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After the NEW COVENANT was established in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father was satisfied, Jewish teachers continued to minimize Jesus Christ by adding Moses to the accepted work of Jesus Christ. Paul could not believe anyone coming to Jesus Christ by faith would think that the old covenant in Moses added anything to what the Father already approved in the person of Christ. Paul marveled at the foolishness of the Galatians.
Now, the way this false doctrine entered into the churches was through men’s fear of man. That was even more irritating to Paul. After documenting his frustration with this heresy spreading like a virus through the Galatian churches, Paul said at the end of his letter, From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Paul’s Warning and Personal History (Chapter 1)
(1:1-5) – Paul starts right out of the gate hammering the cultic fear of man while gloriously magnifying Jesus Christ
- (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ)
- who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. Moses didn’t die for your sins. The old covenant didn’t deliver anyone from this present evil world.
(1:6-12) – Paul is in disbelief that people exposed to the new covenant in Christ would so quickly give up on Jesus Christ and turn back to the old covenant. He warned that anyone preaching this heresy should be abandoned. Wow, Paul, you’re being so harsh! Well, am I serving man or God?
- Let him be accursed
- Let him be accursed
(1:13-19) – Paul’s zeal and understanding of the things of Moses were far beyond his peers and even the apostles. He thought he was promoting righteousness by purging the synagogues of the idolatry of Jesus, but realized all of his scriptures were about Jesus Christ. He immediately went preaching in the synagogues (Acts 9:19-22). After three years, the Jews sought to kill Paul, so he went to Jerusalem. But few Christians in Jerusalem believed Paul was a new creature because of his past (Acts 9:23-31)
- Ye heard my conversation in the Jew’s religion
- Neither went up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me
(1:20-24) – Paul’s conversion was so convincing, the people that once feared him now glorified God in him. Why? Because he was keeping Moses’ law? NO! Now, you need to notice that Paul is preaching the same faith he destroyed. Why is that significant? Because if you thought Paul was starting a new doctrine Paul would outright disagree with you.
- …now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed (The churches were in Christ, that’s why Paul was persecuting them)
- And they glorified God in me. Why? Because of Paul’s zeal for Moses plus Christ? No.
Paul had to straighten out Jerusalem’s leadership (Chapter 2)
(2:1-10) – Paul corrected the attempts to add the old covenant to the new covenant in Jesus Christ. He was no respecter of persons when convincing the apostles in Jerusalem that the Gentiles were receiving eternal life the same way the Jews were (Acts 15)
- Paul communicated the gospel preached to the Gentiles just like it had been to the Jews.
- neither Titus was compelled to be circumcised, yet he received eternal life in Jesus Christ.
(2:11-14) – Paul made an example of Peter and Barnabas at Antioch because they started to fall away from Christ, pretending to follow Moses because they were afraid of the influential Jews coming in and promoting the old covenant.
- …fearing them which were of the circumcision…
- I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel
- Paul said later, If a brother be taken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one.
(2:15-21) – These Jewish Christians should know better than to say that Moses’ law justifies the sinner, especially in light of the LORD Jesus Christ dying for sinners. And you can’t have it both ways, seeking justification through Christ and Moses. The letter of the law condemns, it never justifies. If you want to make Jesus Christ’s death useless, tell people they need Jesus plus Moses. The Lord Jesus wasted his time if righteousness came any other way than through him.
- Knowing man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ
- Justified by the faith of Jesus Christ and not by the works of the law
- By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified
- Ridiculous to say that while we seek to be justified by Christ, we are found sinners condemned by the law. You can’t have it both ways because Jesus Christ is not the minister of sin.
- Crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live
- If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Paul reasons with them about Abraham’s blessings centuries before Moses’ law (Chapter 3)
(3:1-9) – Paul could not believe that someone who had an understanding of the work of the LORD Jesus Christ would ever think that going back under Moses would add to Jesus Christ. To Paul, it is so ridiculous that he calls them foolish. So any doctrine adding Moses to Jesus is foolish, now or in the future.
- Received ye the Spirit of God by the works of the law?
- Are ye so foolish to begin in the Spirit and abandon that course?
- Have ye suffered because of the law of Moses or Christ?
- The minister of the Spirit of God, did he do that because of Moses or Jesus Christ?
- Abraham is the spiritual father because righteousness came by faith. And anyone who will follow those faithful steps is blessed like faithful Abraham.
(3:10-15) – If you pride yourself in your self-righteous works of the law then you’re under the whole law. You’ve also missed the very point of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross which was to redeem from the curse of the law.
