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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE GALATIANS

Justified by faith - Not The Law (Religion)
By William R. Cunningham
1995,1999 All rights reserved

 

Background

The epistle to the Galatians has been credited to Paul as the author. There has been very little dispute over the author of this letter. The date of its writing depends on the destination of the letter. The territory of Galatia extended beyond its original borders when the Roman Empire controlled it. There was a northern territory and a Southern territory. If the epistle was written to the churches in the northern territory, north-central Asia Minor (Pessinus, Ancyra and Tavium) then it is believed that it was written between AD 53 and 57 from Ephesus or Macedonia.

If the book was written to the churches in the southern area of the Roman province of Galatia (Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe), then it was written from Syrian Antioch in 48 - 49 AD after Paul's first journey and before the Jerusalem council meeting.

The purpose of this letter was to show the Galatian church that the Christian is justified by faith and not by works. The Judaizers were teaching new Christians that they had to abide by certain ceremonial practices in order to be saved. They believed that the Old Testament (OT) rites still applied to the New Testament church. The Judaizers were Jewish Christians, who believed, among other things, that a number of the ceremonial practices of the OT were still required for the church. The Judaizers challenged Paul's apostleship. They also charged that Paul was compromising the Gospel by taking out the OT rituals in order to make the gospel more appealing to the Gentiles.

Paul answers these allegations by establishing his apostleship and teaching them that Christians are justified by faith and not by following laws and traditions.

CHAPTER 1 - ANOTHER GOSPEL (1:6 - 10)

As we said in the background section, the Judaizers were teaching the new Christians that they had to abide by certain OT rites and traditions, mainly circumcision. Paul said that he was astonished that they were so quickly pulled away from the gospel that he preached to them. They were, according to Paul, deserting God by following a new gospel (a false gospel). See 2 Corinthians 11:4.

CONFUSION UNTO DECEPTION (1:7)

Paul says in verse seven that some people were throwing them into confusion. This confusion led them to believe another "gospel" which was not of Christ. Confusion seems to have been the key ingredient that led some Christians to follow another gospel. Their confusion put a cloud over the truth. If we know the truth and someone awakens our thought process so that we become confused, then the truth becomes less and less real to us until finally a lie can replace the truth in our minds. If we can be led into the state of confusion then the environment has been set for us to be deceived.

What lesson can we learn from this? We see that it is important to know the truth and to know it intimately. We should know the truth not because someone told us but because we have been convinced of the truth for ourselves

Any Other Gospel Preached (1: 8)

If anyone preaches any other gospel then the one that is of Christ unto salvation then let him or her be cursed. Do not accept any other gospel than what you received from God. There are many doctrines and teachings that is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, how do you know who is telling the truth? How do you know which is the true gospel? We Christians take it for granted that the gospel of Jesus Christ is obvious (ideally anyway). However, to someone who does not know Jesus Christ, this is not obvious. We will talk about this situation a little later.

So Many Doctrines ("Gospels")

There are so many gospels in so many churches that it is almost mind-boggling. One church believes this, another believes something else and still others believe the first two churches are going to die and go to hell. It seems, especially in Philadelphia, that everyone is trying to reach God their own exclusive way and perpetuate the belief that their way is the only way (the bible says Jesus Christ is the way). The great problem with all of this is that you will be hard pressed to find a church or group of people that will teach you to seek God for yourself. They mostly teach you what their God is or who their god is. Do you see? Pastors, teachers, deacons, and the like try to force their God down your throat instead of showing you how they got the revelation of the one and only true God.

Every church seems to have their own doctrine whether women's and men's dress codes, belief about Jesus and God, belief about the Holy Spirit, belief about finances, etc. Why not just promote Jesus Christ? Why not just show people how to get to God and teach them the principles in the kingdom of God that you learned according to the bible. Why not share with people the revelations that you receive from God as that - your revelations.

There are so many doctrines. Which one should an unsaved person believe? Which one will he/she fall victim to. There is only one Gospel but Satan has perpetuated a new gospel in the church called religion and church people suck it up. Beware of the gospel but seek the true Gospel of Jesus Christ on your own.

Men Pleasers (1:10)

Paul says here that if he were trying to please men then he would not be a servant of Christ. How can I be a servant of Christ (Doing the will of God) if my motives are based on pleasing people? I can't do what God wants because God will go contrary to people's thoughts. Jesus said

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mam-mon" - Matthew 6:24

The word mammon does not mean money exclusively. It implies something that is your God that you serve. So either you will serve the true God or you will serve some other god. Therefore, if you are trying to please men (serve them to their satisfaction and delight) then you cannot please God.

Christ by Revelation (1:11 - 24)

Paul establishes the fact, in verse 11, that he received the Gospel of Christ by revelation from Jesus Christ and not from man. Though we do have preachers to expound or share the word of God with us, we should rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal the truths of God to us. We should not become dependant on man for our spiritual food but rather on God. Yes men will share what they have learned from the scriptures and their own revelations. However, we should always make it our business to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit who is our teacher.

If we rely on man for revelation of God and the kingdom of heaven then we are susceptible to believing whatever they belief and not what we receive from God. Their revelation may be something specific to them and we may apply it, or they may teach it, as though it was a general teaching to all people. The main principle that I am trying to get across here is to seek God for yourself.

Judging By The Past

Paul then describes his former activities and how God reached him to convert him into the family of Christ. God can use anyone and reach anyone at anytime to save him or her. It doesn't matter what a person has done in the past. That is insignificant. We also should realize that behind every action is a motive. The actions of a person are simply a manifestation or expression of the inner motive. In Paul's case, he was zealous in his religious beliefs. I believe that he was zealous for God and his actions expressed it. He believed that the Christians were not of God so he set out to eradicate them not knowing that he was wrong. Of course God corrected him while he was on the road to Damascus.

It is important to realize that God gave the zealous nature that Paul had to him, though he was applying his zealousness incorrectly. Many times we come across someone, who we know was very bad in the past, but we see them praising God and the like. The first thing we may do is to doubt that they are real because of their past. We don't realize that nothing will stop God from reaching who he wants to reach regardless of the person's past. The attitude, skills, wisdom, and the like that a person has can be used for kingdom building. However, because of the sin nature, it is used for the kingdom of Darkness or the kingdom of the world. Do you see? When the person is born again and saved, then the skills and abilities that he/she has can now be used for kingdom building.

