Paul's Epistle to the Galatians Part 6

Paul's Epistle to the Galatians 1. Historically, the Galatians as a people had come into the central highlands of what is now Turkey around the Third Century B.C. as part of an ongoing great Celtic migration out of central Europe. This migration extended also across western Europe and into what is now known as the British Isles and their language is still spoken in portions thereof. Historical records show an overlap of the terms Celtic and Gallic. Their region was once called Gallo Graecia and was made a Roman province (Galatia) around 25 B.C. John Gill notes that some affirm that the Grecians called them Galatians from gala, which signifies milk, because of their milky color. 2. Little is said in scripture about the forming of the churches of Galatia. ACT 16:6; 18:23. A. They had been idolaters in spiritual bondage to fleshly works and ceremony. GAL 4:8-10. B. Paul certainly takes credit for founding them. GAL 4:13-15, 19. C. Paul gave them orders. 1CO 16:1. 3. Their churches were in considerable doctrinal and practical disorder, yet Paul affirms them as churches (GAL 1:2). Their candlesticks were still in place. A. Paul called them brethren and children of promise like himself. GAL 4:28. B. He called them, “My little children...” (GAL 4:19), not disowning them. C. That they were in considerable disorder and still churches is not an excuse for disorder but it does show that true churches may have serious flaws. (1) Five of the seven churches of Asia (REV 2-3) had disorder. But they were each warned about the loss of their candlestick unless they repented and came to order. (2) The preservation of Christ's church in this world is a fact (MAT 16:18) but not dependent upon absolute purity. (3) The fate, though, of a persistently disorderly church, is the forfeiting of its blessing and identity in favor of another. ROM 11:18-23. D. Their rapid and pervasive disorder provoked a censorious epistle from Paul. (1) He marvelled at their rapid departure from the truth. GAL 1:6. (2) He chided them for being turncoats to his ministry. GAL 4:14-16. (3) He called them foolish (GAL 3:1), strong language in view of MAT 5:22. (4) He closed the epistle, “From henceforth let no man trouble me...” (GAL 6:17). He had had enough. (5) Other Pauline epistles to churches generally included prayer for them but this one has only his usual introduction and benediction of grace. GAL 1:3; 6:18. a. God told Jeremiah, “...Pray not for this people for their good” (JER 14:11). b. This is not to say that Paul had completely ceased praying for them, but a church should be comforted by having its minister tell them that he is praying for them when he writes them. They were denied such comfort. 4. Paul found it necessary to defend both his ministry and gospel as being from God. GAL 1:11, 15-16; 2:8-9. A. False teachers of “the circumcision” had come unto the Galatians after Paul and cast doubts on his gospel and ministry. GAL 6:13. B. They had evidently slandered Paul as being duplicitous: teaching circumcision for justification to Jews but not to the Gentiles who might be offended at circumcision, implying that he ordered his ministry for personal benefit. GAL 1:10; 5:11. C. The irony of the slander was that the slanderers were preaching the necessity of Galatians 1-1-17 Page 1 circumcision, not for Christ's or the Galatians' sakes, but for their own benefit. GAL 6:12. (1) The overall message was, “You can be Christian while cleaving to the old ways of your peers and this will reduce persecution.” That was their slant on Christianity. (2) The Galatians had suffered persecution (GAL 3:4) so this message had an appeal. (3) Such a gospel is certainly not of Paul. 2CO 6:16-17; 2TI 3:12. D. Paul's main antagonists and rivals were self-pleasing Jews, even Christian Jews. 2CO 11:13, 22-23; TIT 1:10-11. 5. The Galatians had “...fallen from grace” (GAL 5:4). A. They had not fallen from grace in the sense of losing their status as God's children. GAL 3:26; 4:6-7. B. They had fallen from the doctrine of grace that had converted them by Paul. C. When one abandons or degrades from a known superior position, he falls from that position. c/w REV 2:4-5. (1) Apostasy is called a falling away (Gr. apostasia). 