A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
The new covenant is not the addition of faith in Christ to the Law of Moses.
The new covenant is Christ formed in us.
Religious observances cannot add to the effectiveness of the cross.
Works of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision, can only detract from the wisdom and power of the cross of Christ.
God is God.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Table of Contents
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
1.From what source did Pauls apostleship come?
2.Who were greeting the Christian assemblies that were located in the region of Galatia?
3.What two spiritual blessings does the Apostle Paul bestow on the assemblies in Galatia?
4.Why did Christ give Himself over to suffering and death?
5.What is the Lord Jesus Christ able to accomplish through the authority and power of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection?
6.What does Paul offer to the Father?
7.Concerning what was Paul marveling?
8.To what had God called the Galatian believers?
9.To what were the Galatians being moved?
10.Does Paul consider the gospel of the Judaizers to be actually another Divine Good News?
11.What is Pauls opinion of the Judaizers?
12.What is Pauls verdict concerning any personage who preaches a gospel different from the Gospel what he preached?
13.What does Paul repeat?
14.To whom was Paul answerable? Whom did he seek to please?
15.What is true of the preacher who seeks to please his listeners?
16.What does Paul assure the assemblies of Galatia?
17.What did the Galatian Christians know of Pauls history?
18.What does Paul state concerning his own background in Judaism?
19.What was God pleased to do?
20.What did Paul do soon after his conversion while on the road to Damascus?
21.Where did Paul go after he returned to Damascus from his communion [sharing] with the Lord in the wilderness?
22.Whom did Paul visit in Jerusalem?
23.Where did Paul go from Jerusalem?
24.What did the Christians of Judaea know of Paul?
1.Where did Paul go fourteen years from the date of his conversion on the road to Damascus?
2.Why did the Apostle Paul leave Antioch and go up to Jerusalem?
3.What did Paul desire to place before the Christians in Jerusalem?
4.Why did Paul go first to James, Peter, and John, and other leading elders, and explain the doctrine he was preaching among the Gentiles?
5.What incident arose concerning Titus, the Greek?
6.How did Paul regard the action of these Pharisees?
7.Did Paul yield to the pressure to circumcise Titus?
8.What was Pauls attitude toward those who were important members of the conference?
9.What did the leaders of the conference perceive?
10.What reputation did James, Peter, and John have in the church in Jerusalem?
11.What did the three "pillars" perceive?
12.What did the three Apostles extend to Paul and Barnabas?
13.What request did the three Apostles make of Paul, to which Paul agreed readily?
14.Why did Paul find it necessary to resist certain things Peter was doing?
15.In what area was Peter having problems?
16.What did Paul do in response to the withdrawing of Peter and the other Jewish Christians?
17.What do those who are "Jews by nature" and not "sinners of the Gentiles" understand?
18.By what are we justified (declared to be righteous) by the Lord?
19.What have we (Paul, Barnabas, we ourselves, and other Christians) done?
20.Why have we believed in, placed all of our faith in, the Lord Jesus Christ?
21.What is true of the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, the Levitical rules, the animal sacrifices, and the dietary regulations?
22.What is an individual doing when he attempts to gain righteousness by observing all or part of the Law of Moses?
1.How does Paul address the saints in Galatia?
2.What have the Judaizers done to the Christians in Galatia?
3.Who had been presented before the eyes of the Galatians?
4.On what basis had the Galatians received the Holy Spirit?
5.What senseless behavior are the Galatians practicing?
6.What question does Paul ask them?
7.What is Pauls next question?
8.On what basis did Abraham attain right standing in the sight of God?
9.Who are the children of Abraham?
10.What did the Scripture foresee?
11.What was the word of the Gospel that was preached to Abraham?
12.What is true of the people who trust in the Gospel of Christ and do not add to it circumcision, or any of the other aspects of the Law of Moses?
13.What is true of each person who is attaining righteousness through the works of the Law of Moses?
14.How has God decreed that a righteous person will live?
15.How does the Law of Moses differ from living by faith?
16.How did Christ redeem us from the Divine curse that falls on every person who does not keep every point of the Law of Moses?
17.Why did Christ become a curse for us?
18.On what basis does a Gentile receive the Holy Spirit of God?
19.What is true of a legal contract?
20.To whom were made the promises of the Divine blessing of fruitfulness and dominion?
21.Was the Divinely ordained contract made with Abrahams seeds or with his Seed ?
22.Who is the one Seed of Abraham?
23.How many years after God preached the Gospel of Christ to Abraham was the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai?
24.What is true, therefore?
25.What is true if the Messianic inheritance, the inheritance of fruitfulness and dominion through the Spirit of God, can be attained by the works of the Law of Moses?
26.If, therefore, the Gospel of Christ was preached to Abraham long before the Law of Moses was given, and the Divine inheritance was assigned to Abraham as a promise of God apart from any works of righteousness that Abraham did, for what purpose did God give the Law of Moses?
27.What persons did God use to give the Law?
28.Is the Law of Moses against the promise of the Gospel?
29.What has the Scripture done, with the assistance of the Law of Moses?
30.Why did God shut up all things and people under sin?
31.What was true of us before the Gospel of faith in Christ was preached to us?
32.Therefore, what was the Law of Moses?
33.What is true now that the Gospel of faith in Christ is being preached?
34.What does Paul declare to be true of every member of the churches of Galatia?
35.What takes place when we are baptized in water into the death and resurrection of Christ?
36.What becomes true the moment we clothe ourselves with Christ?
37.What is true of every person who belongs to Christ?
1.What is true of the heir of a kingdom while he is an infant?
2.What is true of the sons of God?
3.How did God show that it was time for the sons of God to come of age?
4.Why did God send forth His Son as a human governed by the Law of Moses?
5.What does each "infant" receive through Christ?
6.What has God done, now that we are His sons?
7.What is true of each person in whom the Spirit of Christ is dwelling?
8.What is true of each son?
9.What was true of us while we were "infants"?
10.What were the Judaizers convincing the Galatian Christians to do?
11.What were the Galatian saints returning to, after having received the Spirit of Christ?
12.What did Paul fear?
13.What did Paul beseech the Christian people in Galatia to do?
14.In what condition was Paul when he first preached to the people of the region of Galatia?
15.How did the people of Galatia react to the fact that Paul was suffering from a bodily ailment?
16.What does Paul ask them?
17.What would the Galatians have been willing to do for Paul?
18.What question does Paul ask?
19.What were the Judaizers doing to the Galatians?
20.What was of benefit to the saints in Galatia?
21.How does Paul refer to the believers in Galatia?
22.What was Paul having to do again?
23.What did Paul wish were true, while he was writing this letter?
24.What does Paul ask the Galatians who were ready to go back under the Law of Moses?
25.Who were the two sons of Abraham?
26.What position did Hagar occupy?
27.What was true of Sarah?
28.How was Ishmael conceived?
29.How was Isaac conceived?
30.What is true of the births of Ishmael and Isaac?
31.Of what are the two births an allegory?
32.Of what is Hagar, Sarahs slave and the mother of Ishmael, an allegory?
33.What is true of the Jerusalem that is in Heaven?
34.Read Isaiah 54:1.
35.What is true of every member of the Body of Christ, every Christian?
36.What will happen to those who are not building in their own wisdom and strength but are working in and with the Lord, waiting on Him for the fulfillment of His Word?
37.Read Genesis 21:10.
38.What is Pauls conclusion?
1.What does Paul exhort the saints in Galatia to do?
2.What will be true of those who listen to the Judaizers and become circumcised?
3.What becomes true of the man who accepts circumcision in order to perform the Law of Moses?
4.What is the spiritual state of the person who chooses to pursue righteousness in terms of the Law of Moses?
5.What is true of us who are following the Spirit of God rather than attempting to perform the requirements of the Law of Moses?
6.What about circumcision and uncircumcision?
7.What is of benefit and importance in the Kingdom of God?
8.What had been true of the churches of Galatia before the Judaizers came?
9.What were the Judaizers accomplishing?
10.Was it Christ who was counseling the Galatians to add the Law of Moses to the Gospel of Christ?
11.What is true of a little "leaven," such as the doctrine that requires that Christian people be circumcised and keep the holy days of the Law of Moses?
12.Of what was Paul persuaded in the Lord?
13.What will happen to the teacher who was bringing them back under the Law of Moses?
14.What would be true if Paul preached circumcision?
15.What was Pauls desire for the teachers who were bringing the saints of Galatia into confusion?
16.To what have the Christians been called?
17.What is the wrong use of our freedom?
18.What is the right use of our freedom?
19.What one statement includes the whole Law of Moses?
20.What may happen to believers who are biting and devouring one another?
21.What is the result of walking in the Spirit of God?
22.What is true of the desires of our flesh?
23.What is true of the desires of the Holy Spirit?
24.The Spirit of God opposes our flesh and our flesh opposes the Spirit of God.
What is true, therefore, of the Christian disciples?
25.What is true of a person who is being led by the Spirit of God?
26.What kinds of behavior are practiced by people, including Christians, who are living in their own wisdom and strength, in an animal existence, rather than in the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit of God?
27.What is the standing before God of each person who is practicing these behaviors?
28.What are the attitudes and behaviors of believers in Christ who are living and walking in the Holy Spirit of God?
29.What relationship does law have to the fruit of the Spirit?
30.How can we recognize the people who truly belong to Christ?
31.If we are Christians, and the eternal resurrection life of the Holy Spirit is abiding in us, what should we be doing?
32.What should every saint avoid with diligence?
1.What should the saints do if a member of the assembly falls into sin?
2.What is the law of Christ?
3.What is true of the person who believes himself to be an outstanding saint but who is a weak believer?
4.What should be the attitude of every one of us toward our own work in the Kingdom of God?
5.What is true of every believer in Christ?
6.What should a person do who is being taught in the Word of God?
7.What is true of our relationship to God?
8.What will the believer reap who is sowing the lusts of his flesh?
9.What will the believer reap who is sowing the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
10.What will be true of us if we patiently do what is right each day of our Christian discipleship?
11.What should each saint do, as he has the opportunity?
12.What motive did the Judaizers have in stressing circumcision?
13.Were the Judaizers themselves keeping the Law of Moses?
14.What were they seeking by advocating circumcision?
15.In what did Paul boast?
16.What is the most important accomplishment of the Gospel of Christ?
17.What does the Apostle Paul confer on those who place the development of the new creation above religious rites?
18.What name does Paul apply to those in whom the new creation is coming forth?
19.The Judaizers desired that the mark of circumcision be placed in each believer in Christ.
Of what "marks" did Paul speak?
20.What blessing does Paul invoke on the brothers in Galatia?
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
1. From what source did Pauls apostleship come?
From Christ, and God the Father who raised him from the dead.
2. Who were greeting the Christian assemblies that were located in the region of Galatia?
Paul and the brothers who were with him.
3. What two spiritual blessings does the Apostle Paul bestow on the assemblies in Galatia?
Gracethe virtue of Christ by which we overcome the darkness of the world; and peacethe joyous assurance that all is well with us because we are under the care and protection of the Lord God of Heaven.
4. Why did Christ give Himself over to suffering and death?
Because of the bondage of sin in which people are held.
5. What is the Lord Jesus Christ able to accomplish through the authority and power of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection?
He is able to deliver us from the present evil age.
Notice that the Christian redemption includes more than the forgiveness of our conduct. It provides an actual deliverance from the spiritual wickedness, darkness, and death of the world in which we are living.
We Christians are to have a firm grasp on the understanding that the present world is evil and that it is the will of God our Father that we be delivered from it.
This does not mean that God removes us from the world but that He keeps us from Satan and all his works.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [evil oneSatan] (John 17:15).
6. What does Paul offer to the Father?
Glory to the ages of the ages.
7. Concerning what was Paul marveling?
The fact that the Galatians could be moved so quickly from Paul and his teaching of Christs grace, and turn to a different gospel that stressed the works of the Law.
8. To what had God called the Galatian believers?
To the grace of Christ.
9. To what were the Galatians being moved?
To another gospel.
Paul had preached the grace of God in Christ to the Galatians. After Paul left Galatia, the Judaizers came to the Galatians with their "gospel" of keeping the Jewish Law. The Judaizers were Jews who had been converted to Christianity. They believed that in order to become a true Christian the Gentiles had to be converted to Judaism and keep the Law of Moses. The males had to be circumcised.
The Book of Galatians is Pauls answer to teachers who would attempt to include all or any part of the Law of Moses in the Gospel of Christ.
Let us keep in mind that the new covenant is the writing of the Torah, the Law, in the mind and heart of the believer; not the letter of the Law of Moses but the eternal moral law of God. It is not that we ever forsake the moral law of God. Rather it is true that we change from the outward observance of the Law (that which Paul was discussing) to the development of the fullness of the Law, the Torah, in our heart. Christ is the fulfillment of the Law and the embodiment of the Law. As Christ is formed in us the Law is formed in us. This is the new covenant.
When referring to the Law we are speaking primarily of the Ten Commandments but also of the additional statutes and ordinances.
Each of the numerous commandments of the Law, including the keeping of the Sabbath, refers to a universe of attitudes and behaviors. All of these attitudes and behaviors taken together compose the eternal moral law of God. Jesus Christ is Himself the fullness of the eternal moral law of God. In Him we can observe all that the Law is, all that the Law desires and commands, the fullness of the expectation of God concerning His creatures.
10. Does Paul consider the gospel of the Judaizers to be actually another Divine Good News?
11. What is Pauls opinion of the Judaizers?
They were troubling the Christians of Galatia, attempting to pervert the Gospel of Christ.
12. What is Pauls verdict concerning any personage who preaches a gospel different from the Gospel what he preached?
Let him be accursed.
13. What does Paul repeat?
Let him be accursed.
It is obvious that Paul felt strongly about the truth that had been entrusted to him. The Gospel of Christ is not to be changed or tampered with in any manner (compare Revelation 22:18,19).
14. To whom was Paul answerable? Whom did he seek to please?
15. What is true of the preacher who seeks to please his listeners?
He is not a servant of Christ.
16. What does Paul assure the assemblies of Galatia?
The Gospel that he teaches was not put together by man, or given or taught to him by man. Paul received the Gospel directly from Christ through the Spirit of revelation (Ephesians 1:17).
17. What did the Galatian Christians know of Pauls history?
Paul previously had been a leader in Judaism. At that time he had vigorously persecuted and laid waste the church of God, attempting to destroy it.
Paul is writing to the Christian people of Galatia who were being persuaded by Jewish Christians that they should be converted to Judaism as part of their Christian experience. Paul was reminding the Galatians that he himself had been active in Judaism. He was as learned in the Law of Moses as were any of the "experts" who were getting them off the straight track of the true Gospel of Christ.
18. What does Paul state concerning his own background in Judaism?
He had been advancing in Judaism beyond many of his contemporaries, his Jewish brothers, because he was very zealous for the traditions handed down by the elders.
Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrewsa learned Jew. According to what we can glean from the New Testament, Paul was the only apostle to whom Christ gave the full understanding of the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. It does not appear that any of the other writers came anywhere near the depth of explanation we find in Pauls Epistles.