This is how musicians who once played for the world can now play for God. Though the Christian community is quick to judge this person, God has not. The same musical skills that they have is now used in the kingdom of God since that is where he/she resides, whereas they used to reside in the kingdom of darkness. Therefore do not judge people by their past. Remember my principle that I state in many of these study guides: It isn't the action that counts but the attitude or motive. Judging in this manner is unrighteous judgement. Jesus said

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV)

Read, however, Matthew 7:1-5.

However, there are Christians who do see things in light of what God has done. That is, when they see someone who used to be of the world in a bad way (though we all were once of the world), they praise God for his/her salvation. This is what happened to Paul in verse 21-24.

CHAPTER 2 - PAUL ACCEPTED BY THE APOSTLES

Paul at Jerusalem (2:1 - 10)

Paul went to Jerusalem and preached to the Jews the same gospel that he preached to the gentiles. Though Paul was zealous in his ministry he did not act carelessly here. He recognized the leadership position of some of the people and spoke to them in private. Even Paul was concerned about the effectiveness of his ministry. He said he feared that he was running or ran the race in vain. It appears that Paul was presenting the gospel that he was preaching to the gentiles before the apostles as a means for checks and balances. It looks as though he was seeking their approval or agreement in the gospel that he was preaching. I doubt if Paul was actually trying to preach the gospel to the apostles.

Checks and Balances

We should never get to the point or we should avoid the position where we think that we don't need anyone else. There are many things that can corrupt what we receive from God. Therefore, we should periodically evaluate our beliefs and ourselves. Teachers and preachers should always evaluate what they teach or preach to verify that they are preaching or teaching the truth. We all make mistakes and we have to consider this all of the time. Sometimes we just don't have all of the facts and therefore the conclusions that we make are inaccurate.

I personally rely on other men and women of God to give me feedback on what I teach or preach. Not that I need their approval, I don't, but their insight may help me stay on track or flag me if I missed something. I do not and never will claim to have arrived at all knowledge and all wisdom. If someone questions something that I say then I will evaluate what I said. Therefore, checks and balances are good for evaluation and verification but not for approval or confirmation. Agreement or disagreement by others does not mean that you are right or wrong. But you still want to evaluate what they say and what you said just to be sure.

Leaders Insignificant to your Ministry (2:6)

Paul said that it make a difference who the people were that seemed to be important (verse 6). He also said that God does not judge based on outward appearance. The people that seemed to be important did not add anything to Paul's Gospel. We need to have the same attitude. Too many Christians are dependant on what other ministers think or teach. Too many Christians rely on the teachings and preaching of ministers instead of their own revelation of God and his will through personal bible study and prayer. We have to know that the same God that revealed things to Paul or any other minister could reveal things to us if we are indeed seeking. If you are just sitting back being spoon-fed anything that is served you then you will not receive your own revelation. Instead you will accept the teaching of the revelations of someone else. This is why so many Christians can't function when they need to move by the Spirit. They are so used to being moved by someone else's teaching.

Different Ministries (2:7-9)

Paul states that he will minister to the gentiles while the apostles will minister to the Jews. This illustrates that not all ministries are focused on the same group of people. There are ministries for overseas people, neighborhood people, business people, etc. God calls us to do specific tasks according to his will. Therefore, we have to realize that not every person is called to be a street evangelist. Not everyone is called to go to Africa on a missions trip. Some are called to minister in their own surroundings. Just go where God wants you to go and don't condemn others if they don't share the same desire that you have.

See 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (Offices and duties in the body of Christ)

Even Ministers Err (2:11-14)

Paul describes and incident where he confronted Peter for hypocrisy. Peter began to give in to external pressures and thus compromised his ministry. His actions also led other Christians astray. Peter did not observe all of the Jewish rites and ceremonies as the Judaizers did. He even communed with the Gentiles. However, when the Judaizers came near, Peter withdrew himself from the Gentiles and leaned towards the Judaizers.

We must always remember that the greatest minister (whatever that means) in the world is still a human being and is susceptible to the same pressures and temptations that any other human being is. He/she has different types of weakness and shortcomings like any other person. Therefore, when we see a minister go astray, we should not condemn them but rather help them and pray for them. Haven't you made mistakes? Even the great man Abraham made mistakes and Moses too. No human being is perfect so stop expecting him or her to be perfect - even ministers.

Justified by Faith in Christ (2:15-16)

We are not justified by the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. Some Jews were adding to the simple Gospel of faith in Christ Jesus. They were teaching that you had to observe the OT laws in addition to faith in Christ in order to be saved. Paul said that this is not so. We are justified by our faith in Jesus Christ not by observing the law. This does not make the law evil or unholy. It simply states that the observance of the law is not how we get to God. The law is still holy and good (see Romans 7:12). What is being argued here is not the absoluteness or righteousness of the law put the purpose of the law. The law is not the means for reconciliation but faith in Jesus Christ is the means for reconciliation. This is how Paul can say that by observing the law no one will be justified (See Romans 3:28).

What does it mean to be justified? What is meant when the bible says that we are justified by faith? The word justify means to show or prove to be just or valid, to declare to be free of blame, to free a person of the penalty attached to grievous sin. Therefore, we can say that to be justified is to be declared righteous. So when the bible says that we are justified by faith, it is telling us that we are righteous by faith, we are free from blame, and from the penalty of our sins. Do you see? Look at verse 21.

Died To The Law (2:17-20)

Note what Paul says in verse 17. He says,

"If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin?" Galatians 2:17 (NIV)

What is implied in the very first part of this question? To help you see (at least what I see), try to find the key word relative to our justification. The key word is seek. Paul says while WE seek. There are two ways that you can look at this statement. The first is that it was a general statement used in writing that includes people as a whole. So you could read that as "If, while people seek to be justified in Christ." The problem that I see with this view is that sinners do not seek to be justified. The sinner lives in darkness, though the spirit man cries out, the carnal man rules. The second way of looking at that statement is that people who are already justified are seeking justification. This implies that our justification or righteousness is an ongoing process that must be maintained by faith and corresponding actions (life style). It seems that this may be what Paul is talking about. For one we know that Paul was saved and we know that he was writing to saved people who were deceived.

