Tag Archives: faith

Redeemed From the Curse

Galatians 3:10-18 KJV

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

One of the things that becomes very obvious if you really look at the law that was given to Moses is that we are all cursed under the law because we cannot keep it. And the law specifically says that anyone who does not keep the words of the law is cursed!  Here is some of what the Word says about that in Deuteronomy 28:

15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.

Pestilence, fever, consumption, a botch, hemorrhoids, scabs, itch, blindness, madness – all these are listed in just 14 verses of the chapter – there are 29 more describing what happens to those who do not follow all the law completely!  God is serious about following the law!

But we are not under the curse of the law.  Jesus Christ gave His life so we would no longer be obligated to the law.  Paul says Jesus became a curse for us, taking our place.  Deuteronomy 21:23 tells us that cursed is everyone who hangs in a tree.  When Jesus hung on that cross, bearing all our sins, He reversed the curse of the law and made us all free from that curse.

The law was all about works, not faith.  You could not fulfill the law by faith.  The law was all about the things that the people did to show their worship, repentance, and awe toward God.  That is the Old Covenant.  The New Covenant which Jesus brought is based on belief in Him and His sacrifice.  If we decide we want to live by the law, then we have to do the whole law – not just parts of it.  Why would I ever choose the law over grace?

This also applies to our works.  Grace is what saves us – the grace of God.  We extend our faith to accept that grace.  It is not our works.  I know I keep repeating this fact, but we must understand that God has done all He needs to do to save us.  We cannot add anything to it, and so many do!  So many say works are a requirement for heaven.  Don’t fall back under that trap!  

On another note, in verse 16 Paul mentions that the promise was made to Abraham’s seed.  This is a singular form of the word seed.  The promise of blessing was not to his offspring, which would be seeds.  The seed is one – the seed of faith.  The faith that God counted to Abraham for righteousness.  That seed is in everyone who believes God.  We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born to take away our sins, died on a cross to redeem us and rose again to grant us eternal life.

If you ignore the fact that God promised this way before the law was given, then I can understand why one would think works are needed for redemption.  That is why this is so important!  God’s promises are true, throughout the Bible.  The law does not negate the promise to Abraham any more than the law negates the promise through Christ. 2 Cor 1:20 says For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  Through Christ, all the promises are ours!

I will be the first to say that once we get saved, we must be about the Father’s business.  We have so much work to do in this world.  There are so many hurting people and each one of us can touch a soul each day.  It is imperative that we do all we can to spread His love to all we know. God has entrusted His grace to us so that we can show grace to others.  How do we do that?  By being a blessing to them!

Here’s a short list from a website called moreradiance.com.

  1. Smile and say hello to others
  2. Give up a parking space for someone else
  3. Pay for someone else’s meal
  4. Be kind and patient towards your waiter
  5. Leave a generous tip with a gospel tract
  6. Hold the door for others
  7. Let someone else go in line ahead of you
  8. Share coupons at the store
  9. Pick up things that have fallen off the shelves
  10. Be kind and patient towards the cashier
  11. Say “thank you”
  12. Give a stranger a sincere compliment
  13. Put extra change in a parking meter
  14. Pick up trash
  15. Wave others on at a stop sign

For the full list of 100 things, you can go to https://moreradiance.com/100-little-ways-bless-others/

It does not take a grand gesture to bless someone.  We pass on grace with a smile, a handshake, a good deed, a shoulder to cry on.  These works are necessary to work out our salvation (Phil 2:12).  In the end, we will be judged on how well we performed these works of grace.  We will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ!  Second Cor 5:10 says “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  Don’t think that just confessing Christ as your Savior will get you there!  If you make that confession and then turn away and just do your own thing, this verse is a warning!

Works does have a place, not in initial salvation, but in refining and molding us into our salvation.  Salvation is an ongoing experience. We keep growing in the grace of God – or at least we should.  If you are not growing, please take a hard look at why and correct it.  Do what the Father asks you to do.  Your eternal life depends on it!