It is remarkable that Christ would entrust to one person such a tremendously important aspect of the Kingdom of God; but according to the record of the Scriptures, this is how God has worked throughout history. We need only to bring to mind Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, Elijah, John the Baptist.
Evidently God felt it necessary to entrust such knowledge to a man who was equal or superior in knowledge to any other man of the Jewish religion. Paul was well able to speak with full authority concerning the Law of Moses. He had been trained in the Law by one of the most distinguished scholars of IsraelRabbi Gamaliel.
When Paul was disputing with the Judaizing teachers of Galatia he was arguing with men who were inferior to himself in their grasp of the Law of Moses. Paul easily was their master in the traditions of Judaism.
Even today there is no person superior to Paul in the knowledge of either the old covenant or the new covenant. Christ had His own man at the crucial point in the history of the Christian Church.
19. What was God pleased to do?
God was pleased to reveal His own Son in Paul, that Paul might announce the Gospel concerning Him to the nations of the earth.
God first had separated Paul from his mothers womb as a baby, and then had called him (on no basis other than Divine foreknowledge and election) to be an apostle to the Gentiles, opening his eyes to behold Gods Lamb who was offered for the sins of the world.
20. What did Paul do soon after his conversion while on the road to Damascus?
Although it is not mentioned in the ninth chapter of Acts, it appears that Paul went into a wilderness area of Arabia for a season in order to think about what had taken place on the way to Damascus.
We can only imagine the turmoil in Pauls mind. One moment he is a leader in Judaism, torturing and killing Christian saints. The next moment he is the Apostle of Christ to the Gentiles. Can you imagine the mental and emotional adjustment Paul had to make?
Paul did not go to other Christian people in order to learn the meaning of the revelation of Christ given to him. Paul went alone into the wilderness. There he communed with the Lord. He established his personal relationship with Christ. He did not go immediately to the central assembly in Jerusalem and apprentice himself to the leading Apostles and elders.
Every Christian person must have his or her personal relationship with Christ. We are built up in Christ by the ministries that the Holy Spirit has set in the Body of Christ; but there must come an instance in each saints life when he comes into the Presence of the Lord by himself.
It is not enough to be raised in a Christian family or to attend a fervent assembly. We must know the Lord for ourselves.
We can see this one-to-one relationship in the lives of Moses, Jeremiah, Abraham, Daniel, Peter, and others of the Scriptures. There is a time for us to learn of Christ from other people, and then there is a time for us to learn of Christ from Christ Himself. Have you ever met the Lord?
It appears that the Judaizing teachers in Galatia were attempting to discredit Paul because Paul was the one apostle who came out steadfastly against circumcision. It appears that their main argument against Pauls authority was that he was not one of the Twelve, and that what he knew he had learned from Peter and the other Apostles.
Paul is telling the Galatians that he was not a student of the original Apostles of the Lamb. Rather, he had been called to be an apostle, "not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead."
Paul did not go to Jerusalem and learn the Gospel there. He went into the Arabian desert and received the Gospel from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and then returned to Damascus.
It often is helpful to be taught in seminary or Bible school. It is profitable also to search the Scriptures and discover the promises that are contained therein. But the churches of today need men and women, boys and girls, who have met Christ Himself. We must hear from the Lord what it is that He wants announced and done in the days in which we are living.
21. Where did Paul go after he returned to Damascus from his communion with the Lord in the wilderness?
After three years Paul journeyed up to Jerusalem.
22. Whom did Paul visit in Jerusalem?
The Apostle Peter, and James, the brother of Jesus. It is believed that James was the leading elder in the large church in Jerusalem, which was made up of thousands of Jews who had been converted to Christianity and who were strict observers of the Law of Moses.
23. Where did Paul go from Jerusalem?
Paul journeyed to Antioch in Syria, and then to Tarsus in the region of Cilicia. Therefore the Christian people of the region of Judaea did not know Paul by face.
24. What did the Christians of Judaea know of Paul?
They had heard the news that Saul of Tarsus, who had viciously persecuted the Christian families, was now preaching the faith he had been attempting to destroy.
The Judaeans glorified God because of the wonderful change in Saul of Tarsus.
1. Where did Paul go fourteen years from the date of his conversion on the road to Damascus?
To Jerusalem, bringing Barnabas and Titus with himA.D.50 (see Acts, Chapter 15).
2. Why did the Apostle Paul leave Antioch and go up to Jerusalem?
Because of a Divine revelation.
Perhaps the Lord Jesus had showed Paul by revelation that the issue of the Law, particularly circumcision (Acts 15:5), would arise to trouble the central church in Jerusalem. The issue of the Law of Moses, and its relationship to the Gospel, was raised by certain sincere but misguided Pharisees who had received Jesus as Christ.
The Lord directed Paul to attend this conference because the testimony of him and Barnabas was important to the decision that was to be made by the leaders of the churchall of whom were Jews (Acts 15:12).
3. What did Paul desire to place before the Christians in Jerusalem?
The Gospel he was proclaiming among the Gentile nations.
4. Why did Paul go first to James, Peter, and John, and other leading elders, and explain the doctrine he was preaching among the Gentiles?
"Lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain," Paul exclaimed.
It appears that Paul presented the doctrine he was preaching to the Apostles and elders so he might hear and consider their reaction to it. Paul alone was stating that the Law of Moses had passed away because the Lord God of Heaven had instituted a new means of redemption. The other Apostles and elders were clinging to some aspects of the Law.
Paul maintained his position and finally received the right hand of fellowship from James, Peter, and John.
The leadership conference of the fifteenth chapter of Acts was remarkable for its purity. While there was sincere arguing about the role of Judaism in Christianity, there is no apparent desire of any of the men to be preeminent.
The spirit of preeminence is so strong in Christianity today that it would be impossible to conduct a similar conference, the outcome of which would be binding on the Christian churches. The organization of the Christian churches of today is in chaos because of the spirit of preeminence.
It may or may not be true that the Lord Jesus will restore an apostolic leadership to the churches today that will prepare the church and the world for the return of Christ to the earth.
If the Lord chooses to restore the apostleship, at least two conditions may be necessary for its success: (1) the new apostles must be anointed by the spirit to such an extraordinary extent that the signs and wonders they work will cause the churches to fear God and His apostles (Acts 2:43); and (2) there must be so much tribulation in the world that each apostle gains nothing personally but lives in the constant threat of imprisonment, torture, and death (II Corinthians 11:23-33; I Corinthians 15:31).
5. What incident arose concerning Titus, the Greek?
Apparently some of the concerned Pharisees made friends with Paul and Barnabas and Titus so they could learn whether or not Titus had been required to be circumcised in order to become a Christian.
6. How did Paul regard the action of these Pharisees?
As an attempt of false brothers to bring Christian believers back under the bondage of the Law of Moses.
7. Did Paul yield to the pressure to circumcise Titus?
Not for a moment, so that the truth of the Gospel of Christ might not be diluted with circumcision or with any other part of the Law of Moses.
8. What was Pauls attitude toward those who were important members of the conference?
It did not matter to Paul who they were. God is not impressed with the importance of men. The important ones added nothing to the grace that had been given to Paul.
It appears that the Lord Jesus was not willing that Paul should be influenced by other Christian leaders. Pauls contribution to the Body of Christ was too important and critical to be influenced by other people no matter how godly or gifted.
9. What did the leaders of the conference perceive?
To Paul had been committed the Gospel to the Gentiles, to the uncircumcision, just as to Peter had been committed the Gospel to the Jews, to the circumcision.
The elders of Jerusalem saw that the same power that was demonstrated in Peter as he preached to the Jews was being demonstrated in Paul as he preached to the Gentiles.
There is an important principle here, a principle that should be determining our understanding of the will of Christ for today. We need to learn to look for the flow of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, of the power of God. We must learn to work with the Spirit and not in terms of our understandingeven our understanding of the Scriptures.
The Scriptures are infallible. They shall stand intact when the heavens and earth pass away. The promises of God are faithful to every person who trusts in them.
Nevertheless the sons of God are led by the Spirit, not by the Scriptures (Romans 8:14). The mistake made by the Pharisees was that they blinded their eyes with the letter of the Scriptures when the Lord God was working miracles in their Presence.
So it is today. God is moving. If we wish to do so we can ask the Lord to show us what He is doing. If we then will abandon our own schemes to build the "Kingdom of God" (when in reality we are constructing our own little kingdom although we may not realize it) and look to see what Jesus is doing, we can enter the wonderful joy of working alongside Jesus in the building of the true Kingdom of God.
The elders of Jerusalem were not seeking their own glory. Therefore they were able to perceive that God was working in Paul even though he was not requiring that the Gentiles be circumcised. The elders ruled in favor of what God manifestly was accomplishing, not in favor of their own limited understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. They were true men of God.
10. What reputation did James, Peter, and John have in the church in Jerusalem?
They were considered to be "pillars"men who upheld the Church by their knowledge of Christ and their godly behavior.
11. What did the three "pillars" perceive?
The grace that had been entrusted to Paul by the Lord Jesus.
12. What did the three Apostles extend to Paul and Barnabas?
The right hand of fellowship. Paul and Barnabas were to bring the Good News to the Gentile nations while the three Apostles would preach to the circumcision.
13. What request did the three Apostles make of Paul, to which Paul agreed readily?
That he and Barnabas should remember the poor.
The city of Jerusalem was having economic problems at the time. No doubt the converted Jews were having special difficulties. Paul was diligent in collecting money for the poor saints of Jerusalem. His concern is revealed in II Corinthians, Chapters Eight and Nine. Some scholars believe that Luke was the brother who traveled with Paul and administered what probably amounted to a large sum of money (II Corinthians 8:19).
God is pleased when we assist the poor (Proverbs 19:17).
14. Why did Paul find it necessary to resist certain things Peter was doing?
Paul believed that Peter was not obeying the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.
15. In what area was Peter having problems?
In the area of the relationship between the Law of Moses and the grace of God in Christ. Peter had been willing to eat in fellowship with the Gentile Christians of Antioch. The Holy Spirit had given a special vision to Peter concerning the changes that have been made under the new covenant (Acts 10:15).
Then some of the converted Jewish elders came from James, the pastor of the church in Jerusalem, to visit the church in Antioch. Peter, from fear of displeasing these Jewish Christians, refused to continue having such close fellowship with the Gentile Christians.
All of the Jewish Christians who were present followed Peters lead until even Barnabas withdrew from the Gentile Christians of Antioch.
16. What did Paul do in response to the withdrawing of Peter and the other Jewish Christians?
Paul confronted Peter in public and pointed out to him that his behavior was inconsistent. "If you, who are Jewish, have left the Law of Moses and are living by faith in Christ, why are you requiring the Gentiles to come under the Law of Moses?
"The Gentile Christians have become true Jews in their inner man by receiving Christ. They no longer are Gentile sinners. Why should they go back under the outward circumcision of the Law of Moses?"
Pauls logic and straightforwardness left no room for response. What could Peter say in reply?
Paul was correct. To Peters credit it may be pointed out that, while he did not always see as clearly as Paul the true character of the new covenant, he continued to support Paul, recognizing the Divine anointing resting on Paul (Acts 15:7-11; II Peter 3:15,16).
Peters acceptance of Pauls wisdom is extraordinary, considering the role Peter had played from the beginning of Christs ministry. May God give us the humility of the early Apostlestheir willingness to learn from each other.
17. What do those who are "Jews by nature" and not "sinners of the Gentiles" understand?
That a person cannot be declared righteous by observing the Law of Moses but by faith in Christ.
In several of our writings we have emphasized what we believe to be an important understanding of the new covenant, concerning the relationship of works to grace and faith.
In many instances Paul pointed out that we cannot be declared righteous by our own works, only by placing our faith in Gods righteousness that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many devout, distinguished teachers of the Scriptures over the past one hundred years have preached and taught that an individual cannot save himself by behaving according to Christian principles. He must receive Gods righteousness through faith in the Lord Christ.
There is no human being who can go through life without sinning on numerous occasions. The Scripture declares that the soul that sins shall die. If a human sins one time he shall die. The Divine scales of righteousness will register an imbalance. Sin has been committed. The inviolable Word declares that death must follow. There is no waiving of this law.
Only through the blood of Christ can our sins be forgiven, can the scales of Divine righteousness be brought back into balance. This is why no person can please God apart from receiving the Lord Christ. We cannot redeem ourselves. Only the blood of Christ can cancel the guilt of the sins that we have committed. This is the teaching of the holy Scriptures. It is the foundation of the Gospel of Christ. Let God be true and every man a liar.
But a serious problem has arisen. The teachers of the Scriptures have misapplied this foundational truth by overemphasizing it, by not balancing it with the greater part of the writings of the New Testament. The greater part of the writings of the New Testament do not emphasize the forgiveness of sins that comes to us through the blood of our Lord Jesus. Also, the four Gospel accounts have little to say about salvation by grace.
What, then, is the substance of the four Gospel accounts and the writings of the New Testament?
One of the main topicsperhaps the main topicis righteous behavior along with holiness toward God. The Kingdom of God is revealed in righteous, holy, and obedient behavior. Apart from such behavior there is no Kingdom of God.
We are of the opinion that one of the main reasons for the current neglect of the many passages of the New Testament that set forth the role of righteous behavior in the Christian discipleship is a misunderstanding of such verses as Galatians 2:16. Notice the opening clause:
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, . . . .
There are several such statements, particularly in the early chapters of Romans. Not enough attention has been paid to the meaning of these statements, that is, to the manner in which they are related to the New Testament emphasis on holy and righteous personality and behavior.
As a result of our simplified interpretation, there has arisen an overemphasis on the doctrine that "we are not saved by works but by grace." This statement is scripturally correct. The problem is what we mean by works; for what we mean by works and what Paul meant by it are very different. The difference is affecting adversely the manner in which Christian people are behaving in our day.
Pauls meaningand nowhere is his thinking more clearly presented than in the Book of Galatiansis that we cannot be saved by the works of the Law of Moses. Now that Christ has been offered on the cross, the Law of Moses has been fulfilled. We are not to add circumcision, dietary laws, and the observance of days to our redemption. We have been redeemed by receiving Gods offering, the Lord Christ.
It is true also that an individual of virtuous behavior cannot excuse himself from the cross of Calvary on the basis of his own goodness. The only righteousness God will finally accept, whether imputed (assigned by faith) or demonstrated by righteous behavior on our part, is the righteousness that flows directly from the Virtue of the Lord Christ.
All of our lasting righteousness comes from Christ.
This is correct thus far.
However, the common understanding of today has gone far beyond the above statement. The meaning today of "we are not saved by works but by grace" is that there is no critical necessity for attempting to serve the Lord. It is held that the laws of the Kingdom, such as the Sermon on the Mount, were only given to show us we cannot save ourselves but must have a Savior. (Now it is being claimed that the Sermon on the Mount and the other commandments of the Lord were addressed only to Jews, so great is the current deception!)
Paul was speaking about freedom from the works of the Law; but we have included freedom from godly behavior.