"It becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners." This statement, I believe, refers to a person apart from Christ. What is the key word that leads me to that conclusion? The word is "ourselves". By myself I am just a sinner. It is the life coming from the Spirit of God through Christ that sustains my righteousness or justification. Therefore, by myself I am nothing but a carnal sinning human being on his way to hell. But with Christ, I am righteous by faith and living in harmony with God the Father. For example, Jesus said,

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." - John 15:5 (NIV)

The bible also says,

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." - Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)

I am going to quote this same scripture from the NIV to show a point.

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away"

What do you notice strange about this verse (in the King James rendering) relative to how it is quoted or how it is heard?

I have ALWAYS heard people quote the verse and using the phrase "all of our RIGHTEOUSNESS is as filthy rags." Though through bible study we know that righteousness from God is not filthy and we learn what must be meant. It also becomes evident when you read Isaiah 63 - 66. When you look closely you will note that the verse is misquoted. It did not say RIGHTEOUSNESS but RIGHTEOSNESSES. That is why the NIV translates that phrase into righteous acts because that is what it says. We, including myself, have said that the righteousness that we have apart from Christ is like filthy rags. However, apart from Christ there is no righteousness except self-righteousness, which is not righteousness at all. It is our righteous acts that are like filthy rags. It is the form of righteousness that is dirty. It is the act of doing the things that a righteous person would do but not being righteous. Do you see? Again, the point is that apart from Christ we are not justified.

Therefore, the point given by Galatians 2:17 relates to the fact that some people were trying to be justified by ways outside of Christ, namely the law. That is why Paul said,

"If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker." (Galatians 2:18 NIV)

If after knowing the truth we go back to the lie or the untruth then we are indeed lawbreakers. The truth of Christ destroyed the letter of the law, or more precisely the righteousness that comes from the laws of men.

Paul then goes on to say,

"For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God." (Galatians 2:19 NIV)

And

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

Paul, as well as all Christians, has died to the law. The law has no power over us. Why? We cannot be justified or declared righteous through the law. Therefore, in order to live to God, we must die to the law. This is why he says that he was crucified with Christ, who was the fulfillment of the law (See Matthew 5:17). I have died (the sin nature) and now the anointing lives in me (the Spirit of God). This explains basically why religion is wrong. Religion is a type of law. Religion says that your salvation is based on doing this and that but we learn in our bible that salvation comes from faith in Jesus Christ.

The Word Christ

The word "Christ" is the English rendering of the Greek Christos, meaning "anointed." See Messiah which translates the corresponding Hebrew term mashiach, the anointed one (From Holman Bible Dictionary).

Christ is not Jesus' last name. Christ identified who Jesus is. He is the anointed. Actually we should say his name as Jesus the Christ or Jesus the anointed one of God. Therefore, when Paul says that Christ lives in him, he is not saying that Jesus the man or the spirit of that man lives in him. It is the anointing that lives in Paul and us. It is the Spirit of God that lives on the inside of us giving us life. It is the anointing that enables us to live towards God. Do you see? Jesus the son of Joseph does not live in me. As a matter of fact he is with the father (See John 14:28).

Righteousness Not By The Law (Galatians 2:21)

"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2:21 NIV)

If we strive to establish our righteousness by following a set of religious laws (applying this to today), then we lay aside the grace of God. In other words, we say to God "what you have done is not good enough so I am going to add something to make what you planned work properly." We tell God that "your grace is not sufficient for me and I can't live by faith." Righteousness does not come by the law (any law) but by Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER 3 - THE FOOLISH GALATIANS

The Foolish Galatians 3:1 - 3

Paul calls the Galatians foolish. The word foolish describes unwise and ungodly people. The words are especially predominant in the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. Persons who do not possess wisdom are called "fools"; their behavior is described as "folly." The picture, which emerges from the biblical material, is quite simple: folly is the opposite of wisdom, and a fool is the opposite of a wise person. So Paul was telling them that they were unwise. What does the word wise mean so that we can get even a better perspective of the state of the Galatians? The word wise means having wisdom or discernment for what is true, right, or lasting, having great learning, having knowledge or information. The word wisdom means Understanding of what is true, right, or lasting, good judgment. It is interesting that Paul says that the Galatians knew the revelation of Jesus Christ crucified first hand and yet they were being deceived. They truly demonstrated a lack of wisdom.Paul later asks them a very interesting question: "I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?" (Galatians 3:2 NIV) We are not justified by following a set of laws. We are justified (made righteous) by faith. Therefore following the law does not make us righteous or approved by God. What is important is our faith in him. Religion, again, will tell us that we must follow a set of laws to be reconciled to God whereas faith says that God has reconciled us to himself because of our belief in him. Any fool can follow a set of laws but only a righteous person can live by faith. Do you see?In verse three Paul also makes a very good point. We all come to God because we believe what the preacher tells us and we accept Christ (at least many come to Christ this way). However, after we are "saved" we are then put right back in bondage by religion. Church folk give us a bunch of rules and regulations to follow in order to be saved or live saved. What a shame. It is important that a Christian live in the same way that he first believed - BY FAITH.

The Credit Of Righteousness (3:4 - 8)

We see in verses four through six that God is a respecter of faith and not rules (the law). God's miraculous power is demonstrated among the people because of their faith and not because of their keeping of the law. The bible says that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Because Abraham believed he received this credit of righteousness and not because he kept some laws. Therefore, we too can receive this credit of righteousness. The point is that it is by faith and not by the law that we should live and relate to God.We also see that those who believe are children of Abraham. Why? Because Abraham believed God and the scriptures then stated that all nations would be blessed because of Abraham. What did he do so that all nations would be blessed? He believed God. He had faith in God. Again we see the importance of believing God as opposed to observing laws.

