Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Galatians Chapter 5 Part Two

Galatians 5:14
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
All the law”: The ethics of the former Old Testament law are the same as those of the New Testament gospel as indicated in the quote from Lev. 19:18
When a Christian genuinely loves others, he fulfills all the moral requirements of the former Mosaic Law concerning them (Matt. 22:36-40; Deut. 6:5; Rom. 13:8-10). This is the ruling principle of Christian freedom (verses 6, 13).
Fulfilled” means “obeyed.” “In one word” means, “one statement”.
Notice in the following verses, that love is the basis for Christianity.
Mark 12:30-31 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with thy entire mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment." "And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
We know the key word is love. Love does away with things not of God.
1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
Galatians 5:15
"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
Bite and devour one another”: The imagery is of wild animals savagely attacking and killing each other – a graphic picture of what happens in the spiritual realm when believers do not love and serve each other.
James 3:14-16 "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth." "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, and devilish." "For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work."
We find in the Scriptures here from James and from the Scripture in Galatians above that trying to destroy others come home to us and many times we are destroyed in the process. Fussing and fighting have no place in the church. Look, with me, in the next Scriptures how it should be.
James 3:17-18 "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
Be a peacemaker, not a troublemaker.
Galatians 5:16

"[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
Walk in the Spirit”: All believers have the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 8-9: 1 Cor. 6:19-20) as the personal power for living to please God. The form of the Greek verb translated “walk” indicates continuous action, or a habitual lifestyle.
Walking also implies progress; as a believer submits to the Spirit’s control – that is, responds in obedience to the simple commands of Scripture – he grows in his spiritual life (see notes on Rom. 8:13; Eph. 5:18; Col. 3:16).
Walk in the Spirit” (i.e., “live by the Spirit”): Christians are to live with the Spirit’s help. How does one “live by the Spirit”?
(1) The Christian must believe that the Spirit is with him, having been sent by God into his heart (4:6).
(2) In every spiritual confrontation the believer must yield to the Spirit, that is, submit his own desires to those of the Spirit.
(3) One must depend on the Spirit for help, enabling him to live a God-pleasing life (verse 5)
(4) The believer should anticipate the effects of the Spirit’s help in his daily life. The believer who “lives by the Spirit” will “not fulfill” [accomplish, carry out] “the lust” [strong desires] “of the flesh” sinful nature).
The flesh”: This is not simply the physical body, but includes the mind, will, and emotions which are all subject to sin. It refers in general to our unredeemed humanness. See notes on Rom. 7:5; 8:23; see verse 13 of Galatians 5.
The lust of the flesh of man is what brings trouble and strife. When we walk in the Spirit of God, we have no lust of the flesh and have no desire to do wrong to anyone. When we make Jesus Lord of our life, He makes our decisions for us.
Galatians 5:17
"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
Contrary the one to the other”: The flesh opposes the work of the Spirit and leads the believer toward sinful behavior he would not otherwise be compelled to do.
One’s sinful human nature (“flesh”) and the Holy Spirit “lusteth against” one another, that is, they have desires and yearnings that are contrary to one another. The Christian, then, is a battlefield, having desires to do good and evil. The outcome is the “ye cannot do the things that ye would”: the flesh seeks to thwart the Spirit who, in turn, attempts to frustrate the flesh’s evil desires.
The flesh is of the earth. It is then earthy. The flesh and spirit have been in mortal combat to control the will of man. The lust of the flesh has destroyed many a person. We must bury our flesh that our spirit might take control. The Spirit of God within us is the only thing that can overcome the flesh of man.
The flesh centers on the wants of man. The Spirit centers on the will of God. That which is born of flesh, is flesh, until the Spirit of God gives us new life in Him. Jesus spoke to the temptations the devil set before Him by saying, it is written. This is the only way that any of us can overcome the lust of our flesh. We must give our will over to the Spirit of God.
Galatians 5:18
"But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
Verse 17 may leave the impression of a believer being caught in a hopeless tug-of-war between the flesh and the Spirit. This is not the case. The Christian is “led of” [by] “the Spirit,” when yielding to Him, to turn away from the fleshes evil yearnings, thus putting sin out of his daily life.
Led of the Spirit … not under the law”: Take your choice; these are mutually exclusive. Either you live by the power of the Holy Spirit which results in righteous behavior and spiritual attitudes (verse 22-29) or by the law which can only produce unrighteous behavior and attitudes (verses 19-21). 1 Cor. 6:9-10.
The verb “led” indicates voluntary submission; the believer decides by whom he will be led – either by his flesh or by the Spirit. The Spirit-led person is “not under the law.” The Christian does not need the restraints of the law because his moral life is governed by the Spirit.
Jesus was free from sin. If we are full of Him, we are full of His righteousness. There is no law against righteousness. When we are led by the Spirit of God, we are walking in righteousness.
Verses 19-23: By contrasting “the works of the flesh” (verses 19-21) with the “the fruit of the Spirit” (verses 22-23), the believer can know whether he is walking by the Spirit or being controlled by the flesh. “Uncleanness” is sexual impurity. “Lasciviousness” is sexual excess.
In verses 19-21, these sins characterize all unredeemed mankind living under the impotent commands of the law which produces only iniquity though not every person manifests all these sins nor exhibits them to the same degree.
Paul’s list, which is not exhaustive, encompasses 3 areas of human life; sex, religion, and human relationships. For other such lists see Rom. 1:24-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-10.
Galatians 5:19
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,"
Manifest”: The flesh manifests itself in obvious and certain ways.
Adultery” or “immorality”, the Greek word is porneia, from which the English word “pornography” comes. It refers to all illicit sexual activity, including (but not limited to) adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and prostitution.
Lasciviousness” or “sensuality”. The word originally referred to any excessive behavior or lack of restraint, but eventually became associated with sexual excess and indulgence.
When the man is walking in the lust of the flesh, he does whatever feels good to him, right or wrong. It seems that this adultery, here, is, also, covering homosexual acts. There are two kinds of adultery. Spiritual adultery is when you follow and give allegiance to false gods. Physical adultery is having sexual relations with anyone you are not married to.
This includes having sexual relations man with another man, and, also, women with other women. "Fornication", in the verse above, is speaking of all harlotry and incest. Uncleanness, here, means impurity, physical or moral. Lasciviousness covers many acts including wantonness and any filthy act. We would call it perversion.
Galatians 5:20
"Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,"
Witchcraft” or “sorcery”. The Greek word pharmakeia, from which the English word “pharmacy” comes, originally referred to medicines in general, but eventually only to mood and mind-altering drugs, as well as the occult, witchcraft, and magic. Many pagan religious practices required the use of these drugs to aid in the communication with deities.
Strife … heresies”: Many of these sins manifested in the area of human relationships have to do with some form of anger: “Hatred” results in “strife”. “Jealousy” (hateful resentment) results in “outbursts of anger” (sudden, unrestrained expressions of hostility). The next 4 represent animosity between individuals and groups.
Idolatry” is not just the worship of a graven image, but putting one’s chief affections on any object or person instead of on God.
Witchcraft” is sorcery, which is, tampering with the powers of evil. This would include dabbling in the occult. “Variance” is strife or discord. “Emulations” means “jealousy.” “Strife” is selfish ambition. “Seditions” are dissension. “Heresies” are permanent, organized division or cliques.
Paul is going on with many of the things so prevalent in our society today. He says they are all works of the flesh. Idolatry is image-worship. "Witchcraft", in this special instance, means drugs, magic and sorcery.
