Paul wrote to them. There are several opinions of the time this was written, but most agree it was written somewhere about 60 A.D. Paul was imprisoned by the Romans when he wrote this letter.
The city of Philippi was established by and named after, Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. After Octavian defeated Mark Antony's army at Actium in 31 B.C., Philippi was designated as a military colony with special privileges of citizenship. This may account for the terminology used in 1:27 (politeuesthe, "to conduct oneself as a citizen") and 3:20 (politeuma, "citizenship"). Proud of their citizenship, its inhabitants called themselves "Romans" (Acts 16:21). The official language was Latin, but the daily tongue was Greek. According to Acts 16:12 Philippi was the "chief city of that part of Macedonia." Its importance lay not least in its being a crossroads lying on one of the main routes between Asia and Europe.
We will find many different things about this church at Philippi and the one in Corinth. In fact, the first church meetings here, were held in Lydia's home. Actually, Lydia and her family were the first converts to Christianity here. We will find that Paul had been instructed directly from God to go to this area, because they needed help.
There was no synagogue in this area, and the women were praying out at the river bank where they washed. They were there on the Sabbath, and Paul went there and brought them the good news of the gospel.
It seemed Lydia was very prominent in the work here in Philippi. The first man that was brought into the church here was the Philippian jailor and his family.
This city was said to be a Roman city in Greece. This made this church a Gentile church. There was not the problem with the Jews here, because they were not prominent in worship here. Both Latin and Greek were spoken here. This was a poor church, but one that gave generously to help Paul. This was the only church that Paul would take help from.
In this church we see ministry of the women more prominent than in the other churches. Paul, on one occasion, tells the church people to cooperate with the women that had ministered with him.
The planting of this church on his second missionary journey, was Paul's first act on European soil. The history of his mission there is recorded in Acts 16:12-40. His sojourn was brief but long enough for him to fall victim to abuse and punishment. The power of his ministry was demonstrated in the deliverance of a demon possessed girl, in the conversion of Lydia and her household, and in the salvation of the jailer and his family.
To this small nucleus others were later added: Epaphroditus (2:25-30), Euodias and Syntyche (4:2), Clement, an unnamed friend, and other "fellow laborers" (4:3). Judging from these names the church seems to have been mostly Gentile. The assembly was organized and under the oversight of its leaders, the bishops and deacons of 1:1. The congregation at Philippi quickly became the dearest of all of the apostle's children in the faith. While Paul's relationship with some fellowships (e.g. the Corinthians and the Galatians) was at times strained, his relationship with the Philippians was apparently never marred by misunderstandings or distrust.
"From the first day until now" (1:5) they had shared his interests, made his suffering their own, and participated with him in his ministry. Twice they had sent him money at Thessalonica (4:16), once at Corinth (2 Cor. 11:9), and now again at Rome (4:18). Their love for him (1:9) was reciprocated in full measure (1:7-8). In the epistle he addresses them three times as "beloved" and calls them "brethren ... longed for, " and "my joy and crown" (4:1). They are on the whole, in good spiritual health. Their only flaw is an apparent lack of complete harmony among some of their members. Hence, Paul often summons them to unite (1:27; 2:1-4; 4:2-3). And a potential danger lies in their enemies, thus occasioning the caution of 3:1 - 4:1. Despite being under persecution (1:28) and experiencing suffering (1:29-30), they are doing well.
The basic theme of the epistle is joy. This idea of rejoicing is found 16 times, appearing in noun forms (1:4, 25; 2:2, 29; 4:1) and verb forms (1:18, twice; 2:17, twice; 2:18 twice; 2:28; 3:1; 4:4, twice; 4:10). There is ample basis for this theme throughout the letter. There is joy in suffering, for though it God accomplishes good (1:12-14). There is joy in the sacrificial giving of oneself (2:17-18) and of one's goods (4:18) to meet the needs of others and to do God's will, thus following Jesus' example (2:4-11). There is joy in knowing Christ and experiencing His resurrection power (3:8-10).
There is joy when harmony prevails among the brethren (2:4; 4:2-5). And there is joy over the adequacy of Christ (4:13, 19), which produces contentment for every circumstance of life.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Galatians Chapter 6

Galatians 6:1
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
Overtaken”: This word may imply the person was actually seen committing the sin or that he was caught or snared by the sin itself.