- No man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident:
- The just shall live by faith
- Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law
- We might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith
(3:16-18) – The promises are to Abraham and his seed. His seed is Christ and therefore Christ is the one who holds the promises of God. The same way Abraham received the promises by faith, so anyone seeking the promises of God must seek them in Christ, by faith. The law was not even in existence until four centuries later.
- Thy seed, which is Christ
- If the inheritance of the Spirit be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise centuries before the law of Moses even existed.
(3:19-25) – Then what is the law for?
- It was added because of transgressions til the seed should come to whom the promise was made.
- If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. The law was not about imparting life. Contrary to that, it highlighted sin and accusation. It did the opposite of justify, it accused according to the light of God. It wasn’t evil, it was a good law. The scriptures concluded all under sin.
- The law was a schoolmaster to bring Hebrews to Christ, the Seed who holds all the promises and blessings of God. We are made partakers of those promises by faith.
(3:26-29) – God’s children are God’s children by faith
- Ye are all the children of God by faith, Jews and Gentiles alike!
- And if you’ve been baptized and purified by the Spirit of God, you’re in Christ. And whoever you are, if you’re in Christ, you’re part of Abraham’s seed according to the promise.
- Neither Jew nor Greek…all one in Christ Jesus It was to the Jew first, but not the Jew only.
- If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (not the law)
Paul reasons with them about being a son versus being a servant (Chapter 4)
(4:1-7) – Paul continues the thought about the heir as the child of God, but says there was a time when there was no difference between the children of God and the servants in God’s house as far as the inheritance was concerned; neither of them participate in the inheritance.
- Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son…to redeem them that were under the law
- Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.
- Wherefore you’re no more a servant, but a son, then an heir of God through Christ (See John 8:34-36)
(4:8-20) – Paul said you know what you came out of, why are you wanting to go back to that bondage? I’m afraid I’ve wasted my time with you. In seeking to go back to the law you’ve lost your love and joy. No one is immune from being men-pleasers or being afraid of men. It affects people with good intentions. You’ve thrown me out who labored with you and for you and accepted those that will use you for their gain.
- Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?
- Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
- I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…
(4:21-31) – Paul compares Abraham’s two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, the two covenants, the old and new.
- Isaac is born free, Ishmael is born in bondage
- Two covenants: Agar like Sinai gendereth to bondage and has moved to Jerusalem (last time earthly city Jerusalem is mentioned by name in the New Testament). Jesus from above, New Jerusalem, new covenant, is free.
- Jerusalem vs. New Jerusalem, making earthly Jerusalem old
- Desolate vs. wife to a husband: Jerusalem had a husband, but no children. No sons of God were produced from that marriage. Compared to when Jesus Christ comes and bears children to God
- Isaac vs Ishmael: the Spirit vs. the flesh, promise versus carnal
Paul encourages them in the liberty of Jesus Christ (Chapter 5)
(5:1-12) – Christ is unprofitable if you make yourself a debtor to Moses’ law. The problem was these Jewish adversaries looked for someone to throw a chain around. They were very influential people. There is a WHO somewhere. Paul suffered for Christ unlike the character that was lying about Moses’ law. Paul said he wanted him to be cut off, as good as dead sounds like.
- If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing
- Debtor to the whole law
- In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision
(5:13-18) – Faith that works by love (5:6) is spiritual and it is where the liberty in Christ is found. Excellent cross-references are found in John 13:34-35, 15:12-17, Romans 13:8, James 2:8-12, 1 John 3:11, 23, 4:7, 11-12. It is the royal law, the new commandment to keep.
(5:19-26) – Carnal work versus spiritual fruit. The fruit of the spirit has no law against it. It’s the new life. The old carnal life desires its own glory and envies. If life is where the Spirit is, then walk in the Spirit.
- They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh
- Let us not be desirous of vain glory
Paul explains the spiritual walk in love (Chapter 6)
(6:1-5) – Being caught in a fault was like Peter and Barnabas being caught encouraging men to get back under Moses. Paul recorded his restoration of Peter and Barnabas. This is what burden-bearing looks like. You aren’t what you imagine yourself to be, but you are what you actually do according to verses 3-5. James 1:21-25 are referencing this truth.
(6:6-10) – Support spiritual work that magnifies Jesus Christ and quit supporting work that promotes carnality and attempts to put people back under Moses. You’ll reap what you support. God is not mocked! He will not tolerate teaching that minimizes the work of Jesus Christ.
(6:11-18) – There is no glory in the flesh only in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those preaching circumcision would never suffer for what they believe. Then Paul points to his own suffering for the cause of Christ. It’s not birthmarks, it’s NEW birthmarks. Paul sounds like he is done talking about this. He finishes with a prayer for their spiritual condition because their problem is a spiritual problem and the grace of God is not directed to the flesh (6:18).