2TH 2:3. (2) “For the law was given by Moses, but GRACE and truth came by Jesus Christ” (JOH 1:17). (3) The Galatians had initially trusted in Jesus Christ and His grace but had opted for hybridizing that with the inferior and abolished O.T. Mosaic code of “do and live” righteousness (ROM 10:5). This was how they had fallen from grace. (4) Where the Spirit of Christ is, there is liberty (2CO 3:17; GAL 5:1, 13) but where the “spirit” of Moses is (the O.T.), there is bondage. GAL 2:4; 4:3. (5) This epistle makes clear that relying on sinners' righteousnesses or on ceremony for justification is bondage whether it be pagan or Mosaic. GAL 4:9-10; 5:1. D. The corruption of the doctrine of salvation from grace to works may have been affecting their conduct as brethren. (1) Grace levels the playing field: all are unworthy incapable sinners by nature and no one has any earned or natural claim on God that implies superiority over others. ROM 3:9 c/w EPH 2:1-3. (2) The introduction of works (like circumcision) to be added for justification automatically introduced the potential for vainglorious, prideful superiority: “Oh, you aren't circumcised? Well, you know you can't be saved unless you're circumcised like me.” GAL 5:26 c/w 6:15-16. (3) Contention had set in (GAL 5:15) and “Only by pride cometh contention...” (PRO 13:10). (4) They had drifted from true “ which worketh by love” (GAL 5:6) to a corrupted faith which worked by pride, vanity and glorying. (5) Never trivialize the importance of sound doctrine, especially the doctrine of Who God is and how He relates to His creation. The corruption of doctrine leads to the corruption of conduct. ROM 1:21-25. 6. Faith is a major theme in this epistle, and is contrasted with works-righteousness and quasi-faith. A. This epistle sets forth the flawless faith of Jesus Christ which justified sinners and made them righteous. GAL 2:16; 3:21-22. B. It also sets forth the faith of the saint after the manner of the faith of Abraham which evidences justification and righteousness. GAL 3:5-7. 7. This epistle is an excellent partner to Romans and likewise exposes and condemns many heresies. Galatians 1-1-17 Page 2 8. At issue in this epistle is the true gospel versus a counterfeit gospel (GAL 1:6-7): A. Both epistles set forth salvation by the faith of Jesus Christ. ROM 3:20-22; GAL 2:16. B. Both epistles condemn adding works to grace for righteousness. ROM 11:6; GAL 2:21. C. Both epistles deny superiority by circumcision. ROM 2:25-27; GAL 6:13. D. Both epistles declare faith is superior to circumcision. ROM 4:9-10; GAL 5:6. E. Both epistles deny righteousness by law. ROM 3:20-21; GAL 3:21. F. Both epistles declare a true Israel v. a false Israel. ROM 9:6; GAL 6:16. F. Both epistles show God's promise unique to the seed. ROM 9:7-8; GAL 3:16, 29. G. Both epistles declare the children of promise as God's children. ROM 9:8; GAL 4:28. H. Both epistles deny salvation by race or class. ROM 3:9-10; 10:12; GAL 3:28. I. Both epistles declare believers to have claim on God's promise. ROM 3:22; GAL 4:30-31. J. Both epistles deny that the inheritance is of the law. ROM 4:14; GAL 3:18. K. Both epistles counter Pharisaism, Judaism, Dispensationalism and Arminianism. True gospel Revelation from God Approved by the apostles and elders Christ magnified God-glorifying Blessing attached Salvation by grace Grace alone Glories in the cross Glories in the offence of the cross Faith of God and Christ Righteousness by the obedience of One Sinner's faith counted for righteousness Perfect salvation Christ's work saved Spiritual circumcision Live and do Abrahamic covenant Inheritance by God's promise Free salvation Man incapable Heavenly Jerusalem Apostolic doctrine Consistent Spread openly, plainly Not calendrical Mature religion Spiritual religion Forbids paganism Persecution for the truth Law a schoolmaster Law a temporary expedient Liberty Counterfeit gospel Invention of men Denounced by the apostles and elders Moses magnified Man-glorifying Curse attached Salvation by Law Grace plus works Changes the cross into a + sign Shrinks from the offence of the cross Faith of sinners Righteousness by the obedience of many Sinner's faith produces righteousness Incomplete salvation Christ's work saved none Fleshly circumcision Do and live Mosaic covenant Inheritance by sinners' obedience Earned salvation Man empowered Earthly Jerusalem Man's traditions Self-contradicting Spread by subtilty Calendrical Childish religion Fleshly religion Incorporates and consecrates paganism Compromises to evade