The Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Galatians

What a great book we are about to dig into. This letter that Paul wrote to the Galatians changed my life, and set in concrete the mission of my ministry, and the truth of Christ.

In the whole Bible, there is no more passionate, comprehensive, yet concise statement of the truth of the gospel then Galatians.

This epistle is a heated, vigorous, uncompromising defense of:

1. Paul’s own authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ.

2. The gospel of the grace of God.

Paul’s ringing defense of justification by faith has frequently been called “The Magna Carta of Christian Liberty.”

Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. (2:16; 3:11,12)

No work can earn salvation. In general, people wanted to earn their salvation by works that can easily be identified. In this letter, Paul reveals the arrogance of such teaching.

To think that you can earn your salvation by works, amounts to a desertion of the truth of the gospel, and a turning away from God. (1:6)

We stand justified before God only through our faith in Jesus Christ!

As for the author, the writer identifies himself as Paul (1:1). He claims to be an apostle and then goes on to argue at length for the apostolic authority behind his gospel message.

Much of the personal information revealed here corresponds to the narrative given in the Book of Acts, as well as the autobiographical material found in Phil 3:4-6.

The use of the Old Testament in chapters 3 and 4 fits Paul’s rigorous training in Judaism. And finally, the theology presented in this letter corresponds perfectly with the theology Paul expresses in his other writings, especially the letter to the Romans.

Why? Why did Paul write this letter?

Paul became aware of a perversion of the gospel of grace that was actively infecting the Galatian churches.

The false teachers were teaching salvation by works of the law; which was a perversion of the truth—for salvation, just like Paul’s letter to the Romans reveals-- salvation is by faith alone, through the grace of Almighty God.

This letter was a swift counter to that false doctrine being taught by the Judaizers.

To summarize the theme of this letter, one particular phrase sums up the subject matter, better than all the rest: “The truth of the gospel.”

Unlike Romans, which presents the gospel as the answer to man’s universal sinfulness, Galatians clarifies the gospel message against the works gospel (Which, is not another!).

Well, let’s go on, and let the word speak for Himself!

1:1 “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)…”

Man did not teach Paul what he knew. Jesus Christ Himself taught Paul the truth of the Gospel.

2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,

4 “who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…”

Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins. He paid the price for us, and died in our place. There's the truth of the gospel, in one sentence.

Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins.

 

5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Here we have the shortest introduction ever in one of Paul’s letters. Now it’s time to get down to business.

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,

7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Paul said he marveled; he was astonished at just how quickly the Galatians were abandoning the truth of the gospel.

Some translations have the same word here, in verse 6, and 7. The New King James has done a good job at showing the difference between a “different” gospel, and “another” gospel.

The Greek word for “different”, used in verse 6 is “heteros”, meaning another of a different kind.

But now, in verse 7, we have the word “allos”, meaning another of the SAME KIND.

So, Paul is saying, as it is translated in the NKJV, I marvel that you are turning away, to a another (DIFFERENT) gospel…

Which is NOT ANOTHER (NOT one of the same kind).

Gal 1:8

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Accursed: “ANATHEMA”, in the Greek. Friends, what a dreadful curse Paul has just pronounced!

This word carries the meaning (as used in Romans 9:3), estrangement, and separation from Christ, and His salvation. Also, to be given over to divine condemnation—To be set aside for destruction.

Take this curse literally!

I apply this curse directly to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and especially Mormons.

Why? Because, they have done exactly what this verse of Scripture warned about: If anybody preaches another, or a different gospel than what you received, from Paul (or an angel), then let them be cursed.

Paul says, “here is the gospel message”. But, someone else (Joseph Smith) comes along, and says, “I have an addition to that! THIS ALSO, is the gospel message.” And, the message takes away from Christ, and from the miracles that surround Him, and His incarnation, and deity.

This is exactly what is meant here: Here is the gospel. Do not add, do not take away. If you do, then you heap eternal, divine condemnation on yourself.

To add insult to injury, look at the name of the Mormon testament (AND I QUOTE):

ANOTHER (allos, in their opinion) TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST

My friends, the Mormons even named their testament after the curse!!

Imagine that! They have misled, and fooled millions and millions of people, who do not know the word of God.

