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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Galatians Chapter 4 Part One


Verses 1-7: Paul expands on the analogy of a child’s coming of age (3:24-26), contrasting believers’ lives before salvation (as children and servants), with their lives after salvation (as adults and sons). Both Paul’s Jewish and Gentile readers readily understood this imagery, since the Jews, Greeks, and Romans all had a ceremony to mark a child’s coming of age.
Paul uses the Roman practice of tutela impuberis, “guardianship for a minor,” to illustrate man’s temporary subjection to the law. A Roman father appointed guardians to manage his child’s affairs until 25 years of age, at which time the heir came of age. Similarly, man’s earlier period of spiritual immaturity under the law is contrasted with the Christian’s new freedom of adult Sonship in Christ.
Galatians 4:1 "Now I say, [That] the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;"
Child”: The Greek word refers to a child too young to talk; a minor, spiritually and intellectually immature and not ready for the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood.
We see in this, that Paul is still speaking of the same things that he did in chapter 3, but with a slightly different slant. Some servants were entrusted with the wealth of the family. This was the case with Abraham. His trusted servant was even sent to bring a wife for Isaac.
A small child will inherit his father's fortune, if the father dies. When he is small, he is not capable of handling the affairs. In a case such as this the trusted servant would care for the inheritance for the child, until he became of age. It may all belong to him, but he cannot take possession, until he is more mature.
The child must be in obedience to his father the same as the servant, until he is of age.
Galatians 4:2 "But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father."
Tutors and governors” or “Guardians and managers”. “Guardians” were slaves entrusted with the care of underage boy, while “managers” managed their property for them until they came of age. Along with the tutor (3:24), they had almost compete charge of the child – so that, for all practical purposes, a child under their care did not differ from a slave.
This is reverting back to the schoolmaster in the chapter before. A brand new Christian cannot really handle his own affairs, until he is schooled in God's ways. It is really not for us to decide when we are ready to be released from training. Only God knows when we can begin to teach, instead of being taught.
Galatians 4:3 "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:"
When we were children … in bondage”: Before our “coming of age” when we came to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Elements of the world”: “Elemental” is from a Greek word meaning “row,’ or “rank,” and was used to speak of basic, foundational things like the letters of the alphabet. In light of its use in verse 9, it is best to see it here as a reference to the basic elements and rituals of human religion.
Paul describes both Jewish and Gentile religions as elemental because they are merely human, never rising to the level of the divine. Both Jewish religion and Gentile religion centered on man-made systems of works.
They were filled with laws and ceremonies to be performed so as to achieve divine acceptance. All such rudimentary elements are immature, like behaviors of children under bondage to a guardian.
We … were in bondage under” means “we … were subject to.”
The elements of the world” refers to elementary religious teachings and practices. For the Jew it was the law. For the Gentile it was the truths of the law written in his heart (Rom. 2:14-15). Before Christ man was, as it was, spiritually immature. Therefore, he was subject to the rudimentary teaching of the law.
The battle raging for a Christian is the battle between the flesh and the spirit. When we are first saved, habits still call out to our flesh, and put us under bondage of the desires of our flesh. As we grow in the Lord, our spirit becomes stronger and takes over control. When the spirit reigns, sin no longer has us under bondage. We overcome the world and the flesh, and live for Jesus.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,"
The fullness of the time” In God’s timetable, when the exact religious, cultural and political conditions demanded by His perfect plan were in place, Jesus came into the world. This corresponds to “the time appointed of [by] the father” in 4:2.
God sent forth his Son”: As a father set the time for the ceremony of his son be coming of age and being released from the guardians, mangers and tutors, so God sent His Son at the precise moment to bring all who believe out from under bondage to the law – a truth Jesus repeatedly affirmed (John 5:30, 36-37; 6:39, 44, 57; 8:16, 18, 42; 12:49; 17:21, 25; 20:21).