persecution Law a taskmaster Law still in effect Bondage Galatians 1-1-17 Page 3 9. This epistle was written from Rome (see the postscript), where Paul for the gospel's sake would end up in bonds. A. A number of Paul's epistles were written from Rome. B. God's minister may be bound but not God's word. 2TI 2:9. (1) Even the death of God's witness cannot silence his message. HEB 11:4. (2) One might as well try to bind the sweet influences of the seven stars. JOB 38:31. C. Some of the most influential gospel declarations have come from the confines of a prison, Chapter 1 vs. 1-5. as witness Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, or the Baptist preachers overheard by James Madison in 1774. 1. A major element in this epistle is Paul's defense of his ministry, that his apostleship and gospel were directly from Jesus Christ. vs. 1, 11-12. A. He was an apostle by the will of God (1CO 1:1), not his own will or other men's wills who elected him such, as was Matthias. ACT 1:23-26. B. He was an apostle in truth, unlike the false apostles that were troubling the churches with a false gospel. 2CO 11:13-15. C. Paul's legitimacy as an apostle could have been verified by others. (1) Ananias of Damascus could have done so. ACT 9:10-17. (2) The prophets and teachers of the Antioch church could have done so. ACT 13:1-4. (3) The Jerusalem apostles certainly could have done so. GAL 2:8-9. (4) Ephesus was praised for trying (testing, proving) false apostles and exposing them. REV 2:2. a. The Galatians had rather condemned Paul on the basis of false accusation, not seeking to verify his claims nor giving him a chance to defend himself. b. They had essentially not tried the false teachers and found them liars but concluded Paul was a liar without proof. c. How important it is to prove all things (1TH 5:21) and follow the Biblical protocol for judging others! d. Legitimate witness invites scrutiny and investigation of its claims, which fosters conversion in honorable folks. ACT 17:11-12. e. Pharisaism by contrast works by duplicity and stealth, dishonesty which Paul had to renounce to be a minister of Christ. 2CO 4:1-2. [1] Pharasaism's tactics belie their progenitor. JOH 8:44. [2] Shun any system which preaches righteousness through double-talk, contradictions and such like. (5) That Paul had converted them to Christ was the seal of his apostleship (c/w 1CO 9:1-2); he had not converted them to Moses as did those who came later. D. Others had been called to be apostles by Christ on earth but Paul's call was from heaven, “ Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (v. 1). His was a very special call. (1) Seeing the resurrected Christ was a qualification for apostleship. ACT 1:21-23. (2) Paul saw the resurrected Christ. 1CO 9:1. (3) Barnabas confirmed this. ACT 9:27. Galatians 1-1-17 Page 4 (4) Paul affirmed, “And last of all he was seen of me also,...” (1CO 15:8). a. He was the last qualified apostle. No other after that could meet the conditions of ACT 1:21-23. b. Any presumed apostle after Paul would be constrained to only preach his gospel (v. 9), so what would be the point? c. After the apostolic era, we are to expect no subsequent appearance of the resurrected Christ until the Second Coming when all shall see him. 1PE 1:8; MAT 24:30; REV 1:7. d. We are not to walk by sight but by faith (2CO 5:7) which comes by hearing the word of God (ROM 10:17) and the word of God has been completed so we can use it to measure any prophet or teacher (1JO 4:6) which would be impossible if God was continually sending apostles with novel doctrines. E. That Paul says, “...and God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (v. 1) does more than simply declare the resurrection. (1) Christ died in full faith of God's promise of life. ACT 2:27-28. (2) The promise of God is the substance of the true gospel which Paul preached. GAL 3:16-18; 4:28. (3) Salvation for eternity is by God's promise, not the sinner's performance. TIT 1:2; 1JO 2:25. (4) God's raising of Christ from the dead was for our justification (ROM 4:25), therefore Moses, law-works and circumcision are irrelevant to our justification. (5) God raised Christ from the dead to exalt Him over a new order. a. God raised Him and gave Him glory (exaltation, one's highest state of magnificence or prosperity). 