We all know what hatred is. Variance is wrangling and quarreling. It, also, includes debate. Emulations means jealousy, malice, indignation, and zeal. We know what wrath and strife mean. Seditions means divisions. "Heresies" means disunion and sect.
Galatians 5:21
"Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Drunkenness, revellings”: Probably a specific reference to the orgies that characterized pagan, idolatrous worship. Generally, it refers to all rowdy, boisterous, and crude behavior.
Revellings” means excessive eating, or gluttony, as well as carousing. “Do” (practice): The person whose life is habitually characterized by the sins and vices of verse 19-21 “shall not” inherit the kingdom of God,” that is, he will not be in heaven because he is not a Christian.
Do such things (or “practice” such things)”: Here is the key word in Paul’s warnings. The sense of the Greek verb describes continual, habitual action. Although believers undoubtedly can commit these sins, those people whose basic character is summed up in the uninterrupted and unrepentant practice of them cannot belong to God.
Shall not inherit the kingdom of God”: The unregenerate are barred from entering the spiritual kingdom of redeemed people over whom Christ now rules, and they will be excluded from His millennial kingdom and the eternal state of blessing that follows it.
What this is really saying is that to continue to do these things would cause you to be a flesh man. Flesh does not inherit the kingdom of God. When you receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior and Lord, this is that old flesh that must be buried. You raise a new person in Christ. The Christian has given his will over to the Spirit of God.
These things may have been in his past, but must not be in his future. I do not mean by this that you never, ever sin again. I mean that this is not your way of life anymore. You become a new creature in Christ. If you do unwillingly sin, ask for forgiveness. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He intercedes with the Father for us.
Galatians 5:22
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"
Fruit of the Spirit”: Godly attitudes that characterize the lives of only those who belong to God by faith in Christ and possess the Spirit of God. The Spirit produces fruit which consists of 9 characteristics or attitudes that are inextricably linked with each and are commanded of believers throughout the New Testament.
(1) “Love”: One of several Greek words for love, agape, is the love of choice, referring not to an emotional affection, physical attraction, or a familial bond, but to respect, devotion, and affection that leads to willing, self-sacrificial service (John 15:13; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:16-17).
(2) “Joy”: A happiness based on unchanging divine promises and eternal spiritual realities. It is the sense of well-being experienced by one who knows all is well between himself and the Lord (1 Peter 1:8). Joy is not the result of favorable circumstances, and even occurs when those circumstances are the most painful and severe (John 16:20-22). Joy is a gift from God, and as such, believers are not to manufacture it but to delight in the blessing they already possess (Rom. 14:17; Phil. 4:4).
(3) “Peace”: the inner calm that results from confidence in one’s saving relationship with Christ. The verb form denotes binding together and is reflected in the expression “having it all together.” Like joy, peace is not related to one’s circumstances (John 14:27; Rom. 8:28; Phil. 4:6-7, 9).
(4) “Patience”: The ability to endure injuries inflicted by others and the willingness to accept irritating or painful situations (Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 1:15-16).
(5) “Kindness”: Tender concern for others, reflected in a desire to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats all believers (Matt. 11:28-29; 19:13-14; 2 Tim. 2:24).
(6) “Goodness”: Moral and spiritual excellence manifested in active kindness (Rom 5:7). Believers are commanded to exemplify goodness (6:10; 2 Thess. 1:11).
(7) “Faithfulness”: Loyalty and trust-worthiness (Lam. 3:22; Phil. 2:7-9; 1 Thess. 5:24; Rev. 2:10).
The word “fruit” is significant for three reasons.
(1) It means the result, product, outcome, or effect produced by the Spirit in the believer’s life.
(2) Unlike “the gifts of the Spirit” (plural), only some of which are given to a Christian, each believer is to have all nine virtues composing “the fruit of the Spirit (singular).
(3) As fruit on a tree takes time to grow and mature, so the Spirit does not cultivate these virtues in the believer’s life overnight.
Fruit of the Spirit”: In contrast to the works (plural) of the flesh, which any individual is capable of performing, the fruit (singular) of the Holy Spirit can be produced only by God.  
Christian character thus results for “Christ living in me” (2:20). For this fruit to develop, all nine aspects of the fruit of the spirit must mature.
The character of Christ is the fullest manifestation of this fruit in the New Testament. Though Jesus did not recognize the traditions of men, His enemies were unable to prove any charge against Him. So today, Christians should allow the Holy Spirit to develop this character within them, so they might be blameless before others and not hinder the testimony of Christ. (Exodus 35:31; 36:2; Gal. 5:22-23; Phil. 1:6).
Notice the drastic difference in the fruit of the Spirit and the flesh. The fruit of the Spirit is all good. These are the type things that all Christians should have in their life. These seven are examples of all the rest. Everything good in your life is from the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit of God brings these things into the life of the Christian.
I have found that as we walk with the Spirit in control, these grow every day, until one day we look around and they are all active in our life. Be filled, right now, with the Spirit of God.
Galatians 5:23
"Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Meekness” is gentleness, that is, courtesy and consideration in one’s relations with others.
A humble and gentle attitude that is patiently submissive in every offense, while having no desire for revenge or retribution. In the New Testament, it is used to describe 3 attitudes: submission to the will of God (Col 3:12), teachability (James 1:21), and consideration of others (Eph. 4:2).
Temperance” or self control: The ability to harness and control one’s passions and lusts. This refers to restraining passions and appetites (1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Pet. 1:5-6).
No law”: When a Christian walks by the Spirit and manifests His fruit, he needs no external law to produce the attitudes and behavior that please God (Rom. 8:4). As we said earlier, there is no law against all of these good things. We would not even need a police force, if these were active in everyone's lives.
Galatians 5:24
"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
Have crucified the flesh”: One of 4 uses of “crucified” that does not refer to Christ’s crucifixion (2:20; 6:14; Rom. 6:6). Here Paul states that the flesh has been executed, yet the spiritual battle still rages in the believer.
Paul’s use looks back to the cross of Christ, where the death of the flesh and its power to reign over believers was actually accomplished (Rom. 6:1-11). Christians must wait until their glorification before they are finally rid of their unredeemed humanness (Rom. 8:23), yet by walking in the Spirit they can please God in this world.
At conversion every believer “crucified the flesh,” that is, in repentance he turned from and renounced his life of sin and all its wicked passions. This verse, then, implies that the virtues of verses 22-23, rather than the vices of verses 19-21, should characterize them “that are Christ’s.”
Notice who does the crucifying. We must crucify our own flesh. We must get in obedience to the Spirit of God. God will not invade the will of man. Operating in our own free will, we must decide to give the Spirit of God control of our will. The Spirit does not lust, that is the flesh.
If we truly are Christ's, then we have turned everything over to Him. A man cannot have two masters, either the flesh will rule, or the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25
"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
Walk in the Spirit”:
This verse means “Since we live by the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” That is, since the Spirit gave us new life at conversion, we then should stay in step with His leading and promptings throughout life.
What is meant by walking in the Spirit? It means that all of the gifts of the Spirit will be evident in our life. We will no longer have a desire to sin. We will walk in the newness of life that Christ gave us. Our walk should be such that the world around can look at us and see Jesus in us.
Galatians 5:26
"Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
To God be the glory for all things. The glory, spoken of above, is speaking of one person glorying over another. What we are, what we do, and even what we will become, is because the Lord blessed us. We should not build our self up over others.
One of the problems in our society today is that everyone wants what everyone else has, even if they have not worked to get it. Be satisfied with what you have. If you desire more, work for it. Envy of others will not help you. Work hard; ask God to help you better yourself, and then be happy with what you have, whatever it is.