The Blessing of Abraham

Galatians 3:4-10
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Paul first asks the Galatians if they have gone back to the works of that law for no reason.  It is useless to expect salvation from the works of the law.  It is vanity!  The law was merely a covering for sin – salvation erases it.  Jesus too away our sins – removed them as far as the East is from the West (psalm 103:12).  He has washed me white as snow (Is 1:18).  He will cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  Notice these verses do not say this will happen by the works of the law.  They are accomplished by faith alone, by confessing our sins.

The miracles that were being performed by the disciples are covered next.  Were they the result of the law?  NO.  They were the result of faith – faith in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit within them.  Remember Jesus what Jesus said just before He ascended to heaven in a cloud;  Acts 1:8 records these words:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Note that in verse 5 He tells them they shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.  We spoke of this in the last lesson. Now He tells them this Holy Ghost will give them power to witness.  This witnessing is by many different means, not just verbal in nature.  This witnessing includes the Gifts of the Spirit, which we read of in 1 Cor 12:8-11

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spiit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

These gifts  are still the sign of the Holy Spirit.  Miracles back then were recorded often, and the people flocked to them.  Just look at all the people that followed Jesus.  He performed miracles all the time.  We read accounts of miracles the disciples performed, and I’m sure there were many not recorded.

Peter and John at the steps of the temple heal a lame man (Acts 3:1-10)
Ananias and Sapphira fall down dead for lying to God (Acts 5:1-10)
Peters shadow and has hands heal multitudes who have gathered (Acts 5:15()
Paul casts out an evil spirit from a woman (Acts 16:18)
Paul sends handkerchiefs to the sick and they are healed (Acts 19:12)

We will not delve into the rest of the gifts at this time, since Paul only mentions miracles here.  We will leave that for a future study.  Jesus told them miracles would be a witness to Jerusalem first, then Judea and Samaria and then throughout the earth.  Paul started the last part of this prophetic word from Jesus. I think at first the other disciples forgot about it.  Peter at first protested about going to Cornelius, but later went and had a great result (Acts 10).  These miracles are works of faith, not a result of the law.

Next, Paul dicusses how Abraham pleased God by His faith in God.  Abraham had left Canaan with his family, gone to Egypt, then back to Canaan.  He separated from Lot and then fought the battle with the 5 kings to get Lot back.  Then these words come in Genesis 15:5-7

And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

This is before offering Isaac.  The belief He had to gain that righteousness was based on the promise given by the angel of God above   That his seed would be like the stars of the heaven.  At this time Abraham was 100 years old.  This part of Genesis is commonly known as the 2nd Covenant between man and God, or the Abrahamic Covenant.  God never breaks His Covenant, and this one is today passing onto Abraham’s seed.

The important thing to remember here is what that seed is.  It is not just Abraham’s fleshly seed, although the Jews are blessed by that part of the Covenant.  The seed of faith in God’s promise is the important one.  It has passed down to us today!  We are Abraham’s seed by faith, and God blesses us on that Covenant when we believe Jesus Christ and confess our sins. Nothing about works.

God told Abraham that his seed would be like the stars of heaven.  The stars are too numerous to count.  They cover an immense area and are afar off.  This was a promise that eventually, the seed of Abraham would be greater than the nation of His offspring.  It would include the Gentiles as well.  At this time there was no Jerusalem, no Jews, no Israel.  The seed of Abraham is greater than that.