In a fault” (or, “by some transgression”): The sin in view is a deliberate overstepping of divine boundaries.
Ye which are spiritual” refers to those who walk by the Spirit (5:16), in whose life the fruit of the Spirit is found (5:22-23). The “man” who is “overtaken” by willful sin is also a Christian, but he has not been walking by the Spirit. Those believers who are walking in the Spirit filled with the Spirit and evidencing the fruit of the Spirit.
Restore”: sometimes used metaphorically of settling disputes or arguments, it literally means “to mend” or “repair,” and was used of setting a broken bone or repairing a dislocated limb (Heb. 12:12-13; see notes on Rom. 15:1; 1 Thess. 5:14-15).
The spiritual brethren are to “restore” the erring brother. This word is used of mending fishing nets (Matt. 4:21) and of people mending their ways (2 Cor. 13:11). Restore means therefore to bring a person back to his former moral condition. The words were also used in secular Greek for setting broken bones, which has to be done gently.
Spirit of meekness”:
So the church is to restore the lapsed “in the spirit of meekness” (i.e., gentleness). The grievous and sensitive wounds caused by sin must be handled delicately.
Considering you:” Those restoring the fallen must individually keep constant watch over their own lives. The spiritual man can be morally dragged down as he deals with the sin of this carnal counterpart. Also “observing”, the Greek form strongly emphasizes a continual, diligent attentiveness.
This is speaking of the brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as in the parable of the 100 sheep, where one was lost was speaking of Christians. The one that was lost was a sheep the same as the ninety and nine that did not get lost. It is not impossible for a Christian to make a mistake and sin in the process. It is very important for that person to be restored to the group as soon as possible.
If they repent of the sin, we are not to keep on bringing it up, or remembering it. These who are stronger in their walk, because of the Spirit of God within them, should lead the way in forgiving them. Who knows, the next temptation that comes, may be this spiritual man's. The person, who sinned, must repent and turn from that sin. He cannot go on committing that same sin.
Galatians 6:2
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."
Bear ye one another’s burdens”: “Burdens” are extra heavy loads, which here represent difficulties or problems people have trouble dealing with. “Bear” connotes carrying something with endurance.
Contextually, the “burdens” are the moral faults of verse 1, but can have wider application to other kinds of burdens. “The law of Christ” is the sum of all of Jesus’ teachings and desires; it is Christianity itself.
This brings to mind the black man who carried the cross for Jesus. We must carry the burdens of those around us, if we are Christians. The law of Christ, spoken of here, is loving your neighbor as yourself. The load can be much lighter, if we help carry that load.
The law of Christ”: The law of love which fulfills the entire law.
Galatians 6:3
"For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."
For” gives a reason to bear the burdens of others (verse 2). When “a man” [thinks] “himself” to be morally above reproach, he has no sympathy with the flaws of others. Mutual bearing of others’ moral burdens helps a person retain a sober, ethical estimate of him.
This is speaking of a conceited person. Paul, is perhaps speaking of some of the Galatians, because of their being Jews who thought themselves to better than others. The thing that would make them nothing in this case, is the fact that they are still looking to the law instead of grace. Let others elevate you up. It looks conceited, if you do it yourself.
Galatians 6:4
"But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another."
Prove”: Literally “to approve something after testing it.” Believers first must be sure their lives are right with God before giving spiritual help to others (Matt. 7:3-5).
Then shall he have rejoicing” If a believer rejoices or boasts, it should be only boasting in the Lord for what God has done in him (2 Cor. 12:12-18), not for what he supposedly has accomplished compared to other believers (see note on 1 Cor. 1:30-31).
The self-delusion of verse 3 is caused by an inflated comparison of one’s moral life with the known faults of his Christian brother. To prevent this, “every man” is to “prove” [examine] “his own work” (i.e., life, virtues, and deeds). Then his “rejoicing” shall be “in himself alone, and not in another:”
Joy comes not from comparing one’s moral strengths with the weaknesses of others, but in realizing that one measures up to God’s standard by God’s help.
If your work is of God, it will prove itself. Do your best, work hard, and know in your heart that you are doing the very best that you can. Regardless of the outcome, you can be proud within yourself that you have done your best.
Galatians 6:5
"For every man shall bear his own burden."
