Sunday, December 5, 2021

Galatians | Session 21 | 4:10-18

In today’s study, Paul continues to plead with the Galatian believers to not be misled by the Judaizers who were trying to alienate them from him and lead them to the bondage of the law. His desire was that the relationship that they had with him in the beginning be restored and lets them know that he is not their enemy.

Verses 10-12: Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Again, the Judaizers were convincing them, both Jew and Gentile, that they had to keep the Mosaic law to be saved. Unfortunately, to do so was to pervert the gospel of grace by adding works to it.

Paul also feels the need to let them know that he is not angry with them, and just wants the relationship restored that they once had which he will describe in the following verses. You can only imagine the horrible things that the Judaizers were telling them about Paul. Of course, as a pastor, I do not have to imagine.   

Verses 13-15: Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 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. 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. He goes on to remind them of the relationship that they used to have with each other before the Judaizers stepped in to ruin it. He also makes an interesting comment when he says my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected. From his own statement in Galatians 6:11, he seems to be referring to his eyes or eyesight.

Some have even hypothesized that he was suffering from ophthalmia or a similar eye disease which was very prevalent in the first-century due to poor lighting that caused the eye to become inflamed and a mucus type leak. This may have been Paul's thorn in the flesh that he mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:7.

Verses16-18: Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. He was warning them not to be offended because he was speaking truth to them. Unfortunately, the Judaizers had a lot of zeal in their appeals to them, but they were leading them the wrong way. He further tells them that what the Judaizers were trying to do was to alienate them from Paul to win them over to their side.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Galatians | Session 20 | 4:6-9

In today’s study we see how that we are now the sons of God because God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. Therefore, we are no longer servants, but heirs through Christ. Specifically, Paul is addressing Galatians Gentile believers that made up the Body of Christ; both Jew and Gentile of which we are a part of today.

Verse 6: And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Now Paul makes another switch from we in verse 5 to ye and is still speaking directly to the Galatian believers (i.e., the Body of Christ made up on both Jew and Gentile). By faith, they have been brought into a sonship relationship by the giving of the Spirit of his Son in which they too can now cry out Abba, Father.

Verse 7: Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Interestingly, Paul now switches to first person singular. I have come to believe that he is addressing the servant in verse 1 who would eventually have Israel as their Lord has now become equal with Israel as joint heirs.

Again, for clarification, this does not mean that we, the Body of Christ, obtain Israel's earthly promises. However, we do become joint heirs with those Jews who are now a part of the Body of Christ in heavenly places.

Verse 8: Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. This verse is squarely directed at the Gentile believers still who had been misled by the Judaizers regarding the law. I don't think the Gentile believers necessarily believed they had to "go back" to the Mosaic law, because they were never under it, but instead were being led to believe they had to obey it to be saved.

Verse 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? We have already established that the Gentile believers were never under the Mosaic law, therefore, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage cannot be referring to that. Instead, I believe when he asks how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, he is referring to the bondage of their paganism. Either way, the Judaizers would have been promoting the law of Moses which was also bondage.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Galatians | Session 19 | 3:29-4:5

In today's study, we see that those who are of faith are heirs according to the promise that God gave to Abraham. This is possible because Christ fulfilled the law so that both Jews and Gentiles can now be saved simply by faith. Therefore, being in Christ Jesus, we are spiritually speaking, Abraham's seed according to the promise (not the law).

So, Gentile believers are heirs of the promise that God gave to Abraham, not every promise, but one. Which one? Verse 14 tells us that it is That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. So, the blessing of Abraham ultimately is the blessing of receiving the promise of the Spirit through faith just as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:13, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit

Chapter 4

Verses 1-2: Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. The heir in this verse speaks of Israel in its infancy as a nation when it was considered to be a child. As such, it was kept under law of the father until the time appointed of the father which to me was the first advent of Christ. It is also referred to as the fulness of time in verse 4.

Paul is using the Roman practice of tutela or guardianship of a minor to make his point. Just as a Roman father would appoint guardians, e.g., tutors and governors, to manage his child's affairs until he came of age, so too, God did for the nation with the Law.

Verse 3: Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: Again, the we in this verse is reference to the nation of Israel and not us. He is referring to their bondage under the law, e.g., elements of the world.

Verse 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 time was appointed by the Father when Christ was to come as prophesied in Danial 9:24-27.