We should all be eternally grateful for Abraham believing God.  I think we often forget how important he is to us and to this faith that we have.  Without this Covenant God would not be obligated to bring in the Gentiles.  He would not be obligated to pass the blessing on by faith alone.  This covenant is one of five God has made with man.  The others are:

Covenant with Noah that He would never flood the earth again  (Geneses 9:11-17)
Covenant with Moses to make Israel His nation (Exodus 19:3-6)
Covenant with David that his heir would sit on the throne of Israel eternally (2 Sam 7:12-13)
Covenant through Jesus – the New Covenant of salvation by grace and faith and the symbol of that Covenant being His blood shed for us (Luke 22:20,Heb 8:8-12)

When you look at these Covenants, you can see how important the Covenant with Abraham is. While we know that God keeps His promises, He puts the highest regard on these Covenants.  We should take special note that all of them apply forever.

Paul concludes with stating the fact again.  All who come to God by faith are included in the blessing of Abraham.  He will go on to explain further as we proceed.

 

 

Holy Spirit by Faith

Galatians 3:1-3 KJV

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?

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Paul opens chapter 3 by calling the Galatians foolish and asking them who has bewitched them. What an interesting way to start a chapter!  If I was a proud Galatian, I would probably stop listening at this point. Sure, Paul was a respected teacher, but who is he to call me foolish!  I would say to that person that their pride has made them foolish.  It has made them drop the teaching of a man they all admired and loved for the preaching that put them under bondage.

The word foolish means lacking good sense or judgement. Foolish also means unwise. We saw in the last two chapters why Paul calls them foolish. They ignored the grace message and thought that their works is what would get them to heaven. If you are believing that today Paul would apply that word to you. Knowing the truth about God’s amazing grace is not rocket science.  Yet it is the most profound thing in the Bible!

Next, Paul tells them they have been bewitched. This is the only place in scripture where this word appears. It actually means to put someone under a spell so they no longer can think according to reason. It can also have a connotation of exercising evil power over someone. These are very strong words from Paul.  We need to be careful who we listen to and who we follow. Paul was pretty harsh to the Galatians by saying this and I think we should all take heed to his warning.  Make sure you can defend your position in the Bible with sound understanding of scripture.

We must stay in the truth of the grace message that Paul preached. We have talked about this for the last several lessons so I’m not going to get back into it now. I only ask that you look take a hard look your life.  Did you accept get saved initially by grace or do you think Heaven was yours by works. Once we are saved and made heaven our home, then works should result.  These works make our salvation complete.  They keep us headed to heaven.

Jesus was crucified for us. He was crucified to provide our salvation. It was the greatest mercy that was ever done by God. And we should try not to add anything to it. Christ did everything necessary to provide our Salvation on that cross. All we need to do is accept His mercy.  Paul says if we require anything else, then Christ’s death was in vain.

Now Paul asks a different question. Did they receive the Holy Spirit by works or by faith? I want to take you back to Acts chapter 2 and The Upper Room experience. There were 120 gathered in that room on the Day of Pentecost.  They were worshipping God and they were all in one accord. Suddenly, there was a mighty rushing wind in the room.  It was the Holy Spirit. Tongues of fire settled in above each one. They started speaking in these tongues and it ministered to the crowd outside.  At first the crowd thought they were drunk, but then realized that God was doing something supernatural.

This experience of Holy Spirit baptism is something that Paul firmly believed in. But we cannot gain that by any works that we do. It is taken only by faith once we are saved by grace. You cannot receive the Holy Spirit before you get saved. It must come after. But there is nothing you can do for the Holy Spirit to come into you. It has to be by faith. You have to trust the Lord that He wants you to have it and that He will give it to you.

Jesus said that earthly parents will give good gifts to their children.  Then He asks how much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those that ask (Luke 11:13). Have you asked God for His Holy Spirit?  Have you asked him to fill you to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit? He wants you to have the Holy Spirit because it’s his greatest gift besides salvation. It’s something that will give you power.  Power to witness, power to be bold. It was promised to the disciples in Acts 1:8.