That the Father sent Jesus into the world teaches His pre-existence as the eternal second member of the Trinity. See notes on Phil. 2:6-7; Heb. 1:3-5; Rom. 8:3-4.
Made of a woman” (or, “born of a woman”): This emphasizes Jesus’ full humanity, not merely His virgin birth (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:20-25). Jesus had to be fully God for His sacrifice to be of the infinite worth needed to atone for sin. But, He also had to be fully man so He could take upon Himself the penalty of sin as the substitute for man. See Luke 1:32, 35; John 1:1, 14, 18.
Under the law”: Like all men, Jesus was obligated to obey God’s law. Unlike anyone else, however, He perfectly obeyed that law (John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:54). His sinlessness made Him the unblemished sacrifice for sins, who perfectly obey God in everything. That perfect righteousness is what is imputed to those who believe in Him.
This stresses Jesus’ humiliation at leaving His pre-existent glory and becoming man; without having done so He could not have died for our sins. “Made under the law’ (or, “born subject to the law”): He was born a Jew under the law in order to free those under the curse of the law (4:5).
In heaven, Jesus was the Word of God. At a time appointed of the Father, the Son of God was sent to this earth in the form of man to save His people. The Holy Spirit hovered over Mary, and she conceived of the Spirit of God. The flesh of the Lord Jesus was as a man. It was a flesh body. It (the body of Jesus) was made under the law.
Mary was a natural woman. The body of Jesus was natural man. The Spirit, within that body, was God the Son, or God the Word. Jesus was made of the woman and not of man. In Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 this had been promised.
Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
The Father of Jesus was not Joseph. The Father of Jesus was God. This plan had been made from the foundation of the world.
Galatians 4:5 "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
Redeem”: From the law.
Them … under the law”: Guilty sinners who are under the law’s demands and its curses and in need of a savior.
The adoption of sons”: “Adoption” is the act of bringing someone who is the off-spring of another into one’s own family Since unregenerate people are by nature children of the devil the only way they can become God’s children is by spiritual adoption (Rom. 8:15, 23; Eph. 1:5).
The Greek word huiotes would have denoted Sonship by birth. But the word rendered “adoption of sons” is huiothesia, which means Sonship conferred. Through Christ believers have become God’s sons by adoption.
The reason that all must be redeemed from the law is the fact that by the law all are condemned to die. The law brings death.
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Every Christian has been redeemed by Jesus Christ with His precious blood and been adopted into the family of God. We are the adopted sons of the Father, if we accept Jesus as our Savior Redeemer.
Galatians 4:6 "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
Because ye are sons:” Every child of God was divinely given the Holy Spirit the moment he was adopted by God. “Abba” is an Aramaic domestic term by which the father was called in the affectionate intimacy of the family. It corresponds to our “daddy” or “papa.” The Spirit gives us awareness that God is our Father.
Abba”; An Aramaic term of endearment, used by young children to speak to their fathers; it is the equivalent of the word “Daddy”.
Spirit of his Son”: It is the Holy Spirit’s work to confirm to believers their adoption as God’s children. Assurance of salvation is a gracious work of the Holy Spirit and does not come from any human source.
Only Jesus and Jesus' followers can call the Father Abba. It is actually the Spirit of Jesus within us that cries out Abba. The Holy Spirit within us reveals the fact to us of our sonship. This Spirit of the Risen Christ within us opens our understanding to this.
Galatians 4:7 "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
Thou art no more a servant” is Paul’s way of concluding that the believer is no longer under law. He is instead” a son,” that is, a full-grown adult son who does not need the law’s elementary instruction and guidance.
Our inheritance is in Christ and we are His inheritance as well.
1 Peter 1:4 "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,"

We must not lose sight of the fact that Paul is explaining to these Galatians the benefits of the grace of God over the law. The Judaizers were trying to put them back under the law. Christians receive sonship through the Spirit of Christ within them.
Verses 8-11: While salvation is the free gift of God (Rom. 5:15-16, 18; 6:23; Eph. 2:8), it brings with it serious responsibility (Luke 12:48). God requires believers to live a holy life because they are children of a holy God and desire to love and worship Him (Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:15-18).
