Notes and References
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"The person who can rightly divide Law and Gospel has reason to thank God. He is a true theologian." Martin Luther
Before going on to the study of Galatians, I want to emphasize how to rightly divide the scriptures and separate Moses' Law, which is The Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jew, and The Gospel of Paul to the Gentiles. Most believe The New Testament is not Moses' Law, but that would be false. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are called the gospels and though they are truly glad tidings of the coming of the Mashiac of Israel, Jesus, who came, lived, died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, but they are not 'The Gospel of Paul', which is our gospel. They are still under the Mosaic Law and is the 'Kingdom Gospel'.
Jesus came to the Jews only, no Gentiles were included in His earthly ministry.
Matthew 10:5-7 (Jesus sent out the 12 Apostles)
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Jesus never gave any indication that the dogs, Gentiles, would receive anything of the inheritance of God. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and afterward the rejection of the message of the 12 apostles, as the witnesses of the Kingdom of Christ by Israel, ushered in Saul Paulus, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Only then did the risen Christ reveal 'The Mystery', that salvation should go to the Gentiles and they would be 'fellowheirs' in the kingdom with the Jews.
Eph 3: 4-6
4.Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
Paul's gospel, "Faith in Jesus Christ", is enough to save to the uttermost plus nothing. Thus the epistles of Paul are different than the epistles of the other writers of the New Testament and in particular are different in the audiences to whom they are addressed. Paul's are written predominantly to the Gentile believers, whereas the others are to the Jewish believers. This book of Galatians is quite clear in distinguishing the difference.
7But contrariwise, when they (the apostles and disciples at Jerusalem) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me (the Apostle Paul), as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
- Circumcision = Jews, the nation of Israel, the seed of Abraham Isaac, and Jacob.
- Uncircumcision = Non-Jew or all other people / nationalities, heathen or Gentiles
Now concerning God's dealings with mankind, God has changed his commands in the past. So many times I hear preachers quote, "I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal 3:6) to justify their preaching out of the Old Testament as being applicable to salvation and righteousness. God does not change, but he does and has several times changed in how he has dealt with people. For instance:
- Adam in the beginning had only one command. "Do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Gen 2:17."
- Abraham had one command for his people, circumcision. Gen 17:9-14
- Moses gave 10 laws (Ex 34:28) on tables of stone plus 603 laws to the people. Exodus 20:1 through 31:18
- Jesus taught the perfect Law of Moses extending it to the heart condition, that you can break Mosaic Law by your thoughts.
Mat 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
- The 12 Apostles gave the Mosaic Law PLUS the Grace of Christ (Acts chapters 15 and 21, James).
- The Apostle Paul gave us the Grace of Christ and no Mosaic Laws but only the law of the Holy Spirit (Romans 3:28).
Food is another point that can be made about God changing His dealing with mankind:
- Adam: (No Animal Meat)
Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Gen 2:16, 17 16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (remember that for later)
- Noah: (Everything but blood)
Gen 9:3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
- Moses: (A list of things to eat and not eat, creeping things are an abomination) Lev 11:2-23, 42
- Jesus: (A man is not defiled by what he eats)
Matt 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
- 12 Apostles for Jews: (Moses Law) - see Moses
- Apostles / Paul for Gentiles: (Certain foods)
Acts 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled...
So you see the dealings between The LORD and mankind does change. Also we will learn in this book that the gospel to the Gentiles was different than that of the gospel to the Jews. The good news is and always will be Jesus Christ died for our sins, but formerly to the Jew it was faith in Jesus Christ while still keeping the whole Mosaic Law and to the Gentile it is faith in Jesus Christ plus nothing.
Written by the Apostle Paul.
Who is Paul?
Saul, a Jewish Roman citizen, Acts 22:26-28, born in Tarsus. Saul is his Jewish name and is the very same Jewish persecutor of early believers in Acts 7:58 and continuing on in chapter 8. Saul was very devout in the Jewish religion.
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other manthinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Saul was converted by direct revelation of Jesus Christ himself on the road to Damascus,
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Saul then was the first to see Jesus Christ after His ascension into heaven, as one born out of due time.
1Cor 15:8 And last of all he (Christ) was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
2Thess 2:8 and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.
Christ's appearance to Saul was much in likeness to those who will see the brightness of Jesus Christ's second coming. Paul was given the "Mystery" revelation that salvation should go to the Gentiles and he became the Apostle of the Gentiles.
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Saul began using his Roman name Paul early in his ministry. The things Paul suffered for the gospel, besides being martyred by Nero's executioner's sword, are unfathomable. These are some of the accounts of his suffering.
22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
1Cor 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
When Was This Letter Written?
The date of this epistle is estimated to have been written around 55-56 A.D. and after the council at Jerusalem in A.D. 51-54 (Acts Chapter 15). The council at Jerusalem between Paul and the other eleven Apostles was pivotal in the gospel message being preached to the Gentiles and the acceptance of the Gentiles as 'fellowheirs'. Keep in mind this is 25 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
To Whom is it Written?
This letter is to Gentile believers in Galatia. Galatia is in central modern Turkey.
Who is Jesus Christ?
Phillipians 2:6-11 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Why do we need a Savior? By eating the forbidden fruit, the living soul that was breathed into man at his creation died the moment Adam gained the knowledge of good and evil. Man believed a lie and therefore the whole of creation has suffered under a curse since. Man did not die, but the spirit died, and the entire creation became corrupt and under the dominion of Satanat that moment (Gen 2:17).