Along with the Holy Spirit comes a prayer language.  This language is not for our understanding, but for God’s.  I believe it is some language that is spoken somewhere in the world.  We use this prayer language when we are not sure in our own understanding what to pray for.  This heavenly language makes intercession for us in “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26).  Paul says he prayed in the spirit (1 Cor 14:15).  He is telling us he prayed in tongues here. Acts 19:6 and Acts 10:44-46 both show us this sign being given to those filled with the Holy Spirit.  Even Jesus said we will speak with new tongues (Mark 16:17)

 

Paul also says he spoke in tongues more than anyone else (1 Cor 14:1-6).  This speaking in tongues is the gift of tongues mentioned in 1 Cor 12:10, and should always be followed by the gift of interpretation of tongues.  This is not to be confused with out prayer language.  Our prayer language is operate and distinct.  There is no interpreter except God, or except we are in a place where that language is known. Paul goes on in 1 Cor 14:7-24 to discuss speaking in tongues of both kinds.  Make sure you understand the distinction between the two.

Paul uses the word foolish again.  He asks them if they started in the spirit by faith, how can the flesh possibly be the thing that will perfect them. How can works of the flesh be a perfecting element in our lives. Our flesh needs to be put aside. Here is where working out our salvation with fear and trembling comes in (Phil 2:12).  Here is where allowing patience to work in our lives brings us to perfection, or maturity in Christ (James 2-4).  Paul and James do not contradict this statement fond in Galatians 3:3.   We have discussed this at length in our studies.

What Paul is saying here is that the Galatians received the gift of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit by faith, not works.  How can they now think that both come through works that they do in the flesh?  Works come AFTER these two things are part of our life.  The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not necessary for salvation, but salvation is necessary before the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I believe this baptism brings us to a deeper spiritual walk.  I feel many may disagree with that statement.  Jesus said it will give us power.  Paul says it gives us a special language to pray more effectively.

I will not go to the point of saying it brings me closer to God than someone without it.  I know many people that are deeply devoted and in tune with the Holy Spirit who do not have the baptism we have spoken of here.  I am keenly aware that God has mercy on whom He will have mercy (Exod 33:19).  He will give to whom He desires, and who has he desire.

I am convinced this gift will give us a more powerful prayer life, because we pray God’s will every time.  We pray what the Holy Spirit speaks to us.  When we speak with our own understating, we are thinking about our words, and it’s easy to put our desire in there.  We pray “Lord, heal them now. They need a miracle now”.  We should pray “God, give them strength to go through this trial until you are willing to heal them.”  Maybe they will miss a huge blessing of they are healed now.  Perhaps God is going to do great things in their life, as He did in mine.  A magnificent testimony of healing will strengthen others, especially if this healing is a visible one.  Seeing someone recovery slowly builds faith!  Who knows, we could find ourselves praying against God with our understanding.  That will never happen when we pray in the Spirit.

I you desire this baptism of the Holy Spirit, ask God.  He is a loving Father and this is a special gift.  The sign that you have received it is your prayer language, just like in that upper room.  It is allowing your tongue to speak what the spirit speaks to you.  Sometimes the spirit speaks to us in our own language, and we understand that.  But other times He speaks in a foreign language.  Without this gift we dismiss this and toss it out of our minds, not even remembering He has spoken it.  This gift is accepted by faith only.  Ask today, and allow your tongue to speak His words.

Justified by Faith

Galatians 2:16-19 KJV
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
After talking about his confrontation with Peter, Paul goes into a short discussion on why he preaches the grace message. Remember that this message was given to him by God as he spent time in Damascus and Arabia. From my own perspective, I will try to recap what Paul had concluded. He was well versed in the law! After all. He says he was a Pharisee (Phil 3:5), which means he knew the law well.

The Old Testament was full of laws and decrees that instructed people how they should serve God. These can be found in the first five books of the bible, known as the Torah to the Jews. Some were laws of things that had to be done to cover their sins, like the sacrificial system (Lev 1-7). Some were laws of behavior between people. Some were laws that forbid certain things, like what animals were clean and unclean. The book of Leviticus is filled with many of these laws.

