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."

2 Corinthians Chapter 11 Part One

2 Corinthians 11:1
In the last scripture of chapter 10, Paul had just pointed out the folly of self commendation, but he certainly did not want to engage in it. But the Corinthians’ acceptance of the false apostles’ claims forced Paul to set forth his own apostolic credentials as that was the only way he could get them to see the truth.
Unlike the false apostles, Paul’s boasting was in the Lord and motivated by concern for the Corinthians’ well being under the threat of false teaching.
In the latter part of chapter 10, we saw Paul saying, if anyone had anything to boast of, it would be him. Now he is calling that folly. Whatever it takes for Paul to make them realize he has authority from God to teach them, is the argument Paul will give. Look over my boasting and understand what I am trying to tell you, would be another way of putting it.
2 Corinthians 11:2
Paul’s folly was caused by his deep concern for the Corinthians to the point of jealously, not for his own reputation, but zeal for their spiritual purity. Jealously that was inspired by his zeal for God’s causes, and thus similar to God’s own jealousy for His holy name and His people’s loyalty.
This jealousy is not in the physical sense. Paul is saying, I have claimed you for the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wants these Corinthians, who started out with him, to stay loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Being a "chaste virgin" is saying not to stray away from pure Christianity. This has to do with the spiritual. God will not take second place to anything. In fact, He will not share you with any other God, or any other teaching.
Paul portrayed the Corinthians like a daughter, whom he betrothed to Jesus Christ at their conversion. The Old Testament pictures Israel as the wife of the Lord while the New Testament pictures the church as the bride of Christ.
Paul loves them as dear children. He tries to keep them with the simple message of the gospel they had received through him. We must walk in our salvation, after we have received it.
2 Corinthians 11:3
Paul does not want them to receive any other message than the simple message of the cross. He compared the danger facing the Corinthian church to Eve’s deception by Satan. He feared the Corinthians, like Eve, would fall prey to satanic lies and have their minds corrupted. The tragic result would be the abandonment of their simple devotion to Christ in favor of the sophisticated error of the false apostle.
Galatians 1:8-9 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that, which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." "As we said before, so say I now again, if any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
The mind is at enmity with God. The mind will lead you astray. Christianity is of the heart. Even today, some of the doctrines {that claim to be of Christ} are not telling the truth. Many people, looking for something new, find something very old, a false doctrine. Christianity is simple. It is not complicated.
Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
2 Corinthians 11:4
The false apostle(s) came into the church from the outside just as Satan did into the Garden. They were like the Judaizers, seeking to impose Jewish customs on the Corinthians.
Their fascination with rhetoric and oratory suggest they had been influenced by Greek culture and philosophy.
Despite their vicious attacks on him, Paul’s quarrel with the false apostles was not personal, but doctrinal.
Paul is explaining to them that he had already brought them the gospel, and had even taught them of the Spirit. If this person or persons is teaching them a message better than the one Paul gave and one they had rather believe, then stay with them. If they are not, why break away?
Why are they seeking for something else, when they already have Jesus as Savior and Lord? They, also, have been introduced to the Holy Spirit. There is no need to seek another.
Though the precise details of what the false apostle(s) taught are unknown and don’t matter, they preached “another Jesus” and “a different spirit”, which added up to “a different gospel”.
2 Corinthians 11:5
It seems that the Corinthian, (led by this new teacher) have begun to compare Paul with the other apostles. Possibly, because he was not of the original 12, they have questioned whether he is an apostle at all, or not.
Here, Paul is more likely making a sarcastic reference to the false apostles, based on their exalted view of themselves.
2 Corinthians 11:6
Paul, after he had seen the Light, went into the desert.
Galatians 1:15-18 "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace," "To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:" "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."
Whatever deficiencies Paul may have had as an orator, he had none in terms of knowledge.
It seems from this, that Paul was taught of the Spirit for three years. Paul was not necessarily a great orator, but was a minister of truth which he had received directly from God. Paul's ministry was verified over and over by the signs and wonders that followed him.