That obligation was to the unchanging moral and spiritual principles that forever reflect the nature of God; however, it did not include the rituals and ceremonies unique to Israel under Mosaic Law as the Judaizers falsely claimed.
Galatians 4:8 "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods."
When ye knew not God”: Before coming to saving faith in Christ, no unsaved person knows God. Eph. 4:17-19; 2 Cor. 4:3-6.
By nature are no gods”: The Greco-Roman pantheon of non-existent deities the Galatians had imagined they worshiped before their conversion (Rom 1:23; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 10:19-20; 12:2; 1 Thess. 1:9).
Howbeit then” means “although at an earlier time” and refers to the Galatians’ pre-Christian, pagan past. They “did service” to, or served, false gods.
Many of the Galatians had been heathen people, before they received Christ as their Savior. They truly had not known what, or whom to worship, until they received the Truth through Jesus Christ.
The creation of God is not to be worshipped. Anything that you can see with your natural eye is not God. The things of nature can glorify God, but they are not God and should not be worshipped. They worshipped things which really were not God.
Galatians 4:9 " But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"
Are known of God”: We can know God only because He first knew us, just as we choose Him only because He first chose us (John 6:44; 15:16), and we love him only because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Turn ye again”:
Weak … beggarly elements … again … bondage”:  
But now” refers to the recipients’ Christian present. The question raised by “how” contains a prohibition, by which Paul says, in effect, “Don’t you dare turn again to the weak and beggarly elements!” (i.e. the law).
As unbelievers the Gentile Galatians were formerly under law in that its truths were written in their consciences (Rom. 2:14-15). The law (“elements”) is describes as “weak” because it cannot save, and it is depicted as “beggarly” (poor) because, as a system, it is inferior to the New Covenant.
Paul is speaking directly to the Christians in Galatia now. We will never really know God in the fullest sense, until we are in heaven with Him. He knows us though. How can they even think of turning away from the freedom they know in Christianity and go back to the bondage of the law?
Galatians 4:10 "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years."
Days … years”: The rituals, ceremonies and festivals of the Jewish religious calendar which God had given, but were never required for the church. Paul warns the Galatians, as he did the Colossians (see notes on Rom. 14:1-6; Col. 2:16-17), against legalistically observing them as if they were required by God or could earn favor with Him.
The Galatians were beginning to “observe” that part of the law least repugnant to them – the calendar: “days” (Sabbath, fast, and feast days), “months” (new moons or feast days beginning with each month); “times” (Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles); and “years” (sabbatical years, and the Year of Jubilee).
This was very much a part of the law. This observance of days had to do with the Sabbath and with the feast of the law. There are some religions today that are doing like these people in Galatia were doing. On one hand they wanted the benefits of Christianity, but they were very much caught up in the law.
This is one of the reasons the Christians celebrate Sunday instead of Saturday for their holy day. The Christians are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. The others are living in the law.
Galatians 4:11 "I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."
Labor … in vain”: Paul feared that his effort in establishing and building the Galatian churches might prove to be futile if they fell back into legalism (3:4; 1 Thess. 3:5).
In vain” means “without saving result.” Should the Galatians completely embrace the law and the Judaizers’ message of salvation by works; it would show their profession of faith in Paul’s gospel to have been merely outward and not real.
Paul is feeling as if they have forgotten everything he taught them. To observe all of the law would be to say that Jesus' sacrifice was not sufficient to fulfill all of the law. Paul says, perhaps, I have wasted my time on you.
Verses 12-20: Having sternly rebuked the Galatians, Paul changes his approach and makes an appeal based on his strong affection for them.
Galatians 4:12 "Brethren, I beseech you, be as I [am]; for I [am] as ye [are]: ye have not injured me at all."