Bear his own burden”: This is not a contradiction to verse 2. “Load” has no connotation of difficulty; it refers to life’s routine obligations and each believer’s ministry calling (Matt. 11:30; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). God requires faithfulness in meeting those responsibilities.
In justifying “and not in another” of verse 4, “for” tells why one must not compare himself with others: each believer must shoulder “his own burden” (i.e., that specific task and responsibility divinely assigned an individual).
Instead of comparing one’s virtues with the moral blemishes of another, one is to compare himself with his own achievements against the backdrop of the responsibilities given him by God. No contradiction exists between verses 2 and 5.
The Greek work for burdens in verse 2 is baros, there meaning moral weakness – a burden too heavy for a person to bear alone. The word for burden in verse 5 is phortion, meaning a personal responsibility that can and should be borne by the individual.
Whatever job God gave you to do, it is yours alone. You should not try to push off your work on someone else. You are the best for the job God gave you to do.
Galatians 6:6
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things."
Communicate” (or, share): Christians are to share their material possessions with their teachers. Ministers must of necessity be compensated for the loss of income sustained in fulfilling their pastoral responsibilities.
All good things”: Although this expression could refer to material compensation, the context suggest that Paul is referring to the spiritually and morally excellent things learned from the Word, in which they fellowship together. Paul uses this same term to describe the gospel (Rom. 10:15; Heb. 9:11).
This is saying, if God has shown you something about the Word of God, you are to share it with other teachers, so they can teach the truth, also. This is, also, saying that those taught are to help with the day to day needs of the teacher.
Galatians 6:7
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Mocked (outwitted, outfoxed): To disobey God’s commands and then escape divine punishment would be to outwit God, thus making a mockery of Him and His Word. “Soweth” means “does,” “practices.” “Reap” could also be said, “be requited,” “recompensed.” Contextually, the Galatians cannot disregard the command to support their Christian instructors (verse 6) and escape divine discipline.
Whatsoever a man soweth … reap”: This agricultural principle, applied metaphorically to the moral and spiritual realm, is universally true (Job 4:8; Prov. 1:31-33; Hos. 8:7; 10:12). This law is a form of God’s wrath. See note on Rom. 1:18.
You cannot plant an English pea, and get a stalk of corn. Whatever you sow, is what your crop will be. On judgment day, we will receive according to what we sowed on this earth. God is keeping the account book. We cannot fool Him.
Galatians 6:8
"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
For” expands the principle of verse 7 to wider application. “Soweth to his flesh” means to conduct oneself by the evil dictates and desires of the sinful nature, thus practicing the deeds of the flesh (5:19-21).
Soweth to his flesh”: Here it means pandering to the flesh’s evil desires.
Corruption”: From the Greek word for degeneration, as in decaying food. Sin always corrupts and, when left unchecked, always makes a person progressively worse in character (Rom. 6:23). Such a person “shall … reap corruption,” that is, be requited with eternal destruction.
Soweth to the Spirit” means to live by His enabling help in accord with the Spirit’s prompting and leading, thus cultivating the fruit of 5:22-23. Such a person “shall … reap life everlasting,” that is, be rewarded with eternal life. To walk by the Holy Spirit.
With whatever measure we measure to others, God will measure back to us. A person who lives for self will die lonely. The actions we take in this life toward others are like a seed sown that we will reap in heaven.
Jesus said; in as much as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me. A Christian's rewards are not for this world, but are for heaven. If we live a fleshly life, we will reap the whirlwind
Matthew 19:29 "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
Sowing good here on the earth means that we are storing up treasures in heaven. Whatever we plant is the crop we will get.
Galatians 6:9
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Since it is only a matter of time before the Christian shall “reap” divine reward (verse 8), then he is “not” to “be weary in well doing.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
The truth of the matter is that Christians never seem to tire of doing well. That is what separates them from the rest of the world. The world is selfish. Christians are thoughtful of others. When the Lord returns for His own we must be found working to get one more saved, before it is too late.
I have said it before, but it bears repeating, the only way some people know Jesus is by seeing Him in the actions of His believers.
Galatians 6:10
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
Opportunity”: This Greek word refers to a distinct, fixed time period, rather than occasional moments. Paul’s point is that the believer’s entire life provides the unique privilege by which he can serve others in Christ’s name. Owing to the certainty of being divinely rewarded (verses 8-9); believers are urged to seize each “opportunity” to “do well.”