The Curse Of The Law (3:11 - 14)

Paul presents the argument that anyone who is under the law is under a curse (See Deuteronomy 27:26). If you do not live by faith but insist on living by the law then you are cursed because no one keeps all the law. You will have to go back to the Old Testament and observe and obey all of the laws that you see. In religion it means that you have to observe all of the laws set down by religion. That is, you can't do this and you can't do that. I believe it is a full time job just keeping up with all of the rules. For one thing you probably won't remember all of the laws to keep them, and the strength or power necessary to observe these religious laws do not come from religion (if there is such a strength or power).The bible tells us in Romans 1:17 and Habakkuk 2:4 that the righteous will live by HIS faith. Therefore, if we apply the principle that Jesus describes in Matthew 6:24, we see that you cannot live by faith and live by the law at the same time. Either you are one or the other: a faith man or law abider (cursed).Paul then says, "The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them."" (Galatians 3:12 NIV) There is no faith necessary to live by the law. You are like robots just doing what you are told. There is no mind of Christ, no direct dependency on God. You just do what you are told like a robot. You just live your entire life following a bunch of instructions not pursuing a fellowship with God and seeking his will. Why? There is no need. You just live your life following a bunch or religious rules and regulations. What do you need God for? Just obey the rules and things should be okay with God. What a shame. As we see in Galatians, there is nothing new under the sun.All Christians must realize that Jesus Christ came and redeemed us from the curse of the law. He was cursed for us and died as a result of the penalty of that curse (See Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Therefore, Jesus Christ died for our sins by becoming sin (the cursed) and he rose again so that we can live towards God BY FAITH. Jesus Christ said himself, ""Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17 NIV) And "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." (Matthew 5:18 NIV) Therefore, if I am in Christ (the anointing) then the law has been fulfilled in me and all that I have to do is live by faith.We receive the promise of the Spirit of God not by observing the law but by faith. Our relationship with God is not about what radio station you listen to, what television station you watch, or where you hang out. Our relationship with God is based on or realized by faith. When the Spirit of truth enters into us then the radio stations we listen to and the television stations we watch will be influenced.

Receiving the Promise by Faith (3:14)

Note what Paul says here. He says, "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." (Galatians 3:14 NIV) Paul uses the word Gentile in the latter verse. What actually is a gentile and am I a part of that group of people. The Holman Bible Dictionary describes "gentile" as people who are not part of God's chosen family at birth and thus can be considered "pagans." Since Jews are considered God's chosen people, then a gentile can also be considered a non-Jew.What is the blessing given to Abraham spoken of in verse four of Galatians three? Look at Romans 4:1-5 and Genesis 15:6. The blessing simply is that God credited Abraham's faith as righteousness. Abraham received righteousness from God not by works but by simply believing what God told him, that is by faith. Therefore, the gentiles can receive the promise of the Spirit, through Jesus Christ, simply by faith and not by works. See Genesis 15:1-6.Jesus Christ redeemed us (brought us back to God) so that the promise of the Spirit of God would come to us all by faith. Paul says that we receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. Note that he said receive. God has already made his Spirit available to everyone. All we have to do is to receive it and to receive it by faith. If you receive it any other way, then you are saying in effect that what Jesus did was not enough and you have to therefore add some conditions to receiving the Spirit of God.

An Example Given By Paul (Galatians 3:15-18)

The promises that God made to Abraham were given to him, his child (Isaac) and to his seed. See Genesis 17:19. God made a covenant with Abraham and his seed. The seed referred to here is not other descendants according to Paul. The seed referred to here is Jesus Christ. The covenant that God made was not based on Abraham's obedience to the law since the law didn't come until about 430 years later. The covenant was based on Abraham's faith.

The Purpose of the Law

If the blessing of Abraham does not come from the law, then what was the purpose of the law? Paul said that the law was added because of transgressions until the seed, Jesus Christ, came. Paul also states that the law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. See Deuteronomy 33:2 and Acts 7:53. This refers to the concept that God spoke to Moses via spiritual messengers (angels) and that Moses was the mediator of the law between God and humans.

Who Are Angels?

If you would pay close attention to what you read when you read the bible concerning angels, you may find that the topic becomes unclear. The bible never really answers the question of who angels really are. The book of Hebrews tell us that angels are ministering spirits: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? " (Hebrews 1:14 KJV) Let me include an article from the Holman Bible Dictionary. ANGEL is a heavenly messenger who either delivers a message to humans, carries out God's will, praises God, or guards God's throne.

The Need for the Law

Paul says that the Law came because of transgressions. God promised Abraham that he would have a son and he would be the father of many nations. Good. However, mankind needed something that would hold them until Jesus Christ came to redeem man from Satan. "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14 KJV) See also Matthew 20:28.The bible tells us that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Because of Adam and Eve's sin, the sin nature is passed down from person to person. However, there must be something to reveal to us that we are living under a curse (the sin nature). Unless someone tells me that I am a transgressor then I will never know. Unless someone reveals to me that I am sinning then I will continue in sin. That is what the law did. It is like the speed limit sign that we see along the highway. If you are driving faster then what the speed limit sign indicates then you immediately know that you are transgressing the law. Unless you see that sign you will not know that you are speeding. The law had the same purpose: to reveal the sin nature to man so that they had to rely on God for purification and to reveal to them that they needed a savior.Paul then tells us, (Galatians 3:21-24 NIV) "Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. {22} But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. {23} Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. {24} So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." I look at the law as a holder until Christ came. The law held us in place until the promise of Christ was fulfilled. Paul says it plainly in verse twenty-four. The law led us to Christ so that we could be saved.Now since Christ has come, we are no longer held in place (prisoners) of the law because faith has come as promised. The law didn't give life but it held the people in place until the life of God was manifest for all people so that they could walk in faith being reconciled to God.

We Too Are Abraham's Seed

Paul now tells the Galatians, (Galatians 3:26-29 NIV) "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, {27}for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. {28}There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. {29}If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." We are one with Christ. We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Since we are one with Christ then we too are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise of God.

Chapter 4 -THE TIME TO REDEEM MAN

Before Christ came, man could be thought of as little children in the sense that man needed a guide until maturity came. In this case, man needed a guide (tutor, schoolmaster, governor) until Christ came. Paul said, (Galatians 4:3 KJV) "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:" (The basic principles of the world. I.e., the bondage of a legalistic practice of Judaism or (for Gentiles) the bondage of heathenism) When the time came, God sent Jesus Christ into the earth; born of a woman and under the law, to redeem man from the law Jesus legally entered the earth by being born of a woman. Jesus Christ would make it possible for us to be adopted (grafted into the family of) by God. Since we are now sons of God, we have the spirit of Christ in us that cries 'Abba Father.'Why do you suppose that Paul said "Spirit of his son" instead of "Holy Spirit" or "His Spirit?" What is the Spirit of God's son, i.e., what is the Spirit of Christ? There are two ways to look at this. First we can simply say that Paul was referring to the Holy Spirit because Jesus Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit after he was baptized (See Matthew 3:16). Therefore the Spirit of Christ (the Spirit that Christ had) is the Holy Spirit. Secondly we can say that Paul was referring to a vital principle. In other words, Jesus' whole disposition was that of a close relationship and fellowship with God such that he could say Abba Father or Daddy. However, this comes out of the Spirit of God so both, in a sense, are true. Because of the Spirit of God, we have a disposition to be connected with God. We therefore, can cry Abba Father because of this relationship. (Galatians 4:9 NIV) "But now that you know God--or rather are known by God--how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?" Paul goes back to the original point of the Galatians: turning from the true gospel, which was taught and believed. Now that they are free from bondage, they want to go back into bondage (under the law) by submitting themselves to false teachings linked to obeying the law and not faith. The weak and miserable principles refer to the act or requirement of following the law after Christ has come as if they were an additional requirement for salvation over and above faith.