Made of a woman speaks of his virgin birth through Mary. It also implies his pre-existence (cf. and John 1:14). And, since Christ was sent to redeem those under the law, he himself had to be born under the law.

Verse 5: To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Paul here makes an interesting pronoun switch in this verse. He moves from third-person plural (them) to second-person plural (we). That is because the ones who were redeemed were the nation of Israel who were under the law. He also made that clear in chapter 3:13 when he said, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Why? – So that the Galatian gentiles might receive the adoption.

Again, the them is this verse cannot be the Galatian gentiles or the Body of Christ because neither were ever under the law. Israel is the only nation on earth who has ever been under the law, therefore, they are the ones who were redeemed from it. That is the why the kingdom gospel went only to the Jew. They had to be redeemed first from the law and he was their Redeemer. Understand, we Gentiles have never been under the law and therefore were in no need of redemption from it.

It was not until Paul that we hear anything about Jesus being a ransom for all the world as part of the dispensation of grace (1 Timothy 2:1-6). It was only then that salvation could be offered by faith, and faith alone, since the Seed had come and fulfilled the requirements of the law.

Now, by faith, just like Abraham's faith in the promises, we are able to receive the adoption of sons. Another way of expressing it is that after Israel had its chance to be redeemed under the law, then grace could be offered to the Gentiles by faith as revealed in the mystery to Paul.

Now the question arises, has adoption or "sonship" been given to the nation since they rejected the offer? Paul refers to waiting for the adoption in Romans 8:23 when he said, And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body, but that is referring to the redemption of our bodies someday and is not the same as the adoption or sonship that the nation of Israel enjoys.

Paul also refers to adoption in Romans 9:4 in the present tense when he said, Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Therefore, we must conclude that adoption and sonship has already been given to the nation even though they rejected the kingdom offer, and to this day, they are being held accountable as the heirs of that kingdom.

That doesn't mean that they are saved, but that they have been redeemed because they price was paid, whether they accepted it or not, and are therefore no longer under the law. That is also why we must conclude that the redemption given to Israel and salvation given to us are not the same thing. The first required nothing on their part, but the second requires faith on our part.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Galatians | Session 18 | 3:20-28

In today's study, we review verse 19 and work our way through verse 28 where we see Paul continuing to show to the Galatian believers that the law was given to preserve the nation until Christ should come, the law was the nation's schoolmaster, until they could be justified by faith just like Abraham. Now, we are all the children of God by faith and faith alone.

Verse 20: Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. In other words, there are two parties required for a mediation. In this case, Moses and the nation of Israel. In context, I believe that the verse is pointing out the difference between the giving of the law which required Moses as the mediator and the giving of the covenant which God mediated on His own with Abraham.

Verse 21: Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. The question is, does the law set aside the promises of God that he gave to Abraham in the covenant? No. They actually run parallel. One does not trump the other. However, the law could not give life, for if it could, it would have replaced the promises, i.e., those made to Abraham 430 years prior.

Verse 22: But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Instead, the scripture, i.e., law, has made it abundantly clear that all are under sin, both Jew and Gentile. Notice also that the faith was first that of Christ, and we merely believe in that faith with our own.

Verse 23: But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. In other words, the purpose of the law was to keep the nation shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed  in and through Christ. The term shut up unto the faith can also be translated imprisoned or confined. In other words, they were controlled or under the law until Christ came because his was the faith that made it possible. Anyone who teaches that everyone has always been saved by grace through faith is confused because the nation of Israel was incapable of this kind of faith because it had been shut up unto them until Christ came.

Verse 24: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. The law served as the nation's schoolmaster which was given to point them to Christ so that they might be justified by faith.

This is one of the most misunderstood verses in all of the Bible, because we fail to recognize that the pronouns our and we are referring to the nation of Israel and not the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ has never been kept under the law (cf. verse 23). The law was given to the nation to bring them to Christ, so that they could be justified by faith.

Verse 25: But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. The faith that was to come was through Christ, and the law is no longer their schoolmaster. Again, the law pointed them to Christ. Obviously, the faith was not prior to Christ!

Verses 26-27: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Note the change in pronouns, i.e., ye. He changes from the first-person plural to the second-person plural. Paul is now referring to the Galatians which were both Jew and Gentile. All of them must come by faith in Christ and not the law. By their faith, they had been baptized into Christ and had put on Christ apart from the law. This baptism has nothing to do with water.

Verse 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. Under the law there was Jew and Greek, bond and free, male and female, but not now! How can you not be a dispensationalist after reading a verse like this!?

Galatians | Session 17 | 3:19

We continue our study by reviewing a bit of 3:15-18 and taking a closer look at verse 19 to discover why the law was given and possibly why the angels were involved.

Verse 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. His question was if the covenant had nothing to do with the law, why was the law later given? His answer was that 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

The context clearly dictates that the transgressions he is referring to are those of the nation of Israel and the Law would serve as a preservation agent for the nation until the seed (Christ) should come to whom the promise was made.

How was it ordained by angels? This may be a reference to Deuteronomy 33:1-2 which says, And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. First, the word saints in this verse are referring to holy ones or angels. Second, if this verse is what Paul is referring to, that would make Moses the mediator between God and the nation just as described in Exodus 20:19-22 where it says, And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Galatians | Session 16 | 3:15-18

We continue our study by reviewing 3:10-14 and continue to verse 18 where we see Paul saying that Abraham received the promise through faith and that through Christ the blessings of Abraham has come to the Gentiles.

Verse 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. His point here is that in response to the covenant that God made with Abraham, he can only think as a mere mortal, and that means that God made a deal with Abraham and He was not going to change his mind by getting rid of it or adding to it.

Verse 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. So, back to the promises that God gave to Abraham and his descendants; they involved a land and a seed. He mentioned this when writing to the Romans when he said, Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen (Romans 9:4-5) and Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: (Romans 15:8).

Notice that he says very clearly that the promise was made to Abraham and is seed and He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. He then further clarifies that this seed of which he speaks is none other than Christ. That means that the land of Israel is the inheritance of Christ and the Abrahamic Covenant will be ultimately fulfilled in Christ.

This is where many translations go off the rails in that while they may translate this verse correctly, they do not do so in the Old Testament passages that Paul is referring to. For example, in Genesis 13:15 and Genesis 17:8 they translate seed as offspring and descendants, yet the word for seed is always in the singular and never in the plural. To do so removes the specific reference to Christ that it clearly is.

Verses 17-18: 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. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Again, Paul is pointing out that the covenant given to Abraham by faith was in Christ just like the gospel that he preached, and the law had no bearing on it since it wasn't given until 430 years later.

His conclusion is that the promises made to Abraham were by faith and not law, therefore, the two should not be intermixed, i.e., complete in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit (cf. verse 3).

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Galatians | Session 15 | 3:10-14

We continue our study through the book of Galatians today where Paul is declaring that our faith must be in Christ's completed work on the cross and not a mixture of law and grace.

Verse 10: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. This verse is condemning the Judaizers who were trying to get the Gentiles to submit to only portions or the law, e.g., circumcision, but not all of it. His point is that for one to place themselves back under the law in any circumstance is to place themselves back under the curse that comes with it because it brings death.

Verse 11: But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. His point is that no man is justified by the law in this current dispensation. Notice that the phrase is justified is in the present passive tense. This verse also requires a dispensational view.

Verse 12: And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. The them is the verse is a reference to the law and is a quote from Leviticus 18:5 where it says, Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD. Again, Paul's point is that people under the present dispensation are justified by faith and not by the keeping of the law.

In context, he is still addressing those who wanted to mix law with grace. However, as he said in verse 10, the law is not a pick and choose option, but an all or nothing proposition. He will further elaborate on this further in Galatians 5:2-4.

Again, these verses will not make sense, and even contradict, if they are not viewed through a dispensational lens, i.e., justification by works (Kingdom) or justification by faith (Grace).

Verse 13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: In this current dispensation, we have been redeemed from the curse of the law meaning that we do not have to keep it.

Notice that it says that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. The word redeemed means to purchase. The purchase was that Christ became the curse by his death. Remember that Christ redeemed the Jews from the curse of the law by taking the curse on himself. Who is the us in this context? The nation of Israel. Again, I have come to understand that pronouns are important in Bible interpretation.

The we/us in the epistle are the Jews (Galatians 2:15). The ye/you in the epistle are the Galatian gentiles. The ones that were redeemed were not ye/you, but we/us! Why is this important? - Because the Gentiles have never been under the curse of the law, ever, therefore, they did not need redemption from it. Instead, the Bible says that the Gentiles were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel in Ephesians 2:12-13, That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 

If you still doubt that, keep reading.

Verse 14: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. This verse makes I clear that the nation of Israel was redeemed for two reasons. First, so that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, and second, so that that we (the House of Israel) could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith which was fulfilled at Pentecost.