Anybody who knows the word of God has to say, “WAIT A MINUTE! THERE IS NO OTHER GOSPEL!” (It says so—right here in my bible)

I honestly feel that the Spirit of God wrote this as a warning to potential Mormons, and to those who are already tricked into believing that there is another gospel, other than the One True Gospel; The Gospel of God.

God says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6). He expects us to know better, than to be deceived by the stratagems of the devil.

9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

I guess telling the Galatians once wasn’t enough. This validates just how important this verse is-- The message of God is complete! There is no more to add—it is finished!

Why is God so silent now? Why doesn’t He reveal Himself, like in the old days?

Because the ultimate revelation of God is complete: His name is Jesus!

Rom 10:9-12

9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

Gal 1:10

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

To please men was neither Paul’s motivation, nor the source of his authority. Paul continually sought the approval of God.

11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul met Christ on the Damascus road, and his life was forever altered. Like I said before, Paul did not learn the gospel from another man, but from Christ Himself.

Paul was an Apostle of Christ, personally appointed by Jesus, with all power, and authority.

13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.

Acts 8 and 9 tell the story of a young man named Saul; persecutor of God’s church.

14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

15 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace…”

Called, and separated from his mother’s womb. Just like this man, the Prophet Jeremiah…

4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."

How about this next man? Did God have a plan for this fetus?

Isa 49:1

49:1 "Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The LORD has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.

That was the Prophet Isaiah.

Is a child a child, while it is in the mother’s womb? God says so-- He had a plan for these children, before they were born, as the word of God bears witness.

God had a plan for the Christ Child, from before His birth.

1 Peter 1:19-21

20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting." (Micah 5:2)

And God had a plan for YOUR life, before YOU were born, too!

Every baby that is growing inside the mother’s womb, God has a plan for, and an eternal destination for its life.

God says, “I have a plan for you-- I’ve ordained it before you were in your mother’s womb.”

But man says, “there is no life there”. Eat, drink, and be merry! Do what you wish, when you wish it—

In China, they basically slaughter all female fetuses, before they are born.

In China, they don’t know their Creator, either.

What side of the fence are you on? In whom do you put your trust—God, or man?

Now, on to verses 15 &16…

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace,

16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,

17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Paul didn’t immediately confer with flesh and blood—He went back to where he was from, to regroup. And, to receive…

Also, Paul said that he was called by the Grace of God.

He tried to earn his salvation by works (verse 14), too.

Gal 1:18-19

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.

19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother.

The Catholics teach that Jesus did not have any brothers or sisters, as some sort of proof that Mary remained a virgin her whole life. This Scripture says differently, though, as do other verses.

Jesus had brothers, and sisters. They were half brothers, and half sisters, though. Joseph was not the father of Jesus. (Matthew 1:20,25).

20(Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)

21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.

22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ.

23 But they were hearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy."

24 And they glorified God in me.

Chapter 2…

Gal 2:1

2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.

Most likely, the 14 years is from his conversion. This is when Paul received the gospel from Christ Himself.

2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.

“To them”, was the Apostles of Christ, in Jerusalem. The revelation that sent him to Jerusalem could have been the prophecy given by Agabus, in Acts 11:27-30.

Those of reputation was the inner core of Apostles; James, John, and Peter.

Also, by running in vain, he meant that first, he was to be received by the other apostles; if he wasn’t received, than all that he did was in vain.

3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.

Now Titus was a “test-case” Gentile. If Paul was to encourage Titus to be circumcised, then he would also be preaching a works gospel; that you needed to be circumcised to be saved. That was not true!

4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),

The Jews didn’t like this one bit! No circumcision—eating foods that were unclean (in their eyes)—no, they weren’t going to stand for this.

5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

There’s our key phrase: The truth of the gospel. What is the “truth of the gospel?”

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. (Rom 3:28)

5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Rom 5:1)

16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

We will get to the heart here of that last Scripture very shortly. This is the truth of the gospel: To be justified is when God, in His courtroom, looks you square in the eye, and says to you: NOT GUILTY-- NOT GUILTY-- NOT GUILTY!!

Because of what My Son did on the Cross for YOU! Not Guilty!

We are pardoned in the courtroom of God because of these 3 THINGS:

1. The grace of God

2. Our faith in Christ Jesus, His Son, who is the propitiation for our sins.

3. Jesus' death on the cross being a sufficient sacrifice for our sins, and atoning fully for them.

8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…” ( Eph 2:8)

Rom 3:22-25

23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness…”

See that? Atoned BY HIS BLOOD, THROUGH OUR FAITH IN CHRIST!