Joining The Group

The Judaizers were enticing the Galatians to join their group of people who believed their particular doctrine about salvation. Why were they trying to win the Galatians over? Why does any religious group of people try to win others over to them? Paul makes it plain. "Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them." (Galatians 4:17 NIV) What the Judaizers wanted was to separate the Galatians from the truth that they had already heard and cause them to be zealous for their beliefs. They didn't really care about these people. They just wanted them to join the group.Notice that in order to get you to join another group of beliefs, you first have to be separated from what you already believe. You must always be removed from one to join another. That is why Satan tries to get us to be separated from the fellowship, the bible, prayer, and even God. If he can do this then he can cause us to be joined to another doctrine. This is how many people end up in cults and the like. Even Jesus said that as soon as we hear the word Satan comes and tries to snatch it away from us. Satan uses depression, frustrations, and pressures to get us alienated from the Gospel of Christ. Once we have been alienated, we can be coerced to join another "better" gospel (so we are deceived into thinking such). This lie becomes the truth and we become deceived and live a lie. Therefore, it is very important that we get the truth of the word in our hearts and lock it there forever by prayer, bible study, meditation, and fellowship with God the Father.

Proper Focus (4:18)

Paul says, "It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you." (Galatians 4:18 NIV) There are two points revealed here. First being zealous itself is not a measure of Godliness. The motive or purpose for which you are zealous determines the godliness of what you are zealous for. You could be totally committed to something and be totally wrong. Just because you are zealous does not make you right or accurate. The second point is that we should not be hypocrites. Jesus warned about doing things to be seen of men (See Matthew 6:1)

Children Of The Free (4:21-31)

In Galatians 4:21-31 Paul illustrates a point by using the Old Testament law. He uses the incidence of Isaac and Ishmael to represent freedom and slavery of the Galatians. The Ordinary way mentioned in verse 23 refers to a natural occurrence (no direct interaction or interruption by God). Ishmael was born by normal means. Isaac on the other hand was the direct result of a promise from God and the faith of Abraham. Paul draws the analogy that the Galatians were children of a promise and not of a slave. So then why do they want to be under the slave's ways? Why are they seeking to be enslaved by the religious people and doctrine of that day? This could be why Paul said that he was perplexed (verse 20).

Chapter 5 - NULLIFYING ACT OF BONDAGE

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Gal 5:1 NIV)

Once we are free in Christ, we have to stand firm in that freedom or liberty. Where God is there is no bondage because where God is there is liberty (See 2 Corinthians 3:17). If we are not careful, then we can fall for some other doctrine and enter into slavery of that doctrine being alienated from the freedom given to us through Jesus Christ.

Compromising The Gospel Of Truth - Circumcision (5:1-12)

"Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all." (Gal 5:2 NIV)

I believe that there is an underlying spiritual force that is activated by this act of circumcision. It is not the act of circumcision that causes Jesus Christ to be of no value to people. It is the spiritual influence, effect, or force that is activated when you do this (or the like). The underlying principle is the fruits reaped from compromising the truth. This falls under the principles of serving two masters not possible (See Matthew 6:22-24) and being double minded (See James 1:6-8).Either the people believed the gospel that Paul preached or they did not (they compromised). This is why he tells them that if they become circumcised as a result of the false teachings of the Judaizers, then the gospel that they received concerning Christ becomes of no effect and therefore, Christ becomes of no value. They will bear the fruits of compromising the truth. Another spirit will enter into them and cause them to fall away from the truth. That is what I believe happens.

An Example of Spiritual Forces Activated by a Physical Act

I remember Kenneth Copeland giving an example of this. He said that when he was a little boy he was taught not to use profane language. However, his uncle, if I remember correctly, cursed much. One day when Kenneth was walking home alone Satan began to tempt him to curse. He said that Satan told him that no one was around so it was OK to curse. Kenneth finally gave in and cursed. He recoiled as if waiting to get struck by lightening or something. However, nothing happened. He began to curse some more and even out loud. What happened, Copeland said, was that the spirit of disobedience entered in at that point. It wasn't so much that he cursed that caused this spirit to enter into him. It was the fact that he gave into the temptation and disobeyed his parents and cursed. He knew that using profanity was wrong and yet he did it anyway. It wasn't the act but rather the underlying spiritual activity that made a difference.

To The Law - Away From Christ (5:3-6)

Paul says that whoever allows themselves to be circumcised is obligated to obey the whole law. This is because they have alienated themselves from the gospel of Christ and joined another. Since they want to be law abiders (justified by the law) then they should obey all of the law. They can't do both: Receive righteousness by faith and the law (if it were by the law).Paul says that it is by faith that they eagerly (with expectation) wait for the righteousness that they hope for (expect to see). In Christ there is no value in following the law unto righteousness but faith that expresses itself through love. God has done everything concerning man's redemption because of his love for man. Love is the underlying principle for all that God does.

Persuasion That Leads To Separation (5:7-10)

A person must be persuaded and deceived into believing a lie in order to leave the truth. It all starts as a little seed that grows and causes the whole to be affected (infected). Paul says, ""A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."" (Galatians 5:9 NIV) You only put a small amount of yeast in bread but yet the entire loaf is affected (See Matthew 6:6-12, 1 Corinthians 5:6, 15:33).In verse ten Paul seems to refer or appeal to the truth that still remains, though dormant, within them. He is confident that they will see the light and return to the truth that they believed in the first place.Paul establishes the fact that he is not preaching circumcision (obeying the law in addition to faith) in verse eleven. It is offensive to the religious that a man can be saved only by faith. This affects the pride since it takes away all performance criteria and thus all recognition ("stars by your name").In verse twelve I must admit that Paul gets a little "ill." He tells the people that were preaching the obedience to the Law of Moses that he wished they would go all the way and emasculate themselves (castrate). At first glance you may think that Paul is getting indignant. Perhaps he is. However, he is making a very good point. Since circumcision, in their eyes, was necessary for righteousness then a person can be greatly righteous if they castrated themselves. Some of the pagan priests of that day did just that!