The current teaching is that Christ came to forgive our sins and bring us to Heaven. We ought to try to behave in a godly manner "because we love Jesus," but we are "saved by faith alone" and our behavior cannot affect our standing with God.
This is an incorrect interpretation of the meaning of Divine grace. Such an abomination never entered the imagination of Paul or any other man of God. We believe that this error of interpretation has rendered the New Testament writings, including the four Gospels, irrelevant as well as incomprehensible. It has destroyed the testimony of the Christian Church.
We can quickly show from the Book of Galatians that Paul never taught that the only purpose of the laws of righteousness present in the Scriptures, the rules of godly behavior, is to show us our need of a Savior. The laws of righteousness, of the Kingdom of God, are to be kept. If we do not keep them we will not enter the Kingdom of God. The keeping of them is the Kingdom of God.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [immorality], idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
Consider the above passage.
Is the passage speaking to unsaved people or saved people?
Obviously it is speaking to saved people, to those who have received the Lord Christ. Unsaved people cannot inherit the Kingdom of God by refraining from the works of the flesh, so the passage has no meaning to the unsaved. The unsaved need to hear only of the redemption that is by faith in the blood of the Lord Christ.
Let us return to the second verse of the first chapter in order to determine to whom Paul was writing. We discover that Paul was writing "unto the churches of Galatia."
Therefore Galatians 5:19-21 above is speaking of those who have received Christ.
Not only had the Galatians received Christ but they also had received the Holy Spirit.
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:2)
Consider the implications of what Paul has stated here. "You have received salvation through Christ. You have received the Spirit of God. You are not to go back under the Law of Moses. I am travailing until Christ is formed in you so you will begin to experience and manifest the power and glory of the new covenant.
"However, let me exhort you along this line: You are to cease, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the practices of lust and violence that characterize the unsaved. You are to stop your adultery, your fornication, your worshiping of idols, your wrath. If you do not, you shall never inherit the Kingdom of God!"
It is clear from the writings of the New Testament that if we do not begin to show the righteousness of Christ in our daily behavior we are not being saved at all. We hold the ticket but we are refusing to get on the ship.
What does it mean to be saved through grace by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
It means to come to Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. Then we are to keep coming boldly to the Throne of God so we may obtain the Divine power and wisdom we need in order to live as a Christian should.
If we do not put on the Lord Jesus Christ and then make no provision for our flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof, we are not a Christian at all. We are professing Christ but not possessing Christ. If the fruit of righteousness is not beginning to appear, if the new creature is not coming forth, salvation is not working in our life.
If someone says to a Gentile Christian, "You must keep the commandments of the Lord if you would enter the Kingdom of God," his answer will be, "I am not under the Law but under grace." What he means by this, although the statement is taken from the Scriptures, is unscriptural. He means that he does not have to live righteously in order to go to Heaven because God has forgiven his sins "by grace."
He ought to say, "I am not under the Law of Moses but under the law of the Spirit of God, and the righteousness of the Law of Moses is ascribed to me as I follow the Spirit." Then he would be scriptural (Romans 8:4).
The formation of the image of Christ in us requires time for its achievement. Each day we must press forward, through the Holy Spirit, into increased godliness of behavior.
We can know today if we are being saved. We are being saved if the Spirit of Christ is working in us and we are turning away from the world.
If the Spirit of Christ is not producing in us the aspects of the Kingdom of God, which are, righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Father, we are not being saved at all. We have a head knowledge of Christ. We have assented mentally to the facts of the Christian salvation.
But we are not being saved!
Salvation is not belief. Salvation is transformation!
As we continue our study of the Book of Galatians, beginning at verse sixteen of Chapter Two, let us keep firmly in mind that Paul is speaking against the teachings of the Judaizers who were attempting to add elements of the Law of Moses to the Gospel of Christ. When Paul was contrasting the works of the Law and the faith of Christ he was not implying that righteous, holy, and obedient behavior are not a truly vital aspect of the Christian redemption, for that would contradict Pauls own statements in Chapter Five of the same epistle.
Paul is teaching that we cannot mix the Law of Moses and the Christian Gospel. If we hold firmly to this understanding we will have no contradiction when we come to the admonitions to righteousness and holiness contained in Chapter Five.
It is an established fact that neither a Jew nor a Gentile can be made righteous in Gods sight by continuing in the works of the Law of Moses. The reason is that God has given us His own righteousness in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that this is true, God is not interested in our attempting to bypass His provision so we may come to Him through the Law of Moses. This is Pauls argument in his Epistle to the churches of Galatia.
18. By what are we justified (declared to be righteous) by the Lord?
By faith in Christ, by placing our faith in the Good News of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection, by trusting Him for our right standing in the sight of the almighty God.
19. What have we (Paul, Barnabas, we ourselves, and other Christians) done?
We have believed, placed our trust in, the Lord Jesus Christ.
20. Why have we believed in, placed all of our faith in, the Lord Jesus Christ?
In order that we may obtain right standing in the sight of God, not on the basis of walking in all the statutes of the Law of Moses but on the basis of faith in Christ.
21. What is true of the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, the Levitical rules, the animal sacrifices, and the dietary regulations?
It no longer is possible for a person to find favor in the sight of God by obeying all the requirements of the Law.
Sometimes teachers of the Gospel present the idea that no person ever found favor in the sight of God by obeying the Lords commandments under the old covenant.
First, let us understand that people indeed were forgiven their sins and trespasses under the program of animal sacrifices. Christian teachers, in their zeal to emphasize the superiority of Christs sacrifice (which is superior!), have taught that no forgiveness was obtained through the animal sacrifices. The blood of bulls and goats, they state, merely pointed to the sacrifice of Christ.
This is not true.
And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him (Leviticus 4:26).
According to the Scriptures, was this persons sin forgiven?
And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein (Leviticus 6:7).
In your opinion, does the Scripture teach that trespasses were forgiven under the Levitical program of animal sacrifices?
Teachers who place an extreme emphasis on grace have held to the concept that the only purpose of Gods commandments under the old covenant was to cause people to see their need of a Savior. Some have gone so far as to claim that when the Israelites responded to God by declaring that they would keep His laws (as they responded on several occasions), the Lord was offended by this response and much preferred that they would say that they were unable to do what He said and needed salvation through grace.
Devout teachers, men of God whose life and testimony are above reproach, actually have given this view of the Old Testament.!
They are incorrect in their viewpoint. The whole history of Israel contradicts this idea.
The history of the Jews reveals that when they did what God commanded they prospered. When they did not do what God commanded they brought judgment and destruction on themselves.
If this is true (and every student of the Scriptures knows several examples of the ups and downs of Israel according to their behavior), then God was not displeased, as some have taught, when the Jews spoke of their desire to do Gods will. God blessed them when they made the effort to behave righteously.
It is difficult to believe that such a perverted teaching of grace has found the audience that it has. Yet the adherents of extreme grace are many and their doctrine has influenced Christian teaching to a great extent (and has destroyed the moral strength of the churches).
The prevailing concept is (and no doubt it receives enthusiastic support from Satan!) that all persons under the old covenant, and the new covenant as well, were and are required to sin continually while they are in the world. The only purpose of the commandments of the old covenant and of the new covenant is to keep reminding us that we must believe in Christ if we are to be saved and go to Heaven.
The myth of a salvation that is apart from repentance and godly behavior may be music in the ears of Christians, but it is disastrously incorrect.
The extreme doctrine of grace (to which some super-extremists add the crowning error that once we verbalize an assent to the doctrine of Christian redemption we can never again be lost) is "another gospel." One teacher of today claims that any pastor or teacher who stresses godliness and cross-carrying obedience is advocating "works," and his followers are Pharisees because they are attempting to do what Jesus taught. This teacher and his disciples are heading toward destruction.
The false doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is closely associated with the distorted doctrine of unconditional grace.
What is your opinion of the heroes of faith of the Old Testament?
Were they expected to walk in a righteous manner before the Lord or did God reprove them for attempting to live righteously?
What about Abraham, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Job, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David, Elijah, Nehemiah, Ezra, King Josiah. Were they not blessed of the Lord because of their righteous works?
According to the extreme teaching of grace, their life and character meant nothing. In fact, their conduct was a reproach because it implied that they did not need a Savior.
But, one may claim, the Scriptures record that both Moses and David committed a sin. True. But it is one thing to say that a human being has a sinful nature and will fall as a result. It is quite another matter to teach, as has been maintained, that we should forget about attempting to do what God has commanded concerning righteous behavior and should look only to the forgiveness that comes through Christ as the means of pleasing God.
It is time now for the preachers and teachers of the Christian Church to understand that the forgiveness of Christ is not Gods means of bypassing the laws of righteousness. If such were the case, most of the writings of the Apostles would be nonsense. There would be no such thing as a new creature in Christ. There would be only the old creature who is trusting that his salvation consists of a ticket he holds so he will be allowed on the airplane when the "rapture" comes.
What a perversion of the Gospel of the Kingdom! What a wretched, threadbare, misunderstanding of the grace of God under the new covenant!
Not only is righteous, holy, and obedient behavior expected and required under the new covenant, but such behavior was expected and required under the old covenant when there was no indwelling Holy Spirit, and no born-again experience, to assist the saint in righteous, holy, and obedient behavior.
Consider carefully the following:
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect (Genesis 17:1).
According to the teachers of grace, Abraham should have said, "I cannot do that. I need to be saved by Your grace."
Is this or is this not nonsense?
What God meant was, do the things you know to do. Make your way as perfect as you can before God. Listen to your conscience. No doubt the teachers of grace will howl in anguish at such an interpretation. But if they will turn again to the New Testament they will discover that the followers of Christ do not have to lie, do not have to commit adultery or fornication, do not have to fly into a rage when they are provoked, do not have to steal.
Under the old covenant we were to refrain from such behavior to the extent we were able, and when we did sin we were to repent and offer our sacrifice. Under the new covenant we are to choose not to sin, and to pray and seek the Lord until He comes and delivers us; meanwhile confessing the sins we do commit and asking the Lord to forgive us and cleanse us.
It is possible, by the grace of God in Christ, to act like a Christian. It was possible under previous covenants to please God in those terms, just as Abraham pleased God by his righteousness, holiness, and strict obedience to God.
James, referring to Abraham, stated that he was justified (declared to be righteous) by his obedience to God.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (James 2:24).
Thus saith the Lord!
James was not stating that Abraham was justified by the works of the Law, which is Pauls whole point in Galatians. If James had stated that any person was justified by the works of the Law of Moses there would be a breach in the holy Scriptures. It would not be possible to include the Book of James in the canon of Scripture.
Elder James was balancing Pauls emphasis on faith by declaring, as Paul did also, that faith and works go together. If righteous, holy, and obedient works do not accompany faith, faith is dead. Works are the life of faith. No human being will be saved by a dead faith.
At this point the serious student may remind us of the seventh chapter of Romans. Isnt it true that the righteous deeds we would do, we do not perform, and the wickedness we choose to not do, we are compelled to do?
Isnt it true also that the Law of Moses, particularly the Ten Commandments, killed us by revealing the wickedness we practice continually?
This is what the Spirit of God directed Paul to write.
But let us look closely at what is being taught.
In the previous chapter (Romans, Chapter Six), Paul had warned us sternly that if they continue to practice sin, saved, baptized Christians will die spiritually. The believer must choose to serve righteousness. If he chooses to serve God, the end result is a holy life. If he attains a holy life, the result is eternal life.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (Romans 6:22).
So it is obvious that Paul would not state in the next chapter of Romans that it is impossible for us to live a righteous life. This would be inconsistent after what he taught throughout Chapter Six.
Well then, what is Paul teaching in Chapter Seven of the Book of Romans?
First, let us recall that he is speaking to Jewish Christians in Rome who were being tempted, as were the Christians in Galatia, to combine the Law of Moses with the Gospel of Christ.
Know ye not, brethren, for I speak to them that know the law, how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (Romans 7:1).
The seventh chapter of Romans is addressed to Jewish Christians, or to those who have been influenced by them, and is explaining that the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ are not to be mixed. Adding the works of the Law, such as circumcision, to the Gospel will not strengthen the believer. It will cause him to turn his eyes away from Christ and attempt to save himself by the works of the Jewish Law.
The argument in the seventh chapter is not attempting to persuade Christians that there is no point in repentance, in righteous living, in striving to please God and be obedient to God. Paul is not claiming that the Christian is doomed to walk in the sins of the flesh. This would deny his statements in the sixth and eighth chapters of Romans, as well as in many other passages.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Corinthians 7:1).
In the seventh chapter of Romans, Paul is reasoning with the Jews concerning the effectiveness of the Gospel as compared with the Law of Moses. Paul is showing that the Law of Moses does not provide a satisfying solution to the problem of sin.
The person who is zealous of pleasing God in action, in speech, and in motive and imagination will discover that there is a law of sin dwelling in his flesh that deceives him into behaving in a manner contrary to the standards of behavior required by the Lawparticularly by the Ten Commandments.
It is one matter to recognize that the human personality contains indwelling sin and that only the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is effective in delivering us from that sin.
It is quite another matter to interpret Pauls teaching in Romans, Chapter Seven to mean that the believer is to forget about his conduct on earth because it is impossible for him to please God by his behavior. He is only to trust in the forgiveness of God through Christ. The human being is a debtor to the flesh as long as he lives. We are obliged to continue in our sins but we are saved by grace (defined as unconditional forgiveness).
If such is true, let us throw out the Books of First John, First and Second Peter, Hebrews, James, Revelation, and most of the writings of Paul. These books do not emphasize salvation through Christs forgiveness, although Christs forgiveness undergirds all writings of the new covenant. The books we have mentioned emphasize repentance and righteous conduct.
John goes so far as to warn us that if we are not keeping Gods commandments we have no part in the new covenant.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (I John 2:4).
Was righteousness expected under the old covenant, or were the Israelites to continue in their sins, hoping they would be saved by grace when Christ came?
If you were an Israelite under the old covenant, how would you respond to the Word of God?
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways (Psalms 119:2,3).
Did many Israelites serve God by doing His commandments and seeking His Presence?
Of course they did. Did they "seek him with the whole heart"?
Yes, they did. Many of them did. Did they practice righteousness and walk in his ways?
Yes they didby the thousands!
Did such righteous Israelites ever sin?
Of course they did, and God made provision for them in the sin and trespass offerings.
Notice the testimony of Zacharias and Elizabeth:
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luke 1:6).
Did Zacharias and Elisabeth attain righteousness?
Yes, they did. How did they attain righteousness?
By walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Law of Moses.
What does Luke 1:6 above do to the teachings of grace that hold that no person was advised under the old covenant or is advised under the new covenant to attempt to behave righteously because this is an insult to the grace of God?
Luke 1:6 reveals the error of such teaching. It is not scriptural and it never entered the mind of Paul. It is the product of later teachers who misunderstood Paul.
What, then, does Paul mean by saying, "by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (attain the standing of righteousness in the sight of God)"?
Paul means that now that the righteousness of God has been revealed in the death and resurrection of Christ, we no longer are to return to an inferior covenant, the Law of Moses, making the cross of Christ an unnecessary sacrifice on Gods part.