1PE 1:21. b. God raised Him to sit on David's throne (ACT 2:30-33), committing all power to Him in heaven and earth. MAT 28:18; 1PE 3:22. c. God raised Him to be Head/King of the church. EPH 1:20-23. d. That God raised Him from the dead presupposes a new and living way to relate to Him. ROM 7:4-6; HEB 10:19-22. e. With a new government and body of law (the N.T.) came a new order which abolished “do and live” righteousness, fleshly circumcision as a sacrament or token of God's covenant, and fixed ceremonial high days, etc. (all of which the Galatians had adopted). (6) Paul's introduction was therefore very appropriate to these churches which had been converted to the true gospel of promise, not the false gospel of law-works. 2. v. 2 indicates that this epistle was written before 2TI 4:10-11. A. That this epistle had to be addressed to more than one church speaks of the evangelistic zeal of the false teachers like the Pharisees. MAT 23:15. B. There were at least two churches but the indications are that there were more than that and the affection (GAL 4:17) was not just local but regional. c/w ACT 16:6; 18:23. (1) region: A realm or kingdom. Obs. b. A large tract of land; a country; a more or less defined portion of the earth's surface... (2) The realm of Galatia was exquisitely blessed with multiple churches built on gospel truth, the very thing which exalts a nation (PRO 14:34) and preserves it. PSA 9:17. a. The Galatian saints were squandering what they had been given for their spiritual salvation and tangently for the temporal security of their region. b. N.T. history is replete with many dissolved nations which had the gospel but sinned away its light. Galatians 1-1-17 Page 5 C. That Paul could write the same words to multiple churches also speaks of his consistency. His gospel was uniform. 1CO 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33. 3. Though they had besmirched grace, Paul nevertheless salutes them with grace and peace. v. 3. A. Saving grace was the source of their initial faith. c/w ACT 18:27; 2PE 1:1. B. Saving grace was the source of the grace needed for victorious living. JOH 1:16; ROM 5:2. C. The grace of salvation is the source of our peace with God in eternity. c/w COL 1:20. D. The saint's practical enjoyment of peace very much depends on a conviction that Jesus did all the saving by Himself with no regard to the sinner's works. (1) Adding the impossible burden of law and works to grace only robs the soul of peace for it makes the saint a continual futile debtor to law. GAL 5:3. (2) Not attributing all good to God's grace invites vainglorious pride which foments division and strife among brethren, not peace. 1CO 4:6-7. E. They had been destabilized by the imposition of Moses, circumcision and law as means of justification. Our hearts are to be established with grace, not with the ordinances of men. HEB 13:9 c/w COL 2:20-23. 4. Paul continues his sentence from v. 3 concerning the Lord 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:” (v. 4). A. Here is true salvation by grace: Christ's work on behalf of sinners according to God's will. (1) That it is deliverance from this present evil world implies deliverance to the future sinless world to come. MAR 10:30 c/w 2PE 3:13. (2) That is a world that sinners could never obtain but for Christ's work. PSA 49:7-9 c/w HEB 9:12, 25-26; 10:12. B. Salvation is not a matter of sinners giving themselves to God. All the giving is by Him. (1) God gave His only begotten Son for love's sake. JOH 3:16. (2) Christ in love gave Himself to God in sacrifice for us. EPH 5:2. (3) All was according to the will of God and our Father. PSA 40:8; JOH 10:11, 17-18. (4) Saving grace excludes the sinner's will. ROM 9:16. C. God delivered Christ into sinners' hands who delivered Him to death for our offences that we might be delivered from this world unto the world to come. ROM 8:32; MAT 27:26; ROM 4:25. 5. (GAL 1:5) To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. A. Salvation by grace according to God's will and work excludes all sinners' boastings. ROM 3:27; 4:1-2; EPH 2:8-9. B. Remember that the sinner's faith is owing to the preceding saving grace of God. ACT 18:27; 2PE 1:1. C. The redeemed sinner's good works are owing to the preceding saving grace of God. PHIL 2:12-13 c/w EPH 2:10. D. In the world above, all glory is unto God and the Lamb. Nowhere is any credit given to angels or sinners for redemption. REV 4:10-11; 5:6-14. E. What God undertakes to do for His name's sake is a glory He will not share with another. ISA 48:11. F. Whereas the Judaizers were glorying in proselytizing others with Moses and circumcision (sinners' doings), Paul only gloried in Christ's cross (God's doing). GAL 6:13-14. G. Paul's prayer for the churches was that they may comprehend God's love through Christ to glorify God always. EPH 3:14-21. Galatians 1-1-17 Page 6 vs. 6-12. 