A Hole In The False Gospel

The Judaizers were teaching that the men had to be circumcised in order to be saved. That is, that they had to also obey the Law of Moses and adhere to the ceremonies, rites, etc. The bible says that God is not a respecter of people. That is, he doesn't show favoritism (See Acts 10:34, Deuteronomy 10:17). Therefore, according to the Judaizer's belief, how would women be saved? It is known that women can't be circumcised :-). Therefore, women are doomed to hell according to the Judaizers unless they have a special clause in their belief that would accommodate this unfortunate shortcoming of women.The thing here is that this false gospel has a component of favoritism or respecter of persons. I do not believe that this is from God. As a matter of fact I know that it is not. If it were true, then the salvation of a woman would somehow depend on the salvation of a man since she cannot be circumcised. We all have access to the throne of God personally and individually. My salvation does not depend on the salvation or lifestyle of a minister or anyone else. Likewise, the salvation of a woman does not depend on a man in any way. Therefore, as the Galatian theme is, we are save by faith and not by works.

Our Liberty Is Not A License (5:13,14)

Paul says, "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love." (Galatians 5:13 NIV) Though Christians are not required to keep the Law of Moses for salvation, they are not to live any way that they want to live. Our liberty is not a license to sin. We are all required to live a godly life. See the study on Acknowledging God for more information on this point. What we are to do is to serve each other in love (motivated by love).Paul then goes on to repeat a teaching given by Jesus in Matthew 22:39,40 and commanded by God in Leviticus 19:18. Paul says, "The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."" (Galatians 5:14 NIV)

A House Divided Cannot Stand (5:15)

If we do not love each other, as Paul states in verse 15, then we should look out else we will be destroyed by each other. If all are serving each other in love then all will be served in love. If all are devouring each other then all will be devoured.This phenomenon is an application or example of the principle of a divided house will fall (See Matthew 12:25 and Luke 11:17). This unfortunately goes on in churches even today. People talk about each other, do things to cut down each other and much more. We don't stand as one body in Christ in unity. Instead it is a dog eat dog society in the church. How can the church grow effectively according to the principles in the kingdom of God when Christians are devouring each other? We condemn each other because others don't believe the way we believe, or don't do what we think they should do. This is why the church ORGANIZATION is so weak. There is not sufficient unity. The church could take over the country. The church could get prayer back in schools, God in the government, and spiritual principles in our legislation. Instead Satan runs the show and Christians just sit back and complain and bicker about trivial things.There is the black minister alliance, the black this, and so on. I remember glancing at an article in the Jet magazine where the Baptist convention finally "allowed" white ministers to attend or something like that. The point was that this convention was for black ministers only (though this was probably an unwritten law). What a shame. I don't believe in all of this nonsense anyway. I don't believe in denominations either. It is only man's way of highlighting the differences that we have. There is one body and different parts. We should keep it that way.Just like the Galatians church, however, many people still have a whole warehouse full of rules and regulations to get through before they finally realize that it is simply faith that is needed.

Living By The Spirit (5:16-18)

I know personally that churches teach that you have to follow a bunch of rules and regulations in order to live a Godly life. I discovered in my high school/college years that that particular theory does not work. I felt so unfulfilled trying to keep the rules and regulations. To make matters worse, I felt alienated from God (just as Paul said would happen). I soon discovered the principle of relativity. I have found that to live a life in Christ is not the same as living a life sinless. Too many times Christians try to live a sinless life instead of focusing on the Godly life. I have found that the way to live the way God wants us to live is to study the bible, fellowship with God and do what he says to do as we become more and more sensitive to his voice directing us. The way to live a spiritual life in Christ is to seek the Spirit and do it. The Spirit of God will override the negative stuff and the things of the sin nature. The principle is simply to focus on what you want and not on what you don't want. The more you achieve your goals in the Spirit, the more it will dominate the sinful nature. Do you see?This is why Paul could simply say, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." (Galatians 5:16 NIV) If you are busy living by the Spirit of God then you are just as much NOT gratifying the desires of the sinful nature. Get it? The converse is NOT true. If I live to NOT gratify the things of the flesh, then I am not necessarily living by the Spirit. To live by the principles of the kingdom of God is just that. It is not to live NOT according to the things of the flesh. Therefore, concentrate on living by the Spirit and you will automatically live less by the flesh. The more Spirit living you live the less flesh living you live. If the Spirit therefore leads you then you are not under the law. The Spirit gives life and sanctifies us and not the law.

The Acts Of The Sinful Nature (5:19-21)

(Galatians 5:19-21 NIV) "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; {20}idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions {21}and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

The following are the definitions to the "acts of the sinful nature" listed in the above scripture. Note that the definitions are in the context of this scripture since some of the words have multiple meanings that do not apply here.

Sexual Immorality:

Any illicit sexual activity outside of marriage. Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament the word has a figurative meaning as well, referring to idolatry or unfaithfulness to God.

Those things that are contrary to righteous sexual behavior (See 1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

Impurity:

State of being or process of NOT becoming free of inferior elements or ritual uncleanness. Being physically or morally unclean.

Spiritually unclean, unchaste, hypocritical or mixed minded

Debauchery: Lascivious, extreme indulgence, uncontrolled, to corrupt others. Let's look at the word lascivious since this is the word that the King James Bible uses. Lasciviousness is a KJV term for an unbridled expression of sexual urges (Mark 7:22; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 1 Pet. 4:3; Jude 4). RSV translated the underlying Greek as licentiousness; the NASB, as sensuality. Other translations used a variety of terms: debauchery; indecency; lewdness; sexual sin.

Idolatry: Worship other gods. Giving your allegiance to another instead of God the Father.

Witchcraft: The practice of witches; sorcery; black magic. The practice of attempting to contact supernatural powers to determine answers to questions hidden to humans and usually involving the future. The use of drugs and magical potions

Hatred: Passionate dislike, detestation. A strong negative reaction, a feeling toward someone considered an enemy as well.

Discord: Lack of agreement, strife, contention, conflict

Jealousy: Hostility towards a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage (approximates envy). Resentment, covetousness, envious.