Ephesians Chapter 1 – Part One

In the Greek, verses 3-14 comprise on sentence and encompass the past, present, and future of God’s eternal purpose for the church. It is Paul’s outline of God’s master plan for salvation. In 3-6a, we are shown the past aspect, election; in 6b-11 we are shown the present aspect, redemption; and in 12-14 we are shown the future aspect, inheritance. Within God’s master plan of salvation is every believer who has or will ever trust in God and be saved. As it is sometimes expressed, history is simply the outworking of “His story,” which has already been planned and prewritten in eternity.
This passage can also be divided into three sections, each of which focuses on a different Person of the Trinity. Verses 3-6a center on the Father; verses 6b-12 center on the Son; and verses 13-14 centers on the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:1

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:"
We immediately see a declaration that this letter is from Paul. He explains that his authority to be an apostle is from Jesus Christ. This is written to the church at Ephesus. Paul explains that he is an apostle of Christ. Paul did not choose to be an apostle, God called Paul to this office.
Apostle”, the word means “messenger” and served as an official title for Paul and the 12 disciples which includes Mattias, Acts 1:26, who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus and were chosen by God to lay the foundation for the church by preaching, teaching and writing Scripture, accompanied by miracles (2 Cor. 12:12)
Saints … faithful” designates those who God has set apart from sin to Himself, made holy through their faith in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:2

"Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ."
Just as grace was the key word in Galatians, it is prominent in all of Paul's letters. He does want the blessings and favor of God to fall upon these people.
True peace, just like true grace, comes from the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. From them came the authority with which Paul spoke, v.1, as well as the blessings of grace and peace to all believers. The conjunction “and” indicates equivalence; that is, the Lord Jesus Christ is equally divine with the Father.
Ephesians 1:3

"Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:"
Blessed here means - “worthy of praise.” When God blesses man, He confers benefits upon him; when man blesses God, as Paul does here, he attributes praise to Him “Who hath blessed us” (or, “because He has blessed us”): The apostle, then, praises God because He has bestowed all “spiritual blessings” on His people.
Where are these blessings located? “In heavenly places, that is, in heaven. As the Christian’s citizenship (Phil. 3:20), high priest (Heb. 4:14), hope (Col. 1:5) and inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4) are all “in heaven,” as his treasure (Matt. 6:20-21) and affection (Col. 3:1-2) are to be “in heaven,” so also the Christian’s blessings are “in heaven.” These spiritual benefits were granted to the believer and are retained in heaven for him, being progressively dispersed to him on earth in accord with his need and Christian growth.
When we bless God we speak good of Him. When God blesses us, He communicates good to us. We bless Him with words; He blesses us with deeds. All we can do is to speak well of Him because in ourselves we have nothing good to give, and in Himself He lacks no goodness.
But when He blesses us the situation is reversed. He cannot bless us for our goodness, because we have none. Rather, He blesses us with goodness. Our heavenly Father lavishes us with every goodness, every good gift, every blessing. That is His nature, and that is our need.
In Christ”, or, “by Christ,” that is, the Father has conferred these blessings on the church, but He did not act alone; He hath blessed us in Christ. This verse therefore, makes six points:
1.      Who is the Blessed One? God.
2.      What has God done? He has blessed us.
3.      With what? With every spiritual blessing.
4.      When? In eternity past.
5.      Where are these blessings? In heaven.
6.      How did God do this? By Christ.
In this verse, we see the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our way to the Father is through Jesus Christ, our High Priest. The spiritual blessings for the believer are applied through the Holy Spirit.
Our heavenly Father blesses us with every spiritual blessing. Many Christians continually ask God for what He has already given. The pray for Him to give them more love, although they should know that “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us”, Romans 5:5. They pray for peace, although Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you”, John 14:27
They pray for happiness and joy, although Jesus said, “these things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full”, John 15:11. They ask God for strength, although His Word tells them that they “can do all things through Him who strengthens them”, Philippians 4:13.
God’s divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence, 2 Peter 1:3. It is not that God will give us but that He has already given us “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” He has blessed us already with every spiritual blessing. We are complete in Him.
Perhaps in this third verse here, Paul wants us to see the unity of the Father, Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Christians are in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Christian. He is seated in heavenly places, and we are sitting with Him in heavenly places.
Notice the involvement of them all in the blessings for the believer. Take a look, also, the word "all" in the spiritual blessings.
Ephesians 2:6 "And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"
John 14:20 "At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
Every human effort at self improvement or self satisfaction, no matter what its religious covering may be, is subject to the law of diminishing returns, such as works righteousness that seeks praise and commendation. Genuine and lasting satisfaction is never achieved and increased achievement only brings increased desire.
The only way a person can achieve a true sense of self worth, meaning and significance is to have a right relationship to his Creator. A person without Christ has no spiritual value, no standing before God, no purpose or meaning in the world. He is like “chaff which the wind drives away”, Psalm 1:4.
As James 1:17 puts it: “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights”.
Those who are Christians are members of God’s dominion, unlike the “sons of this age”, Luke 16:8, are able to understand the supernatural things of God, things which the “natural man does not accept” and “cannot understand, because they are spiritually appraised”, 1 Cor. 2:14.
The key to living as a heavenly citizen while living in an unheavenly situation is walking by the Spirit. “Walk by the Spirit,” Paul says, “and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh, Gal. 5:16. When we walk in His power He produces His fruit in us: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control”, verses 22-23. We receive our heavenly blessing by living in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, because we are in Christ.
Ephesians 1:4

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"
Verse 4 to 6b reveals the past part of God’s eternal plan in forming the church, the body of Jesus Christ. His plan is shown is seven elements:
1.      The method, election
2.      The object, the elect
3.      The time, eternity past
4.      The purpose, holiness
5.      The motive, love
6.      The result, son ship
7.      And the god, glory
The bible speaks of three different kinds of election. One is God’s theocratic election of Israel. That election has no bearing on personal salvation. The second is vocational. Such as the Lord called out the tribe of Levi to be His priests, but they were not guaranteed salvation. Or Jesus when He called the twelve men to be apostles but only eleven of them to salvation.
The third kind of election is salvational, the kind of which Paul is speaking in our present text. Jesus said, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”, John 6:44. The Greek word in this, “Helkuo” (draws) carries the idea of an irresistible force and was used in ancient Greek literature of a desperately hungry man being drawn to food or of demonic forces being drawn to animals when they were not able to possess men.
From all eternity, before the foundation of the world and therefore completely apart from any merit or deserving that any person could have, God chose us in Him, “in Christ” (verse 3). By God’s sovereign election, those who are saved were placed in eternal union with Christ before creation even took place.
Although man’s will is not free in the sense that many people suppose, he does have a will, a will that Scripture clearly recognizes. Apart form God, mans will is captive to sin. But he is nevertheless able to choose God because God has made that choice possible. Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16, and that “everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die”, 11:26.
God’s sovereign election and man’s exercise of responsibility in choosing Jesus Christ seem opposite and irreconcilable truths, and from our limited human perspective they are opposite and irreconcilable. That is why so many earnest, well meaning Christians throughout the history of the church has floundered trying to reconcile them.
Since the problem cannot be resolved by our finite minds, the result is always to compromise one truth in favor of the other or to weaken both by trying to take a position somewhere between them. We should let the antimony remain, believing both truths completely and leaving the harmonizing of them to God.
I believe that v.4 is explaining that God {who knows everything for all time}, prepared a plan for the fall of man before He made man. Many call this predestination but I prefer to call it foreknowledge. It is really the omniscient of God. "Omniscient" means knowing all things. It is one of the descriptions of God alone, no human has this attribute.
We do know that the desire of God was to fellowship with us. It is His desire for all to be saved. He even provided a Way for that to be possible in His Son Jesus. Mankind is not holy within itself. We are righteous in Jesus Christ.
He has clothed us in His righteousness. The righteousness that Jesus has clothed us in makes us acceptable in the sight of the Father. We are chosen of God.
I Peter 2:9 "But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:"
You do not read anywhere that God has chosen anyone to be lost. His desire is that all would be saved. We, of our own free will, accept the salvation He offered us, or reject it.
Paul said “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory”, 2 Tim. 1:9. In Acts we are told, “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed”, 13:48.
It is not that God’s sovereign election, or predestination, eliminates man’s choice in faith. Divine sovereignty and human response are integral and inseparable parts of salvation, though exactly how they operate together only the infinite mind of God knows.
Nor is it, as many believe and teach that God simply looks into the future to see which people are going to believe and then elects them to salvation. Taken out of context, Romans 8:29 is often used to support that view. But verse 28 makes it clear that those who God foresees and predestines to salvation are those whom He has already “called according to His purpose.” Any teaching that diminishes the sovereign, electing love of God by giving more credit to men also diminishes God’s glory, thus striking a blow at the very purpose of salvation.
Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
Because we are chosen in Him we are holy and blameless before Him. It is Christ’s eternal and foreordained plan to “present to Him the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But that she should be holy and blameless”, Eph. 5:27.
Obviously Paul is talking about our position and not our practice. We know that in our living we are far from the holy standard and far from being blameless. Yet “in Him,” Paul said in Col. 2:10 “we have been made complete”. All that God is, we become in Jesus Christ. That is why salvation is secure. We have Christ’s perfect righteousness.
Our practice can and does fall short, but our position can never fall short, because it is exactly the same holy and blameless position before God that Christ has. We are as secure as our Savior, because we are in Him, waiting for the full redemption and glorious holiness that awaits us in His presence.
And because God declares us and leads us to be holy and blameless, we should strive to live lives now that reflect the holiness and blamelessness that are our destiny.
The last two words of v.4 (in love) may well belong to verse 5; the link between verb forms in these two verses is expressed in this rendering: “He chose us … in that He lovingly predestined us.” So the divine choice of verse 4 is further defined by the divine predestination of verse 5.
Ephesians 1:5