As I am, for I am as ye are”: Paul had been a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, trusting in his own righteousness to save him (Phil. 3:4-6). But when he came to Christ, he abandoned all efforts to save himself, trusting wholly in God’s grace (Phil. 3:7-9). He urged the Galatians to follow his example and avoid the legalism of the Judaizers.
Be as I am” is an appeal to the readers to be free from the law as Paul is. “I am as ye are” signifies that Paul, though a Jew, regards himself as free from the law’s bondage in the same way that the non-Jewish Galatians are.
Ye have not injured me at all”: means Paul’s severe language of verses 8-11 is not due to their offending him. To the apostle this remark serves as a motivating factor for the Galatians: “Since you have not previously injured me, do not do so now by refusing my request of verse 9.”
Though the Jews persecuted him when he first went to Galatia, the Galatian believers had not harmed Paul, but had enthusiastically received him when he preached the gospel to them. (Acts 13:42-50; 14:19). How, he asked, could they reject him now?
Paul had to face this very thing himself. He had been taught from his youth the law. He had even observed some of the same things he is speaking against here. Paul says, look, I have overcome that. Paul realizes that you cannot practice the law and grace at the same time. We must choose between the two.
Paul is trying to make them understand that everything was taken care of in Jesus Christ. They had not caused him to fall away from grace.
Romans 8:38-39 "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come," "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Galatians 4:13 "Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first."
Infirmity of the flesh”: Some think the illness Paul refers to was malaria, possibly contracted in the coastal lowlands of Pamphylia. That could explain why Paul and Barnabas apparently did not preach at Perga, a city in Pamphylia (Acts 13:13-14).
Through infirmity of the flesh” means “because of bodily illness.” Evidently physical sickness led to Paul’s earlier ministry among the Galatians. Perhaps he had not planned to evangelize Galatia, but illness altered his itinerary, thus leading him there.
The cooler and healthier weather in Galatia and especially at Pisidian Antioch (3,600 feet above sea level), where Paul went when he left Perga, would have brought some relief to the fever caused by malaria. Although malaria is a serious, debilitating disease, its attacks are not continuous; Paul could have ministered between bouts with fever.
We know that Paul had an infirmity of the flesh. He did stay with them for a while and preach, in spite of his infirmity. "Infirmity", in the verse above, means feebleness of body or mind. It could, also, mean malady, frailty, disease, sickness, or weakness. It was an effort on Paul's part to bring them the message.
Galatians 4:14 "And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, [even] as Christ Jesus."
Received me” The Galatians welcomed Paul in spite of his illness, which in no way was a barrier to his credibility or acceptance.
Christ Jesus”: Lord and Savior.
In contrast to any supposed Galatian mistreatment of Paul (verse 12), this verse reveals how well they treated him. “My temptation which was in my flesh” might be paraphrased, “that which tried you in my body.” Paul’s physical ailment (verse 13) may have been repulsive to the Galatians who viewed it.
Nevertheless they “despised not, nor rejected” him because of this illness, but accepted him “as an angel of God.” Paul’s statement implies the question: “Having treated me so well when physically offensive, will you now mistreat me by embracing a false gospel?”
Whatever the problem that Paul had, did not cause these people to reject hearing the message of the gospel to them. There are all sorts of speculation as to what the problem was, I will not add to that confusion by guessing. If we were supposed to know, the Lord would tell us. They had overlooked the infirmity and received him as a ministering spirit from the Lord.
If we minister the way God would have us to, we do not speak of ourselves. We allow the Lord Jesus to minister through us. This was the case with Paul. Paul opened his mouth and the Lord Jesus Christ spoke through him to the people. The people accepted the message, knowing that Christ was speaking through Paul.
Galatians 4:15 "Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if [it had been] possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me."
Blessedness” means here “gratefulness.” It indicates that the Galatians considered themselves fortunate for having been under Paul’s earlier ministry. They were so grateful that they would have given him their own eyes had it been possible. The apostle’s question implies that the Galatians, vacillating between grace and law, may no longer be grateful for his previous ministry.