10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

This word, propitiation means, “atonement”. God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, to pay the price for our sins, and be our propitiation, and die in our place!

Like Paul is saying, all we have to do is believe! We have already received God’s grace— We’re still standing, amen?

Now, on to verse 6…

6 But from those who seemed to be something--whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man--for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

Who was this bunch; these who seemed to be something?

Was he talking about the genuine apostles of Christ?

Perhaps. The notes in my one Bible state, “ Paul recognized the leadership role of James, Peter, and John as “pillars” of the Jerusalem church. He pointed out that they were in no way superior to him, in their understanding of the gospel.

Also, let me point out this. The Scripture says that God shows no favoritism to no man! We are all precious in His sight!

All of our hairs are numbered, not just the apostles, or not just a preacher, or a pastor—We are all equal.

James said that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)

Verses 7-9…

7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter

8(for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),

9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

God was doing something really big! No longer was this message for Jews, only. The Jewish believers recognized this, and they gave Paul and Barnabus the right hand of fellowship. This was a common sign of friendship, and acceptance.

10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

Remember the poor. Jesus said, “the poor you have with you always.”

Gal 2:11

11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;

Here comes one of the most interesting glimpses into the inner circle of the apostles, and what they faced. let’s read on…

Gal 2:12

12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.

13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

Peter’s hypocritical example showed the Gentiles, that they had to live like the Jews did, in order to receive God’s grace. Because of this, Peter was not being straighforward about the truth of the gospel.

I know what you are wondering: Were Peter and Paul friends? Did they remain friends after this happened?

2 Peter 3:14-17

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Peter called Paul his beloved brother!

He also called Paul’s epistles “Scripture”!

Verse 15…

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

Now, the references to “WE” here, are Paul and Peter.

16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

No person, except God, in the flesh, can be justified by the works of the law! Because, no person (Except God, in the flesh) can keep the law!

What a truth—When Martin Luther read this, and when he grasped this “truth of the gospel”, the entire face of the Christianity, and the church, changed—back to how it was intended to be.

Over the years, the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church had twisted this great truth of the gospel. There was only one church, and corruption had crept in.

We weren’t justified by works! Not by penance, not by indulgences—We could not buy our way into the grace of God! God’s grace is a FREE GIFT!

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph 2:8)

Now in the next verse, Paul anticipated their next question…Verse 17.

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!

18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

What did he destroy? His flesh, and his slavery to sin, as we will see. Read on…

19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Probably my favorite verse in the entire Bible: “I have been crucified with Christ”.

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

Rom 8:9-11

10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Rom 13:14)

To be crucified with Christ, is to leave our sin at the cross!

To be crucified with Christ is to baptized (be associated with) into His death, and to let Him live through us.

Rom 6:3-5

3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Look again at verse 19. Here is the exhortation…

Gal 2:19

19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

Live to God! Let God live through you!

Verse 21…

21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."

Paul is saying, that if righteousness came through the law, then God made a mistake, and Jesus didn’t have to die. So much for that thought.

END OF CHAPTER 2

Now we start chapter 3 today. A landmark chapter in the entire Bible. How are we saved? On what basis?

How was Abraham saved?

Verse 1…

3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?

Who has “bewitched” you, he said.

NT:940

baskaino (bas-kah'-ee-no); akin to NT:5335; to malign, i.e. (by extension) to fascinate (by false representations): KJV - bewitch.

Who has tricked you?

Remember I said a few weeks ago, about one of the themes of this book: “The truth of the gospel”. Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth (of the gospel)?

And, according to Paul’s gospel, the One True Gospel, Christ is clearly portrayed as crucified—and resurrected!

Verse 2…

2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

I think this is what Paul had in mind, when he wrote Romans… (10:17)

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Will circumcision save you? Or baptism? Perhaps good works?

NO—These Gentiles received the Holy Spirit when they believed in their heart what they heard—The gospel message.

3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

4 Have you suffered so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain?

Again he called them foolish. The Galatians were trying to obtain perfection by their own works, especially circumcision.

5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?--

Verse 6… Let me ask, “what saved Abraham?”

Did Abraham’s circumcision save him, or was it something else?

