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Words of Wisdom - Page 2
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Redeemed from the Curse of the Law

By Carl G.

16 June, 2004

"For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.' Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for 'The righteous shall live by faith.' But the law is not of faith, rather 'The one who does them
shall live by them.' Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'--so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:10-14; English Standard Version).

Continuing in our study of Paul's letter to the Galatians, we are currently in the doctrinal section of his letter.  As we noted last time, Galatians chapter 3 presents several arguments that Paul uses to support his thesis of justification by grace through faith in Christ alone. The first argument (which we studied last time) was the argument from a believer's experience, and it answered two questions:
How did you come to Christ, and how are you built up in Christ?  The answer to both questions is by faith working through the Holy Spirit.

Paul's second argument is the argument from Scripture.  What does the Bible itself say about this matter of justification?  Now, you might be thinking, "I thought we were finding out what the Bible said in regards to justification."  Yes, we have, but from a New Testament perspective.  When Paul wrote this letter, the New Testament was just
being written.  So when Paul quotes Scripture, he is quoting the Old Testament—the Bible the Jews (and Jesus) was familiar with.  What we want to discover is whether or not the Old Testament supports the New Testament teaching about justification by faith. In the passage before us, Paul presents four Old Testament proofs for his thesis; and I want to look at all four of them.

1. The law only brings a curse ("Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them").  It always amazes me that people who preach law and legalism gloss over this passage.  If you're going to snub your nose at God's grace, you better be able to follow the law perfectly in every detail. James writes in his letter, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it" (James 2:10).  Think about this for a moment. This might seem awfully harsh, but suppose you were convicted of first degree murder.  What good do you think it will do you to tell the judge that you never broke the speed limit, never got a parking violation, never cheated on your taxes, never jay-walked, never committed arson, etc.?  The judge is going to say, "Sir, all that doesn't matter, you broke the law by committing murder."  If that holds true for a human judge in a human court of law, how much more so in God's courtroom where the Judge is holy, righteous and perfect?  If you're going to preach the law, you better live by the law!

2. Righteousness comes by faith ("The righteous shall live by faith").  You may recall this from our study of Habakkuk because Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 here.  This is such an important Old Testament verse that Paul quotes it twice in his writings; here and in Romans.  I know some people who think (in fact, I used to think this way too) that the Old Testament is radically different from the New Testament; i.e., that the two testaments tell two different stories.  This couldn't be more wrong!  The whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, tells a single, coherent story of mankind's creation, fall, redemption, and glorification; all accomplished by God's grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. God has operated differently toward mankind throughout redemptive history; most notably through the old and new covenants (read the book Hebre

ws to see the differences between the two covenants). But while God has operated differently in the different covenants, the road to salvation has always been the same:
Through faith.  In this the two testaments are in complete agreement.

3. Law and faith are mutually exclusive ("The one who does them shall live by them"). This is a quote from Leviticus 18:5 and proves that law and faith are mutually exclusive; you cannot mix law and faith. Law says, "I can do it," and faith says, "God has done it."  In the book of Romans, Paul writes, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). "Wages" implies work which implies law; whereas, "gift" implies grace which implies faith.  The bottom line here is that if you're trusting in the finished work of Christ to save you, then there is nothing you can do to save yourself.  Conversely, if you're working to earn your salvation, then you're not exercising faith in what Christ did to save you. The two are mutually exclusive.  As Paul said at the end of chapter 2, "for

 if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose" (Galatians 2:21).

4. Christ bore the curse of the law ("Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"). This is quoted from Deuteronomy 21:23.  What makes justification possible is the fact that someone took the curse of the law meant for us.  The perfect Son of God allowed Himself to be crucified (hung on a tree) which according to Jewish law was a shameful, accursed thing to have done.  He offered Himself up as a curse to redeem us from our curse for failing to keep the law. This is a corollary to the first argument. Since the law only brings a curse (because of our utter inability to keep it in all points), the curse must be dealt with in order for God to provide salvation to those who have faith.

Application Time:  Paul presents a clear case for justification by grace through faith from the Old Testament Scriptures:  The law only brings a curse; righteousness comes by faith; faith and law are mutually exclusive; and Christ bore the curse of the law. How does this apply to us?  Take a look at Paul's closing point in this passage:  "so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles [that's us], so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith."  God wants us to live in victory and blessing, and that comes from living by faith.  Paul makes a big deal about this, and for good reason; we like legalism because it's a way to keep score.  We can look at someone who has committed adultery and say, "Poor soul, well I guess he wasn't holy enough." How sad!  Faith sets us free from all that!

Bottom Line:  I close with this verse from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, which sums up these arguments Paul presents:  "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Have a blessed day!

If this has blessed you, please don't keep it to yourself, but pass it on to others! "And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).

Carl G.



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Who is called out?

People who are called out will know it. You will never be like before, having one aim: to become like Jesus, and to set other hearts
on fire for Him.

Knowing you belong to God is just like knowing one's name, or knowing that the sun will rise in the east.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
(Isaiah 43; 1 / KJV)

That is what God will let you know... You are elected. God knows your name (!), which means He calls out individuals - not the whole
humanity in general.