Paul was an educated man in the ways of the temple, but had no formal training to be a Christian minister. None of the apostles were formally trained. Their training was by the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 11:7
Greek culture measured the importance of a teacher by the fee he could command. When Paul opened the church at Corinth, he asked nothing for himself. He preached the good news of Jesus Christ to them, free of charge. Because he did not charge them to preach, does that make him less a preacher? Being a tent maker was not thought of as a prominent job.
This is, possibly, what he is saying being "abased". The message of good news from God that Paul brought them free of charge is the most precious possession of any of us.
Paul asked his accusers how foregoing his right to support could possibly be a sin. In fact, by refusing support he had humbled himself so they could be exalted; that is, lifted out of their sin and idolatry.
2 Corinthians 11:8
Paul is probably speaking of the church at Philippi. This is the only church there is anything recorded of that helped Paul with his expenses. The workman is worthy of his hire {whether secular work, or church work}.
God established the high priest and his family to live of the things of the offerings. Everything Paul had ever done for Corinth had been at no charge.
Why Paul refused to accept the support he was entitled to from the Corinthians is not clear; perhaps some of them were suspicious of his motives in promoting the offering for the Jerusalem church.
2 Corinthians 11:9
Paul took great pride in the fact that he did not minister for the money they would pay him. Mostly he worked as a tent maker to feed and clothe himself. The church that is mentioned that helped Paul with funds was the church at Philippi in Macedonia.
Silas and Timothy were the brethren who came from Macedonia, bringing money from Philippi and possibly Thessalonica. The Macedonians; generous financial support allowed Paul to devote himself full time to preaching the gospel.
2 Corinthians 11:10
He is just saying that he would not take their funds, even if they offered, because he wanted to prove to them that his gospel message was with no strings attached. Paul would give them no room for suspicion of his motives.
The regions of Achaia”: The Roman province of which Corinth was the capital and leading city. The false apostles apparently were affecting more than just the city of Corinth.
2 Corinthians 11:11
They were of a suspicious nature, and it seemed right to Paul to not help that suspicion along. He says, God knows that I love you as a parent would.
2 Corinthians 11:12
Paul’s refusal to accept financial support from the Corinthians was a source of embarrassment to the false apostles who eagerly sought money for their services. Paul intended to keep his ministry free of charge and thereby undermine the false apostles’ claims that they operated on the same basis as he did.
We see, in this, that the new teachers who have been opposed to Paul are saying, they are not interested in being paid for their services. At the same time, they are secretly receiving from the church at Corinth themselves. Paul is saying that all who minister in the church have needs for their own personal care.
2 Corinthians 11:13
Paul was no longer speaking with veiled irony or defending himself, but bluntly and directly exposed the false apostles for what they were, emissaries of Satan.
Not only was their claim to apostleship false, so also was their doctrine. As satanic purveyors of false teaching, they were under the curse of Gal. 1:8-9.
Galatians 1:8-9 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that, which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." "As we said before, so say I now again, if any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Paul says that these new teachers that have come into the church are not truly apostles of Christ. These are people who have chosen to minister as a way of making a living. Paul believes they are not really called of God. They are pulling Paul down to pull themselves up.
Paul’s forceful language may seem harsh, but it expressed the godly jealously he felt for the Corinthians. Paul was unwilling to sacrifice truth for the sake of unity.
2 Corinthians 11:14
Not everyone in the church proclaiming Christianity is truly of God. Satan, himself, tries to mimic all the things the Lord does. He even many times pretends to be of the Light, when he is really darkness to the utmost. We are told to try the spirits, and see whether they are of God, or not.
Since the Prince of Darkness masquerades as an angel of light, that is, deceptively, disguised as a messenger of truth – it is not surprising that his emissaries do as well.
The truth is that Satan is a counterfeit. He may appear, at a glance to be of God, but a closer examination will reveal who he is. He counterfeits the gifts of the Spirit many times.
2 Corinthians 11:15
The really sad thing about false doctrines is that at a glance they appear to be real. A person, who is not well versed in the Scriptures, would quickly accept the teaching, because it is close to truth. One quick giveaway is that anything that elevates man up to the level of God is false. Also, any doctrine that denies that Jesus was Emmanuel {God with us} is false.