Blessing can also be translated “happiness,” or “satisfaction.” Paul points out that the Galatians had been happy and content with his gospel preaching (Acts 13:48) and wonders why they had turned against him.
Plucked out your own eyes”: This may be a figure of speech (Matt. 5:29; 18:9), or an indication that Paul’s bodily illness had somehow affected his eyes (6:11). In either case, it reflects the great love the Galatians had initially expressed for the apostle.
Paul is disturbed, because they had turned away from that first message they had so readily accepted. He says, you believed every word I said and you would have done anything to help me. Why have you changed your mind about the gospel of Christ? Paul is trying to explain to them that Truth never changes. Where did your love for the message I brought go?
Galatians 4:16 "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?"
Your enemy”: The Galatians had become so confused that, in spite of their previous affection for Paul, some had come to regard him as their enemy. The apostle reminds them that he had not harmed them, but merely told them the truth – a truth that had once brought them great joy.
This verse contrasts the Galatians’ previous and current attitudes toward Paul. They used to esteem him highly (verse 14-15); but now, as the Judaizers turn the readers’ affection from Paul, they are beginning to regard him as an opponent because he speaks “the truth” of the gospel, pointing out their erroneous ways.
The problem is that while Paul was away, the enemy crept in. Paul had brought the Truth, but while he was away, they began to believe a lie. They had even turned against Paul, because he is telling them the Truth. Paul loves them and wants to be their friend, but more than that, he wants them to accept the Truth.

2 Corinthians Chapter 12


2 Corinthians 12:1
"Expedient" probably means profitable in the verse above.
"Revelations", in the verse above, means disclosure. Paul now proceeds to tell them of the revelations of God to him. Jesus revealed himself to Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul is apologizing for boasting, saying it is really of no use.
Though it was “not expedient,” since it could tempt his own flesh to be proud, the Corinthians’ fascination with the alleged visions and revelations of the false apostles left him little choice.
Six of Paul’s visions are recorded in Acts, and his letters speak of revelations he had received.
Acts 9:12 “And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight.”
Acts 16:9-10 “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” “And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.”
Acts 18:9 “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:”
Acts 22:17-18 “And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;” “And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.”
Acts 27:23-24 “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,” “Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.”
"Visions" means presentation while neither sleeping nor awake. You might be awake, but not aware of other things around you. The Lord revealed Himself to Paul in this manner.
2 Corinthians 12:2
Of course, Paul is speaking of himself. Paul was truly "in Christ" as most Christians can only dream of.
This had taken place 14 years before the writing of 2 Corinthians so the specific vision Paul relates cannot be identified with any incident recorded in Acts. Probably took place between his return to Tarsus from Jerusalem and the start of his missionary journeys.
Verse 4 shows this “third heaven” and Paradise is the same place. The first heaven is the earth’s atmosphere; the second is interplanetary and interstellar space; and the third is the abode of God.
Whether Paul had a vision, or was carried away into heaven to the presence of God, really does not matter. What does matter is that Paul had a close encounter with God. There are very few instances like this in the Bible.
2 Corinthians 12:3
Paul is saying that he could have left his body and gone to heaven in his spirit. He is not sure whether his spirit body went to heaven, or whether his physical body went to heaven as he was so overwhelmed by the vision.
Paul is not trying to speculate. He says God alone knows.
2 Corinthians 12:4
We mentioned in a previous lesson, that Paradise is where the Tree of Life is.
Revelation 2:7 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
If the words are unlawful for man to utter, there would be no way we could know what they were. More than likely these words were for Paul alone and he was forbidden to repeat them.
2 Corinthians 12:5
There would be no way to prove to anyone on the earth that this had really happened to you, so there is no way to glory in this. Also, Paul had nothing to do with this; God took Paul on this journey. The glory, then, must lie in his infirmities.
Though Paul’s reluctance to boast caused him to refer to himself in the third person as in verse 2, the context there makes it obvious that he was speaking about himself as relating the experience of another man would hardly have enhanced Paul’s apostolic credentials. Also, Paul’s thorn in the flesh afflicted him not someone else.
2 Corinthians 12:6
Paul says, there is no need to think of him highly for this happening. Paul, again, turns their attention to the truth of the gospel he has brought to them.
If he had wished to boast about himself about this unique experience he would not be a fool because it really happened. But he refrained because he wanted the Corinthians to judge him based on their observations of his ministry, not on his visions.

2 Corinthians 12:7
If you were to look up the meaning of this messenger of Satan, you would find that it means an angel of Satan. This is just more evidence to me that the "demons", devil spirits working for Satan are the fallen angels. We can see in this that God does not always heal. Sometimes the impairment we have is for our own good.
Many have speculated on the thorn in Paul's flesh. Suggested views are (1) Temptations from the Devil (2) Paul’s opposition from his adversaries (3) Some intense bodily pain (4) a recurring physical affliction such as eye trouble, or (5) Some form of mental or psychological distress. Whatever the case, it was a tool of Satan.
Whatever it was, it was sent to him by God to keep him humble. As with Job, Satan was the immediate cause, but God was the ultimate cause.
John MacArthur has an interesting take on this as he states that Paul’s use of the word “messenger” (Greek: angellos, or angel) from Satan suggests the “thorn in the flesh” was a demonized person, not a physical illness. Of the 175 uses of the Greek word, angellos in the New Testament most are in reference to angels.
This angel was from Satan, a demon afflicting Paul. Possibly, the best explanation for this demon was that he was indwelling the ring leader of the Corinthian conspiracy, the leader of the false apostles. Through them he was tearing up Paul’s beloved church and thus driving a painful stake through Paul.
Further support to this view comes from the context of chapters 10-13 which is one of fighting adversaries (the false prophets). The word “buffet” always refers to ill treatment from other people. And finally, the Old Testament describes Israel’s personal opponent as thorns.

2 Corinthians 12:8
We see, in this, that Paul earnestly prayed 3 times to be healed, and God said no. We must carefully examine the guilt trip some ministers put on people who do not get healed. Sometimes it is not the will of God to heal you. It is God's business who he heals. We must not stop praying, but it is not our business whether they are healed or not, it is God's business.
The 3 fold repetition of Paul’s request parallels that of Jesus in Gethsemane. Both Paul and Jesus had had their requests denied, but were granted grace to endure their ordeals.

2 Corinthians 12:9
We must not question this answer from God. For some reason, Paul could minister better with the infirmity, than he could without it. Since Paul had this weakness, he was very well aware that his strength was in Christ. It would be perfectly obvious to everyone Paul ministered to, that Paul's power was in God. God ministered through Paul.
The present tense of the verb translated “is sufficient” reveals the constant availability of divine grace. God would not remove the thorn, as Paul had requested, but would continually supply him with grace to endure it.
My strength is made perfect in weakness” shows that the weaker the human instrument, the more clearly god’s grace shines forth.
2 Corinthians 12:10
Paul's weakness in his flesh just allowed the spirit to work in him more fully. Paul knows that there will be no mistaking where his strength comes from.
II Timothy 2:12 "If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us:" Paul, knowing this, was happy to suffer for Christ's sake.
Paul took no pleasure in the pain itself, but rejoiced in the power of Christ that it revealed through him.
2 Corinthians 12:11
Paul is not happy that he had to boast but states the Corinthians had compelled him as they should not have believed the false apostles. He then goes on to point out that in nothing is he behind in the preaching of the 12 apostles, though he considers himself nothing. Here is how Peter and John were seen by the high priest, elders and scribes.
Acts 4:13 "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
Even though Paul had this weakness in the flesh, he still used all of his time to further the kingdom of God. He, even more than the other apostles, fulfilled the great commission.
Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into the entire world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Paul went to many countries and carried the gospel message. He, also, did it the way Jesus had commanded.

Matthew 10:8 " Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." All of these signs of ministry followed Paul.