Fits of rage: Temper tantrum; Acting out hatred or anger (See James 1:19,20; Ephesians 4:26)

Selfish Ambitions: Wanting gain with no thought for meeting the needs of others. To consume what we obtain on our own lusts (See James 4:3)

Dissensions: Violent disagreement, strife, discord, divisions

Factions: A group or clique seeking to promote partisan interests.

Envy: A feeling of discontent excited by the prosperity of another person; desire for possessions and advantages of another person; covetous. A painful or resentful awareness of another's advantage joined with the desire to possess the same advantage.

Drunkenness: Being intoxicated. A state of dizziness, headaches, and vomiting resulting from drinking alcoholic beverages.

Orgies: Secret rites, secret worship, violent passion, any wild riotous merrymaking, an overindulgence in any activity.

Note Paul's statement: " I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." This implies a lifestyle of the acts of the sinful nature.

Fruits of the Spirit (5:22,23)

Paul goes on to say, (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23}gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Love

The bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). The bible also states that

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always hopes, always preservers."- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

Love is the very nature of God the father.

Joy: The happy state that results from knowing and serving God. A number of Greek and Hebrew words are used in the Bible to convey the ideas of joy and rejoicing. We have the same situation in English with such nearly synonymous words as joy, happiness, pleasure, delight, gladness, merriment, felicity, and enjoyment. The words joy and rejoice are the words used most often to translate the Hebrew and Greek words into English.

Joy is a spiritual force. The word joy means to experience great pleasure or delight. Spiritually speaking, joy is much more than an emotion. Sometimes people will say that joy is happiness. This I believe is inaccurate when the spirit is considered. Natural happiness in invoked by external stimuli. For example, you may become happy because you get a new car. However, joy is the state of happiness invoked from the spirit. You are happy because of God: You have joy. This is why you can be unhappy about lack of finances, for example, but still have joy. The unhappiness is externally invoked by your financial condition or situation. The joy is invoked by the internal revelation of God in your soul and spirit.

Peace: A spirit of tranquility and freedom from inward and outward disturbances or circumstances. Being still.

Patience: The ability to consistently wait and to tolerate. The ability to go through trials - longsuffering. An active endurance of opposition, not a passive resignation. Patience and patient are used to translate several Hebrew and Greek words. Patience is endurance, steadfastness, longsuffering, and forbearance.

Kindness: Benevolent, thoughtfulness, considerate. The steadfast love that maintains relationships through gracious aid in times of need.

Goodness: Well behaved. Having desirable or positive qualities.

Faithfulness: Being faithful. Steadfast, dedicated, dependable, and worthy of trust. It is derived from the Hebrew root having the basic meaning "to trust (a person)," or "to believe (a statement)." This is the same root that gives us the word "amen." The derived meaning is that the one so described is trustworthy, dependable, trusting, or loyal.

Gentleness: Meekness, peaceful, mild mannered, not harsh

Self Control: The ability to retain your composure, to remain in control of your actions. Modern translations' term for several Greek words indicating a sober, temperate, calm, and dispassionate approach to life, having mastered personal desires and passions.

The Crucified Sin Nature

Paul says, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24 NIV) The term "have crucified" means to become separated from the dominion of the sinful nature by our identification with Christ in His death. See Romans 6:2. Before we were saved, we were in bondage to the sin nature. We were separated from God and connected to the sin nature passed down to us from Adam. However, when we became born again, the sin nature was put do death. That is, we were freed from its bondage and connected to God. The sin nature is therefore crucified in those who are born again.The next thing Paul says illustrates that it is up to us to actively live a lifestyle according to the Spirit of God. He says, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (Galatians 5:25 NIV) I keep in step with (live according to) the Spirit because I live by the Spirit (the Spirit lives in me). Because the Spirit is alive in me, I do not have to do those things that are of the sinful nature. However, the choice remains my choice. I have to keep in step with the Spirit. I have to actively learn what the "Spirit life" is and live it.

Caught In Sin (6:1-2)

Paul now deals with the subject of what to do if someone is caught in sin. He says, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1 NIV) The word caught here means to be apprehended, caught by surprise, "caught red handed." Paul says that we should restore the person gently. Why gently? If we try to snatch the person back onto the right path then we may cause them to go into denial (our first reaction to the revelation of sin is to hide). If a person goes into denial then they may become offended at your "accusations." In this way they will have dug themselves deeper into their sin and you will have a much more difficult time getting them restored. Also, gentleness presents an air of non-condemnation. If we approach someone gently, then they are more likely to receive what you tell them because they will perceive that you are not trying to be the all-spiritual one trying to help a lowly subject.However, Paul does say that we should be careful else we might become tempted. We can be drawn away from the principles of the kingdom in dealing with someone and become judgmental and condemning. These attitudes can later lead into corresponding actions, which could also result in us sinning as well (though we will deny it in the name of religion).

Proper Perspective Of Self (6:3-6)

We should not think more of ourselves then what we are. We shouldn't consider ourselves some great man or women of God when we are not. It is our responsibility to examine our own self and then determine where we are. Only then can we think properly of ourselves. See also Romans 12:3. We do not compare ourselves with others when we evaluate ourselves. We only examine our own actions, motives, etc. to determine where we are in our Christian walk.

Sharing Fruit

Paul says, "Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor." (Galatians 6:6 NIV) This scripture establishes the principle that those who instruct you in the word are worthy of good things. The "good things" here represents material things. We normally give gifts or money to people to show our appreciation for their helping (instructing) us. Therefore, it is OK to give ministers of the word gifts and/or money. This is sharing all good things. We can also give these people our time (labor) when needed, assistance when needed and more.Jesus said that a workman is worthy of his keep (meat). These people deserve to be blessed by you. The word of God is the most important thing to the Christian's life. From it springs fruit to meet every need: material, spiritual, and psychological.

Sowing And Reaping

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7 KJV)

Here is a basic Spiritual principle that all Christians should be aware of. The principle referred to here is called Sowing and Reaping. The Sowing and Reaping principle is actually a subset of a broader spiritual principle called the Seed Principle. Basically the sowing and reaping principle states that the harvest that you will reap is the result of the seeds that you have sown. Therefore, you reap what you sow. If you sow friendship then you will receive friendship (not necessarily from the person or persons that you sowed to). If you sow to meet needs then your needs will be met. Do you see?Now Paul applies this principle to the spirit nature and the sin nature. He says, "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Galatians 6:8 KJV) If you sow to your flesh (the sin nature) then you will reap whatever that sin nature produced according to what was sown. The general or broad classification of what will be produced is corruption. If you sow to the Spirit then you will reap what the Spirit produces: perpetual life. Do you see that whatever you sow to will produce what is sown? If you sow to the flesh then you will reap what the flesh produces (See Romans 6:23).Therefore, knowing this principle we want to be sure that we are sowing to the Spirit and not the flesh.