The sacrifices were required to cover their sin. This was a large part of their worship to God. I’m not going to go into a long discussion on the sacrificial system but there are five basic sacrifices that were required. The burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, the trespass offering and the sin offering. All of these have different functions and were carried out in different ways. But all they could do was cover the sins of the people. They did not take the sins away. The other behavioral laws were put in place because God didn’t want his people to treat each other like the pagan religions that were around them.

Paul makes the statement that following these laws did not justify anybody (v 16). The word justify means to make righteous. It gives the connotation of someone who has been freed from a sentence that they should have gotten. Justification is the giving of mercy to another. It also carries the meaning of being declared guiltless. The sacrificial system or the law did none of this. It was only a way that they could cover their sins but they were not completely freed from their sins.

When Christ died on the cross He carried all of our sins with Him (1 Peter 2:24). When He died those sins died with Him. His death and resurrection provided a way for us to be justified before God (Romans 4:25, 5:1). There are many who believe that His death immediately made everyone heaven bound. That is not true. God does not force His will on any of us. His death provided a way for everyone, but it is up to each of us to accept His sacrifice in order to be justified. In other words, we have to do something. By faith we have to accept His sacrifice for our sins and then allow him to be Lord of our lives. Once we are saved, we have an obligation to follow up with good works.

I liken it to a Christmas present. Somebody buys you a present and they told you it is sitting underneath your Christmas tree. They describe the package in full detail to you so you know that it came from them. They even tell you what’s inside will be amazing. All you have to do is open it up. If you don’t take the gift, it will sit under the tree forever. You will never gain the benefit of owning it. You go back to your house and you look at the box under the tree you have two choices. You can take the gift or you can let it sit there.

You would think that everybody would want to take that gift! After all it’s free. Somebody else paid the price for it. But yet so many leave it sitting under the Christmas tree. Our suspicious nature tells us there must be a catch. Why would anyone do such a thing for me? I know this will end up costing me something. In the end, we just decide that blessing can sit there.

That’s the way it is with Christ. People hear the gospel message all the time and refuse to believe it. They refuse to ask Jesus Christ to forgive them of their sins. They refuse to turn away from their sins. And they refuse to start working the righteous work that He wants us to do. They will remain in sin and head for hell’s stronghold when they die if they don’t accept this free gift that has been offered.

Others will say they don’t need the gift of salvation. They have lived a good life, and God will take them to heaven because of it. But the bible is very clear that we all have sin within us (Rom 3:23). There is none of us that is good in ourselves (Psalms 14:3, Rom 3:12). That is because when Adam sinned, his seed passed sin to all who were born after him (Rom 5:12). We are all born with sin in us. In Psalm 51:5 David says he had sin in his mother’s womb. Most believe that until a child can understand their decision to refuse Christ’s grace, they are not held accountable for accepting that grace. This would also apply to those who are incapable of understanding.

Jesus was not born from the seed of man, so never had that seed of sin within Him. Mary conceived Him by the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:35). Because of this, He became our sinless sacrifice. In the Old Testament, the sacrifice of the people had to be unblemished. Christ is the only person ever born this way, and so He is the only one who could fulfill the sacrificial law and become the atoning sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 10). This is a very brief explanation of why Christ is that gift given to us (John 3:16) to save us from our sins.

All of the wonderful things we do will not get us to heaven unless we take that gift. We are only justified by faith in Christ, and not by works. Verse 16 says “by The Works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Have you accepted Christ into your life? If you haven’t, pray this prayer with me and then find a good church and talk to the pastor. Tell him you just got saved and you want to start your new life.

Dear Jesus: I believe that you died for my sins. I repent and ask you to forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me from all my sinful ways and put me on the right path. I believe you rose again to give me eternal life in heaven. I now turn from my former ways and make you Lord of my life. Thank you for saving me!