1. Paul here affirms the uniqueness, authority and source of the gospel he preached. 2. Deviations from and variants of his gospel constitute “...another gospel: Which is not another...” (vs. 6-7), but rather a perversion of the gospel. A. As there be that are called gods (1CO 8:5) which are no gods (GAL 4:8), and another Jesus (2CO 11:4) and another spirit (2CO 11:4) and false Christs (MAT 24:24) which are counterfeits, so there are other gospels which are not the gospel. B. Some Catholic apologists have even affirmed “another Peter” because of the implications of GAL 2:11-17. C. Churches should “...stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (PHIL 1:27). D. The gospel is the glad tidings/good news (ISA 61:1-2 c/w LUK 4:18; ROM 10:15) which declares what God HAS done for sinners by Christ's death, burial and resurrection. ACT 13:32-39 c/w 1PE 3:18; ROM 4:25. E. A gospel which says Christ saved none by His sacrifice but only made salvation possible is NOT good news since it denies the effectuality of His offering, per HEB 10:14; 9:12. F. A gospel which says eternal salvation is left up to sinners is NOT good news since they are by nature incapable of effecting change in themselves. MAT 12:33. G. A gospel which puts eternal salvation out of the reach of any who do not hear its message is NOT good news since they are obviously condemned in the absence of its message. H. A gospel which says that Christ agonizes over the loss of multitudes for whom He died is NOT good news since it means that He failed in His appointed mission, per JOH 6:37-39. (1) The most commonly preached Christs are failing Christs. (2) How many say that Christ came to set up a divine kingdom but was thwarted? (3) How many say that Christ was unable to preserve His true church? (4) How many say that Christ was unable to preserve His word? I. Any gospel which misrepresents the obedient, successful accomplishment of Jesus Christ's work for sinners' salvation and/or usurps His glory in saving them is NOT the gospel. J. “Thinking that people have to do something to get eternal life is kind of like Satan telling Jesus that He could have all the kingdoms of the world when they were His already!” (Silas Ashworth) 3. The singularity of the gospel is also seen in its universality. This counters the heresy that there is a gospel to the Jews that differs from the gospel to the Gentiles. A. Some have supposed that Paul's gospel of grace was to the Gentiles, but the other apostles preached a gospel of duty to the Jews. (1) The assumption is that during the “church dispensation” Gentiles' sins are put away by grace but Jews' sins are put away by repentance and that the Jewish saints will not come under grace until the millennial kingdom age. Texts like 1PE 1:10, 13 are deemed to support this theory. (2) Hard-core advocates of this system maintain that it is wrong for a Gentile Christian to pray as Jesus taught in MAT 6:9-13 or to in general ask God's forgiveness for their sins. (3) A sad irony of this heresy is that it is little more than a modernized form of the false gospel that had been foisted upon the Galatians which holds that God's real program is O.T. rather than N.T., that Christ needs Moses. B. There is one common gospel for Jew and Gentile. ROM 1:16-17; 10:12-16; 1CO 1:23-24. C. The gospel commands and blessings are the same for Jew and Gentile. Galatians 1-1-17 Page 7 ACT 17:30-31; 2:38-39 c/w EPH 2:13; ACT 20:20-21. D. Paul's gospel was the same as Peter's gospel. ROM 2:16 c/w ACT 10:42; 2TI 2:8-9 c/w ACT 2:30-31; 4:2-3; 2PE 3:15-16. E. The gospel of the kingdom IS the gospel of grace. ACT 20:24-25. F. The gospel of salvation by grace and the justifying faith of Christ is for Jew and Gentile alike. ACT 15:8-11; ROM 3:28-30. G. Perversions of the gospel are to be expected (ACT 20:30). The forces of darkness have always been very adept at producing counsellors to FRUSTRATE God's work. EZR 4:4-5 c/w GAL 2:21. 