6 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

Paul just quoted Genesis 15:6. Remember what I said earlier about righteousness, and about being justified.

In case you missed that, to be righteous, or to be justified (same Greek word), is an old Greek legal term, used in a courtroom.

The word “Dikaios”; when the Judge declared you “Dikaios”, meant that you were NOT GUILTY in a court of law.

“The righteousness of God is a right that God has upon man. In order for man to recognize and fully submit to the right of God upon his life, he must receive God who offers Himself or His righteousness to man as a gift.”

Rom 5:17

17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

So, I ask…What saved Abraham? Not his faith in Jesus—He wasn’t on the earth yet.

His faith in GOD! That’s what saved him!

Gal 3:6

6 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

Accounted to him, or reckoned to him. This word, “Logizomai”, means to put something to someone’s account.

God declared Abraham NOT GUILTY, because he trusted in God. It was an act of faith on the part of Abraham.

Likewise, Paul is using this for an example to us!

Circumcision did not save Abraham—

Baptism does not save us--

No, our faith saves us; in conjunction with God’s grace.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph 2:8,9)

Don’t let anybody ever tell you different. If somebody does, ask them if the book of Galatians is in their Bibles!

Gal 5:1

5:1 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. (NIV)

The Son has set us free. Those whom the Son has set free, are free indeed!

OK, let’s move on to verse 7…

7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.

That brings another verse to mind…

Rom 9:6-8

6 “ …For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

The Jews just automatically thought that since they were Jews, that all of the promises were theirs, irregardless of all else.

Remember the words of John the Baptist..

Matt 3:8-10

8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

Verse 8… Here in verse 8, Paul personifies the Bible, and likens the Bible to a preacher…

8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."

The Bible did the preaching, Paul is saying… The Scripture preached the gospel beforehand.

How’s that? By this prophecy… “In you all the nations will be blessed.”

9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."

Cursed! That’s what you are! If you think you can do it by works, then you are cursed. Cursed is everyone who does not do ALL THE THINGS written in the law.

11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."

Paul here quotes Habbakkuk 2:4. Just like the Old Testament declares, the just, or those declared righteous, live by faith, not by the law.

12 Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them."

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"),

It is written? Where was it written? Deuteronomy 21:22,23.

22 "If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.

This word for redeemed, “exagorazo,” was used frequently by Paul. It meant, “to buy back from the slave market.”

Jesus became a curse of us, and died in our place! Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for paying the price for our sins, and for dying in our place!

2Cor 5:21

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

And these verses, also…

Isa 53:4-5

4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

Friends, thank God for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Where would we be without Him today?

Verse 14…

14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

We receive the Holy Spirit when we believe; through faith, just like these believers, in the Book of Acts, when the Apostle Peter preached the gospel to them…

Acts 10:43-44

43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

We receive the Holy Spirit when we believe: NOT sometime later, as some denominations teach.

Gal 3:15

15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.

Paul is probably talking about a last will and testament here.

16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.

Not through Ishmael, but through Isaac.

17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.

18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Gen 15:4-6

4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." 5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

God promised Abraham an heir. The Scripture preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand!

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.

The Seed is Jesus Christ; who traces His lineage all the way back to Abraham. (Luke 3:23-24)

The mediator was Moses.

20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

If a law could of saved us, and given life, then Jesus wouldn’t of had to die.

22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

We are all confined, or held captive, under sin. (Rom 3:23; 6:23) Who can deliver us from these bodies of death?

Gal 3:23-24

23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.

24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The law was our guard, the sentry, watching over us. US, TOO! This applies to us today, as well! Did the law convict you, before you came to know Christ?

It sure did me! Where there is no law, sin is not imputed. Where there is no SAVIOR, there is no forgiveness!

Now in verse 24, we have the phrase, the law was our tutor. This tutor (Schoolmaster, in the King James), was called a “Paidagogos”. This person was like a chaperone, who took boys to and from school, who also disciplined them, and sometimes educated them.

Paul is saying, the law was our schoolmaster, to teach us and lead us along the way, to educate us, and to bring us to Christ.

Once again, once we believe in Christ, we are justified in the eyes of the only One that matters: Almighty God.

25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Once faith comes, and we believe, then the tutor is gone…The power of the law is no more.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

We are all children of God, by FAITH! Not anything else. No works, no baptism; faith in Jesus Christ enables us to receive the inheritance; the adoption as sons.