Paul does not mean that under the old covenant no person was able to please God, because that would contradict Luke 1:6.
Let us offer the following paraphrase of verses seventeen and eighteen of the second chapter of Galatians, in the light of Pauls attack on the doctrine of the Judaizers who were attempting to persuade the Galatian Christians to be circumcised and to adopt other aspects of the Law of Moses as part of their salvation in Christ:
"If in the process of seeking to attain right standing in the sight of God through faith in Christ, we sin, does that mean that Christ endorses sin?
"God forbid that such a thing should be.
"If I return to a life of sin, building again the life of the natural man, I prove that I am a transgressor, a lawless person.
"It is true, rather, that I am dead to the Law of Moses, because the Law killed me. My death releases me to be raised from the dead in Christ so that I may live to God, not being obligated to attempt to please God by the laws to which I now am dead.
"Therefore Christ is not causing me to sin. Rather, He has enabled me to lay aside the Mosaic statutes and turn my attention to God."
Continuing with verse 20:
"Circumcision, the Ten Commandments, the laws of foods and the observances of days, no longer apply to me. I am crucified with Christ. As soon as a person dies the Law of Moses no longer applies. Circumcision, the Ten Commandments, the laws of foods and of religious days, have no authority over a dead person.
"The Law governs the living, it does not govern the dead. After death there follows resurrection and judgment, not a continuation of the requirements of the Law of Moses.
"I did not come back to life, bringing myself back under the Law of Moses. It is true that I am alive, but in actual fact it is not I who am living. It is Christ who is living in me. He did keep the Law of Moses perfectly, and then died so that the righteousness He earned under the Law might be applied to me, who was not able to keep the Law.
"Since my new life is Christ, and Christ observed the Law perfectly, I am righteous in Him.
"Christ loved me and gave Himself for me. Therefore I live by believing in Him, trusting in Him, relying on Him for every detail of my existence. Christ is my life. I am an eternal part of Him. For me to live is Christ.
"The Law of Moses no longer has any application to my life, any power to condemn me."
22. What is an individual doing when he attempts to gain righteousness by observing all or part of the Law of Moses?
He is setting aside the grace of God. If it is possible to attain right standing in the sight of God by observing the Law of Moses, it was not necessary for Christ to endure the agony of Gethsemane and of the cross of Calvary. His suffering was not needed.
1. How does Paul address the saints in Galatia?
As being foolish, without sense.
2. What have the Judaizers done to the Christians in Galatia?
The Judaizers have bewitched them so they are not obeying the truth of the Gospel.
The Gospel is not a ticket to Heaven. The Gospel is a lifelong program that we are to obey every day. As we obey the Gospel, Christ is formed in us; eternal life is formed in us; the resurrection from the dead is formed in us; we are transformed into the image of Christ; we become an integral, inseparable part of Christ; Christ becomes our life; the Father and the Son take up their abode in us for eternity.
These transformations are taking place in us each day if we are walking in the truth and obeying the Gospel.
3. Who had been presented before the eyes of the Galatians?
Christ, and Him crucified.
4. On what basis had the Galatians received the Holy Spirit?
On the basis of receiving by faith the Lord Jesus Christ, who had been revealed openly before them.
The saints in Galatia had received the Holy Spirit by believing in the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus, not by being circumcised and obeying parts of the Law of Moses. Therefore they are to obey the Gospel of Christ and not be concerned with the Law of Moses.
5. What senseless behavior are the Galatians practicing?
After having received the Spirit of God by faith they are considering perfecting and completing their salvation by turning back to Moses and observing the laws of the old covenant.
6. What question does Paul ask them?
Have you come from the world and taken your stand for Christ in vain? Have you endured the suffering that accompanies discipleship only to turn around and throw away all the benefits?
7. What is Pauls next question?
"He (God) who gave the Holy Spirit to you and worked miracles among you, did He do these things through the Law of Moses or by faith in the Gospel of Christ, in the Word of God?"
8. On what basis did Abraham attain right standing in the sight of God?
By believing what God had spoken to him concerning the Seed that would be given to him (Genesis 15:5,6).
9. Who are the children of Abraham?
Those who attain righteousness by believing in the promise of God.
10. What did the Scripture foresee?
That God would give the standing of righteousness to the Gentile nations on the basis of believing in His promises, not on the basis of performing successfully the works of the Law of Moses.
11. What was the word of the Gospel that was preached to Abraham?
. . . in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; . . . . (Genesis 22:18).
Notice that the Gospel of Christ was preached to Abraham over four hundred years before the Lord gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.
12. What is true of the people who trust in the Gospel of Christ and do not add to it circumcision or any of the other aspects of the Law of Moses?
They are blessed with Abraham, who also attained righteousness by believing in the promises of God and did not attempt to earn righteousness by religious observances.
13. What is true of each person who is attaining righteousness through the works of the Law of Moses?
He is under a curse as soon as he fails to observe one point of the Law.
14. How has God decreed that a righteous person will live?
By faith in the Word of God, not by observing the Law of Moses.
The expression the just shall live by faith is associated with the Protestant Reformation. What does this expression mean?
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4).
What does it mean to live by faith?
It does not mean that our assent to correct doctrine concerning Christ is our ticket to Heaven.
The true meaning of this expression is the opposite of the first half of Habakkuk 2:4. The first half of Habakkuk 2:4 is, "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him." This is the individual who thinks he does not need God. He lives every day in the pride of his own ability to please God and to solve his own problems. He is confident he can keep the Law of Moses well enough to please God.
He does not meditate day and night in the Word of God. He does not pray concerning each decision he makes. God is not in all his thoughts. He is walking in the pride of his own wisdom and strength.
The opposite of the first half of Habakkuk 2:4 is the individual who leans wholly on the Lord. He lives every day in dependence on God. He does not trust his own wisdom or his own strength. He meditates continually in the written Word of God. He has no confidence that he is able to please God by keeping the Law of Moses.
He prays concerning every decision he makes. God is in all his thoughts. He is walking in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit. He considers himself to be crucified to the world and the world to him. He is learning to live by the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and is becoming an inseparable part of Christs resurrection.
The man or woman whom God considers to be righteous is the one who believes the things God has stated and who looks to God continually for every decision and every aspect of his or her life. This is what it means to live by faith in God.
This is how Abraham and the other patriarchs and prophets lived before the Lord. The godly who were under the Law of Moses obeyed its statements. But their righteousness in the sight of God did not come from their ability to practice the works of the Law but from the attitude of their heart toward God.
The Pharisees of Jesus day were careful to observe the Law. But they were proud of heart and not humbly reliant on the Lord. Therefore they were woefully unrighteous in the sight of God even though they were attempting to observe carefully the works of the Law.
Let us return for a moment to the concept we emphasized in Chapter Two. Living by faith and not by the works of the Law does not mean that we become careless concerning righteous, holy, and obedient living. The many patriarchs of the Old Testament, including Abraham, who are presented in the New Testament as being examples of the righteous living by faith, were not people who behaved in an unrighteous, unclean, disobedient manner. Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Noah, were righteous, holy, obedient men.
Their righteousness in Gods sight did not proceed from their program of religious observances but from their love of God.
The universal misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Divine grace that is filling the land today has come about because living by faith has been defined as continuing in unrighteous, unclean, disobedient behavior while God continues to overlook and indulge our sins because of "grace." Can you perceive the error here?
Grace is not a plan by which we continue to walk in the flesh and God receives us because we name the name of Christ. Can you see how perverted and far removed this is from Pauls doctrine?
Paul was a man who lived righteously, holily, justly, unblamably, and in strict obedience to Christ. Paul counseled us to follow him as he followed Christ.
What do you think Paul would say to teachers today who are defining his doctrine of justification by faith to mean that Christian saints can continue in their sins, having the assurance in their heart that once they have made a profession of Christ, God is obligated to forgive them and bless them? No matter how they live they will be issued the crown of life at the Judgment Seat of Christ?
How would Paul regard this interpretation of his doctrine of grace?
Search the New Testament writings and you will discover that such teaching has nothing to do with the Scriptures. It is far removed from the preaching and teaching of the Apostles of the Lamb.
15. How does the Law of Moses differ from living by faith?
Keeping the regulations of the Law of Moses is an act of human understanding and obedience in which the worshiper determines what is required of him and attempts to observe the statutes to the best of his ability. The Law does not direct ones attention toward the Lord, but rather toward the Law itself.
Living by faith, by dependence on God, turns ones whole personality toward God. It is a freedom in Christ, a romance, an adventure. Christ Himself is the object of attention and trust, not a set of rules as in the case of the Law of Moses. The faith is placed in God, what God has done, is doing, and will do in the future.
Sincere Christian believers are to begin their discipleship by attempting to obey the new covenant as though it were the old, carefully observing the words of Jesus and the exhortations of the Apostles.
Such adherence to the New Testament writings is necessary until the Day Star arises in our heart. There comes a day, to the believer who keeps the Lords words, when the inner Life of Christ begins to assist and guide him in his attempts to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord.
The goal of the faithful disciple is the rest of God, that is, the condition in which the Father and the Son, through the Holy Spirit, are filling the personality. The will of the believer and the will of the Father are now one in desire, purpose, and joy. This is the highest form of the law of God.
There is no way in which the believer can improve on the Divine redemption in Christ by adding some religious observances, such as circumcision and the keeping of holy days.
16. How did Christ redeem us from the Divine curse that falls on every person who does not keep every point of the Law of Moses?
By becoming a curse in our stead.
17. Why did Christ become a curse for us?
So that the Divine blessing of righteousness, of fellowship with God, could be given to the Gentiles.
That which no Gentile could have earned by his own righteous behavior was earned for him by the obedience of Christ. When the Gentile ceases from his own attempts to earn right standing with God and accepts the righteousness that Christ has earned for him, the Divine curse that would have fallen on him falls instead on Jesus, and the righteousness of Christ is conferred on the Gentile believer.
18. On what basis does a Gentile receive the Holy Spirit of God?
Solely on the basis of receiving what God has done for him through Christ.
19. What is true of a legal contract?
A contract cannot be set aside, or conditions added to it, unless both parties agree. A legal contract is binding on both parties, and there are penalties for changing it in any manner except under proper legal procedures.
20. To whom were made the promises of the Divine blessing of fruitfulness and dominion?
To Abraham and his Seed.
21. Was the Divinely ordained contract made with Abrahams seeds or with his Seed?
22. Who is the one Seed of Abraham?
23. How many years after God preached the Gospel of Christ to Abraham was the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai?
24. What is true, therefore?
The Law of Moses cannot invalidate a contract, a covenant, that was ratified by God hundreds of years previously.
Paul is informing the Gentiles of Galatia that it is not the Gospel of Christ that is the newcomer but the Law of Moses. The Gospel came first. The Law, coming hundreds of years after the Gospel, cannot set aside the Divine promises made to Abraham and to his Seed by the Lord God of Heaven. The promises referred to here are those concerning Christ and the blessings that will come to the earth through Him.
25. What is true if the Messianic inheritance, the inheritance of fruitfulness and dominion through the Spirit of God, can be attained by the works of the Law of Moses?
The inheritance no longer is based on a promise. Originally, God gave the inheritance to Abraham as a promise apart from any works of righteousness performed by Abraham.
26. If, therefore, the Gospel of Christ was preached to Abraham long before the Law of Moses was given, and the Divine inheritance was assigned to Abraham as a promise of God apart from any works of righteousness that Abraham did, for what purpose did God give the Law of Moses?
The Law was added because of the prevalence of sin until the Seed should come to whom the Abrahamic promise was made.
The Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of fruitfulness and dominion, and blessing to all the nations of the earth, was preached to Abraham. The Gospel, the promise, was given by the Lord as a gift, and Abraham believed what was told him. Abraham believed God to such an extent he was willing to offer to God his son, Isaac, on whom the fulfillment of the promise depended.
Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead in order to keep the promise God had made to him (Hebrews 11:19).
Abraham was a righteous, holy, and sternly obedient man. Yet, the promise of the Gospel was offered to him as a gift, apart from his behavior. Noahs preservation, on the other hand, appears to have been given to him because of his righteousness. But not, however, a righteousness derived from the observance of ceremonial laws, such as the Judaic statutes.
And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation (Genesis 7:1).
But even Noah was saved by faith.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith (Hebrews 11:7).
However, the Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ appears to have begun with faithful Abraham. Abraham placed his faith in Gods promise. God declared Abraham to be righteous on the basis of his belief. But notice that the promise was confirmed on the basis of Abrahams obedience:
And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, . . . . (Genesis 22:16,17).
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? (James 2:21).
The Divine promise of righteousness and blessing was given, received by faith, and established in the patriarch, Abraham.
The Law of Moses did not enter this inheritance of fruitfulness. Abraham was not given the Ten Commandments, the Levitical statutes, the laws of leprosy, the laws of clean and unclean foods, the washing of dishes, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the sin and trespass offerings, or the Levitical priesthood.
None of these regulations, the foundations of Jewish life, was known to Abraham. None had any connection with the Messianic inheritance.
Why, then, would the Lord, after having given and established the Gospel of the Kingdom of God on the basis of faith and grace, add a burdensome set of rules and regulations that had nothing to do with the inheritance?
It is obvious that the promise, once having been given on the basis of faith, cannot now be earned by keeping a set of laws. Also, the Ten Commandments do not produce a true, thorough righteousness in the believer or a pure conscience before God.
The Ten Commandments magnify the sinfulness of our fleshly nature and condemn us to death. The Ten Commandments make us aware of our sin. They reveal the death that is in us, and bring us to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing.
In no manner, therefore, can any individual earn the Messianic inheritance by obeying the Law of Moses. The inheritance was given originally by promise and always will be by promise. It never was the purpose of the Law of Moses to enable mankind to possess a way of earning an inheritance that can be given only by grace working through belief in that which God has promised.
The inheritance was given to Abraham and to his Seed. What about the chosen people, Israel, who lived after Abraham and before Christ. Was the promise given to them?
Were they able to receive the promise through the Law?
Was Israel a partaker of the Messianic promise?
Yes. But, like Abraham, the righteous Jews died in faith in the Seed who was to come.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Hebrews 11:13).
The promise of God is the olive tree, the anointing, Christ. He is the only true Seed of Abraham.
The olive tree began with Abraham and Sarah, and passed down through Isaac, Jacob, and the sons of Jacob. The Spirit of God was on the patriarchs and the sons of Israel, and so they prophesied.
The olive tree, the Messianic anointing, continued through the prophets of Israel. The Spirit of Christ, of the olive tree, spoke through the prophets, including King David. The Psalms of David show us how similar his experience of Gods Presence and anointing was to our own experience of Gods Presence and anointing.
The Psalms comfort and edify us as they do because the same olive tree that was in David is in us.
After the resurrection of the Lord, the olive tree no longer was in the possession of all the Jews by race but of a remnant of elect Jews, and also a remnant of elect Gentiles. The possession of the olive tree always is by promise, and by faith in the promise.