4. Any “gospel” that differs from Paul's gospel invites a curse upon angels or men. vs. 8-9. A. Paul is applying this to angels from heaven, not from hell. c/w 2CO 11:14. B. This shows the gospel is superior to angels. (1) Angels desire to look into the gospel. 1PE 1:12. (2) We shall judge angels by the gospel. 1CO 6:3. (3) We read of an angel in heaven with one gospel. REV 14:6. (4) The season of revelation via angels (ACT 7:53; GAL 3:19; HEB 2:2) is over since we have now the revelation of Jesus Christ Who is greater than angels. HEB 1:1-4. (5) No heaven-sent angel can deliver any other message than what has been revealed in Scripture. Therefore, the only thing an angel could tell someone today is “Read and believe the Bible.” 5. Paul marvelled that these churches were so soon removed from their good foundation. v. 6 c/w MAR 6:6. A. They had a good start out of the blocks but had promptly stumbled. GAL 5:7. B. Sometimes quick converts to the truth fall away just as quickly, which calls their nature into question. MAR 4:5-6, 16-17. (1) They had been confounded and so removed. ct/w PRO 10:30; 1PE 2:6. (2) Such removal is owing to a heart problem. ISA 29:13 c/w 2TI 4:3-4; PRO 17:4. (3) The false teachers had played to the weakness of the heart by zealously affecting them. GAL4:17. a. The Greek word translated “zealously affect(ed)” is zeloo (SRN # 2206) and means to have warmth of feeling for or against. b. There were false teachers in Galatia that were manipulating the emotions of the Galatians toward them and away from the truth. c. Be ever wary about being affected away from the truth by what looks good (GEN 3:6) or sounds good (ROM 16:17-18) but is not God's good. d. Do not let yourself be duped by sleight of men and cunning craftiness which appeals to emotion and twists God's words in order to deceive. EPH 4:14. e. When one's emotions are ruling the thoughts, there is instability and false teachers capitalize on unstable souls. 2PE 2:14. C. Discipleship is a serious venture which does not condone reversion. LUK 9:62; 14:28-30. D. Christian experience is likened to a race that meets with challenges from within as well as without. 1CO 9:24-27; 2CO 7:5. E. As such, this race must be run patiently, with an eye always to reliance on Christ. HEB 12:1-2; 6:11-12. F. Thus, there is a pressing need to become firm and established in the faith so that we can counter the devil's corruptions. 1CO 15:58; 1PE 5:8-9; EPH 6:16. G. We need to be rooted DEEP in Christ and His word. Superficiality will not withstand the Galatians 1-1-17 Page 8 trials and temptations of life. COL 2:7; LUK 6:46-49. H. Those who remain stedfast to the faith of the gospel have the full assurance of eternal life. COL 1:21-23; HEB 3:14; 1JO 2:24-25. I. Stability and maturity which stand fast against the winds of corruption come via the church, where brotherly fellowship, exhortation and ministerial guidance were ordained for that purpose. EPH 4:11-14; HEB 10:23-25. (1) This manifests the error of so-called “gospel conversion” which does not plant someone in the house of God. (2) Those who biblically come to Christ are built up a spiritual house which is his local church in this world. 1PE 2:4-5 c/w 1TI 3:15. (3) Those who are PLANTED IN the house of God flourish and bring forth enduring fruit. PSA92:13-14. 6. “...but there be some that trouble you...” (v. 7). c/w ACT 15:24. A. Tribulation attends godliness in Christ. 2TI 3:12. B. tribulate: To afflict; to oppress; to trouble greatly. C. Tribulation may take many forms including doctrinal assaults. c/w 2TH 2:1-2. (1) The kingdom of God has survived and even flourished when physically troubled. (2) Corruption from bad doctrine may ruin what persecution could not ruin. a. The church may lose members to false teachers. ACT 20:30; 2PE 2:1-2. b. Infections of bad doctrine may turn Christ against a church. REV 2:12-16 c/w ISA 63:9-10. D. Such troublers of the believers shall bear their judgment. GAL 5:10. E. God will recompense tribulation to the saints' troublers. 2TH 1:6-9. 