27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We are all one in Christ Jesus. There is no difference, in the eyes of God, what your heritage is. I mean in an individual, one on one basis: That’s what “personal Savior” means.

Gal 3:29

29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

END OF CHAPTER 3

Chapter 4…

Now, in chapter 4, Paul draws on the examples he just made in chapter 3, of the “tutors”, and the “heirs”. Paul develops the idea what it means to be an adopted child of God.

Gal 4:1-2

4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,

2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

This word for “element” is “Stoicheia”, meaning, element, principle, or rudiment.

When we were children, we were in bondage under the principles of the world; mainy—the prince of the power of the air, the devil himself.

Verse 4…When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son.

God certainly does not view time as we view it. When the time was right, God sent His Son into the world, to die for our sins.

Also, God the Father will not send His Son BACK into this world, until the time is right.

The people will be doubting by that time, and losing faith…

2 Peter 3:2-4

3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."

Also in verse 4, the Scripture says that He was “born of a woman, born under the law.” In addition to this being Mary, I believe that this also means, “Eve”. Remember the old prophecy of the Ultimate Seed? (Gen 3:15)

15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." (Gen 3:15)

At the fullness of time, this prophecy comes crashing down to earth, and hits the devil right in the gut! “O death, where is your sting?”

Verse 5…Paul uses that word “exagoraso” again, meaning, to redeem, and to buy back from slavery. Paul is the only Scripture author to ever use this word.

Verse 5 tells us that we are redeemed; by God, as He sent forth His Son. As redeemed, we are adopted sons and daughters of God!

Gal 4:6

6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"

Abba Father…An intimate Hebrew (Aramaic) word, meaning “Daddy”.

7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

I like that: “Or, rather are known by God.” God cares about His own, and takes care of His own!

Luke 12:6-7

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The Galatians were turning again to things that couldn’t save them. They were observing rituals, and holidays that were of no value to them. The celebration of a holiday to honor God is one thing; the celebration of a holiday, with animal sacrifices to atone for sin is something entirely different!

11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

Paul was worried that all that he did, and taught them was in vain.

12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all.

Paul says, follow me…follow me…

11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Cor 11:1)

Gal 4:13-14

13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.

14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

Here we see that Paul must of come to the Galatians with some sort of sickness. They received him as an angel of God, even as Christ Himself.

15 What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.

I believe we see Paul’s illness, his infirmity, and possibly his thorn in the flesh:

“You would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.” It seems that the apostle had a problem with his eyesight. It must have been a serious problem at this point.

Gal 4:16-17

16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

17 They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.

“They” is the Judaizers, the ones trying to impose the Law on these people.

18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.

It is always good to be zealous in a good thing. Be ambitious in doing God’s work!

19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,

20 I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.

Another affectionate term here, calling them “his little children”. We see loving kindness, but, firmness and authority at the same time. Amen?

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?

Here comes Paul’s analogy of God’s plan; of how the Law cannot save…

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.

Hagar, his wife’s maid, is the mother of one of the sons, and Sarah was his wife, the freewoman.

23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

One was born according to the flesh because Abraham and Sarah tried to take matters into their own hands. God had promised Abraham a son…

Gen 15:4-6

4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." 5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

And also In Genesis…

15 Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." (Gen 17:15)

God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, but they got tired of waiting…

On to verses 23 & 24…

23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar--

25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children--

26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Which things are symbolic: Paul is using the common Jewish allegorical method of the day to make his point. He uses this approach to draw a contrast between the 2 covenants; Moses and the Law, which the Galatians were embracing, and the covenant of the Promise.

27 For it is written: "Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband."

Paul quotes Isaiah 54:1, using the prophesied restoration of Israel from judgment and exile to show how the later-born children of promise would eventually far outnumber the earlier offspring.

Gal 4:28-29

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.

Isn’t that EVER the truth! My friends, the child of the slave is the father of modern day Islam, Ishmael. Paul says, “even so it is now”. If Abraham only knew…

Gal 4:30

30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman."

Right about here (in history, that is) is where the Muslims differ. They say that Ishmael is the child of promise, not Isaac.

31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

END OF CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

Gal 5:1

5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Remember our study in 2 Corinthians, “Now the Lord IS the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor 3:18). The Galatians were on the verge of submitting to the Law again.