Sowing To The Flesh

What does it mean to sow to the flesh (King James Version)? Let's get a little deeper to acquire more understanding. What does it mean to sow to something (to sow)? When a farmer sows seed, he is actually sowing seed to the ground. What is anticipated is that the ground will cause the seed to grow and produce fruit after its kind. Without the ground the seed will not produce. Now let's apply this to our flesh. I sow to the flesh by sowing carnal seed into my flesh anticipating a return. However, the only thing the flesh can produce is something carnal which opposes the Spirit. The flesh produces corruption, which leads to death (Again see Romans 6:23).The NIV bible translates this scripture in a way that may help you understand the principle of sowing and reaping to the flesh. The NIV uses the phrases "sows to please his sinful nature" The word flesh in the King James Bible many times refer to the sinful nature and not the flesh specifically. Therefore, if I am sowing to please my sinful nature then I am not sowing to please the Spirit (to please God). From this the sinful nature will produce fruit in my life because I am sowing to it. The sinful nature produces death.

How To Sow To The Flesh

It becomes quite apparent that you should know how to sow to the flesh so that you don't do it. It all comes down to a question of focus and motive and not activity alone. What are you doing and why are you doing it? If the motive of your action (based on your focus) is to please the things of the sinful nature (the flesh) then that is the fruit that will be produced: fleshly, carnal, and contrary to the Spirit of God. Therefore, you sow to the flesh when your motives for sowing are to please your sinful nature. Some examples are adultery, fornication, stealing, and lying. Also, according to the seed principle, all seed produces after its own kind. Therefore, if you sow to the flesh then that which you sow originated from the flesh (sinful nature). Do you see?Don't get paranoid with this. If you desire to satisfy your hunger pains then you are not sowing to the flesh. It is all about motive and focus and not activity. Sowing to the flesh means that your activity is singularly motivated to something that is not of God (contrary to God).

Sowing To The Spirit

The same principle applies to sowing to the Spirit. The only difference is that the Spirit produces life and not death. Therefore, I sow to the Spirit by having my motives (based on focus) on God and pleasing him. Also, the seed sown originates from the Spirit because seed can only produce after its own kind. The more you sow to the Spirit the more you will reap (life) from that Spirit. Some examples of sowing to the Spirit are: Prayer, Meditation, giving, and helping.

Sow Persistently (6:9,10)

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

Sometimes we can get to the point where we ask ourselves if all that we do is worth anything. Where have all of my good deeds, righteous living, and bible study got me? This may be a common question to many Christians. However, don't get discouraged or weary. The spiritual principle is that you will reap what you sow. Though I will not get into it here, to sow persistently requires that we sow in faith and patience.Paul then goes on to say that we should do good whenever the opportunity presents itself. See Proverbs 3:27.

Doing Good With Correct Motive

There is another principle that we have to consider when we are sowing to the Spirit. We have to have the correct motive. The bible says that I should reap what I sow. However, when I sow, I have to sow with the correct motives or my harvest will be wasted. Let's look at some examples of this principle. "Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."" (Haggai 1:5,6 NIV) Though these people were doing the acts of sowing, they were not receiving the corresponding return. They were sowing wrongly (sin in the camp syndrome). They let God's house (the temple) go to ruins while they lived in luxury homes. Though they sowed, their harvest was little. Another scripture will help clarify this even further. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10 KJV)"And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts." (Malachi 3:11 KJV) When the people Tithe correctly, God will rebuke the devourer causing him to leave your harvest alone. You will then receive the full harvest corresponding to what you have sown. Paul says, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7 KJV) When we give (sow) we have to do it with the right heart else we will not receive the harvest that we expect. Therefore, don't expect to get anything when you sow just believe God. That is, don't give $100 to the church BECAUSE you need money. Just do it and trust God to meet your needs. This, however, is a topic for another study so we won't get too detailed here.The main point here is that we have to be persistent in our doing good. You will reap what you sow. Just be sure to sow with the correct motives else the enemy might have devoured your harvest and your waiting for the harvest is in vain.

PAUL TAKES THE PEN (6:11)

"See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!" (Galatians 6:11 NIV)

This letter to the Galatians was written by a scribe for Paul up to this point. Now Paul takes the pen from his scribe and finishes the letter himself with large letters. Some believe that Paul wrote in large letters for emphasis and others believe it was because of an eye illness. There seems to be no indication that Paul used the large letters due to an eye ailment.

True Motives (6:12,13)

"Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ." (Galatians 6:12 NIV)

The Jewish Christians who were spreading the false gospel that Paul attacks in this letter were only thinking of themselves. They were fearful of the Jews who opposed the Christians and used this doctrine of circumcision to appease them so that they would not be a target for persecution. They compelled others to follow suit probably to justify their fears and actions. In other words, the Judaizers were not interested in the salvation of the Galatians. They were acting simply on their own fears.Though the Judaizers compelled the gentiles to keep the law, they themselves did not. This is true hypocrisy. They were only thinking of themselves. This is why it is very important that we know the truth for ourselves and examine carefully all teachings, doctrines, and principles that we hear. Jesus said, ""Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more." (Mark 4:24 NIV) However you measure something is how it will be measured back to you. If you measure a certain teaching to be the truth then it will be truth to you and all the fruits of it. So indeed consider very carefully what you hear.

Crucified To The World (6:14)

Paul says, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14 NIV) This statement means that Paul has been separated from the world (world system) and that system is separated from him.

The New Creation

"Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation." (Galatians 6:15 NIV)

The only thing that really matters to the Christian is that he is a new creation. Circumcision or no circumcision does not matter. Paul also says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

We should not get hung up on traditions and rituals in our churches or personal lives. The main thing is that we have been born again. The old has passed away and the new has come. I rejoice in my salvation and what God did for me out of love and not some ritual or law that I am able to keep or have kept. What is really important is that I am SAVED BY FAITH!

 

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