God gave His promise, through Amos, that the olive tree would pass to elect Gentiles.
That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. (Amos 9:12)
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things (Acts 15:17).
As soon as the full number of elect Gentiles has been brought to Christ, the Divine promise is that the olive tree will return to the nation of Israel, and all of those whom God has called, His elect, will be redeemed.
The Seed to whom the promise has been given is Christ, the Olive Tree of God. All of the inheritance is in Christ. He, and He alone, is the elect Seed, the only accepted Olive Tree, the only Heir of the promises of God.
What about those who are of the Jewish race but who do not have Christ?
The Jews are not of the promise, of the olive tree, by virtue of having Jewish parents. Salvation always is by promise, by Divine grace.
The Jews prior to the resurrection of Jesus possessed the olive tree, and the Jews after the full number of elect Gentiles has been gathered in will possess the olive tree, the Messianic anointing, the promise of redemption. But not because they were, or are, Jews by race but because God has promised that this shall be so.
The Jew of the present hour can become part of the olive tree only by receiving Christ, the Seed to whom the promise was made.
No Jew or Gentile can be an heir of the promise made to Abraham until he or she receives Christ. Christ belonged to the Jews before the resurrection, in accordance with the prophetic anointing that began with Abraham and passed by the prophetic word through Isaac and Jacob to the sons of Jacob, the tribes of Israel.
Christ belongs to those of us today, Jew and Gentile alike, who call on the name of Jesus and are baptized into His death and resurrection.
Christ will be restored to the Jews in the latter days. The promised Christ shall come to them and deliver them from their unbelief and hardness of heart, removing sin and wicked people from their midst. He shall pour out the Holy Spirit on them. They will weep when they recognize the One they have rejected for two thousand years.
Christ will bless and bring into eternal life the nations of Gentiles who were kind to Christs brothers, the members of His Body. The righteous Gentiles have assisted Gods elect during periods of tribulationparticularly during the great tribulation of the last days.
We see, then, that from the time of Abraham forward, salvation has been by the promise of God, by the grace of God. Those who believe in Gods promise are sealed to the day of redemption, that is, to the day when Jesus comes and restores all that was lost through the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
Why was the Law brought in?
The Law of Moses was a temporary device, added because of the prevalence of sin.
There were several generations of people, including the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, who were born and died in the hundreds of years after God spoke to Abraham and before Christ, the Seed to whom all the promises of God are given, came into the world.
Throughout these hundreds of years the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, the children of Israel, needed some type of guide for their conduct, and also an understanding that their God is the Holy One of Israel who demands righteous conduct of people on the earth, whether or not they are called by His name.
Sin and death have a strong grip on the personality of each human being on the earth. The Law of Moses was given in order to reveal and emphasize the sinfulness of human conduct and the extent of human bondage, and to point out to people their need for the Savior. The Law brings us to Christ.
The Law of Moses was added, not because it is possible for any human being on earth to earn the Messianic inheritance that was given to Abraham by promise, but in order to place a heavy hand of discipline on Abrahams children until the day that the true Seed arrived.
Our emphasis here concerning grace may seem to contradict what we have stated previously concerning the need for the Jewish person to obey the Law. We maintained also that the animal sacrifices actually served to forgive sin and the people were blessed when they did what God said Many thousands of Israelites were blessed because they adhered to the Law of Moses.
There is no contradiction here. It is as we have said. The Israelites were obligated to keep the Law. They were blessed when they did. They were cursed when they did not.
And then we stated "the Law of Moses was added, not because it is possible for any human being on earth to earn the Messianic inheritance that was given to Abraham by promise, but in order to place a heavy hand of discipline on Abrahams children until the day that the true Seed arrived.
The resolution of this seeming contradiction is as follows. The Messianic inheritance is eternal life, the possession of the Spirit of God, deliverance from the power of sin, change into the moral image of Christ, and untroubled rest in the Father through Christ. None of this is possible by keeping the Law of Moses.
But unless the Israelite did all in his power to keep the Law of Moses he came under the curse of God. If he did keep the Law he had fellowship with God, the joy of salvation, forgiveness of sin, and numerous material blessings.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalms 51:12)
It is true also of the Christian. If he does not do all in his power to obey the writings of the Apostles and the Words of the Lord Jesus he will never inherit salvation. But if he does obey Jesus and the Apostles the result will be that Christ is formed in him. When Christ is formed in him, the blessings of the new covenant will follow.
The following story may clarify the temporary nature of the Law of Moses. The son of a wealthy man went on a journey to another country. While he was there he met a young lady and became engaged to her. He then returned home, after agreeing with his fiancée that she would make the journey to his country and there they would marry and make their home.
On returning home, the young man selected an area a few miles from his fathers estate and commenced the construction of a fine mansion on a large piece of land.
At the stated time the young lady arrived at his fathers house. The father greeted her and said, "There is a small house, part of the servants quarters, to the rear of the estate. The servants will place your baggage there. "Although it is small it is comfortable and has every facility and will meet your needs until your new home is ready. You will be provided for there and will have an opportunity to become acquainted with our family."
As soon as their mansion was completed and the estate landscaped, the couple were married and moved into their permanent home.
So it is with the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ. The Law of Moses was a temporary provision until Gods time came for Christ to be revealed. Now that Christ has been revealed, what is temporary has been done away. It never was the fathers intention that the bride should remain in the servants quarters. As soon as her proper home was prepared, the servants quarters were returned to their original use and she went to live with her husband.
Thus we understand that there is no such thing as a "Jewish church" or a "Gentile church." There was no permanent work of redemption until Christ came. The Law was a temporary added to maintain control until God was ready to fulfill the promise to Abraham.
No person, Jew or Gentile, ever entered the Kingdom of God until Christ rose from the dead, because there was no Kingdom of God until Christ rose from the dead. The Kingdom of God is the direct result of Christs resurrection.
Now that the Abrahamic promise has been fulfilled in Christ, both Jew and Gentile are to enter the "mansion" that God has prepared. The Law, the "servants quarters," no longer is available for use by the "fiancée," the Bride of the Lamb.
Therefore, as Paul indicated several times, true Israel, the Seed of Abraham, is the Christian Church. A Jew or a Gentile, in order to become part of true Israel, must receive Christ. Apart from Christ there is no Israel, no Seed of Abraham, no fulfillment of the Messianic promise, no olive tree.
The promise made to Abraham did not go into effect until Jesus rose from the dead. The interval of time between Abraham and Christ was not one of fulfillment but one of waiting and expectation.
27. What persons did God use to give the Law?
The Law of Moses was given through the agency of angels, and Moses received it from their hands and gave it to the people of Israel.
We find also in the Book of Hebrews that the Lords holy angels gave the Law:
For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward (Hebrews 2:2).
Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in him (Exodus 23:20,21).
It is not clear to us what Paul meant by the following verse:
Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. (Galatians 3:20)
After referring to Moses as a mediator, Paul points out that there must be two or more people involved in order for someone to act as a mediator, a go-between.
It seems obvious that Moses served as a mediator between the Lord, who spoke through angels, and the children of Israel to whom the Law was given. This part of verse twenty is clear.
It is the expression "but God is one" that is not clear. Translators who have attempted an explanation suggest that while angels and a mediator were involved as God and His people entered the contract of the Law of Moses, the promise given to Abraham was an act of God and Abrahams part was only to receive it. No angels or mediators were necessary.
The Law required action by both the Lord and Israel, but the Gospel depends on Gods sovereign action, it is suggested. However, this interpretation cannot be true because the Kingdom of God depends on our actions as well as on Gods. Also, there is a Mediator between God and peoplethe Lord Jesus.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ; (I Timothy 2:5)
We would offer a different interpretation. We believe Paul merely is saying that God was one Person whom the mediator (Moses) represented, and Israel was the other person.
28. Is the Law of Moses against the promise of the Gospel?
Absolutely not. If it were possible to create a law that would bring eternal life and Gods approval to people, it would have been the Law of Moses.
29. What has the Scripture done, with the assistance of the Law of Moses?
The Scripture has shut up all things and people under sin.
30. Why did God shut up all things and people under sin?
So that in Christ, God may create a new Kingdom. No person ever entered the Kingdom of God until Christ rose from the dead. Christ is the Firstborn of the Kingdom, the Beginning of the new creation.
All things of the Kingdom of God are in Christ and of Christ. If someone were able to gain the approval of God by mastering the requirements of the Law of Moses, Christ would not be all and in all. There would be another person who was competing with Christ in the area of righteousness.
No human being is able to keep the Law of Moses. We all are brought to the one Person who is able to keep the Law perfectly and to redeem us from sinChrist. We receive the righteousness of God, and the benefits of the Abrahamic inheritance, by placing all our trust in Christ.
There have been a few Orthodox rabbis who have kept the Law so perfectly that their followers have mused whether they might be Christ. The Jewish men so regarded indeed were remarkable in their observance of the Law. But when compared with the majesty of Jesus of Nazareth, with His wisdom, compassion, and power, it can be seen that the best of men are nothing more than frail dust while Jesus ascends in Divine Glory until He is seated on the highest throne of the universe.
It is blasphemous to compare even the most righteous of men with the Lord Jesus! Jesus is more than the son of David. Jesus is the Son of God.
31. What was true of us before the Gospel of faith in Christ was preached to us?
The Law of Moses guarded us, keeping us confined so we could be directed toward the one true salvation of God when it arrived.
32. Therefore, what was the Law of Moses?
A guardian who faithfully brings us to Christ so that through faith we can be approved of God.
33. What is true now that the Gospel of faith in Christ is being preached?
The guardian has accomplished his duty and is needed no longer.
The guardian, the Law, is not needed after we come to Christ. We now have a new Guardian who brings us to Christthe Holy Spirit of God.
When we do not obey the Holy Spirit by coming to Christ continually after becoming a Christian, the Law is there to remind us that the wages of sin are death. We are not referring to the ceremonial aspects of the Law but of the eternal moral law of God represented by the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments nip at the heels of all sinners, non-Christians and Christians alike.
34. What does Paul declare to be true of every member of the churches of Galatia?
Every person in Galatia who has placed his trust in Christ is a son of God, whether or not he or she was born a Jew or a Gentile. Nothing is to be gained, and something is lost, by going back and picking up parts of the "guardian," the Law of Moses.
35. What takes place when we are baptized in water into the death and resurrection of Christ?
We clothe ourselves with Christ.
36. What becomes true the moment we clothe ourselves with Christ?
We become one with Christ. There is a new creation, in which all parts of our personality are becoming eternally transformed by being wrought in Christ, through contact with Him (II Corinthians 3:18; 5:17,18).
The new personality, in which all things have been made new in Christ, is the same in the slave and the citizen, is the same in the male and the female, is the same in the Jew and the Greek. It is a new creation, the first creation having passed away on the cross of Calvary.
Every member of the Kingdom of God is a clearly defined personality. Yet, we all are one in Christ in Godone as the Father and the Son are One.
The Gospel always is to the Jew first, and Christ will reveal Himself to the nation of Israel during the great tribulation period, as we understand the prophetic Scriptures.
The Book of Isaiah, as well as every other prophetic writing, is directed toward Christ and those who are in Christ. There is no other Temple of God, no other olive tree, no other Church, no other Kingdom of God, no other chosen people.
As soon as we put on Christ we enter the Messianic inheritance, into the promise made to Abraham, into the Kingdom of God. There is no Jewish Christian or Gentile Christian. All such distinctions cease in Christ. There is only the one Body of Christ.
There will not be a "Jewish remnant" in the last days (while the "Gentiles" are in Heaven), as some are teaching. A close look at the eleventh chapter of Romans (verse 5) will reveal that the "remnant" of whom Paul was speaking were the Jews who had become Christians through grace. The "remnant" of Jews were the original Christians, and included the writers of the New Testament.
If the first Christians were Jews (the remnant), and the Gentiles were added to this one Church of Christ, will God in the last days divide the one Church of Christ, taking the Gentiles to Heaven and leaving the Jews on the earth to suffer tribulation?
Is this sensible?
Does this doctrine agree with the third chapter of Galatians?
We do not think so. We think it is time to cease dividing the one Church of Christ into Gentiles and Jews, for such a division is contrary to the teaching of the Apostle Paul.
37. What is true of every person who belongs to Christ?
He is the one Seed of Abraham, being part of the Body of Christ. He is an heir of the blessing given to Abraham by the Lord.
The Seed of Abraham is one, not two. When the Jew receives Christ he becomes the one Seed of Abraham. When the Gentile receives Christ he becomes the one Seed of Abraham. The Seed is the Heir of all the promises of God, especially the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Seed is Israel. The Seed is the Kingdom of God. The Seed is neither Jewish nor Gentile. The Seed is Christ and every person who is in Him, without distinction as to race, gender, or class distinction.
1. What is true of the heir of a kingdom while he is an infant?
Although one day he will govern the kingdom, while he is a child he is governed by guardians and stewards until he attains the age determined by his father.
2. What is true of the sons of God?
While they are infants they are in slavery under the elements of the world.
3. How did God show that it was time for the sons of God to come of age?
God sent forth His Son, Christ. Jesus was born of a woman and was governed by the Law of Moses.
4. Why did God send forth His Son as a human governed by the Law of Moses?
In order that by His life and atoning death He might redeem the "infants" who were under the guardianship of the Law of Moses.
5. What does each "infant" receive through Christ?
He is adopted as a son of God, being prepared to receive his legal rights.
6. What has God done, now that we are His sons?
God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, "My Father."
7. What is true of each person in whom the Spirit of Christ is dwelling?
He or she no longer is a slave, ruled by the elements of the world, but is a son.
8. What is true of each son?
He is an heir of God through Christ.
9. What was true of us while we were "infants"?
We were kept in subjection to the Law of Moses and the elements of the worldto rules and observances not to be compared in spiritual value with the Divine redemption in Christ. The Law and the elements of the world are not "gods" such that we, having been made a part of the Seed, should remain in slavery to them.
10. What were the Judaizers convincing the Galatian Christians to do?
After having been received as sons by the Father, to put themselves back under slavery to the guardians and stewards, desiring to be enslaved again by the comparatively weak, feeble, elementary principles of life lived under the Law of Moses.
11. What were the Galatian saints returning to, after having received the Spirit of Christ?
The religious observance of days and months and seasons and years.
12. What did Paul fear?
That the time and strength he had spent bringing Christ to them had been given in vain.
13. What did Paul beseech the Christian people in Galatia to do?
To live as he lived, that is, by faith in Christ rather than by practicing the statutes of the Law of Moses.
Verse 12 includes the expression, "for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all." The idea of verse 12 seems to be that Paul is beseeching the Galatians to be as he is, a disciple of the Lord Jesus. Their dabbling in the Law of Moses has not harmed him. He is reminding them that hea Hebrew of the Hebrewsalso has had to make drastic changes in his own life in order to become a new creature in Christ.
Paul seems to be enlisting their friendship, showing they are one with him in Christ and he is one with them in Christ. He calls to mind the fact that when he first came and preached to them they had welcomed him, even though it appears he was suffering from some obvious physical ailment. They had not rejected him, not "injured" him, but had received the message of the Gospel of Christ.