Gal 5:2-3

2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

If you think that you can pick and choose which parts of the Law are going to make you “righteous” in the eyes of God, you have another thing coming—We cannot be justified in the sight of God by the works, and the good deeds that we do! They are meaningless, if used to save us.

4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Now, some people have mistranslated this verse to mean that a person can lose their salvation…

In the context of these verses, 1 through 3, Paul is teaching how depending on the Law of Moses for salvation makes Christ’s work on the cross meaningless.

Then, in verse 4, he is talking about those who try to justify themselves by, or through the Law. Because these individuals choose to obey the Law for salvation, they have no room for Jesus Christ and His Grace.

Now, the key to understanding this verse, is to understand the Greek verb here, “Exepesate”, which is correctly translated here in the NKJV as, “have fallen”; not as the King James does in this instance, which says, “you are fallen from grace”.

It does not mean that the grace of God was evident in them at one time, and then was lost. Rather, this person turns from the true path of grace by choosing justification by law instead of by grace.

Now, get this… “Grace has a law associated with it, but the law has no grace! Only restrictions.

Verse 5…

5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

We have that down payment; the Gift of God’s Holy Spirit, as a guarantee, as we wait for that blessed hope.

Nothing amounts to nothing, without faith working through love.

1 Cor 13:13

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Gal 5:7

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Paul once again compares the walk of the Christian to a race…

8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

God has not misled them; He was the one who called them… A little leaven leavens the whole lump. One little lie, one little half-truth, just like the one that Satan told the first family in the garden…

Listen to the leaven that Satan dished out to Eve…

"Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen 3:1-6)

Verse 10…

10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

Whoever is responsible for misleading the people, will pay, and pay extra.

11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.

The cross gives offense, and is a stumbling block, to this day (especially), because it proclaims God’s unmerited grace (2:21), leaving no place for people’s good works.

12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

These people preached circumcision—why not go all the way, Paul is saying.

13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

This is directed towards, what I call, the “grace bunch”; those who think that since we live in the Age of Grace, that we can do, and sin, as we please.

WRONG!

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4)

If you are a child of God, then when you sin, it brings anguish to your heart! NOT PLEASURE!

Verse 14…

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

Sounds like a lot of churches I know. There’s the warning—beware, lest you be consumed!

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Sounds like Romans, does it not? Except he wrote this first…

Rom 7:15-16

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Always remember, Paul wrote that verse WHILE HE WAS A CHRISTIAN!

Paul said that he delighted in the Law of God according to the inward man (Rom 7:22).

So, when you and I go through these struggles, and sometimes the flesh wins out over the spirit man inside of us, we are not alone. Even Paul went through the same struggles!

Gal 5:18

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Here come two lists to judge ourselves by. It is always better to judge ourselves, rather than others; although sometimes, we MUST judge others. The Apostle John said…

4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

They might be able to change the outside, but not the inside!

15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. (Matt 7:15)

You will know them by their fruits…Here are those fruits. First, the bad fruit…

Gal 5:19-20

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

21 “…envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…”

The first of these are all sexual sins…

The second are spiritual sins. Included in these, is the original Greek word for sorcery. Anybody want to guess what this Greek word is?

Pharmikeia! Pharmacy—DRUGS! Those who do drugs!

Rev 9:20-21

20 But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

They did not repent of the drug habits; the Greek word Pharmikeia, translated “sorcery”.

The third group here is the “temperamental sins”.

These run the gamut from hatred, which is something latent, through strife, which is something operative (denoting in this case disputes due to selfishness), and seditions (better, divisions) and heresies, or displays of party spirit (envyings may be related to the foregoing as helping to produce divisions, or may equally well be associated with the next item), to murders, the climax of wrongly cherished antagonisms. (Wycliffe commentary)

Where this is evidence of a person walking in these character traits, it is positive proof that such a person is not living in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is humbling; we all go through these things, from time to time.

But, to go through them, and to walk in them, day in and day out, as a way of life, are 2 different things.

Now, for the rest of verse 21…

Gal 5:21

“…of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Check out this outstanding commentary from Barnes…

(1) This furnishes the most striking and unanswerable proof of human depravity. Paul represents these things as "the works of the flesh," the works of the unrenewed nature of man. They are such as human nature, when left to itself, everywhere produces. The world shows that such is the fact; and we cannot but ask, is a nature producing this to be regarded as pure? Is man an unfallen being? Can he save himself? Does he need no Saviour?

Can man save himself, or woman herself?

“Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Here come the fruits of the Spirit…

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control.

1. Love

6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. (Gal 5:6)

2. Joy

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

3. Peace

6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Rom 8:6)

37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; For the future of that man is peace. (Psalm 37:37)

Our peace comes from one source, and one source only…

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

4. Longsuffering

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

5. Kindness

22 What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar. (Prov 19:22)

6. Goodness

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Psalm 23:6)

7. Faithfulness

My friends, there is not a Scripture reference in my Bible that accredits “faithfulness” to a man! So, let me post this verse…

2 Tim 2:11-13

11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.

12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

I have learned a great deal posting a verse for every fruit of the Spirit; for, as I go through and look, all the verses that I could choose from, they ALL DESCRIBE GOD!!

So, as we grow in our faith, and allow Christ to live in us, then we become more and more like Jesus, every day!

8. Gentleness

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (Phil 4:4)

9. Self control

Gal 5:23

[Temperance] The word used here, engkrateia (NT:1466), means properly "self-control, continence." It is derived from en (NT:1722) and kratos (NT:2904), "strength," and has reference to the power or ascendancy which we have over exciting and evil passions of all kinds. (Barnes commentary)

Self control is just that: Temperance over all evil desires, and over desires, such as bad habits.

Paul explains, in the rest of this verse, and the next…

Gal 5:23-24

Against such there is no law.

24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Now in these verses, Paul encourages the Galatians to walk in the Spirit, since they were already living in the Spirit.

END OF CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

Gal 6:1

6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Overtaken probably means, to be caught off guard.

You who are spiritual, restore such a person with a spirit of gentleness; NOT with animosity, or bitterness; or else you yourself might be tempted.

Now, as we see here, this is the practical section of this letter. These are Paul’s exhortations which lead to better Christian living.

More so than that, these are the Apostle’s commands; for the Galatians, and for us, too!

Here is another command, and exhortation; verse 2…

2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Fulfilling the law of Christ is to be obedient to the command that the Lord gave: Love your neighbor.

Also, this point: The term “fulfill” suggests that choosing to bear one another Christian’s burdens, or restoring another Christian from burdensome sin, is precisely what Christ expects from all believers.

Gal 6:3

3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Like the Proverb says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov 16:18)

4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

Here’s this exhortation once again to examine oneself, similar to 2 Cor 13. Same Greek word used here, “Dokimos”…

NT:1381

dokimazo (dok-im-ad'-zo); from NT:1384; to test (literally or figuratively); by implication, to approve:

KJV - allow, discern, examine, X like, (ap-) prove, try.

All throughout this chapter, we see Paul giving practical instruction.

Gal 6:5

5 For each one shall bear his own load

6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

People who teach, and preach the word of God work hard at what they do. Help support them, in any way that you can.

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

What goes around, comes around.

7 "They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7)

When you sow to the Spirit, you will reap everlasting life!

9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Isaiah also writes…

31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Keep on doing the good works; don’t let the enemy discourage you, and don’t let the world chink away at your faith, and your mission.

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

That verse speaks for itself. We cannot misinterpret that verse. Let us do good to all, especially the brothers in the faith!

Gal 6:11

11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!

No scribe wrote this letter! This letter, this correction of the false doctrine was so important, that Paul didn’t even use his “amanuensis”, his scribe, to write this epistle.

Some others say that this reference to the large letters was due to Paul’s poor eyesight.

12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Persecution for the cross of Christ. Even some 2000 years later, some things never change. Neither will they EVER change, at least not in this age!

Gal 6:13

13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.

Paul’s last warning, and reminder of the works gospel that was being taught to them, and how useless it was.

14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

The flesh had been crucified (2:20), as well as the sinful attractions of the world, too.

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

In Christ Jesus, we are new creatures, or new creations.

2 Cor 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The old things that have passed away were left at the cross! And we are not to back there anymore, to try to take it down.

Verse 16…

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

This reference to the “Israel of God”, probably refers to the remnant of believing Jews. (see Rom 11:1,2,7)

17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Paul’s body carried about the physical marks of his allegiance to His Savior, Jesus Christ!

18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Amen, and Amen! May the grace of God, and the peace of Christ, be with you all!

God bless!