Galatians | Session 14 | 3:7-9

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where Paul continues to make the argument that the gospel that he preached must be received with the same faith that Abraham had when God made the covenant with him, i.e., without works.

Verse 7: Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. Remember that this verse is referring to kingdom Jews who were still very much part of the Abrahamic Covenant and their faith in the gospel of grace was the same faith that Abraham exercised at the giving of the covenant. Again, context is key and Paul's overall point is that Judaism is built on faith, i.e., Abrahamic Covenant and not circumcision (cf. 2:1-3).

Verse 8: And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. Yes, the Bible does teach that God should justify the heathen through faith. The scripture foresaw it. Now, I cannot find anywhere in the Old Testament that the Gentiles would be justified by faith. However, Paul says that God foresaw it, not Abraham and it was preached before the gospel unto Abraham. Can he possibly be referring to Paul's gospel? No! (Ephesians 3:1-10) The good news that Abraham received was that God was going to justify the heathen (Isaiah 49:6). That was indeed good news!

Paul's reference to the Abrahamic Covenant in this section is a proof text that indeed, through Abraham all the nations would be blessed as that the Messiah came through Israel.

Verse 9: So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. In other words, Paul concludes that they which be of faith are the ones who receive the blessing just like Abraham did.

In conclusion, in verses 6-9 Paul is simply illustrating that God has other promises that are by grace through faith and one of them is the Abrahamic Covenant. How? – Because it required no work on Abraham's part since it was given 430 years prior to the law and circumcision. So too, the grace gospel (remember this is Paul's entire point) is also not based on law, but simple faith.

My final thought is that for anyone to interpret this section in any other way is to place Gentiles under the Abrahamic Covenant as a means of salvation, i.e., Covenant Theology. Wrong.

Galatians | Session 13 | 3:6

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where Paul is doubling down against the false teaching that was being introduced to them that they must also keep the law in addition to faith to be saved. We also see that Paul is making a case that just as Abraham believed simply by faith without works, so must they.

Verse 6: Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. This verse is often misinterpreted to be saying that Abraham was saved by faith while it is actually referring to the Abrahamic Covenant which was received by faith. We see the account in Genesis 15:4-6 where it says, And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.  

Paul’s point is that Abraham was not required to do anything on his part as that it was an unconditional covenant, i.e., no conditions were set on Abraham. Therefore, the promise was received by faith. Unfortunately, many today erroneously point to this event as proof of his and our salvation today. However, this event has absolutely nothing to do with Abraham’s personal salvation. Paul's point in these verses is that faith is part of both law and grace

I have heard, and even said myself, that those in the Old Testament were saved by the same faith that those of us in the New Testament are saved by. That statement is dead wrong. Their faith in the Old Testament had to be accompanied by works, period. James made this clear when he said that Abraham was not made righteous by faith and faith alone like the Body of Christ today. James 2:20-24, But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 

Galatians | Session 12 | 3:1-5

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where Paul is doubling down against the false teaching that was being introduced to them that they must also keep the law in addition to faith to be saved.

Verse 1: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? He accuses them of being foolish and bewitched. Interestingly, some of the other translations omit that ye should not obey the truth and among you. I do not understand that because that is the entire point that he is making because they are not obeying the truth of his gospel.

The phrase evidently set forth implies that he is referring to written resources. Yet, in spite of that, they had been bewitched into thinking that the gospel of grace was not enough to save them, and they needed works as well.

Verse 2: This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? His question is simple, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit by works or by faith?" Of course, it is rhetorical in nature. Again, we must remember that he is addressing Jewish grace believers.

Verses 3-4: Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. His question is, "Are you so foolish as to believe that what your received by faith must now by kept by works?"

The word perfect means complete. It was actually an insult to think that the Holy Spirit could not finish what He had started or needed their help to do so.

The question have ye suffered so many things in vain implies that they had apparently already suffered for their faith at the hands of other Jews and to walk away now would make those sufferings in vain.

Verse 5: He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Paul is either referring to himself and his first visit with them or he is referring to God, i.e., the Holy Spirit? If he is referring to himself, it would be in reference to his ministry pre-acts 28 because of the mentioned miracles. Of course, either way, the answer is faith and not works. The bottom line is that Paul never told anyone to do anything other than believe to receive the Holy Spirit unlike Peter who had told them that they must repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38).