2 Corinthians 12:12
The purpose of miraculous signs was to authenticate the apostles as God’s messengers. The miracle of the Corinthians’ salvation was also a mark of Paul’s apostleship.
Paul did heal the sick and cast out devils. In the entire ministry the Lord Jesus brought, the most important thing was to preach the gospel. On the trip to Rome, when Paul was shipwrecked, the people thought Paul to be a god, when he threw the poison serpent off, after it bit Paul. Paul had to tell the people not to worship him.
2 Corinthians 12:13
Paul is telling them, here, that the only mistake he really made was in not teaching them to take care of the needs of their minister. Paul had given them the salvation message and the message about the Holy Spirit. He really had no apologies to make.
How ironic that he begged their forgiveness for that wrong.
2 Corinthians 12:14
On his upcoming visit, Paul wished to continue his practice of refusing to accept support from the Corinthians. Paul sought the Corinthians, not their money. To reinforce his point, Paul cited the axiomatic truth that parents are financially responsible for their children, not children (when they are young), for their parents.
Paul was really like a spiritual father to this church and speaks, here, of himself as their parent. He is saying that he wants to give to them instead of them giving to him. I do not believe he is speaking of material things, however. He was to bless them in their spirit. They need more teaching, and that is what Paul intends to do. He would like for them to be more rooted in the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 12:15
Paul has great love for them. He is just as sure that they do not love him in return. Nothing, within his power to give them, will be withheld.
The verb translated “spend” refers to spending money, and probably describes Paul’s willingness to work to support himself while in Corinth. “Be spent” describes Paul’s willingness to give of himself, even to the point of sacrificing his life.

2 Corinthians 12:16
We find that, even though Paul had completely explained that he personally had never taken money from them, they still felt that he was trying to get money from them for himself, when he asked for an offering for the poor in Jerusalem.
2 Corinthians 12:17
The answer, of course, is no. Paul deliberately did not handle any of the offerings, so they could not accuse him of this.
2 Corinthians 12:18
This charge was all the more painful to Paul because it impugned the character of his friends. Outraged that the Corinthians could believe such ridiculous lies, Paul pointed out that his associates did not take advantage of the Corinthians during their earlier visits regarding the collection.
Paul, not only defends himself, here, but Titus as well. Neither Paul, nor Titus, had taken any of their offering. The offering had gone to the poor. Paul says, was it not just like me being with you, when Titus was there?
2 Corinthians 12:19
Paul says that he does not have to answer to them, but to Christ. Paul's teaching them to give to those in need was to build them up, not to tear them down. If their giving was with such regret, I doubt it would do them any good. Giving should be done with a free heart.
Lest the Corinthian view themselves as judges before whom Paul was on trial, the apostle quickly set them straight: only God was his judge. Paul sought to edify the Corinthians, not exonerate himself.
2 Corinthians 12:20
Paul does not want to come to strife and fussing. He wants to make sure they want him to come. They should settle all of the questions they have, and then invite him to come. He does not want to debate with them. His reason for coming is to bring them to a fuller knowledge of God, not to debate things that really do not matter. He loves them too much to come, and have so much trouble with them that it would break all ties.
2 Corinthians 12:21
Parents are grieved greatly, when their children sin and do not repent. Paul feels that he is their spiritual father, and he wants them to repent of their sins, and turn from their wicked ways.

When he visited them, Paul did not want to find them in the same sorry spiritual condition as on his last visit which was called “the painful visit”.
To come and find the Corinthians still living in unrepentant sin which he lists here, would both humiliate and sadden Paul. This warning and the one in verse 2 in chapter 13 was designed to prevent that from happening.
"Uncleanness", in the verse above, means impurity. "Fornication", has to do with spiritual and physical adultery. It includes incest, homosexuality, and lesbianism. Lasciviousness means filthy or wantonness.
The problem is that some were still in an unrepentant state for these sins.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Galatians Chapter 3 Part Two

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