"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,"
God elects those who are saved because of His love. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons. Just as He chose Israel to be His special people only because of His love (Deut. 7:8), so He also chose the church, the family of the redeemed.
Predestinated means “marked out in advance,” “determined or appointed beforehand.” Prior to creation God appointed those who would believe unto (or, for) the adoption of children; that is, He appointed them to be His sons.
This divine appointment was according to (because of) the good pleasure of his will; it was due not to anything good in us, but due solely to His kindness. These verses stress the divine sovereignty in salvation. Verses 12 and 13 which mention our trust and belief in Christ emphasize the human responsibility in the process.
His plan from the beginning was to make us His adopted children. We see from the beginning, the plan to save the very elect. God did not choose who the very elect would be, He just knew ahead of time those who would choose to follow Him. The plan, all along, was for Jesus Christ to be our Savior.
John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:"
Romans 8:14-17 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together."
God chose and preordained the Body before the foundation of the world in order that no human being could boast or take glory for himself, but that all the glory might be His. Salvation is not partly of God and partly of man, but entirely of God. To guarantee that, every provision and every detail of salvation was accomplished before any human being was ever born or before a planet was formed on which he could be born.
The ultimate reason for everything that exists is the glory of His grace. That is why, as God’s children, Christians should do everything they do, even such mundane things as eating and drinking, to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)
Ephesians 1:6

"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
Jesus Christ is our Redeemer from sin, the Beloved (the word indicates the One who is in the state of being loved by God) who Himself paid the price for our release from sin and death. Because we now belong to Christ, by faith made one with Him and placed in His Body, we are now acceptable to God. Because we are now in the Beloved, we too, are “beloved of God” (Romans 1:7)
The reason God predestined us to be His sons, v.5, is expressed in the words “to the praise of the glory of his grace”, that is, in order to magnify the splendor of His goodness to us.
Wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” may also read, “which (grace) He has bestowed on us by the Beloved.” Through Christ we are the recipients of God’s unmerited favor.
We must admit that it is to His praise, and not ours. Salvation through grace is none of our doing, it is His. "Grace", as we have said before, is unmerited favor. Even the fact that we are acceptable to the Father is because we have taken on the righteousness of Christ. Our righteousness is as filthy rags.
It is His righteousness that puts us in right standing with the Father. The Beloved, here, is Jesus Christ. It is only in Him, that we are acceptable.
Jeremiah 23:6 "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
Ephesians 1:7