Satan deceived Eve and holds unbelievers captive. His emissaries were attempting to deceive and enslave the Corinthians. The terrifying “end” these self styled “ministers of righteousness” will face is God’s judgment, the fate of all false teachers.
Jesus is God the Word who took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us, and anything less than that is a false doctrine. Anything, or anyone, who denies the power of the shed blood of Jesus is, also, false. The reason so many people, then and now, fall for this false teaching, is that it usually elevates man and brings God down to the level of man.
Lucifer's sin was in wanting to be God. Jesus said that there would be false teachers, and many would follow them. Study your Bible carefully, and do not be deceived. Test every spirit by the Word of God.
1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believes not every spirit, but tries the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Galatians Chapter 2 Part Two

Verses 11-13: A brief account of the darkest of days in the history of the gospel. By withdrawing from the Gentile believers to fellowship with the Judaizers who held a position he knew was wrong, Peter had in appearance supported their doctrine and nullified Paul’s divine teaching, especially the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.
Galatians 2:11 "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed."
Antioch”: The location of the first Gentile church.
He was to be blamed”: Peter was guilty of sin by aligning himself with men he knew to be in error and because of the harm and confusion he caused his Gentile brethren.
We see, in this, a confrontation between Paul and Peter. Since Paul was primarily ministering to Gentile believers and Peter was ministering to Jewish converts, it would be a natural thing for them to bring different messages. I do not believe this is speaking of that, however. It appears there was a definite difference in Paul and Peter's belief.
This is really in an area where Paul had preached more. It appears that Peter, from time to time, went around the area and checked on the churches. Many Jews had converted to Christianity, as well as the Gentiles. It appears that Peter as like an overseer.
Paul did not talk behind Peter's back, but met with him in person to accuse him of error. This trip to Antioch was probably quite a bit later than Paul's visit to Jerusalem that we read about in the last lesson.
Galatians 2:12 "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision."
Certain came from James”: Peter, knowing the decision the Jerusalem Council had made (Acts 15:7-29), had been in Antioch for some time, eating with Gentiles.
When Judaizers came, pretending to be sent by James, they lied, giving false claims of support from the apostles. Peter had already given up all Mosaic ceremony (Acts 10:9-22) and James had at times held only to some of it (Acts 21:18-26).
Withdrew”: The Greek term refers to strategic military withdrawal. The verb’s form may imply that Peter’s withdrawal was gradual and deceptive.
To eat with the Judaizers and decline invitations to eat with the Gentiles, which he had previously done, meant that Peter was affirming the very dietary restrictions he knew God had abolished (Acts 10:15) and thus striking a blow at the gospel of grace.
Fearing them which were of the circumcision”: The true motivation behind Peter’s defection. He was afraid of losing popularity with the legalistic, Judaizing segment of people in the church, even thought they were self-righteous hypocrites promoting a heretical doctrine.
Them which were of the circumcision”: This refers to Jewish Christians from Jerusalem who was troubled about the Jewish Christians in Antioch, who were taking meals with gentiles, thus probably eating forbidden foods.
The question in Jerusalem was this: were Gentile Christians obligated to observe the law, of which circumcision is the sign? The answer was no (verses 1-10). Peter’s action in Antioch of withdrawing from Gentile meals raised another issue: were Jewish Christian’s also free from the law?
It seems that Peter had eaten with the Gentiles, until these men came from James. Peter withdrew himself (as the Jews had done in times past) from the Gentiles, while the men from James were there. You remember, James was the head of the church in Jerusalem, which was almost entirely made up of Jewish converts.
Peter, it seemed, did not want a report going back to James of his fellowshipping with the Gentiles. It appears to me, from this that perhaps the teaching of the keeping of the law by the converted Jews has come from James. Peter did not want a bad report going back to James.
Galatians 2:13 "And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."
And the other Jews” The Jewish believers in Antioch.
Likewise with him”: (Hypocrisy), A Greek word referring to an actor who wore a mask to depict a mood or certain character. In the spiritual sense, it refers to someone who masks his true character by pretending to be something he is not (Matt. 6:1-6). They were committed to the gospel of grace, but pretended to accept Jewish legalism.