1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them (man and woman) have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul
2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Satan gained the dominion Adam gave up willingly for a piece of fruit and the urge to know a secret. You wonder how could Adam be so foolish? A more modern example of deception on a grand scale is eleven million people died at the hands of Adolph Hitler. How? 1. Hitler lied. 2. People believed it. The bigger the lie, the more probable it will be believed. Nothing has changed. People still choose to exchange the truth for a lie.
Although Adam physically lived on to be 930 years, he was immediately pronounced dead spiritually. After Adam's spirit died, fear entered in as well as thoughts of evil. Though each of us are born unique and in God's image, all are born dead spiritually. Every person born since Adam has the new accursed nature. How do you fix it? God planned a savior.
1Cor 15 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Jesus Christ is the last Adam, a perfect man. Adam was the first perfect man, created in the image and likeness of God. Adam remained perfect until he chose death, for himself and all of his generations. So here we are, the progeny of Adam.
Every human is born corrupt, not the other way around. Yes a person can be a born a killer, or mentally deficient, just as a person can be born with AIDS or Cancer. Did God make them that way? No! Yes, a person can be born gay. A person can be born a genius. A person can be born with amazing talents, but ALL are born corrupt, spiritually dead.
A good example of the inherited spiritual corruption is children. Every baby is wonderful and precious right? From the beginning we teach them, through our nurturing, they are the only ones that matter. They cry. We react. Everything is given to them. Life revolves around them. Then they become toddlers. So cute! The first time you take your toddler to a friend's house, who also has a toddler, what happens when the toys are brought out? Conflict! You hear a scream, "Mine!" Your toddler thinks that those toys should be their own! Crying! Maybe even hitting! Or even biting! What has happened? Your sweet little 4 tooth child has perfectly exhibited the fallen nature. We all have it without Jesus Christ.
The Plan for Salvation
God makes a promise to Abraham, about 2000 years before Jesus Christ. God promised a faithful Abraham that through his lineage, his seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. A new nation is then formed made up of circumcised people. After Abraham we then have his son Isaac and Isaac's son Jacob who was later re-named by God to Israel.
Then 430 years after Abraham, Moses delivers the Jews from slavery out of Egypt and brings the Mosaic Law to the people. What does the law do? It shows the people how corrupt they are, like a crystal clear mirror pointing out every flaw, on the outside as well as the inside. This is the very reason why everyone needs the Savior Jesus Christ, but in his life he only came to the Jewish people, Israel.
Jesus is born of the seed of Abraham, the promised one to Israel. Moses Laws and civil laws cannot remove corruption from people or society and only through fierce enforcement can evil be kept at bay. This is the whole purpose of the plan of the Savior. This is why Jesus Christ died. He purchased, through His death, all that Adam lost to the lies of Satan. Then Jesus took all the punishment for evil in the world, past, present, and future, upon Himself while on the cross as the price of redemption for all people. Then He would baptize His people in His Holy Spirit and fire, a seal of promise, and make in them a new creature, a new inward man, not of corruption but of incorruption. This was the gift promised to Israel, through the lineage of Abraham. This is the miracle of salvation that evil men's hearts are softened and turned into the likeness of the heart of God.
What did Israel do with that gift of their Mashiac / Savior? They rejected Jesus and murdered Him! Afterwards Israel for the most part rejected the message of the 12 Apostles and the miracles of the Holy Spirit. So God raised up another Jewish apostle, an apostle to go to the rest of the world and offer them what was first offered to Israel, Free Salvation!
2 Cor 5
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
So here we are now reading the book of Galatians. Paul vehemently defends HIS GOSPEL, "Faith alone in the savior Jesus Christ plus nothing" makes us righteous. This is the gospel Paul preached that faith alone in Jesus Christ is what makes us a new creature, holy, acceptable, born again.
1 Cor 15:1-4
1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Who is Paul defending the gospel against in this letter?
Jewish Christians from Jerusalem.
Why is this so terrible?
Because they are teaching his converts basically that, "Paul only gave you part, we'll tell you the rest." These Judaisers taught these Gentiles they must also follow all 613 laws of Moses and be circumcised to be saved. These who were holding a form of religion but denying the power of God to save! Now you just lost a whole lot of people to despair for a lie.
Paul is white hot angry! Not at the Galatians, but at those who would pervert the pure gospel, the powerful gospel, the holy gospel, the mystery gospel Jesus Christ gave directly to Paul for the Gentiles!
This is where the average Christian falters. This is NOT the same gospel the 12 Apostles preached for the first 20-24 years after the resurrection and continued to preach to the Jews even after Paul's gospel for the Gentiles is revealed. If it were, Acts chapter 15 and this letter to the Galatians need never to have been written! The letter to the Hebrews is even further proof that Jewish believers were still holding on to the Law of Moses and had to be persuaded it held no power over the blood of Jesus Christ to save.
Make no mistake, if Jesus Christ had not revealed the true power of the resurrection to the Apostle Paul, we as Gentiles either would not be having this discussion or we would all be Jewish proselyte believers, and only allowed to become a Jew if you were not a Moabite or an Ammonite or a bastard or a mutilated male (they were cursed forever Deut 23:1-3). Those Jewish believers, the remaining eleven apostles, and disciples in Jerusalem who followed and believed in the risen Lord never quit practicing the Old Testament Mosaic Law! Acts 21:20
Paul's letter is written to ensure that Christians hold fast to his gospel which is faith alone in Jesus Christ who brings justification, righteousness, salvation, and everlasting life.