Contextually, doing good refers to the ministry of restoration (verse 1), bearing one another’s burdens (verse 2), supporting teachers (verse 6), sowing to (living in accord with the leading of) the Spirit (verse 8), and general perseverance (verse 9). Believers are to minister first “unto them who are of the household of faith” (Christians), and second, to the rest of the world.
Especially … the household of faith”: Our love for fellow Christians is the primary test of our love for God (see notes on John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:10-13; 1 John 4:21).
You are not responsible for all the people in the world who have a problem, but you are responsible to help those whose needs come to your attention. If a neighbor is out of food, take him some food. We are supposed to help all who we come into contact with who have a need.
This says especially your Christian brothers and sisters. If God has blessed you with more than is necessary for you to live on, share with someone less fortunate. Be quick to distribute to those in need. It is better to give them an opportunity, than it is to give them a hand-out. They keep their self-esteem when you give them an opportunity.
Verses 11-17: This closing section of the letter is Paul’s final rhetorical attack against the Judaizers’ doctrine (see notes on 1:7-9) and motives. It is also a positive statement of his own godly motives in preaching the true gospel.
Galatians 6:11
"Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand."
See how large a letter”: this can be interpreted in two ways: (1) Paul’s poor eyesight forced him to use large letters 4:13, 15); or (2) Instead of the normal cursive style of writing used by professional scribes, he used the large, block letters (frequently employed in public notices) to emphasize the letter’s content rather than its form.
It was a visible picture that contrasted his concern with the content of the gospel for the Judaizers’ only concern: appearances. The expression served as a transition to his concluding remarks.
I have written … mind own hand”: The verse could be rendered: “Note with what large letters I am writing you with my own hand.” As a good translation of the Greek verb, this indicates that Paul wrote the entire letter by his own hand, not merely penning a brief statement at the end of dictation to a secretary as he did other times (1 Cor. 16:21; Col. 4:18; 2 Thess. 3:17).
Paul wrote this letter himself to make sure the Galatians knew he – not some forger – was writing it, and to personalize the document, given the importance and severity of its contents.
Many times, the actual writing of Paul's letters was done by someone else, but he says here, that he wrote this himself.
Galatians 6:12
"As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ."
Fair shew”: The Judaizers were motivated by religious pride and wanted to impress others with their external piety (Matt. 6:1-7).
Constrain you to be circumcised”: 
Should suffer persecution”: The Judaizers were more concerned about their personal safety than correct doctrine. By adhering more to the Mosaic Law than to the gospel of Jesus, they hoped to avoid social and financial ostracism from other Jews and maintain their protected status as Jews within the Roman Empire.
The Judaizers want to make a good outward appearance (“make a fair show in the flesh”) by circumcising the readers. The reason is so that they will not “suffer persecution” caused by the gospel. The gospel was somewhat tolerable for orthodox Jews if accompanied by circumcision and obedience to their law.
So Judaizers, wanting to hold to the gospel, can disarm Jewish hostility by preaching grace and law. The legalists have their own interest at heart, not the Galatians’.
These Judaizers wanted to look good to their Jewish friends. This circumcising is a show for flesh worship. It appears that even though they have proclaimed Jesus as their Savior, they are not willing to suffer the ridicule from their Jewish brothers. They were not willing to suffer for Christ.
Galatians 6:13
"For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh."
Circumcised”: Specifically, in this case, the Judaizers.
Glory in your flesh”: They zealously worked to win Gentile converts to the law so they could brag about their effective proselytizing (Matt. 23:15).
They are trying to prove how religious they are by telling that they are circumcised. They do not even keep the law themselves, but want to impose this custom on others to show their religion.
They thought they might avoid being classed with the Christians, if they continued to practice circumcising. They were trying to stay in both camps. They wanted everlasting life that Christianity offered, but they kept this ordinance, so as not to lose their place with the Jews.
Galatians 6:14
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
Glory (or boast), save in the cross”: The Greek word for “boast” is a basic expression of praise, unlike the English words, which necessarily includes the aspect of pride. Paul glories and rejoices in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:1-3; 1 Cor. 2:2; 1 Pet. 2:4).
Unlike the Judaizers, who brag about their religious accomplishments, Paul takes pleasure only in Jesus’ atonement and all the spiritual blessings it brings. “The world” is the world system. Paul has renounced his old life and all its ways, along with its values and religious accomplishments in which he used to boast.