7. As he found necessary to do from time to time (ROM 15:15-17; 2CO 3:1; 13:3), Paul here authenticates his office and gospel: that both came from God directly and stood in opposition to his past persuasion. vs. 10-12. A. A minister ought to expect that there will be times when he must prove his calling. NUM 16:1-5; 2CH 9:1; 2TI 2:15 c/w 1TI 4:15. B. Paul's former errors did not diminish his apostolic rank. 1CO 15:9-10; 2CO 12:11. C. “For do I now persuade men or God?...” (v. 10). (1) persuade: To induce (a person) to believe something; to lead to accept a statement, doctrine, fact, etc.; to win to a belief or assurance... (2) Persuading is a fundamental purpose of teaching. ACT 28:23. (3) False religion such as the Pharisaism which Paul now abhorred, presumes to instruct God and obligate God to men, as Job did. JOB 40:2; 35:1-2 c/w MAR 7:1-13. (4) (1CO 2:16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (5) Paul now persuaded men about God to obligate men to Him. 2CO 5:20. D. Paul's former conversation of being a preacher of circumcision was being used as a lever against him by his opponents to persuade the Galatians. It is evident, though, that he was no longer aligned or in favor with the Judaizers. GAL 5:11. (1) It is therefore obvious that one cannot be a promoter of Judaism/Pharisaism/circumcision and be the servant of Christ. 2CO 3:6; GAL 6:15. a. “...with the destruction of the Temple the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees... Henceforth Jewish life was regulated by the teachings of the Pharisees; the Galatians 1-1-17 Page 9 vs. 13-14. whole history of Judaism reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view... Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future.” (The Unedited Full Text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, art. Pharisees) b. Modern Judaism is simply modern Pharisaism, and the term “Judeo- Christian...” is contradictory and unbiblical. c. The popular notion of a future age of Christianized Judaism where Christ and the N.T. are suborned to Moses and the O.T. is a massive affront to the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel. (3) Paul had formerly been a menpleaser (c/w EPH 6:6). Ministers are entrusted with the gospel and must preach it according to God's dictates, not men's. 1TI 1:11; 1TH 2:4; MAT 6:24. a. A minister must be more concerned with God's opinion of his efforts than that of his congregation's. 1CO 4:1-3; 1TI 1:19. b. The minister must press on willingly in the face of stout opposition from without. EZE 2:6; 3:8-9; JER 1:17; 2TI 4:2-4. c. He must do likewise in the face of opposition from within. 2CO 7:5; 1CO 9:16-17. E. Paul's gospel was not something that he had figured out or been taught by men (vs. 11-12). Christ revealed His will to Paul directly. EPH 3:1-6. (1) The authenticity of Paul's apostleship and his gospel are tied to his personal interfacing with the resurrected Jesus Christ. 1CO 15:8. a. His claim that he had seen the risen Lord Who gave him a special commission could be confirmed by an independent source, Ananias. ACT 9:15. b. His co-apostle, Barnabas (c/w ACT 14:14), a Levite (ACT 4:36) who would undoubtedly have appreciated Jewish circumcision, confirmed that Paul had seen Jesus and that Jesus had then spoken to him. ACT 9:27. c. Barnabas obviously had no problem with Paul's gospel which downplayed circumcision. GAL2:1-3. d. Christ appeared to Paul on multiple occasions to reveal the truth to him. ACT 26:16; 2CO 12:1, 7; GAL 2:2. (2) Paul's gospel was in complete agreement with everything that the prophets had said. ACT 3:24; 15:13-17; 26:22-23; ROM 1:1-2. (3) The “mystery” previously “hidden” (EPH 3:9) was hidden in that its message was not revealed to the same degree as the superior light that was given to the apostles. EPH 3:6 c/w 2PE 1:19; 1PE 1:10-12. (4) It was hidden in that it was obscured by the law until Christ made an end of the law. 2CO 3:12-16; GAL 3:23. (5) It was hidden in that the people did not believe what their own prophets had said. JOH 5:46-47; ACT 13:27. (6) It was (and is) hidden to those under Satan's blinding power. 2CO 4:3-4. 1. The news of Paul's notoriety had even spread as far as Galatia, perhaps by Paul himself at his first coming among them. As a Pharisee, he had been the most zealous of all. PHIL 3:5-6; ACT 26:4-5, 9-11. Galatians 1-1-17 Page 10 A. conversation: The action of living or having one's being in a place or among persons. Also fig. of one's spiritual being. Obs. B. Mind that Paul here twice calls his former persuasion, “...the Jews' religion...” (vs. 13-14). He does not call it the religion of God or the religion of Moses. (1) “in the Jews' religion; or 'in Judaism'. He was born of Jewish parents, had a Jewish education, was brought up under a Jewish doctor, in all the peculiarities of the Jewish religion, and so