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"
Until a person realizes his need for redemption, he sees no need for a Redeemer. Until he recognizes that he is hopelessly enslaved to sin, he will not seek release from it. But when he does, he will be freed from the curse of sin, placed in Christ’s Body, and blessed with His every spiritual blessing.
Redemption referred to the release of a slave or captive upon receipt of ransom. But the following words, the forgiveness of sins, show “redemption” is used here in a moral sense. The primary result of redemption for the believer is forgiveness. Christians are therefore released from their enslavement to sin and the resulting divine wrath.
Redemption is effected for us through his blood, that is, by Christ’s atonement secured by His death on the cross.
On the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament when the blood was carried into the Holy of Holies for the sins of the people, the sins were covered over with the blood. This did not do away with the sin, it only covered it up. It did not clear the conscience of the sinner.
In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, His blood does away with the sin. It blots the sin out. It leaves us free of sin. Jesus' precious blood clears our conscience. He not only takes away our sin, but He gives us His righteousness in return.
We do absolutely nothing, except repent of our sins and have faith in Jesus as our Redeemer. He redeemed us from the curse of the law.
Colossians 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:"
While we were yet in sin, Jesus shed His blood to save us from sin, self, and the devil.
Shedding of blood is a metonym for death, which is the penalty and the price of sin. Christ’s own death, by the shedding of His blood, was the substitute for our death. That which we deserved and could not save ourselves from, the beloved Savior, though He did not deserve it, took upon Him. He made payment for what otherwise would have condemned us to death and hell.
When Jesus comes into our lives as Savior and Lord, He says to us what He said to the woman caught in the act of adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way” (John 8:11). “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:1-2)
Because we continue to sin, we need the continued forgiveness of cleansing; but we do not need the continued forgiveness of redemption. This does not mean we will no longer sin, or that when we do, our sins have no harmful effect. They have a profound effect on our growth, joy, peace, usefulness, and ability to have intimate and rich communion with the Father. Thus the believer is called on to ask for forgiveness daily so that he may enjoy not just the general forgiveness of redemption, but the specific forgiveness of daily cleansing, which brings fellowship and usefulness to their maximum.
Because God accepts every believer as He accepts His own Son, every believer ought to accept himself in the same way. We do not accept ourselves for what we are in ourselves any more than God accepts us for that reason. We accept ourselves as forgiven and as righteous because that is what God Himself declares us to be. To think otherwise is not a sign of humility but of arrogance, because to think otherwise is to put our own judgment above God’s Word and to belittle the redemption price paid for us by His own beloved Son. A Christian who denigrates himself and doubts full forgiveness denies the work of God and denigrates a child of God. If we matter to God, we certainly ought to matter to ourselves.
According to the riches of His grace”: We need never worry that our sin will outstrip God’s gracious forgiveness. “Where sin increased,” Paul assures us, “grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20). Our heavenly Father does not simply give us subsistence forgiveness that will barely cover our sins if we are careful not to overdo. We cannot sin beyond God’s grace, because as wicked and extensive as our sins might be or become, they will never approach the greatness of His grace. His forgiveness is infinite, and He lavishes it without measure upon those who trust in His Son. We therefore not only can enjoy future glory with God but present fellowship with Him as well.
Ephesians 1:8

"Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;"
This verse could be rendered, “He lavished upon us this grace which consists in all sorts of wisdom and prudence (or, insight). The word wisdom refers to a knowledge of the true nature of things; prudence has to do with the practical application of this wisdom leading to the right course of action. But the specific “wisdom and prudence” Paul has in view here concerns a future aspect of God’s will as delineated in verses 9 and 10.
God not only forgives us, but also gives us all the necessary equipment to understand Him and to walk through the world day by day in a way that reflects His will and is pleasing to Him. He generously gives us the wherewithal both to understand His Word and to know how to obey it.
When God takes away sin, He does not leave us in a spiritual, moral, and mental vacuum where we must then work things out for ourselves. He lavishes wisdom and insight on us according to the riches of His grace just as He lavishes forgiveness on us according to those riches.
Ephesians 1:9

"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:"
This verse more precisely identifies that “wisdom and prudence”, v.8, God lavished on us. This “wisdom and prudence” has to do with God’s making known unto us the mystery of his will.
Mystery” here refers to a divine truth that is incapable of being discovered by human ingenuity and that, until recently has been kept secret. Why did God disclose this mystery to us? It was according to (because of) his good pleasure which he hath purposed (planned) in him.
The mystery is how a just God of law could ever justify a sinner, such as you and me. He revealed to us the plan. It is up to us to act upon it. The word "according" here, tells us a lot. With man's reasoning, there would have been no reason for God to give His Son on the cross that we might live.
He did it not because it was the logical thing by our reasoning to do it, but because it brought Him pleasure for us to be saved. Notice, also, that this was not someone else's plan, it was His plan. It was not on advice from others, but was His plan from the foundation of the world. All of this is true, because God willed it.
Why has God done so much for us? Why has He blessed us with every spiritual blessing, chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, made us holy and blameless, predestined us to adoption as His children, redeemed us through His blood, and lavishly given us forgiveness, wisdom and insight according to the infinite riches of His grace?
Ephesians 1:10

"That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:"
God redeems men in order that He might gather everything to Himself. The time of that gathering will be the millennial kingdom, which will be an administration suitable to the fullness of the times. When the completion of history comes, the kingdom arrives, eternity begins again, and the new heaven and new earth are established, there will be a summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. Jesus Christ is the goal of history, which finds its resolution in Him. The paradise lost in Adam is restored in Christ.
This verse refers back to God’s “good pleasure”, v.9. Verse 10 is made plainer by the paraphrase, “for the purpose of executing it (i.e. God’s good pleasure) in the fullness of times and His good pleasure is to head up all things in Christ, things in heaven, and things on earth.”
In the near future, when the time is ripe, God will put His good purpose into effect and carry it out. And His “good pleasure” or intention is the restoration of original universal unity, when all things are brought back into harmony with Himself and under the headship of Christ.
We are all one in Christ, whether we are Jew or Greek, whether we are male or female.
Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
In man's scheme of things, this would be impossibility. In God's plan, it is not only possible, but will happen.
Acts 17:28 "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."
1 John 4:9 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” We Christians are His church, we are His bride and we are His building.
He is the head of the church, we are the body. He is the chief Cornerstone, and we are the lively stones which are held together by Him. We are, also, His inheritance. He is Creator God, we belong to Him. We are His creation.
Read the first chapter of John to know that not anything was made without Him. The heavens are His and the earth, as well. At the name of Jesus all will bow.
Philippians 2:10-11 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;" "And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
The summing up of “All things in Christ”: He designed His great plan in the ages past; He now sovereignly works it out according to His divine will; and in the fullness of the times He will complete and perfect it in His Son, in whom it will forever operate in righteous harmony and glorious newness along with all things in the heavens and things upon the earth.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Galatians Chapter 5 Part One

Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
Free”: Deliverance from the curse that the law pronounces on the sinner who has been striving unsuccessfully to achieve his own righteousness (3:13, 22-26; 4:1-7), but who has now embraced Christ and the salvation granted to him by grace.
Stand fast therefore”: Stay where you are, Paul asserts, because of the benefit of being free from law and the flesh as a way of salvation and the fullness of blessing by grace.
The verse could be rendered: “For freedom Christ freed us. Therefore stand fast and do not again be subject to a yoke of bondage.” The “freedom” in view is freedom from the law, here called “a yoke of bondage.” Paul wants the Galatians to “stand fast,” that is, retain their spiritual freedom.
Yoke of bondage”: “Yoke” refers to the apparatus used to control a domesticated animal. The Jews thought of the “yoke of the law” as a good thing, the essence of true religion. Paul argued that for those who pursued it as a way of salvation, the law was a yoke of slavery.
We are to stand up for God and continually stand in the salvation the Lord provided for us. We are no longer under the bondage of the law; we are free to serve the Lord.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
A person, who had just been set free, would never choose to go back into bondage, if they were thinking clearly.
Galatians 5:2 "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing."
If ye be circumcised”: Circumcision was the external ritual symbolizing acceptance of the law (verse 3). In such a case, one depended on legal works rather than on God’s grace as the means of salvation. “Christ,” then, “shall profit you nothing.”
Paul had no objection to circumcision itself (Acts 16:1-3; Phil. 3:5). But he objected to the notion that it had some spiritual benefit or merit with God and was a prerequisite or necessary component of salvation.
Circumcision had meaning in Israel when it was a physical symbol of a cleansed heart (Deut. 30:6; Jer. 4:4; 9:24-26) and served as a reminder of God’s covenant of salvation promise (Gen. 17:9-10).
Christ shall profit you nothing”: The atoning sacrifice of Christ cannot benefit anyone who trusts in law and ceremony for salvation.
It appears that these Galatians believed if they were circumcised, that would somehow put them in better standing with the Lord. It is as if they believe this to be like baptism. Circumcision and sacrifices are almost as if they are saying that the shed blood of Jesus is not enough.
Hebrews 9:12-14 "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]." "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:" "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
You can see that there was nothing left for us to do, Jesus did it all for us.
Galatians 5:3 "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law."
He is a debtor to do the whole law”: God’s standard is perfect righteousness, thus a failure to keep only one part of the law falls short of the standard (see note on 3:10).
Circumcising is recognition of the law. To recognize the law in this manner would be to deny the power of grace in Jesus Christ. If you go back to the law to make you perfect in the sight of the law, then you are under the covenant of the law, and not under the covenant of grace.
Galatians 5:4 "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
Christ is become no effect … fallen from grace”: The Greek word for “severed” (no effect), means “to be separated”, or “to be estranged.” The word for “fallen” means “to lose one’s grasp on something.” Paul’s clear meaning is that any attempt to be justified by the law is to reject salvation by grace alone through faith alone.
Those once exposed to the gracious truth of the gospel, who then turn their backs on Christ (Heb. 6:4-6) and seek to be justified by the law are separated from Christ and lose all prospects of God’s gracious salvation. Their desertion of Christ and the gospel only proves that their faith was never genuine (Luke 8:13-14; 1 John 2:19).
Justified”: Through Faith.
This verse could be translated: “You will be severed from Christ, if you try to be justified by law; you will forfeit the favor in God’s eyes which Christ won for you.” This does not teach the loss of salvation which one earlier possessed.
Rather it means that if the readers truly renounce grace through faith alone as the way of salvation, if they depend on legalism to secure divine favor, then they show that they never really knew God’s grace in the first place.
You have decided to look for salvation in another, if you go back to the law. Grace is actually a freeing of yourself, but a freeing from the law, as well. Wherever you put your trust, is what you are depending on to save you. This would be turning away from Christ as your Justifier, and looking to the law for justification.
Galatians 5:5 "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."
Though the Spirit … hope of righteousness”: means that by the Holy Spirit’s help, which is obtained “by faith,” believers “wait for the hope of righteousness,” that is, live the Christian life awaiting the consummation of their salvation.
Christians already possess the imputed righteousness of Christ, but they still await the completed and perfected righteousness that is yet to come at glorification (Rom. 8:18, 21).
Christians are not like the rest of the world who have no hope. We have hope of the resurrection. Our hope is in Christ Jesus. He is our blessed Hope. Our righteousness is His righteousness that He clothed us in.
Colossians 1:27 "To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"
Galatians 5:6 "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
For” justifies the importance given faith in verse 5. In Christianity one does not profit spiritually either by being circumcised or uncircumcised. “Faith which worketh by love” means “faith that is produced by love.” Faith is a man’s response to God who loves him, and this divine love that produces faith results in his justification.
Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision”: 6:15. Nothing done or not done in the flesh, even religious ceremony, makes any difference in one’s relationship to God. What is external is immaterial and worthless, unless it reflects genuine internal righteousness (Rom. 2:25-29).
Circumcision is of the flesh. This, then, makes no difference either way, because Christianity is of the spirit. Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ.
Faith which worketh by love”: Saving faith proves its genuine character by works of love. The person who lives by faith is internally motivated by love for God and Christ (Matt. 22:37-40), which supernaturally issues forth in reverent worship, genuine obedience, and self-sacrificing love for others.
Romans 2:28-29 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:" "But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God."
We see in all of this that Christianity has very little to do with the flesh. The only thing it does have to do with it is that we must cut away the flesh that the spirit might live. For us to be in a position that we desire to be with Christ, we must crucify our flesh and live in the spirit.
Galatians 5:7 "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?"
Ye did run well” shows that the Galatians were making good progress spiritually. But the Judaizers “did hinder” them with a false gospel, so that now the readers do “not obey the truth.”