Since then the Judaizers had come with their contrary teaching that the Law of Moses is to be included in the Gospel of Christ. They were seeking to destroy the bond between Paul and the Galatians.
14. In what condition was Paul when he first preached to the people of the region of Galatia?
Paul was suffering from some kind of physical affliction.
15. How did the people of Galatia react to the fact that Paul was suffering from a bodily ailment?
They received Paul as an angel of God, as Christ Himself. They did not despise him or reject him with contempt because of this condition.
Whatever type of physical affliction Paul was enduring, it must have been obvious and disgusting in appearance. Some scholars have suggested an eye infection that resulted in a repulsive appearance.
This verse provides a good balance to those who are teaching that unless we receive Divine healing immediately we are sinning and coming short of the Glory of God. The righteous suffer many afflictions. The prophet Elisha died of a sickness. In the Lords time He delivers the righteous from all afflictions. Meanwhile, we are to keep seeking the Kingdom of God, and we are to pursue our ministry, as God enables.
16. What does Paul ask them?
"What happened to the satisfaction you found in the Gospel and in me, that you spoke to me about?"
17. What would the Galatians have been willing to do for Paul?
If it were possible they would have torn out their own eyes and given them to him. This suggests to us that Paul had some type of infection in his eyes.
18. What question does Paul ask?
"Have I become your enemy because I have told you the truth?"
19. What were the Judaizers doing to the Galatians?
The Judaizers were displaying a zeal for the spiritual welfare of the Galatians. It was not an honorable zeal. They were attempting to cut off the Galatians from Paul so that the Galatians would look to them for spiritual leadership instead of to Paul.
20. What was of benefit to the saints in Galatia?
That they would be zealous in a good cause and not just when Paul was present.
21. How does Paul refer to the believers in Galatia?
As his dear children.
22. What was Paul having to do again?
Paul was travailing in the pains of birth until Christ was formed in the believers in the region of Galatia.
Paul was the Apostle of Christ who brought the Gospel to Galatia. After Paul left, the Judaizers came to Galatia teaching that the Law of Moses was to be observed by the believers in Christ. There were many practices that were to be maintained, such as circumcision, the rules concerning holy days, and what foods were lawful to eat.
Now Paul is coming to the Galatians once more, through this letter. Paul is explaining to them that the new covenant is not the addition of faith in Christ to the Law of Moses. The new covenant is Christ formed in us. The new covenant is Christ in us, and anything else that is added is a hindrance to the new covenant.
The new covenant is, "Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20). The new covenant is Christ living in us. Notice that the Galatians had received Christ and had believed in His name. They were Christians. They had the Holy Spirit of God. Now Paul was travailing until Christ was formed in them.
The new covenant is more than a profession of faith in Christ. The new covenant is the Life of Christ being formed in us.
Until the Life of Christ is formed in us we can be led astray by the doctrines of men who come and attempt to divert our minds toward their own set of religious teachings. As Christ is being formed in us we are becoming immune to such spiritual poisons and diseases. The Life of Christ in us overcomes and bypasses the ideas of men and devils (I John 4:4).
The Life of Christ is leading us toward oneness with the Father. Oneness with God is the cry of the heart of the saint. Oneness with God is true salvation, the only true and eternal righteousness, peace, and joy that can be experienced by any human being.
23. What did Paul wish were true, while he was writing this letter?
That he was in Galatia in person speaking to them. If he were present he would not have to scold them by letter but could reason with them and comfort them. Being absent, he was perplexed as to how to proceed to deliver them from the burden of the Law of Moses that was being placed on their back by the Judaizers.
24. What does Paul ask the Galatians who were ready to go back under the Law of Moses?
"Would you like hear what the Law has to say?"
25. Who were the two sons of Abraham?
Ishmael and Isaac.
26. What position did Hagar occupy?
Hagar was Sarahs bondslave.
27. What was true of Sarah?
Sarah was a free woman.
28. How was Ishmael conceived?
In the ordinary manner.
29. How was Isaac conceived?
As the supernatural fulfillment of the promise made by the Lord.
30. What is true of the births of Ishmael and Isaac?
They are an allegory, a type. Ishmael and Isaac were children whose births in the physical world provide us with a picture of Gods way of working in His Kingdom.
31. Of what are the two births an allegory?
Of the old covenant and the new covenant; of the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ.
32. Of what is Hagar, Sarahs slave and the mother of Ishmael, an allegory?
Hagar is a type of Mount Sinai, that is, the Law of Moses. The fact that she was a slave, a bondmaid, shows us that the Law of Moses brings us into bondage and not into liberty.
Hagar is a type of Mount Sinai (the Law) in Arabia, and speaks of physical Israel. The Jewish people, living in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Israel, are continuing under the Law of Moses. Therefore they are as Hagar and Ishmael. They are trying to obtain the inheritance by the works of the Law, not by the promise of God; not by the supernatural grace of God that brought forth Isaac. Physical Israel remains under the bondage of the Law of Moses and brings forth "slaves."
"Isaac" is the Christian Church. The Jews must receive Christ, placing all their trust in Christ. The only true Israel of today is Christ and those who are part of Him. There is no other Israel of God (Romans 9:7,8; Galatians 6:16).
Christ spoke through the Hebrews Prophets, and the devout Jews died in the hope of redemption through Him. Now we have Christ and our hope of redemption is still in Him.
This does not mean that the Christian Church has replaced the nation of Israel in the plan of God. The nation of Israel was the Church under the old covenant. The Christian Church is the Church of God under the new covenant. It is one family, one called-out, holy nation, one Wife of the Lamb, one Body of Christ, one new man, one new Jerusalem.
In the last days Christ will appear and turn away ungodliness from Israel. Once again the nation of Jews will be the anointed of the Lord, and Jerusalem shall govern the nations of the earth.
33. What is true of the Jerusalem that is in Heaven?
It is free just as Sarah was free. It is not under the Law of Moses. The Jerusalem that is above is the mother of every born-again believer.
34. Read Isaiah 54:1.
Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord (Isaiah 54:1).
Sarah, the type of the heavenly Jerusalem, was barren. Hagar, the type of those who attempt to gain the Divine inheritance by the works of the Law, was able to bring forth a son immediately. But the children of Sarah will be infinitely greater in number than the children of Hagar because the children of Sarah include Christ and all who are part of Christ.
This is a principle of the Kingdom of God. Those who attempt to work for God may bring forth a large work of some kind. Those who wait on the Lord may be barren of results for many years. But in the end, those who wait on the Lord will have an inconceivably greater fruitfulness than those who attempt to build the Kingdom of God by seeking to use the promises of the Scriptures in their own wisdom and strength.
The mother of Samuel, the mother of Samson, the mother of John the Baptist, are other examples of barren women who gave birth according to the promise of God.
When we think about the difference in the fruit brought forth by Sarah, by Hannah, by Elizabeth, and the fruit brought forth by Hagar, we begin to understand the enormous difference in results between waiting on God, and going forth to accomplish things in our own way.
Those who would attempt to build the Kingdom of God by their own wisdom and strength are able to bring visible results quickly. It appears that they have succeeded, and what they have produced will mock and vaunt itself against the "small things" of the saint who is waiting patiently for the Lord to fulfill His promises, to build His Church, His Kingdom, in His own time and manner (Genesis 21:9; Zechariah 4:10.)
When the Lord God of Heaven begins to work according to His promises, the results are much greater than anything the flesh could accomplish. The Glory of the Lord is revealed for all to see. The Lord alone is exalted and the flesh is cast down.
In the case of the "barren," the "woman forsaken and grieved in spirit," of the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, her "children" are the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Tabernacle of God, the Lambs Wife (Isaiah 54:11-17; Revelation 21:2,39).
35. What is true of every member of the Body of Christ, every Christian?
He is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. He has been predestined, called, and declared to be righteousall by the promise of God. His response is to lay hold by vigorous faith on the inheritance to which he has been called by the Lord (Romans 8:30; Philippians 3:12).
36. What will happen to those who are not building in their own wisdom and strength but are working in and with the Lord, waiting on Him for the fulfillment of His Word?
They will be persecuted by those who are attempting to gain the Lords favor by their own programs, their own religious endeavors (Genesis 21:9).
The concept of faith instead of works goes to the core of the Christian faith. Pauls argument that we are saved by faith rather than works has been grievously misunderstood.
In our time, many believers have understood salvation by faith to be a "ticket to Heaven." The individual makes a verbal pronouncement concerning Christ and then waits for the Lord to take him to Heaven. Righteous and holy behavior are not necessary because he or she is saved by "faith" and not by "works."
This interpretation is in error. It is these who are the children of the flesh. They reveal that they are children of the flesh by their emphasis on money, large buildings, and great numbers of people. Such as these always will persecute the righteous because they understand neither the Lord nor His children.
The children of the promise of God are just the opposite. They are greatly concerned with righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. They know from the Bible that only the pure in heart will see God. They understand that any doctrine that assures an unrighteous, unholy, disobedient individual a place in the Kingdom of God is in error.
Concerning the construction of buildings and large groups of people the elect are slow to move. They realize that it is in the realm of religious effortsthe attempt to bring forth the Kingdom of Godthat the saints must wait on the Lord carefully, making certain that all that is done is of the Spirit of God. It is in the making of "three tabernacles" that "Ishmael" is likely to be brought forth (Matthew 17:4).
We see, then, that the children of the flesh, those who have been added to the churches by human effort, are not overly concerned with righteous, holy, and obedient conduct. They are very concerned about the magnificence of their buildings. They have misunderstood Pauls teaching of salvation by grace through faith.
Those whom the Lord has added to the Church think in other terms. They understand that the program of salvation, while it offers the worst sinner immediate access to the Mercy Seat in Heaven, nevertheless is the Divine plan for producing through Christ righteous, holy, and obedient conduct in the believer; for such conduct, performed in Christ, is the fruit of the Kingdom of God.
Concerning the promises of fruitfulness and dominion, including the believers own righteousness of conduct, and also the spreading of the Gospel and the bringing of the world under subjection to Christ, the true child of God waits, waits, waits on the Lord. (Isaiah 40:29-31).
The saints know that Christ, through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, is building His own Church (Matthew 16:18).
Those who are "serving Christ" in the flesh will mock and persecute those who are serving Christ in the Spirit (Genesis 21:9.)
37. Read Genesis 21:10.
Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac (Genesis 21:10).
38. What is Pauls conclusion?
The Law of Moses, that which the Judaizers were attempting to add to the Gospel of Christ, corresponds to the bondmaid, Hagar. The Gospel of Christ corresponds to the free woman, Sarah. The Law of Moses "shall not be heir" along with Christ.
We who are Christians are of Sarah, not of Hagar. Therefore we are free. We are not to attempt to add to our freedom in Christ the bondage of the works of the Law of Moses.
1. What does Paul exhort the saints in Galatia to do?
To stand in the freedom in which Christ has made us free and not to be held again in the bondage of the Law of Moses.
2. What will be true of those who listen to the Judaizers and become circumcised?
Christ will cease to be of profit to them.
3. What becomes true of the man who accepts circumcision in order to perform the Law of Moses?
He obligates himself to observe the entire Law of Moses.
4. What is the spiritual state of the person who chooses to pursue righteousness in terms of the Law of Moses?
He has removed himself from Christ. He has fallen from grace.
5. What is true of us who are following the Spirit of God rather than attempting to perform the requirements of the Law of Moses?
We by faith are waiting in hope, through the Spirit, for the promised righteousness.
The expression, "waiting for the hope of righteousness by faith" deserves thoughtful consideration.
We know we are without condemnation now (Romans 8:1). However, the expression "the hope of righteousness" points toward the future.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is a vision of the future. We need to be reminded of this every once in a while. When we see the tremendous troubles that are coming on the world we are to look up, for our redemption is drawing near. Redemption is in the future. What we have now is an "earnest," a down payment, a guarantee of the fullness yet to come.
The Kingdom of God is near. It is soon to come to the earth. It is a new age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit of God. Our response to the Good News of the coming Kingdom is to believe in Christ, to repent of our sins and disobedience, and to be baptized in water as a sign of our acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior.
When Jesus comes in His Kingdom we either will be saved to participate in the new righteous world, or we will be required to go out into darkness, being prevented from entering the joys of the new age.
This is what Paul meant by "the hope of righteousness by faith." We hope that if we receive Christ, repent, are baptized in water, and then follow the Holy Spirit each day of our pilgrimage, the Lord God will receive us into the Kingdom of righteousness at His coming. We then shall have a righteous spirit, soul, and body. Only Christ can give us these.
Those who are circumcised and return to the Law of Moses are trusting that God will accept them in the Day of the Lord. We who have no confidence in the Law of Moses are trusting that our faith in Christ will cause us to be accepted by the Lord in the Day that is near to come.
6. What about circumcision and uncircumcision?
Neither one has any effect on our life of faith in Christ. They have no bearing on the Kingdom of God.
7. What is of benefit and importance in the Kingdom of God?
Faith working through love.
8. What had been true of the churches of Galatia before the Judaizers came?
They had been growing in Christ, running a good race.
9. What were the Judaizers accomplishing?
They were hindering the spiritual progress of the saints, leading them away from the truth.
10. Was it Christ who was counseling the Galatians to add the Law of Moses to the Gospel of Christ?
We may wonder why God permits deceivers to come in contact with young Christians, ruining and polluting a work of grace that had been flourishing. God does possess the power to prevent deception and temptation.
Perhaps the answer concerns Gods purpose in the earth at the present time. Gods purpose is to bring forth sons in the image of His beloved Son. Gods sons must be exposed to every conceivable temptation and difficulty. From the large group of the called will emerge an elect, a chosen. If the chosen remain faithful to Christ they will pass all the Divine tests successfully. They are the victorious saints, the conquerors spoken of in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.
The world is a rugged training ground for the officers of the Kingdom of God.
Christ will return and gather to Himself His conquerors. Then He and they will bring righteousness, peace, and joy to the weaker believers and to the nations of the earth.
By "weaker believers" we are not referring to careless or lukewarm Christians. The careless will suffer greatly at the hands of the Lord in the Day of His appearing. Rather, we are speaking of those who are weak in the Lord because of circumstances beyond their control. To them has little been given and of them shall little be required or expected.
Those who waste the talents and opportunities given to them by the Lord will face an angry Christ.
11. What is true of a little "leaven," such as the doctrine that requires that Christian people be circumcised and keep the holy days of the Law of Moses?
It is as yeast that expands throughout a loaf of bread.
12. Of what was Paul persuaded in the Lord?
That the saints of Galatia would not go back under the Law of Moses but would continue in faith in Christ.
13. What will happen to the teacher who was bringing them back under the Law of Moses?
He will be judged by the Lord Jesus.
14. What would be true if Paul preached circumcision?
He no longer would be persecuted for the Gospels sake. He would not suffer the reproach of the cross of Christ.