Once we have taken that step we are supposed to stay out of sin. Jesus justified each of us – we should no longer walk in our old sinful ways. They have been destroyed by Christ and I have no business building those foundations again in my life. If I do, then I make myself a transgressor. We know Jesus will forgive us, but we still must stay out of sin.

If we sin knowingly, that is our pride at work. We come to a place where we think He loves us so much He will continue to forgive us. I am not saying He won’t, but we certainly take advantage of His grace if we sin knowingly. I would not want to take that chance. Christ is not the minister of sin. He is a minister of righteousness. He has made us dead to the law so that we might live to God. He did not save us so we could just fall back into the trap of sin. He saved us so we could rise above that, with His help, and enjoy all the blessings He bestows. Why would we ever leave those blessings behind? Let us leave our sin behind instead.

Paul goes on to explain further how we have died to that old sin. The next verse is one of my favorites – hope you’ll join us!

Be blessed!

God’s Wisdom VS Man’s Wisdom

Galatians 1:6-12  (KJV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul goes into right into the guts of his letter. He is writing to the Galatians because somewhere between his first and second missionary journeys they got off course. It is believed his first two missionary journeys we’re 3 to 4 years apart. From the references that I look at, the first occurred around 48 AD and the second around 51 AD.

In that time, the Judaizers had come in and taught them that the message Paul had preached was not enough for their salvation. Judaizers believed that Old Testament laws, like circumcision, still needed to be observed despite Christ’s atoning sacrifice.  Paul preached a message of grace. His message was that Christ’s sacrifice was enough – no more following of the law was needed.  

He is amazed that after they fervently believed in what he had preached many in the church fell for the false teaching, being deceived.   They believed what Paul called “another gospel”.  It was not the good news he had brought.

I see this still applicable in many churches today. They want us to follow after doctrines that have been passed down from generation to generation. They expect us to put aside the truth of the Gospel message for the message of men.

I have regular email conversations with my brother about having faith in the gospel and having faith in science. He is a firm believer in evolution, global warming, The Big Bang Theory and abortion to name a few. He believes these things because he claims they can be proved. Then he says they are proved by scientific theory.

Theory is defined in the online dictionary this way:

  1. 1.  coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena:
    Einstein’s theory of relativity. Darwins Theory of Evolution 
  2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to  experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

It takes faith to believe those things just as much as it takes faith to believe the gospel.  They are commonly regarded as correct, but not proven correct.

I tell him that he can place his faith in man if he likes to but I would prefer to place my faith in God. He argues with me that he is not placing his faith in man. He is placing his faith in science. I tell him that science is man’s wisdom not God’s wisdom. The Bible is God’s wisdom not man’s. Man’s wisdom is foolishness with God. (1 Cor 3:19)  The Bible tells us the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). Those who do not have the fear of God have a tough time grasping the wisdom of God.

Man finds his own knowledge. They say that their calculations of time and space are completely accurate based on a theory.  But do they know whether time can be sped up in the absence of matter over long distances?  Can they know if time can be expanded? Have they calculated how far and how fast the stars travel away from us?  Can they prove carbon dating is faultless? Could carbon dating speed up faster through time? These are all questions that I have and there are many more. All of these things are based on Theory. Gods ways are high above our, His thoughts beyond what we can think (Is 55:8-9)

The East Coast was supposed to be flooded over by now. But it is not. I believe all the temperature differences are cyclical. This cycle that we are in has happened before. And a cold cycle will come back and then we’ll be threatened by ice. They thought that was going to happen in the 70s (Variations in the Earth’s Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages)  and many warnings went out. Why do you think the name of the threat was changed from global warming to climate change? So many questions on their theories. The beauty of it is that science is slowly but surely starting to prove the Bible is true.  This will happen more in the future. It’s time for the scientific Community to wake, up not the Christian.