"Dissembled" could be said, “acted hypocritically.” The detrimental effect of Peter’s action was to influence other Jewish Christians to separate themselves from their Gentile brethren. Even the spiritual giant Barnabas, who had championed Gentile freedom in verses 1-9, “was carried away with their dissimulation” (hypocrisy).
The hypocrisy here was the false impression left by their behavior; they really believed it was all right to eat with Gentiles, but acted as through these convictions were not theirs.
Dissembled” in the verse above, means to act hypocritically in concert with. "Dissimulation" means hypocrisy, deceit, or condemnation. This, then, is a terrible accusation of Paul against Peter.
Until this happened, Paul had thought the last one to do this would be Barnabas. For anyone to be one way in front of one group of people, and be another way in front of another group would be hypocrisy.
We must remember, however, that the church was in its formative stage here. It was very difficult for those who had begun with the law (even Paul) to just be transformed overnight in their thinking, and do an about face on all the things they had been taught. Part of their problem arose from the fact that, they had separate rules for the Jews and the Gentiles.
Even Paul, sometimes conformed to the wishes of the people around him when he made decisions, such as when he circumcised Timothy. In those early days, they did things, they would not have done later to try to get into a certain group to preach. They bowed to the customs of the people, so they would be allowed to preach there.
Galatians 2:14 "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"
Uprightly”: Literally to walk “straight” or “uprightly.” By withdrawing from the Gentile Christians; peter and the other Jewish believers were not walking in line with God’s Word.
Truth of the gospel”: Of Jesus Christ.
Livest after the manner of Gentiles”: Before his gradual withdrawal, Peter regularly had fellowship and ate with the Gentiles, thus modeling the ideal of Christian love and liberty between Jew and Gentile.
Compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews”: By his Judaizing mandate, he was declaring theirs was the right way.
They walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel:” that is, “They were not acting rightly regarding the truth of the gospel.” The gospel teaches that a person is saved by grace, not by law. Therefore he is not obligated as a Christian to live under the law.
Thou … livest after the manner of Gentiles:” Peter was living Like a Gentile in that he was mixing freely with Gentile believers and not observing Jewish custom. He was eating Gentile foods. Yet Peter compelled “the Gentiles to live as do the Jews” in separating himself from them.
By refusing to eat with them he left Gentile believers no alternative but to either adopt Jewish dietary regulations, or suffer a split in their church. In short, Peter was forcing them to become Jewish proselytes. Peter’s hypocrisy lay not in his observing Jewish laws, but in making Gentiles keep them.
Paul is questioning Peter, why he lived one way before these Jewish brothers arrived, and then changed when they came. Even though Peter knew the Gentiles had been accepted of God in their uncircumcised condition, he still felt that it would be good if they would not fight the Jews on this issue. It seems that many of the Christians were afraid of the Jews.
It appears to me that Paul is saying, make up your mind whether you are a Jew or a Christian, and live accordingly. Let the Gentiles alone. If they are good enough for God in the condition He called them, and then leaves them alone. Do not try to make them conform to Jewish customs.
Verses 15-16: Paul’s rebuke of Peter serves as one of the most dynamic statements in the New Testament on the absolute and unwavering necessity of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. Peter’s apparent repentance acknowledged Paul’s apostolic authority and his own submission to the truth (2 Pet. 3:15-16).
Galatians 2:15 "We [who are] Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,"
Sinners of the Gentiles”: This is used in the legal sense since Gentiles were sinners by nature because they had no revealed divine written law to guide them toward salvation or living righteously.
Sinners” is a derogatory term almost synonymous with Gentiles. Since Gentiles did not live under the law, their immorality was usually worse than that of the Jews, whose behavior was generally restrained by the law. So in Jewish opinion Gentiles were, by the nature of the case, sinners.
Paul is saying that he too, had been a Jew by birth. "Sinners of the Gentiles" is a sarcastic remark about how the Jews had always looked down on the Gentiles.
Verses 15-16: Even though Jews are in some respects not outwardly “sinners” like Gentiles, they still know one cannot be justified by observing the law but only by faith in Christ. Paul therefore affirms that “even we” [Jews] “have believed in Jesus Christ” in order to be saved.
To be “justified” is to be accounted by God as acceptable to him. This occurs “not … by the works of the law” [meritorious works], “but by the faith of” [in] “Jesus Christ” (i.e., by relying on Christ’s atoning death.
Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
Works … faith”: Three times in this verse Paul declares that salvation is only through faith in Christ and not by law. The first is general, “a man” in not justified”; the second is personal, “we might be justified”; and the third is universal, “no flesh be justified.”
Justified”: This basic forensic Greek word describes a judge declaring an accused person not guilty and therefore innocent before the law.
Throughout Scripture it refers to God’s declaring a sinner not guilty and fully righteous before Him by imputing to him the divine righteousness of Christ and imputing the man’s sin to his sinless Savior for punishment.
Works of the law”: Keeping the law is a totally unacceptable means of salvation because the root of sinfulness is in the fallenness of man’s heart, not his actions. The law served as a mirror to reveal sin, not a cure for it.
Paul is reminding Peter and the others, that even though they had been Jews, they had to come to Christ through faith, not works. It was not the keeping of the law that saved Abraham. His faith was counted unto him as righteousness. By the law, no one would be saved, because all have sinned and deserve death.
"Justified" means just as if I had never sinned. Look with me, at the next Scriptures which say it so well.
Romans 3:19-24 "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin." "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;" "Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:" "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:"
This next Scripture says it all. Romans 3:28 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
Galatians 2:17 "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid."
We … also are found sinners”: If the Judaizers’ doctrine was correct, then Paul, Peter, Barnabas and the other Jewish believers fell back into the category of sinners because they had been eating and fellowshipping with Gentiles, who according to the Judaizers were unclean.
Minister of sin: If the Judaizers were right, then Christ was wrong and had been teaching people to sin because He taught that food could not contaminate a person (Mark 7:19); Acts 10:13-15). He also declared that all who belong to Him are one with Him and therefore each other (John 17:21-23).
Paul’s airtight logic condemned Peter, because by his actions he had in effect made it appear as if Christ was lying. This thought is utterly objectionable and caused Paul to use the strongest Greek negative (“certainly not”, 3:21; Rom. 6:1-2; 7:13).
The Judaizers’ objection to this doctrine of justification by faith alone is this: If a Jew seeks “to be justified by Christ” apart from the law he is then outside the law and thus a “sinner” like the Gentiles. The Judaizers fear that a Christian outside the law will lead an immoral life since his conduct is no longer restrained by the law.
Followed to its logical conclusion, under this theory “Christ” is “the minister of sin.” That is, He promotes sin and encourages His followers to transgress. But the apostle’s exclamation, “God forbid,” denies this false teaching.
A Christian is a believer in and a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have made Christ the Lord of our life, then we no longer make our decisions. Christ makes the decisions. Christ will never decide to sin. The Lord Jesus Christ will not live in the person who habitually sins. We must let Jesus Christ become so real in our lives that we will be a reflection of Him.
Galatians 2:18 "For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor."
Which I destroyed”: The false system of salvation through legalism, done away with by the preaching of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.
For” confirms the denial that Jesus, by the doctrine of justification alone, would encourage sin. To “build again” is to reinstate “the things” (the demands of the law) which one previously “destroyed” (i.e., renounced).
Paul declares that “I make myself a transgressor” if he again puts himself under the law which he formerly abandoned. How? The law awakens and incites sin in a man (Rom. 7:7-11). So to obligate oneself again to the law is to put oneself under that legal system which awakens sin. Christ removes the law, thus delivering him from sin.
This is just saying if you go back into sin after you have received forgiveness for the sin, you make yourself a transgressor. "Transgressor" here, means, violator or breaker. God gives us freedom from sin. It is our obligation to live in the salvation provided for us.
Romans 6:4 "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Galatians 2:19 "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God."