There always is a reproach, a shame, connected with God and with those who are associated with God. Circumcision was accepted by the majority of Jews, including the wicked Jews who were filled with the spirit of Satan. In the Jewish mind there was no reproach, no shame associated with circumcision. There may have been a reproach in the Roman mind concerning circumcision, but not in the Jewish mind.
Today, grace is accepted by the majority of Christians, including the wicked who attend the assembly of saints. Now it is suffering, judgment, the personal cross of the believer, that are offensive to people. This is because repentance and cross-carrying obedience and patience are the aspects of redemption being emphasized by the Holy Spirit.
Today the popular message is grace and the material and spiritual blessings that are supposed to be associated with the Gospel. Whoever will emphasize the gift of unconditional salvation, along with every material and spiritual blessing, will become quite popular. It is not truth that is important, it is to always say things that are "positive."
Any teacher or preacher who plants the personal cross of the believer in front of people may lose his popularity. The cross is a reproach, an offense, a scandal. The world and the worldly churches do not wish to hear about the personal cross, judgment, denying ourselves, living a righteous, holy life. The concept that we are to share the sufferings of Christ is totally offensive to the worldly. They will hide their eyes. They will hate and persecute any man or woman who is emphasizing the personal sacrifice of the believer.
Yet the personal cross is the core of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Remove the personal cross and you remove what makes the Kingdom of God perfect for God and perfect for people. The resurrection power of the Lord flows only from the saint who is living the crucified life. It is the personal cross of the believer that guards him against deception.
Gods wisdom is seen in the cross. The true saint glories in the cross because he has learned that God always meets man at the cross. The world is crucified to us. We are crucified to the world. When the cross has become central to us we find ourselves in the center of Gods will and blessing.
The believer who turns back to the Law of Moses escapes the offense of the cross; for now he is practicing what the human mind can appreciate and endorse.
Today, in many instances, there is no reproach associated with the cross of Christ. Insincere, worldly believers wear the cross as a pin or a necklace.
But there is a great reproach on anyone who teaches that the true Christian must take up his cross of self-denial and follow Jesus. The churches will not hear of it! As long as the cross is spoken of in generalities, todays pampered "believers" will smile and approve. But the preacher who bears down on what the personal cross means until the congregation realizes that he is serious about suffering and self-denial will, in many instances, be ostracized.
Neither the ministry nor the members will have anything to do with him. He is an anachronism, a pest, a negative person who has nothing to do with Jesus or the Gospel.
The believers of today are in deception in this matter. They are hoping for a "rapture" to deliver them from pain, but an unprecedented tribulation is coming.
God is judging sin in His household. The true believers are repenting and confessing their sins. The majority of so-called "Christians" will never repent of their sins, and they will reject and persecute anyone who attempts to reprove them.
This is the state of Christianity today and judgment hovers over the churches. Multitudes of Christians are in the valley of decision. The Day of the Lord is near, in the valley of decision. Shall I seek the Lord with all my heart until I find His will for myself, or shall I trust the preachers who are crying rapture! rapture! rapture!
15. What was Pauls desire for the teachers who were bringing the saints of Galatia into confusion?
That they would cut themselves off, meaning either that they would mutilate themselves in circumcision, or that they would cut themselves off from the Israel of God.
16. To what have the Christians been called?
To freedom from the Law of Moses.
17. What is the wrong use of our freedom?
Using freedom from the Law as an opportunity to live in the lusts of our flesh.
We have died to the Law of Moses that we may be legally free to be married to Christ, not legally free to act as we will. Marriage to Christ is the strictest discipline that can be imagined, but this strictest of all disciplines leads to the only true freedom.
18. What is the right use of our freedom?
To serve one another in love.
19. What one statement includes the whole Law of Moses?
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
20. What may happen to believers who are biting and devouring one another?
They may be consumed by one another.
Christian disciples are to be known by the love they have one for another. When bitterness and hatred enter an assembly of believers, spiritual death is close at hand. A church filled with strife is of little or no use in the Kingdom of God. The Law of God is fulfilled as we serve one another in love.
21. What is the result of behaving in the Spirit of God?
We cease following the desires of our flesh.
The new covenant of our Lord and Savior Christ includes the power to overcome the demands of our flesh. The believer in Christ who lives in the Holy Spirit can walk in heavenly places and not be bound by his or her flesh.
The Christian who lives "in the flesh" will surrender to the demands of his flesh. Living in the flesh means giving the most of ones time and attention to eating, sleeping, playing, working, and reproducing. The person who is primarily occupied with the five animal functions is living in the flesh.
The Christian who lives "in the Spirit" will not surrender to the demands of his or her flesh. Living in the Spirit means consistently giving an adequate amount of ones time and attention to prayer, worship, meditation in the Scripture, assembling with fervent believers, being served by and serving the Body of Christ, confessing ones sins, and presenting ones body as a living sacrifice in order to learn and perform the will of God each day.
The Christian who truly is living in the Spirit will be taught of the Lord to give adequate time and attention to the demands of the present life. If he is part of a family he will diligently fulfill his responsibilities. He will have a good reputation among Christian people, and also among people of the world in most instances. The Lord Jesus will make sure that the material needs of His sincere followers are provided.
The Christian who is living in the flesh will not give adequate time and attention to spiritual growth. He will reap a robe of corruption with which to clothe his mortal body in the day of resurrection. He will die spiritually (Romans 8:13).
22. What is true of the desires of our flesh?
They are in opposition to the Holy Spirit of God.
23. What is true of the desires of the Holy Spirit?
They are in opposition to our fleshly lusts.
24. The Spirit of God opposes our flesh and our flesh opposes the Spirit of God. What is true, therefore, of the Christian disciples?
We have a desire to live in a righteous, holy, and obedient manner, but in order to do so we must deny our fleshly impulses.
It is possible for the Christian to overcome the desires of his flesh, as we noticed in verse 16. In order to overcome the lusts of the flesh, which can be powerful at times, we must lay hold on the grace of God.
The person who would become a new creation in Christ must be diligent every moment of every day in his pursuit of the Lords will. There is no room for carelessness in the Kingdom of God. Our flesh always is desirous of fulfilling its lusts. Our flesh is cut off from God because of the sin that dwells in it (Romans 8:10).
Our body is dead because of sin, but our new born-again inner nature is alive in God because it is of the righteousness of Christ. The righteousness of Christ through the Spirit dwells in every Christian, and that righteousness will enable us to overcome our flesh if we pray and seek the Lord in every instance.
No Christian can be forced to sin against his will. If he will call on the name of Christ, resisting Satan with the strength the Lord provides, the devil will flee in disarray.
Satan works in cooperation with our flesh in deceiving us into practicing acts that are against Gods will and destructive of our personality. God makes a way of escape from every temptation when we look to Him in sincerity.
Meanwhile Christ is being formed in us. When Christ comes to sufficient stature in us we will begin to serve God by nature, making it much easier to resist the lusts of our spiritually dead body.
25. What is true of a person who is being led by the Spirit of God?
He is not required to obey the ceremonial statutes of the Law of Moses.
The Holy Spirit Himself is the Law of the new covenant. When we are living and walking in the Spirit of God we are living and walking in the "law of the Spirit of life" (Romans 8:2; II Corinthians 3:6).
What, then, is true of the person, whether or not he professes Christ, who neither is obeying the Law of Moses nor following after the Spirit of God?
He is a sinner who is under the judgment of God. If he has put his trust in Christ, God will judge his conduct. He will suffer punishment because of his sins (I Corinthians 11:32) in order to save him from the wrath that is to fall on the world.
Whether the person finally will be saved depends on his response to the afflictions the Lord sends on him. Any "Christian" who lives carelessly, hoping that God will forgive him anyway, is playing a risky game. He is gambling with his eternal soul. He is toying with eternal punishment.
Who knows what he will be facing after death?
Only God the Father, who watched His only begotten Son fall face down in the dirt under the weight of His cross as He bore our sins toward Calvary, will know what the careless believer will meet when he or she dies. God is not pleased with those who are adding to that weight by their flippant attitude toward salvation.
No sacrifice has been provided for those who are sinning willfully. (Hebrews 10:26.)
26. What kinds of behavior are practiced by people, including Christians, who are living in their own wisdom and strength, in an animal existence, rather than in the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit of God?
Lasciviousness [immorality], indecency.
Hatred, hostility, quarreling.
Wrath, indignation, fits of rage.
Contention, intrigue, selfishness.
Sectarianism, heresy, factionalism.
And similar kinds of behavior.
27. What is the standing before God of each person who is practicing these behaviors?
He will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
It is obvious, from Galatians 5:19-21, that Paul did not believe that a person who is practicing sin will enter the Kingdom of God on the basis of his profession of faith in Christ. If Paul believed that, he is contradicting himself in these verses and in many other passages of his writings.
The Epistle to the Galatians was written to "the churches of Galatia"; so the passage above is addressed to the saints, not to unbelievers.
Where, then, does godly behavior enter the Christian salvation?
Are we saved on the basis of our behavior?
No. Can we earn salvation by living a good life?
No. Salvation is Gods gift to us through our faith in Christ.
What does Paul mean by stating, "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God"?
The answer is as follows:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II Corinthians 5:17).
We cannot earn salvation by works of righteousness or by obeying the Law of Moses.
Righteous, holy, and obedient conduct is the fruit of Christ dwelling in us.
If any man be in Christ there is a new creation. The adultery, fornication, uncleanness, hatred, carousing, and similar behaviors, are passing out of our life. We are beginning to practice righteousness and holiness.
If a person becomes a Christian and over a period of years there is no transformation of behavior, the filthy behaviors of the flesh are still in evidence, there still is fornication, drunkenness, outbursts of rage, then that believer is not living in Christ. There is no evidence that he is in Christ. There is no evidence that he is being saved into Gods Kingdom.
Christians are recognized by the fruit of godly behavior. If there is no fruit of godly behavior, Christ is not in the personality. If Christ is living in an individual, righteous and holy behavior will proceed. It is impossible that Christ is living in a person, and yet fornication, rage, drunkenness, idolatry, sorcery, strife continue to be practiced.
Whoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God (I John 3:9).
28. What are the attitudes and behaviors of believers in Christ who are living and walking in the Holy Spirit of God?
Longsuffering, patience, forbearance.
Temperance, self-control, self-restraint.
Notice that these characteristics are "the fruit of the Spirit." They are not produced by the fleshly efforts of the Christian. Such behaviors are contrary to our flesh and soul.
Love, joy, peace, patience, are the Nature of God, of the Holy Spirit, of Christ. It is not natural for a human being to be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-restraint. The world, Satan, and our flesh insist on adultery, fornication, hatred, covetousness.
In order to be a victorious saint we must be filled with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God by His Nature reveals love, joy, and peace.
How can we tell if a person is a Christian, is abiding in Christ?
By his statement of faith?
No. By his membership in a group?
A person who is abiding in Christ is revealing love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness in his personality. A person who is not abiding in Christ is revealing hatred, bitterness, confusion, impatience, harshness, treachery in his personality.
Hatred, bitterness, and confusion are revealed in the world and in worldly churches. Love, joy, and peace are revealed in the Body of Christ.
If love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, do not become obvious in our personality after a while, we are on the wrong track. We may have religion but we do not have Christ.
29. What relationship does law have to the fruit of the Spirit?
There is no law against love, joy, peace, patience, self-restraint.
Paul is showing the saints in Galatia how the Gospel of Christ differs from the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses consists of rules that must be observed by those who are under the authority of the Law.
The Gospel of Christ consists of the Holy Spirit who is abiding in us. The Holy Spirit is forming Christ in us. The formation of Christ in us is revealed in our personality, as love, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness begin to be demonstrated in our actions, our words, and our motives and imaginations.
The only "law" that is against love, joy, and peace is the law of sin that dwells in our flesh.
30. How can we recognize the people who truly belong to Christ?
They have crucified their flesh with its passions and appetites.
To crucify the flesh is to choose to obey the Spirit and the Scriptures rather than to yield to the desires of our flesh. God helps us by bringing us into various experiences that are painful to our fleshly, soulish desires.
The flesh desires to fulfill its lusts but the Holy Spirit desires purity.
The flesh desires to adore idols but the Holy Spirit causes us to worship the true God.
The flesh desires to practice sorcery but the Holy Spirit disciplines our hunger for supernatural experiences.
The flesh rejoices in hatred and quarreling but the Holy Spirit fills us with love, joy, and peace.
The flesh is quick to be jealous of others but the Holy Spirit is confident and seeks not His own advantage.
The flesh is contentious and argumentative but the Holy Spirit rejoices in harmony and agreement.
The flesh enjoys sectarianism, boasting of the party it belongs to, but the Holy Spirit seeks the unity of the Body of Christ.
The flesh is envious of the success of others but the Holy Spirit is content in the Fathers will.
The flesh will murder to get its own way but the Holy Spirit waits for the Father to satisfy the desires of the heart.
The flesh will eat and drink itself into sickness and death but the Spirit of God lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
The flesh enjoys carousing and reveling but the Holy Spirit experiences deep joy in worship and supplication.
Life lived in the desires of the flesh brings death to our spiritual nature.
Life lived in the desires of the Holy Spirit brings joy and health to our body, soul, and spirit in this world and preparation for resurrection in the Day of the Lord.
31. If we are Christians, and the eternal resurrection life of the Holy Spirit is abiding in us, what should we be doing?
We should be attending to the desires of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
As is true of all human beings, every believer in Christ is making decisions throughout each day. If he is making his decisions according to the desires of his flesh and human mind he is sowing spiritual death. If he is making his decisions according to the desires of the Holy Spirit who is in him, he is sowing eternal life.
The coming of Christ will be a time of harvesting what we have sown. If we have been sowing the lusts of our flesh we will reap corruption and destruction in the Day of Christ. If we have been sowing the fruit of the Holy Spirit we will reap salvation, righteousness, and indestructible eternal life in the Day of Christ.
The harvest will come in the form of the body that will clothe our resurrected mortal body. If we have been living in the Holy Spirit we will be clothed with a glorious body of eternal life. If we, being a Christian, have chosen to live according to the desires of the flesh and soul, we will be clothed with a corrupt garment that reflects the corruption in our personality.
The reward for sowing to the Spirit of God is deliverance from sin in the Day of the Lord. The deliverance from sin makes it possible for us to think, speak, and act in righteousness. Then we shall receive all the rewards in the Scriptures that are promised to the righteous, including eternal life.
The penalty for living in the flesh in the present life is that we will not be delivered from sin in the Day of the Lord. We still shall be bound with those behaviors that have caused us so much pain in the present world. We shall receive all the punishments and curses listed in the Scriptures that are assigned to the sinner, including separation from God. We have sown to our sinful nature and so we shall reap the bondage and consequences of sin as a result.
32. What should every saint avoid with diligence?
Being conceited, vainglorious, envious of other believers, yielding to a spirit of competition and rivalry, seeking to force the doing of his own will.
1. What should the saints do if a member of the assembly falls into sin?
We, in a spirit of gentleness, should help restore him to his standing in Christ, meanwhile guarding our own behavior carefully so that we too do not yield to temptation.
2. What is the law of Christ?
That we help one another live a victorious life in Christ, carrying one anothers burdens.