Let me get to the social issues. Man’s Wisdom tells us that abortion is a good thing. It gives a woman Freedom over her own body. Abortion has led to the largest Holocaust in the history of the world. The Nazi Holocaust is now said to have killed around 20 million total.  The US has alone has had over 60 million abortions since Roe vs Wade. Worldwide the number is nearing 1.5 billion  We have lost more than a generation and we wonder why our economy is in trouble.

Abortion also has a negative effect on a majority of those who have them.  A CBS REPORT in 2010 showed that depression, anxiety, health problems, and stress all were symptoms.  Families can break up over this decision.

If you just look at dollars, you will find that this could possible be the number one cause for government debt. Lack of tax payers into the system is now blowing social programs way out of proportion as intended.  It’s incredible when you look at that fact.  When these programs were started, no one saw us killing a generation.  But now many denominations have accepted abortion as something that is okay. Believing man’s Doctrine.

Then they say that same-sex relations don’t hurt anything. How many marriages have been broken up because of same-sex relations? How many have turned to these relationships only because of our unfaithful generation?  How many have gone down the pornographic road and seen what seems like a better lifestyle? How many have turned to this because of abuse during their youth?

The family is the foundation of our society. If the family breaks down, our society will breakdown. Family has been redefined in our day and age. There was no doubt about what a family was only 30 years ago. Now we have all kinds of questions as to what family is. And any kind of family seems to be now acceptable.

God does not say that. That is man’s wisdom. Once again we have substituted man’s wisdom for God’s wisdom. Many churches grabbed onto it and are running headlong into it. We are destroying the fabric of our society in the name of grace and forgetting the weight of truth in God’s word.  See Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:21-32, 1 Cor 6:9-10 and 1 Tim 1:8-10  This is sad.

It is incredible to me how the church is being pressured into changing the views on these two subjects. They are threatened because they think the government can take away too much. They have to submit – but doesn’t God supply if we stay faithful? Instead of preaching the true gospel they listen to the pro-choice crowd.  They listen to LBGTQ community.  They are pressed to follow man’s wisdom and not Gods, and they succumb to the blackmail.  Now we have hate crimes!  Crime is crime, no matter who it is done to.  Bullies are bullies no matter who it is done to.  We have made people who live in sin into a protected class.  Right is wrong, and wrong is right.  The church is complicit in all this.  We neglect the truth.

Christians are supposed to be light in a dark world. We are supposed to shine the light onto sin and allow the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment. That’s not our job.  All we have to do is deliver the message. The problem is that these groups are listening to the wrong voice when they hear that message. They are listening to the condemning voice of the enemy of their soul instead of the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we have not spoken the word with love.  Perhaps we have not shown love to them by doing all we can to save them from eternal judgment.  Perhaps we have not shown them how they can be delivered.  

Paul says if anybody preaches any other message then the message of grace that he brought that they are accursed (under a curse). Paul did not preach to please men, as so many do today,  Paul preached to please God. He preached the truth that God had given him.

Paul did not learn his gospel from man and he did not receive it from men. He was taught by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul do not go to the school of the disciples in Jerusalem, although he did stay with the disciples in Damascus. They had little bearing on what he preached, though. Jesus was taught the gospel that he brought when spending 40 days in the wilderness. Paul was in the school with the Holy Spirit as well. This is where he got his revelation of grace.  There is more on this in our next lesson

Paul was a student of the Old Testament. He He knew the law as a Pharisee would (Phil 3:5). He was learned in Old Testament laws and their practice. He persecuted the church because he knew of Jesus teachings and how they subverted the law as he understood it. But when Jesus knocked him off that horse and put him in the school of the Holy Spirit, Paul realize that the whole Old Testament was pointing to Jesus all along. And he realized exactly how Jesus fulfilled the law. He knew that Grace was the way the salvation.

But the Galatians that accepted the false doctrines that were being taught to them. The rest of the book will deal with Paul coming against the belief that they had taken up. But first he goes back and shares his credentials and that will be our next lesson.