Dead to the law”: When a person is convicted of a capital crime and executed, the law has no further claim on him. So it is with the Christian who has died in Christ (who paid the penalty for his sins in full) and rises to new life in Him – justice has been satisfied and he is forever free from any further penalty.
For” substantiates the declaration that it is the law, not Christ, which promotes sin. To be “dead to the law” is to be free from the obligation to obey it. This freedom came “through the law.” The law’s intention, by awakening and revealing man’s sin, was to lead him to Christ, who alone could properly deal with his sin (3:19-25).
The purpose of being freed from the law is that the Christian “might live unto” [for] “God.” For the whole of his earthly Christian life the believer is to live for God’s sake, obeying, serving, and glorifying Him.
Jesus became our substitute for our sin on the cross. He fulfilled the law for each of us who will accept it. The law is of none effect in the believer. The price has been paid in full.
Romans 7:5-6 "For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter."
Sin, for the Christian, died on the Lord's body on the cross. We live in Him.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
I am crucified with Christ”: See notes on Rom. 6:2-6. When a person trusts in Christ for salvation, he spiritually participates with the Lord in His crucifixion and His victory over sin and death.
Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”: The believer’s old self is dead (see note on Eph. 4:22), having been crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:3, 5). The believer’s new self has the privilege of the in-dwelling Christ empowering him and living through him.
Gave himself for me”: The manifestation of Christ’s love for the believer through His sacrificial death on the cross (John 10:17-18; Rom. 5:6-8; Eph. 5:25-30).
To be “crucified with Christ” means the believer has been freed from the law (verse 19), and from the ruling power of sin that was aroused by the law. “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” is interpreted, “And I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Since the believer has been freed from the law and sin, the old sinful life no longer asserts itself as formerly. Instead, “Christ liveth in me;” that is, Jesus cultivates within the believer (Paul) His own desires, virtues, character and power, thus morally transforming him and working through him on others.
Paul lives his current Christian life “by the faith of” [in] “the Son of God,” that is, by depending on Him for strength and all necessities.
This tells exactly what happens to the believer in Christ. My flesh must be crucified that my spirit might live. That spirit took up a dwelling place in my body. The soul is the will. My spirit and my body are constantly fighting for control of my will. When I become a Christian and make Jesus Christ Lord of my life, my flesh loses this battle. The Spirit of the risen Christ takes up abode in me, and He is in control of me.
I have turned my will over to God. It is my faith in God which gave me the confidence to turn myself over to the will of God. Christ lives in me to the glory of God. There is no need for me to worry, because He has everything under control. Temptations fade away, because I have turned the decision making over to Him. Christ in me, the hope of glory.
Galatians 2:21 "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
Paul concluded that Peter, by taking his stand with the Judaizers and thus against Christ, was in effect denying the need for God’s grace and thereby nullifying the benefit of Christ’s death.
Righteousness”: Christ’s Righteousness.
Christ is dead in vain”: Those who insist they can earn salvation by their own efforts undermine the foundation of Christianity and render unnecessary the death of Christ.
Frustrate” (nullify): Paul is pointing out that one would deny “the grace of God” by accepting Christ’s atonement and then viewing His atonement as having little value, reverting back to the law in order to secure salvation. “For” gives the reason Paul does not attempt to nullify God’s grace. It is not owing to “righteousness” [i.e., salvation] “by the law.”
If that were the case, “then Christ” died needlessly. These words bring Paul’s strong rebuke (verses 14-21) of his fellow apostle to a close. Peter’s return to the law, having believed in Jesus, was like an admission that Christ’s sacrifice was inadequate; his hypocrisy diluted God’s grace by attempting to add his works to it.
But Peter’s evident silence in receiving Paul’s reproof shows that he acknowledged Paul’s charge as correct. Peter, then, recognized Paul’s gospel to be genuine.
If we could have been saved by the law, then it would have been useless for Jesus to give His body on the cross for us.
Romans 10:3 "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
Hebrews 7:11 "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood for under it the people received the law, what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?"
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."
The law was our schoolmaster to reveal to us how badly we needed a Savior. Christ gave His body on the cross that we might live. He purchased our salvation with His precious blood. He quickens our spirit to eternal life in Him.