3. What is true of the person who believes himself to be an outstanding saint but who actually is a weak believer?
He is deluding himself.
4. What should be the attitude of every one of us toward our own work in the Kingdom of God?
We should examine the worth of our own work and rejoice over what successes we may have had. We should not be comparing ourselves with others, attempting to compete with them.
5. What is true of every believer in Christ?
He must bear his own burden, his own load, his own responsibility, his own cross.
6. What should a person do who is being taught in the Word of God?
He should contribute toward the livelihood of his teacher.
7. What is true of our relationship to God?
We cannot mock, or cheat, or deceive God. What we are sowing in life we surely will reap in the Day of Christ.
The Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping needs to be emphasized in our day. Sometimes the Gospel of Christ is preached as though it were a Divinely ordained method of evading the unchanging, universal law of sowing and reaping. Many ministers of the Gospel appear to believe that if we name the name of Jesus we will not reap what we sow. This doctrine contradicts the Scriptures.
If a farmer sows corn, he will reap corn. If a farmer sows wheat he will reap wheat. If he sows rye he will reap rye. If he plants apple trees he will harvest apples.
What would we think of the farmer who sowed the seed of weeds but trusted that by the grace of God in Christ he was going to reap corn?
We would consider him to be a foolish, ignorant individual who did not understand the purpose of the grace of God.
We would counsel him to sow corn and trust that by the grace of God he will have good weather. If he sows weeds he certainly shall reap weeds!
How many believers today are doing just that?
They are sowing lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, jealousy, contention, sectarianism, envy, murder, and drunkenness. They are trusting that by the grace of God in Christ they will reap the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God. Such are foolish and ignorant. They do not understand the purpose of the grace of God.
We should counsel each believer to sow moral purity, the worship of the true God, joy, peace, confidence, the love of the brothers, self-control, and contentment in the will of God. Meanwhile the grace of God in Christ will cover his shortcomings and fill him with joy and peace as he sows the aspects and blessings of the Kingdom of God.
The law of sowing and reaping cannot be circumvented. The believer who is sowing the lusts of his flesh but is hoping to reap eternal life is heading straight toward disaster in the Day of the Lord.
8. What will the believer reap who is sowing the lusts of his flesh?
Corruption in the form of a blemished garment in the day of resurrection.
9. What will the believer reap who is sowing the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
Eternal life in the form of a body like that of Christ.
The Bride of Christ will be clothed in her own righteous deeds. She is weaving her own garment now as she lives in the Spirit of God (Revelation 19:8).
Fleshly Christians also will be clothed in their own deeds. They too are weaving their own garment now as they are continuing in the lusts of their bodies.
Notice the following:
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be (Revelation 22:12).
There is no way of evading the law of sowing and reaping. When Jesus returns we shall be treated fairly and accurately according to our works while we lived on the earth.
The relationship between our conduct on earth and our condition at the coming of Christ needs to be emphasized in the day in which we are living. Christian people seem to be under the impression that all believers will be treated the same if they have made a profession of Christ. Such a belief is not scriptural. We will be given what our actions create.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)
10. What will be true of us if we patiently do what is right each day of our Christian discipleship?
We will reap a glorious harvest of righteousness, peace, and joy when the Lord returns from Heaven.
11. What should each saint do, as he has the opportunity?
He should exercise helpfulness and generosity toward all people, especially toward his fellow Christians.
Verse 11 to the end of the chapter may have been written in Pauls own handwriting, while the remainder of the Book of Galatians was written down by a scribe as Paul dictated the words. Or, Paul may have written the entire epistle himself.
In any case, in verse 11 he seems to be calling attention to the fact that he was writing in large letters. It is possible that Paul was suffering from an affliction in his eyes that made it necessary for him to make his letters large enough for himself to see.
12. What motive did the Judaizers have in stressing circumcision?
They were seeking the approval of Jewish people. Also, they were attempting to avoid the persecution and reproach that falls on every person who makes the cross of Christ the center of his life and his only hope of righteousness.
13. Were the Judaizers themselves keeping the Law of Moses?
14. What were they seeking by advocating circumcision?
They wanted to boast that they had brought the Galatian people into the likeness of the Jewish religion.
15. In what did Paul boast?
In the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we said before, the world and worldly Christians do not want to hear about the cross. They cover their eyes. The cross makes no sense. Circumcision is a religious observance people can practice, something they can do to demonstrate their adherence to their religion.
What can one do with the cross?
Believe in it. Enter it. Embrace it. Carry it. Live in it. Boast in it.
Every true minister of the Gospel of Christ serves from his position on the cross.
God always meets man at the cross. The cross is portrayed by the Altar of Burnt Offering, which was located in front of the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee (Exodus 29:42).
By faith we assign our whole first personality to die on the cross with Jesus.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (Romans 6:6).
We Christians boast in the cross because the cross is the power of God to salvation.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us [the ChristiansJews and Gentiles] which are saved it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:17,18).
The cross as a way of salvation is an offense to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God (I Corinthians 1:23,24).
The cross brings us down to weakness so the power of God may flow from our life to other people.
For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we will live with him by the power of God toward you (II Corinthians 13:4)
The cross is the center, the core of the Kingdom of God. Every member of the Kingdom of God views the creation from the cross. He does not seek his own will but the will of God.
The cross insures that the will of God is done in the Kingdom of God. Being crucified purifies the believer of self-will. Living a crucified life means there always is a point of pain in our consciousness. We never can completely relax, settle back, and be at ease in Zion.
The personal cross of the believer destroys self-will, personal ambition, fleshly enthusiasm, self-centeredness, self-love. We take up our cross and we do the Fathers will, and the pain removes the personal motivation. We lose the desire to be preeminent in the Kingdom because of the cost to us.
Religious observances cannot add to the effectiveness of the cross. Religious acts, such as circumcision, can only detract from the wisdom and power of the cross of Christ. This is why Paul, in writing to the Galatians, pointed toward the cross.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
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? (Galatians 3:1).
And I, brothers, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased (Galatians 5:11).
And they that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24).
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (Galatians 6:14).
Our common position on the cross makes the Jewish believer and the Gentile believer one Body of Christ.
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby (Ephesians 2:16).
Our death with Christ on the cross frees us from the legal requirements of the Law of Moses.
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4)
Death on the cross is an act of obedience to God our Father.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).
The "Christians" who live in the flesh, serving themselves by using the things of Christ to their own advantage, are the enemies of the cross.
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18).
The true saint of God fixes his attention on Jesus, endures the death of the cross, and makes his pilgrimage toward the right hand of God.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
The saints love the cross. It is painful and humiliating and it is despised by the world. It is a sharing in the sufferings of Christ. But the cross is the only path to joy, to peace, to victory over the world, over Satan, and over our flesh and self-will, to fruitfulness and dominion. The cross is the wisdom of God and the power of God. The cross can be seen and felt in the personality and ministry of the man or woman of God.
There is a reproach, a scandal associated with the cross of Christ. The person who gladly bears the shame of the cross is heading straight toward the throne of the Father in Heaven.
The cross is the means, and the only means, of destroying the self-seeking of the human personality. Ministry apart from the cross is self-willed, self-seeking, self-vaunting, self-centered.
The cross is both the wisdom and the power of God Almighty.
The cross is Gods response to the self-centeredness of man. Religious people erect elegant structures in order to "glorify God." But God is glorified in the cross of Christ. Herods Temple was just thatHerods Temple, it was not Gods Temple. The same is true with all the striving of men.
Men build tabernacles but God builds the cross.
How wise is God! How superior in every way!
The true saint, as did Paul, beholds the whole world hanging on the cross. The first creation died with Christ. It has been finished.
The true saint is on the cross with Christ and beholds the world from his position of helplessness on the cross. The crucified saint looks constantly to the Lord for the eternal power of the Spirit of God. It is this incorruptible wisdom and power that gives life to the saint and overflows from him so that humanity is released from the chains of Satan.
The cross is our protection against deception. The believer who attempts to evade the cross will be deceived by Satan (Matthew 16:23). God Himself will send delusion on him (II Thessalonians 2:11).
There is no way around the cross. Whoever is unwilling to forsake all, to take up his cross and follow Jesus, is unworthy of the Kingdom of God. He cannot be a disciple.
The cross is a prison from which we cannot escape without breaking Gods laws, for it is God who has locked us up.
The cross is a pinnacle. We are not to jump from it "by faith in Gods Word." It is a place of waiting, of restrictions, of suffering, of patience.
It is Gods will that we suffer in this confinement, this prison. It is Gods will that our most intense desires are withheld from us. It is God's will that we are required to keep serving Him in situations that are frustrating us and that keep us praying every moment, day and night.
The believer who forces his way out of Gods prison may gratify his flesh for a season but his end will be grief, disillusionment, anguish, disappointment, loss of fruitfulness, loss of authority, loss of the Kingdom of God.
He who saves his life surely shall lose it.
He who loses his life for Christs sake and the Gospels certainly shall find his life again, and eternal fruitfulness with it. His life will be transformed, having been blended eternally with the life of Christ. His fruit will be equal to that of the obedient Abrahamit shall multiply forever.
The cross is the glory, the boast of the Christian. It brings him down to helplessness. From the cross he arises in Christ renewed, transformed, vindicated totally, ruler over all.
How about you, dear reader?
Will you go to the cross?
Or will you attempt to serve Christ in your own manner?
The cross is the path, the only path, to the desires of your heart.
16. What is the most important accomplishment of the Gospel of Christ?
A new creation.
If any person be in Christ there is a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17). Circumcision performed on the physical body is of no consequence whether it is done or not done.
The new creation is the Kingdom of God.
When an individual is born again the new creation is begun. Little by little, command upon command, rule upon rule, the human personality is brought into eternal union with God through Christ.
What is brought forth when the new covenant has wrought its perfect work?
Let us use the Apostle Paul for an example. What will come forth from Pauls life when the Kingdom of God has been brought to fullness in him?
Is it only a saved Paul?
No. Is it Christ Himself?
No. Neither of these is the new creation who is brought forth in Paul.
Well then, what or who is the new creation?
The new creation is an eternal union of Paul and Christ. Paul is present and intact in the new creation. Christ is present and intact in the new creation. There is a new creationthe eternal, incorruptible, inseparable blend of Christ and Paul.
How puny, how futile, how inconsequential appear circumcision and the observance of holy days when viewed in the radiant glory of the majesty of the new creation.
The Kingdom of God is the enlargement of God Himself through Christ through people. Would we add circumcision and other religious observances to God?
All religious observances are scaffolding. They are helps to bring us into union with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Kingdom of God begins in us as a tiny seed. If we care for the seed, not choking it out with sin or the cares of the present age, that small seed will grow in us until our spirit, our soul, our mind, our emotions, our bones, our motives, our imaginations, our joys, our hopes, our will, are all part of Christ.
There is a new creation.
Is the name of the new creation, Paul?
No. Is the name of the new creation, Christ?
No. It is a new creation.
What will we name the new person?
Christ will give him a new name. He has been formed from the eternal union of a human being and Christ. He is one with Christ as Christ is one with God. He lives by Christ as Christ lives by God the Father (John 6:57).
God became a man. God became flesh and bone and dwelt among us in the Person of Christ. This is an eternal change in the Person of God, for never before has God become a man.
When Christ rose from the dead, a man (although God) rose from the dead and ascended to the highest throne of the universe. God now reveals Himself as the Man, Christ.
Can you imagine the amazement of the elect angels over this new expression of God?
The Kingdom of God came into being when Christ rose from the dead.
Every time a human being is born again it is Christ who is born in him and formed in him. This is a further incarnation, a further revelation of the Lord God of Heaven. God in Christ is seen in the saint who is crucified with Christ. God is eternally enlarging His Being in saints who have become a unique expression of His Person.
Christ died that we may live. Now it is our turn. We must die so that Christ can be enlarged. If we cling to our life Christ cannot be revealed in us.
If we grasp our life and possessions, hold on to people and supposed advantages, not allowing the Holy Spirit to do as He will in us and to us, we will lose our life. In addition, Christ will lose an opportunity to appear to the world in a wonderfully unique manner. We must die if He is to live.
When we give ourselves without reservation to God, allowing Christ to fill every element of our personality, consenting to the transformation of all that we are, our personality will become all God meant it to be.
A change in what we basically are is very threatening, very difficult for people. Believers may be willing to gain victory over one sin or another. But when it comes to a change in what we are, we resist the Lord. It seems that each of us has some major aspect of personality, some aspect of Adam, that characterizes us, that is what we are.
Our Christian life may be occupied to a large extent with a struggle against the symptoms of our particular kind of personality, which may be romantic, or filled with a desire for power or status, or ready to judge other people, or apt to harbor bitterness and revenge, or withdrawn, or flirtatious, or capricious, or violent, or fearful, or grasping and covetous, or requiring luxury, or a manifestation of some other adamic trait.
While we may be willing to deal with various sins and shortcomings, when the Holy Spirit begins to require a change in what we basically are we may refuse to proceed with the work of transformation. Gods army of overcoming sons will include only those who have been willing to allow God to crucify and resurrect their personality as He will.
It is only in Christ that our potential is realized. It is only in Christ that the uniqueness of our personality is developed and clarified. Apart from Christ we are "without form and void."
When the Spirit of God moves on the "deep" of our being, order appears. There is a separation of our spiritual nature from our soulish nature. "Dry land" appears. "Vegetation" (spiritual life) is produced.
Then the mighty Creator begins to form us in His image, to bring us into union with Himself and with one another, and to lead us in the path which results in very great fruitfulness, and dominion over all the works of Gods hands.
Without Christ we remain unformed. As the Life of Christ is formed in us the image of God in us is revealed for all to witness.
What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is the forming of the Life of Christ in a human being. The Kingdom of God consists of human beings in whom Christ has been brought forth. In order for the Kingdom of God to exist there must be two births. There must be the birth from a woman, and then Christ must be born in us.
The Kingdom of God is the union of a human being with God through Christ.
When Jesus appears, those whose life Christ is will appear with Him. The appearance of Christ and those in whom He is formed and abiding is the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth.
In the present hour the Kingdom of God is at the right hand of the Father. Every person in whom Christ is living is there at the right hand of Godin and with Christ (Colossians 3:1-4).
In the Day of Christ, the Kingdom of God, which is Christ and those in whom Christ is dwelling, will be revealed in the fullness of the power of God for all nations to behold (John 17:21-23).
The world is to repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand and soon will be a visible reality in the earth. When the Kingdom of God comes to the earth all sin will be destroyed.
17. What does the Apostle Paul confer on those who place the development of the new creation above religious rites?
Peace and mercy.
18. What name does Paul apply to those in whom the new creation is coming forth?
The Israel of God.
19. The Judaizers desired that the mark of circumcision be placed in each believer in Christ. Of what "marks" did Paul speak?
The marks branded on a slave to identify the owner of the slave. The scars caused by repeated beatings for the Gospels sake signified that Paul was the slave of Christ.
20. What blessing does Paul invoke on the brothers in Galatia?
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit."