Galatians – chapter 6

Verse 1 – Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Paul is talking about a Christian who might be suddenly surprised by a temptation, not someone who knowingly and willfully keeps sinning. This almost has to refer to a new believer, because if the believer is older, in the Lord, they know what temptations is.

“You who are spiritual,” are those who are under the influence of the Holy Spirit. This person, more than likely, would be a close friend.

“Restore such a one.” Have you ever tried to talk to another Christian about their sin? They don’t like it! The two areas where they just won’t listen is: sex outside of marriage and drinking and or popping pills. There were two women I took under my wing and worked with trying desperately to get one to stop drinking, and the other from taking pain pills. They are both dead now. One to suicide and the other to an overdose. I had my doubts about their commitment to Christ because their life-styles didn’t add up. They never stopped with the “old person,” but I tried anyway.

Verse 2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

The law of Christ is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Prayer and understanding go a long way when helping another Christian stay on the right tract. However, if the person always depends on others constantly, instead of praying and reading God’s word for themselves, they will never grow. Watch out that these same people don’t drain you spiritually. We can only help those who want to get better.

Verse 3 – For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

This is why we need to be kind when trying to help someone else that might think they have it all together. You never know if one day you may be the one that needs sympathy and compassion with something you are going through.

Verse 4 – But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

We are to compare ourselves to the Word of God, not to others. We examine our own characters. When we start comparing ourselves to others, there is a tendency to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

Verse 5 – For each one shall bear his own load.

We all have burdens to bear, but our opinion of ourselves should line up with God’s Word, not based on what others do.

Do Not Grow Weary While Doing Good

Verse 6 – Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

Look what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:11: If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? Do you appreciate the person who teaches you God’s Word? If so, show it.

Verse 7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

God knows our hearts, whether we are honest with ourselves or not. He knows the motives behind what we sow. It is a natural law to reap what we sow. This is true in all areas of life. Every action has results. If we plant to satisfy our own desires, we will reap a crop of sorrow and evil. If we plant to please God, love, peace, and joy, then we will reap eternal life.

Verse 8 – For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

How much time do you devote to the things of God? Do you read God’s Word as much as you do other things? Do you help those in need as much as you can? How much time do we really spend helping others? Every time you share the gospel with someone, you are sowing hope into someone’s life, but  you have to know the gospel in order to share it.

Verse 9 – And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Paul challenged the Galatians and us, to not give up on doing good for people even when they don’t appreciate it. Trust God for the results. Others may never show appreciation to you, but your reward comes from the Lord. God just might pour you out a blessing that you cannot contain if you don’t grow weary.

Verse 10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

We are not to neglect and forget those believers which might be in need or a crises. Has God been gracious to you, then why not pass it on to another?

Verse 11 – See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!

Verse 12 – As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these try to compel you to be  circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Verse 13 – For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh.

Verse 14 – But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me and to the world.

Verse 15 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

The fact that a person is born-again, constitutes the real difference between them and other people. People’s customs and rituals or their appearance is not what makes them acceptable. You must be born-again.

Verse 16 – And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Verse 17 – From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Paul’s authority had been called into question in this Epistle. He was merely telling them, “Don’t bother me on this subject again.”

Verse 18 – Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you in spirit. Amen.

Paul’s letter to the Galatians boldly declares the freedom of the Christian. How sad for a believer to be free from the bondage of sin, only to return to rigid conformity to a strict set of rules and regulations trying to please God.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been set free. Instead of going back into some form of slavery, whether to legalism or to sin, use your freedom to live for Christ and help set others free by telling them they don’t have to live under that bondage anymore!

 

 

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Galatians – Chapter 5

This chapter continues the argument from the previous chapter, to induce the Galatians to renounce their conformity to the Jewish law, and be entirely conformed to the gospel.

Verse 1 – Stand fast therefore in liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Do not allow yourself to be placed under any yoke, where it demands rites, ceremonies, or customs. False teachers will tell you that you have to “do this” to please God.

Verse 2 – Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

Verse 3 – And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

Verse 4 – You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

If we could be justified by any other way other than through Christ, we wouldn’t have needed Him to die on the cross. Grace here means “salvation by grace,” which is not by works or any other way.

Verse 5 – For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

True Christians have no other hope of salvation than by faith in the Lord Jesus. It is not by their own works, nor by conforming to the law. The hope of righteousness is justification through faith in the Redeemer.

Verse 6 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Love for others is the response of those who have been forgiven. Those who have been forgiven love much.

Verse 7 – You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Verse 8 – This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

Meaning: Who persuaded you to believe it was necessary to obey the laws of Moses, and to intermingle the observance of Jewish rites with the belief of the Christian doctrines in order to be saved.

Verse 9 – A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Verse 10 – I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear judgment, whoever he is.

Verse 11 – And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.

Verse 12 – I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

If Paul had preached what the false teachers were preaching, no one would have been offended. However, because he preached the truth, he was persecuted. Jesus told His disciples not to be surprised when the world hates them, because the world hated Him first. One of the biggest reasons people reject the truth is because when they hear it, it makes them feel guilty and they hate that feeling.

Verse 13 – For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Don’t use your liberty to gratify the flesh in sin. Use that liberty to serve others openly and freely.

Verse 14 – For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Verse 15 – But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.

When we are not motivated by love, we become critical of others. We stop looking for the good in people and only see their faults. Loving others start with loving yourself and knowing the love that Christ has for you.

Conflict Between the Spirit and the Flesh

Verse 16 – I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Most of the time Christians walk through life by their emotions and desires, which is walking by the flesh! Those that do that, will reap corruption. When we walk by the Spirit, we are influenced by God’s word, not our own reasoning.

Verse 17 – For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Verse 18 – But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Works of the Flesh

Verse 19 – Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness,

Verse 20 – idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Verse 21 – envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

This list is not the characteristics of a born-again, blood bought Christian. None of these are acceptable behaviors of a Christian. We may have done some of these before we were saved, but they cannot be a part of a Christians continuous life. Those who ignore such sins or refuse to deal with them reveal that they have not received the gift of the Spirit that leads to a transformed life! Read them again and see if there is anything you need to work on.

Fruit of the Spirit

Verse 22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Verse 23 – gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Self-control is placed last in this list for emphasis, because all the works of the flesh reflect lack of self-control. There is no need for law when people’s lives exhibit love and self-control.

Verse 24 – And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

As Christians we still have the capacity to sin, but we have been set free from sin’s power over us and no longer have to give in to it. We submit our will to Christ and we will draw power from His Spirit to overcome.

Verse 25 – If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Verse 26 – Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Some of the Jews felt above others because of their blood-line. Some thought on account of their wealth, rank, or talent, they were more superior than others. The distinctions between people in this life are only temporary. In the grave, wealth, rank, and talent, do not avail there. One day the poorest of people will wear as bright a crown as the rich if they belong to Christ. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Love your neighbor as you love yourself!

 

 

Galatians – Chapter 4

Verse 1 – Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,

Just as a child is not of age to be in control of his inheritance till he is of age, the Jews that did not believe in the  Messiah, had not come into their inheritance. No one receives this inheritance that Paul is talking about without Jesus.

Verse 2 – but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

Verse 3 – Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

Verse 4 – But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Verse 5 – to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Verse 6 – And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

If a person does not follow Christ, they are under the bondage of sin. But once a person believes that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins and rose again, and then the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in our hearts. When this happens, we are adopted into God’s family making us sons and daughters of the Most High God – Jesus!

Verse 7 – Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Paul’s appeal to those in the churches in Galatia, was that a person who tries to be justified before God by works is a slave to the Mosaic law. But those who are justified by faith in Christ are no longer a slave, but a son or daughter with full rights as an heir to God’s infinite treasures.

Verse 8 – But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Verse 9 – But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

Paul wanted to know after being able to worship God freely, how could they go back to placing themselves under the Jewish law of rites and ceremonies? Do Christians today do this? Some do. It depends on what kind of denomination they sit under. They begin to hold certain days as holy; they restrict themselves to wearing only certain clothes; they have rituals, thinking it pleases God.

Verse 10 – You observe days and months and seasons and years.

Verse 11 – I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

His fears were that they had no genuine Christian principles. If people ever fear that they have gotten off track, they need to go back to the word of God. Be careful who you listen to; don’t fall back into the routine of trying to keep man-made-laws and rituals and ceremonies to please others. Nothing we do will make us more holy in God’s sight. Believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth.

Verse 12 – Brethren, I urge you to become as I am for I am as you are. You have not injured me at all.

Verse 13 – You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.

Verse 14 – And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God even as Christ Jesus.

In verse 12, Paul says for them to imitate him in the matter that was discussed beforehand, which was about their ceremonies and rites as Jews. Then he tells them that they have done him “no personal wrong.”

Now in verse 13, he reminds them of past times, even in his weakness, they accepted him as he was.

“My trial,” meaning that Paul was afflicted with various calamities and infirmities, but they did not hinder them from receiving him.

Paul could have had malaria that he contacted in Asia Minor, or it very well could have been disfigurement from the stoning he had received in Acts 14:19. I’m sure he came out of that with some pretty bad scars.

Verse 15 – What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.

Keep in mind that Paul is still talking to them about their leaving Paul’s doctrine for a doctrine that took them backwards into legalism. He reminds them of the love and affection they showed him when he was with them.

Maybe that’s what we need to do when we feel a slipping away of a relationship with God, or anyone else for that matter. Go back to the love and affection we first showed and remember why.

Verse 16 – Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

Paul was saddened that the Galatians now viewed him as their enemy because he told them the truth. People haven’t changed much. They still have a tendency to get angry when corrected. We shouldn’t write off someone just because they challenge us to do better or correct a behavior that we have. We all need to check our attitudes at times.

Verse 17 – They (the false teachers) zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.

Verse 18 – But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.

The only way these false teachers could maintain the zeal of the Galatians was to isolate them from the other Gentile churches who were not trying to be justified by the works of the law.

Verse 19 – My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.

Paul had deep feelings for them as a parent would a child. His anxiety for them he compares to the deepest sufferings which human nature endures. This is how the greatest example of ministers of the gospel should feel in regard to their people. “Until Christ is formed in you ,” means: until Christ reigns wholly in your hearts; until you wholly embrace his doctrine and live by it.

Verse 20 – I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I have doubts about you.

Law and Grace Cannot Coexist

Verse 21 – Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?

Paul is about to give illustration to show the effect of being under bondage or servitude of the Jewish law, compared with the freedom which the gospel imparts.

Verse 22 – For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.

Abraham had many sons but Paul’s talking here about the freewoman, Sarah and the bondwoman, Hagar. Hagar had Ishmael and Sarah had Isaac.

Verse 23 – But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

Ishmael was born according to flesh because Sarah and Abraham weren’t willing to wait on God to fulfill His promise that Abraham would have a son. So Sarah gave Abraham her bondwoman, slave, and they produced Ishmael. But the promise came when Sarah gave birth to Isaac when Sarah was in her 80’s and Abraham was in his 90’s. This one story is a very good reason to always wait on God and then we won’t have to deal with the consequences of our choices.

When 24 – which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar – (The law was given on Mount Sinai.)

Verse 25 – for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children –

Verse 26 – but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

“The Jerusalem above,” refers to the New Jerusalem which will come down from heaven. (Revelation 21:2)

Verse 27 – For it  is written: “Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who do not travail! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.”

Verse 28 – Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

Verse 29 – But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.

Just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac, the Judaizers persecuted the true Christians.

Verse 30 – Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

Just as Sarah cast out Hagar and her son Ishmael, Paul wanted the Galatians to cast out the false teachers who were teaching new converts they had to be under the law.

Verse 31 – So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

In other words: Reject what the false teachers were saying about being justified by the works of the law, anything that placed them under bondage again.

It is the birthright of born-again Christians to think and feel and act like freemen and women, and they should not allow themselves to become the slaves of costumes, rites, and ceremonies, but should feel that they are adopted children of God.

 

 

Galatians – Chapter 3

Verse 1 – Foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?

The Galatians had yielded to the influence of the false teachers. Then Paul reminded them to remember the doctrine they had been taught about Christ’s crucifixion.

Verse 2 – This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Verse 3 – Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

I see this still happening today in some churches. After being born-again, some start to make others follow “their” convictions. Paul asked the Galatians, “If you received the Holy Spirit by hearing the gospel and by faith, why would you resort backwards to perfecting the law by works?”

Verse 4 – Have you suffered so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain.?

Paul reminds them of what they endured on account of their attachment to Christianity. If what they had believed were false, then their sufferings were in vain.

Verse 5 – Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? –

Verse 6 – just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Verse 7 – Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.

Verse 8 – And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham before hand, saying, “In you all nations shall be blessed.”

Verse 9 – So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

Paul tied the example of Abraham’s justification by faith to God’s covenant promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3. The blessing being justified by faith is available to all nations through the good news of Jesus Christ, which the promise to Abraham was foretold.

Christ Redeems Us From the Curse of the Law

Verse 10 – For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

Not only is it impossible to be justified by the works of the law, but such a perspective actually brings a curse on people. According to Deuteronomy 27: 26, everyone who does not continue observing every detail of the law is cursed.

verse 11 – But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “The just shall live by faith.”

Verse 12 – Yet the law is not of faith, but  “The man who does them shall live by them.”

Trying to be right, justified with God by our own effort doesn’t work. Good intentions usually fail. Paul points to Habakkuk’s 2:4 declaration, that by trusting God, believing in His provision for our sin, and living each day in His power, we break the cycle of failure. The law does not make provision for faith, but it requires unwavering obedience.

verse 13 – Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Verse 14 – that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Paul’s readers were trying to be justified by the works of the Law. They didn’t understand that they were already under its curse. Fortunately, Christ had redeemed those under such a curse by His crucifixion. By Christ hanging on a tree, the cross, Jesus was cursed in our place.

The Gentiles received the “blessing of Abraham” through faith in Jesus Christ. This places them in a position to receive the promised Holy Spirit.

Verse 15 – Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.

When a contract or agreement is made by people involving obligations and promises, no one can add to it or take from it. It will remain as originally made. So it is with God. God made a solemn promise to Abraham. That promise pertained to his posterity. The blessing was connected to that promise, and it was of the nature of a contract with Abraham. This was not connected to the law because the law didn’t come until four-hundred years later. This promise made to Abraham was designed to secure the “inheritance” or the favor of God.

Verse 16 – Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

Paul does not use the plural term seeds, as if the promise extended to many persons, but he speaks in the singular number, and the One is the Messiah. It was the intention of God to confine the blessing to Isaac and his descendants. The promise of the blessing was to go through him and not Ishmael. Then it is even more narrowed down to Jacob, (Esau excluded), to the family of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. Later on, narrowed again to Jesse, then to King David; then to Solomon until we reach the Messiah.

Verse 17 – And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that should make the promise of no effect.

God kept His promise to Abraham and has not revoked it. Thousands of years have passed and He saved Abraham through faith (because Abraham believed God), and has blessed the world through Abraham’s “Seed”, by sending the Messiah as one of Abraham’s descendants.

Verse 18 – For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

The Law Was Given to Drive Us to Faith

Verse 19 – What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by hand of a mediator.

Verse 20 – Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

Verse 21 – Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

Verse 22 – But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Paul clarifies that the law was never in conflict with God’s promises. Before faith in Christ delivered us, we were imprisoned by sin. God knew we could not keep the law perfectly, so He provided a way of escape – faith in Jesus Christ. Without faith in Christ, people are still prisoners kept in sins grasp.

Believers Are Free From the Law

Verse 23 – But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward by revealed.

Verse 24 – Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Verse 25 – But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

I have talked to many Christians down through the years that believe they have kept the 10 Commandments and that’s what they guide their life by. I always asked them, “Did you keep them perfectly?” They would always end up saying, “Well at least I didn’t kill anybody.”

Sometimes it is best to not argue with someone who doesn’t know their Bible. But in a nut-shell, if one lives by the law, you cannot break one law and be justified. You have to live by them perfectly. None is capable of that., but Jesus. We as  believers accept what Christ did by faith, and are therefore free from the penalty of the law.

Verse 26 – For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Keep in mind that Paul is talking to the Galatian church. Some Bible versions say “children of God.” Some like to quote that, “We are all God’s children.” No we are not!!!! Read the rest of the sentence. Only those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ are God’s sons and daughters.

Verse 27 – For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

When a believer is baptized, they have washed away their old life, died with Christ, and rose again to put on the righteousness of Christ.

Verse 28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

All are on the same level; all are saved in the same way; all are entitled to the same privileges.

Verse 29 – And if you are Christ’s , then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

There’s that little two letter word, “If.” You are Christ’s, then through Abraham. Abraham’s seed brought the Messiah. The Jews believed that they were the spiritual descendants of Abraham.  We as believers inherit the blessing of Abraham through faith, not by being obedient to the law.

 

 

Galatians – Chapter 2

Verse 1 – Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.

Verse 2 – And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preached among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.

Verse 3 – Yet not even Titus who was with me, being Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.

Some were teaching that, upon conversion, one must be circumcised. so when Paul went to the leaders in Jerusalem he told them privately this was not necessary.