The world”: The evil, satanic system.
Crucified unto me, and I unto the world”: The world is spiritually dead to believers, and they are dead to the world.
Paul was not interested in anything bringing him personal glory. Paul was rejoicing in the salvation that he received by Jesus when He gave Himself on the cross. Paul is saying that he glories in his salvation.
Nothing in this world offered anything to Paul. He was waiting for that glorious day in heaven with Jesus. Paul was saying; I am in the world, but this world means nothing to me. My home is in heaven. Paul, like all believers, had the hope of the resurrection.
Galatians 6:15
"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature."
Circumcision … nor uncircumcision”:
A new creature”: The new birth.
In God’s sight “neither” the external “circumcision” of the flesh “nor” its omission (“uncircumcision”) “availeth” (profits). Only being divinely transformed into “a new creature” (creation), this is, a morally new and different person, benefits one spiritually.
Nothing in the flesh means anything. We will discard this house of flesh and receive our spiritual body. The thing that does matter is that we are born again. We are a new creature in Christ. Christ liveth in us. This world is not our home. We are a stranger in this land. Our home is in heaven with Jesus.
Galatians 6:16
"And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."
As many as walk according to this rule” could also be stated, “All who follow this principle” (namely, the principle of the new creation of verse 15). The verse’s final “and” seems to distinguish between Gentile Christians (“as many as walk”) and Jewish Christians (“the Israel of God”).
Canonicity: The word canon originally meant “reed” (a measuring rule) and came to signify a standard for determining which books were Scripture.
The books placed in Scripture:
(1) Were considered inspired;
(2) Gave evidence of containing revelation;
(3) Gave evidence of apostolicity; and
(4) Were uniquely used by the Holy Spirit.
When the church finally collected the 66 books into a “canon,” it did not make the books become Scripture: the church was only recognizing what God had done. The books were Scripture the moment they were written.
Not all Christian literature of the first century is included in the canon, only that which is inspired. The church at Ephesus was one of the first to collect the books of the New Testament, and it carefully examined them before endorsement (Rev. 2:2). As Christians read the Scriptures, they should walk according to their rule. (Exodus 19:5; Gal. 6:16; Psalm 119:18).
Peace … and mercy”: the results of salvation: “Peace” is the believer’s new relationship to God (Rom. 5:1; 8:6; Col. 3:15), and “mercy” is the forgiveness of all his sins and the setting aside of God’s judgment (Psalm 25:6; Dan. 9:18; Matt. 5:7; Luke 1:50; Rom. 12:1; Eph. 2:4; Titus 3:5).
Israel of God”: All Jewish believers in Christ, i.e., those who are both physical and spiritual descendants of Abraham.
Paul is making a difference in Israel in the flesh and Israel in the Spirit, here. Christians, who walk according to the Spirit, are the Israel he speaks of that will have peace and mercy.
Romans 9:6 "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel:"
Galatians 6:17
"From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."
Marks of the Lord Jesus”: The physical results of persecution (scars), wounds, etc.) That identified Paul as one who had suffered for the Lord (Acts 14:19; 16:22; 2 Cor. 11:25).
Unlike the Judaizers who make much ado about the now irrelevant, insignificant mark of circumcision, Paul bears bodily “marks” which do mean something. They are the wounds and injuries incurred in serving God, the results of having willingly accepted “the persecution for the cross,” which the legalists seek to avoid (verse 12).
Paul had born many stripes, because he would not renounce Jesus Christ as Messiah. Paul is explaining to them, whether they believe him or not, he belongs to Christ. His message brought to them was as an apostle of God. He is saying, he does not need their confidence in him to let him know he belongs to Christ. He says, "Leave me alone".
Galatians 6:18
"Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen."
Even Paul’s final benediction implicitly extols the superiority of the gospel of grace over any man-made system of works righteousness.
This whole book has been about the unmerited favor of God on his people. The one word is grace. Paul speaks to their spirit man and asks grace. "Amen" means, so be it.
To close, I would like to say that it is evident that salvation through Jesus Christ is a free gift. We do nothing to earn our salvation. It is just as evident that we must remain steadfast in the salvation we received. Law and grace are like oil and water, they will not mix. Choose life in the grace of God.