could have received no hints, not in a notional way, of the truths of the Gospel; which he might have done, had he been born of Christian parents, and had had a Christian education: besides, he was brought up in the religion of the Jews, not as it was founded and established by God, but as it was corrupted by them; who had lost the true sense of the oracles of God committed to them, the true use of sacrifices, and the end of the law; had added to it a load of human traditions; placed all religion in bare doing, and taught that justification and salvation lay in the observance of the law of Moses, and the traditions of the elders: add to this, that he was brought up in the sect of the Jewish religion, Pharisaism, which was the straitest sect of it, and the most averse to Christ and his Gospel; so that he could never receive it, or have any disposition to it from hence; so far from it, that he appeals to the Galatians, as what they must have heard,” (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible) (2) The Pharisees were ambitious traveling missionaries. MAT 23:15. a. They traveled far and wide to win converts to Pharisaism. b. Paul traveled far and wide to destroy opposition to Pharisaism. ACT 22:19; 26:11. c. They traveled far and wide to discredit or destroy the likes of Paul who forsook Pharisaism. ACT 14:19. d. It was a sect of Pharisees in the church that was traveling far and wide to oppose Paul and corrupt churches with Pharisaism. ACT 15:1, 5. e. The validity of religion is NOT measured by the zeal of its adherents nor by their evangelistic outreach but by the testimony of God. ISA 8:20; ROM 3:4; 10:1-2. f. NOTE: It is an especially toxic form of religious zeal that assumes that the eternal fate of men or the eternal plan of God is imperiled by differing religious opinion. C. Paul was convinced that what he was doing was for the glory of God, unwittingly fulfilling Christ's words. MAT 23:34; JOH 16:2. D. Paul discovered what his own teacher, Gamaliel, had warned of sometime earlier. ACT 22:3 c/w ACT 5:34-40; 9:3-4. E. Christ takes actions towards His church very personally. JOH 13:20; MAT 25:40, 45 c/w 12:46-50. F. Paul had persecuted the church “beyond measure” (v. 13), but he would suffer “above measure” for the faith he once destroyed. ACT 9:16; 2CO 11:23-28. (1) Paul also received mercy above measure, that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would be magnified and exemplified in him. 1TI 1:12-16; 2PE 3:9. (2) Paul's dedication and devotion to Christ were unequalled. Such should be the case with forgiven great sinners. LUK 7:40-47. (3) Paul had a very personal grasp of the measure of salvation: “...the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge...” (EPH 3:18-19). Galatians 1-1-17 Page 11 2. Paul had profited (v. 14) in his former religion, which had a tradition of equating gain with godliness and redemption. 1PE 1:18. A. profit: intr. To make progress; to advance, go forward; to improve, prosper, grow, increase (in some respect). Obs. (1) Paul had advanced in the Jews' religion, and it is a general rule that systems promote those who further their interests, not slackers or detractors. (2) Paul's post-conversion view on true riches stood in obvious contrast to his former persuasion. EPH 1:7; 3:8, 16; HEB 11:26. B. The Jews generally had a fixation with material prosperity, particularly the acquisition of gold and silver. MAT 23:16-17. (1) They longed for a restoration of the days of King Solomon, who “...made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones...” (1KI 10:27). (2) Their financial drive proved to be their primary stumblingblock to the truth. EZE 7:19; ROM 11:7-10. C. Historically, their pursuit of wealth had been without scruples. AMO 8:4-6; HOS 12:7-8; ZEC 11:5. D. These warped materialistic priorities found their way into the Jewish Christian church. JAM 4:13; 5:1-6. E. The church had to be especially on guard against the advocates of Judaism who had ulterior motives to their ministries. TIT 1:10-11; 2PE 2:3. F. True spiritual Christian Jews paid dearly to follow Christ. HEB 10:32-34; ROM 15:26. G. The proof of Paul's ministry was not the same kind of proof that would have advanced him in the religion of the Jews. 2CO 6:4-10. H. Always beware the advocates of the “prosperity gospel.” 1TI 6:5-6. Galatians 1-1-17 Page 12
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