Verse 4 – But this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),

Verse 5 – to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

When Paul took Titus, a Greek Christian, to Jerusalem, the Judaizers (false teachers) said that Titus should be circumcised. Paul adamantly refused their demands. Paul was basically telling them that Gentiles did not need to become a Jew before becoming Christians.

Verse 6 – But from those who seemed to be something – whatever they were, it makes no difference to me, God shows personal favoritism to no man – for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

Paul was not intimidated by those who seemed to be important. Whatever their rank, it did not affect Paul’s authority.

Verse 7 – But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter

Verse 8 – (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),

Verse 9 – and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

The church leaders, James, Peter, and John, realized that God was using Paul to reach the Gentiles, just as Peter was being used to reach the Jews (the circumcised). After hearing Paul’s message, they gave Paul and Barnabas their approval (the right hand of fellowship).

Verse 10 – They desire only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

The need for believers to care for the poor are a constant theme in Scripture.

Verse 11 – But when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;

Verse 12 – for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.

Verse 13 – And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

Before these Jews came to Antioch from Jerusalem, Peter was eating with the Gentiles. After these Jews came, he separated himself from them because he feared them. Paul rebuked Peter to his face. The Jews that came from Jerusalem believed the Gentiles converts needed to follow all Jewish rites.

Verse 14 – But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

Verse 15 – “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

Verse 16 – knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Paul was not saying that we shouldn’t obey the Ten Commandments and other Old Testament laws, he was saying that by keeping the law it would never be enough to make us acceptable to God. The law does not make us righteous.

Verse 17 – “But if , while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!

Verse 18 – “For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

Verse 19 – “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

“I have died,” means being crucified with Christ, as if the believer died on the cross with Jesus. There the Christian lives by faith in Jesus Christ.

Verse 20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Verse 21 – “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

Through the cross and Christ’s death, is the only way to salvation. None of us could ever be good enough to be justified. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for yours and my salvation. Believe in Him and you shall be saved.

 

Galatians – Chapter 1

Introduction: Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a vigorous attack against the “gospel of works” and a defense of the “gospel of faith.”

Paul wrote this epistle in response to a report that the Galatian churches were suddenly taken over by false teachings of certain Judaizers who professed Jesus yet sought to place Gentile converts under the requirements of the Mosaic Law.

Chapter 1

Verse 1 – Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),

Verse 2 – and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia:

Verse 3 – Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,

Verse 4 – who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

Verse 5 – to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.

Paul is about to make it very clear in this letter that, salvation is by grace, not works. If salvation is by works, man gets the glory; if salvation is by grace, God gets the glory.

Verse 6 – I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,

When people set up additional requirements for salvation, they deny the power of Christ’s death on the cross.

Verse 7 – which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Verse 8 – But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Regardless of what other religions boast, there is only one way to Jesus Christ, and only one way to the Father, and that is through Jesus Christ. John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Verse 9 – As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Verse 10 – For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul is talking as a minister of God, not as an employee trying to please their boss, or a child trying to please their parents. When we minister, are we saying what pleases man or God? Meaning, do we speak the truth?

Verse 11 – But I make known to you brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

Verse 12 – For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught of it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Meaning: Paul’s words were more than his own ideas.

Verse 13 – For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.

Verse 14 – And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

Paul had been one of the most religious Jews of his day, keeping the law and relentlessly persecuting Christians. Paul had been sincere in his zeal, but wrong.

Verse 15 – But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,

Verse 16 – to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,

Verse 17 – nor did I go to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

When Paul says, “I did not confer with flesh and blood,” he means he didn’t discuss and then have to decide to be obedient with anyone or even himself. He resolved at once to follow the command of the Savior, and obey Him.

Verse 18 – Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.

Verse 19 – But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

Verse 20 – (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God I do not lie.)

Verse 21 – Afterward I went into regions of Syria and Cilicia;

Verse 22 – and I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ.

Verse 23 – But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
Verse 24 – And they glorified God in me.

Paul had been miraculously changed from being a persecutor of Christians to a Christian himself. We know from reading the Book of Acts what type of man he was before he met Jesus.

Do people see an obvious change in your life, compared to what you were before you met Jesus? Paul’s life is an excellent example of a changed life. If you don’t see a total transformation of a person’s life, then maybe they are just, “impostors.” There has to be evidence when someone is born-again!