Paul compares the Galatians’ life of faith with a race, a figure he used frequently (2:2; Rom. 9:16; 1 Cor. 9:24). They had a good beginning – they had received the gospel message by faith and had begun to live their Christian lives by faith as well.
Obey the truth”: See note on 1 Pet. 1:22. A reference to believers’ true way of living, including both their response to the true gospel in salvation (Acts 6:7; Rom. 2:8; 6:17; 2 Thess. 1:8), and their consequent response to obey the Word of God in sanctification.
Paul wrote more about salvation and sanctification being a matter of obedience in Rom. 1:5; 6:16-17; 16:26. The legalistic influence of the Judaizers prevented the unsaved from responding in faith to the gospel of grace and true believers from living by faith.
Paul is telling them that they started out correctly. They were running the race of life well. Now they have listened to those who would come in and destroy. We must apply the blood of Jesus to our ear, so only things of God will be heard in our inner mind. We should not listen to others, and let them sway us. We should be thoroughly convinced, and never waver in our belief.
Galatians 5:8 "This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you."
This persuasion”: Salvation by works. God does not promote legalism. Any doctrine that claims His gracious work is insufficient to save is false. This refers to the pressure tactics the heretics used to persuade the Galatians to embrace legalism.
They have listened to another doctrine other than what Paul had brought. The Lord God of heaven called you, stay with Him. God did not send the message to get back under the bondage of the law.
Galatians 5:9 "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
A little leaven” [false doctrine] “leaveneth” [permeates, corrupts] “the whole lump” (church). A common axiomatic saying (1 Cor. 5:6) regarding the influence of yeast in dough. Leaven is often used in Scripture to denote sin (Matt. 16:6, 12).
This is the same thing as saying; one rotten apple will ruin the whole barrel, if it is not removed. Leaven is sin. It is a sin to doubt the message of grace. Anything that displeases God is sin. Faith is the only thing that pleases God. It seems that some of these people in the church were listening to the Judaizers.
Galatians 5:10 "I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be."
Confidence in you”: Paul expresses encouraging assurance that the Lord will be faithful to keep His own from falling into gross heresy. See John 6:39-40; 10:28-29; Rom. 8:31-39; Phil. 1:6-7. They will persevere and be preserved (Jude 24).
Judgment”: All false teachers will incur strict and devastating eternal condemnation.
Paul believes that the Galatians will retain the true gospel and not be completely persuaded by the heretics.
It is a very dangerous thing to teach anything but the pure gospel message. Paul says; I know you will consider this and make the right decision. He knows, if they have time to consider what he is telling them, they will not accept going back into the law. Grace is too good to trade it for law.
Galatians 5:11 "And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased."
If I yet preach circumcision”: Apparently the Judaizers had falsely claimed that Paul agreed with their teaching. But he makes the point that if he was preaching circumcision as necessary for salvation, why were the Judaizers persecuting him instead of supporting him?
Paul is evidently refuting the accusation that he “yet” (still) preaches a gospel of circumcision, as formerly in Judaism. But, he counters, the very fact that I do “yet suffer persecution” proves that is not the case; for Judaizers would commend, not persecute, him for preaching their gospel.
Offence” (stumbling block). The Greek word for “stumbling block” can mean “trap”, “snare,” or “offense.” Any offer of salvation that strips man of the opportunity to earn it by his own merit breeds opposition (Rom. 9:33).
One of the reasons they had difficulty with what Paul was saying, is the fact that he circumcised Timothy to appease the Jews. Paul had not circumcised Timothy, so that Timothy would be in better standing with God. He had done it, because the group of people Timothy would be ministering to were Jews, and they would not have let Timothy preach.
Acts 16:3 "Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek."
Paul did not believe in circumcising Christians. Paul's major persecution had come from the Jews. They even followed Paul from town to town and caused people to rise up against him, because he taught that Jesus Christ was the Jewish Messiah.
Paul suffered with Christ. Paul really counted it as gain to be persecuted bringing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The teaching of the cross was an offense to the Jews.
Galatians 5:12 "I would they were even cut off which trouble you."
The Greek word used here is “Mutilate”, and was often used of castration, such as in the cult of Cybele, whose priests were self-made eunuchs. Paul’s ironic point is that since the Judaizers were as insistent on circumcision as a means of pleasing God, they should go to the extreme of religious devotion and mutilate themselves.
The verse may mean, “I wish those troubling you would have them castrated.”
Paul was aware that those who were trying to put them back under the law, were there to destroy their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The best thing would be for these Judaizers to get out of the church, but it was highly unlikely that would happen.
Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
For an occasion to the flesh”: The Greek word for “occasion” (or opportunity) was often used to refer to a central base of military operations (Rom. 7:8). In the context, “flesh” refers to the sinful inclinations of fallen man (see note on Rom 7:5). The freedom Christians have is not a base from which they can sin freely and without consequence.
Serve one another”: Christian freedom is not for selfish fulfillment, but for serving others. Rom. 14:1-15.
Having shown freedom from the law to be proper protection against legalism (verses 1-12), Paul now demonstrates it to be a proper antidote against unrestrained license to sin (verses 13-26).
Believers are not to abuse their “liberty” from the law “for an occasion” [opportunity] “to the flesh” (sinful nature). That is, don’t think freedom from the law means you can indulge in sin; it means instead that you are free to serve God by serving “one another.”
Our salvation is a free gift from God. He washed our sins away. When we become a Christian, we no longer serve sin.
Romans 6:18 "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."
What this is really saying is that our flesh controlled our will until we became Christians. Now our spirit (filled with Jesus) controls our will. If we are true Christians, it is Jesus in us who controls our will. We are no longer flesh, we are spirit. Just because we are forgiven, does not give us a license to sin.
Romans 6:19-22 "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." "For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness." "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things [is] death." "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
You see, we have been set free to live in Christ Jesus.