The moment you are born again you know you are saved, but also that you have a new mission:
to become like Jesus, and Jesus died for all, that is, all have the same chance to be elected. God loves all people the same.
There is nobody who is of a higher value to Him than another. All are precious to Him! You are!

And you are precious to me, so precious that I will tell you the truth, no matter what people might think, or if they attack me for that. Many people even died for this, and I will not call those deaths in vain, because some might think they can make up their own Gospel and accept people as saved just by being humans. That is a slap into Jesus face, because if you leave the people in this faith He died in vain for their sins. No, never should you accept sin as being acceptable by God!

So it is my job to explain it to all, that they all might have a chance to be called out as well. But it is a decision as God created us with a free will, and He respects our will.

God created us with a free will, and Adam and Eve chose to disobey Him, while they had freedom in all things but one. In Genesis we can see the devil acting through the serpent the way he usually does: He changes God's words a little:

Gen 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.

That is what God said. The serpent told them:

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.
And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
(Gen 3:1-6 / KJV)

Adam and Eve should have accepted God's clear Words. Now we are all in this jam here on earth, and some even accuse God for that.
God was really fed up. He had created this world - for us. Just imagine, he made all this here just for us! The earth, the sea, the plants, the animals...all nature there is, and it is so beautiful, another love letter from God. Yes, God was fed up, and sent the flood, because man never learned, did not want to live with Him.

The first elected:

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham;
for a father of many nations have I made thee.
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee,
and kings shall come out of thee.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession;
and I will be their God.
(Gen 17:1-8 / KJV)

Those are the first elected, the Israelites. It was not Ishmael who was elected - but Isaac, and all his offsprings.
God had fixed His eyes on them, and taken them to make history, as is to be seen even today.

But God loves His creatures so much, and He wanted to reach out for them all.

But God is just. He had sentenced man to death for their first sins and all the sins that would follow. Justice.

But God's love was stronger, and nothing is impossible for Him, even keeping justice up, and freeing His Children.

God's love was so strong that he gave away His only Son to die a brutal death for us: Jesus Christ.
He took all of our guilt onto His shoulders, He who was without sin,  and died in our place, that we may live with God in eternity!

He died for His elected, yes. His Saints, yes.

God will see all who have turned their face to Him. They are elected the moment they recognize God. You can only recognize a person if you look into his direction. Now, look where God is, turn to Him - which means give signals that you want to leave sin and live with God. You will see, God will be running to you, and help you doing so, and take you in His arms, and show you more of what it means to be elected.

It is your decision. You can come to Him the way you are, you do not have to be good already:

The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:10-32 / KJV)
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
And he said, A certain man had two sons:
And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.
And he divided unto them his living.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together,
and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said,
How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him,
and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight,
and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him;
and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house,
he heard musick and dancing.
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf,
because he hath received him safe and sound.
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee,
neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid,
that I might make merry with my friends:
But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots,
thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
And he said unto him,
Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

So turn to God again, try to find His face, and you will see you cannot stand it, because you are ashamed to look at Him, get aware of all the evil in you. So many turn back to their sin again, because they do not accept the gift of freedom of it.
Some think they might not be valuable or good enough... But try it out: God will keep His word!

And I say unto you,
and it shall be given you;
and ye shall find;
and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth;
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
(Luk 11:9-10 / KJV)

Love you all,

vera :::

June 11th, 2004




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Judge them by their fruit


However, when it comes to judging someone's standing before God, we're only told to judge them by their fruit.

Do you remember the parable Jesus told of the man who had a fig tree planted in his vineyard?  Why do you suppose that the Lord made it a plant different from all the other plants in the vineyard?  It's a question without a certain answer I know, but in all the other parables our Lord gives using vineyards or vines, He always sticks with vines and vineyards to teach the lesson He's trying to teach.  Yet in this one, this only one, there is this fig tree set in a backdrop of grapevines, and by its very uniqueness, may have some meaning in this story.

At any rate, you know the parable I'm sure: how the owner of the vineyard complains to his field worker that for three years he's been walking past this sad excuse for a tree, without a fig on it...ever, and he's sick and tired of looking at this worthless waste of good ground, and tells the field worker to be done with it; to cut it down.   But the field worker comes to the defense of the fig tree (Lord only knows why, right?), promising that if the owner will allow him, he will make an extra special effort to nurture this tree for another year, and promising that if the tree still doesn't bear any fruit at the end of the year, then he will cut down the tree as the owner asked...and that's the end of the parable.

This seems a pretty strange ending for this story if the lesson has anything to do with the final disposition of the tree, don't you think? And if it's not about what ends up happening with the tree, I'd say it's about what's happening during at the moment this conversation is going on.  And if that's true, then we have here a parable letting us know:

a)  That the Lord is patient in waiting for the plants in His vineyard to bear fruit, even those that are "different". (God is no respecter of persons)

b)  That in the Lord's "vineyard", no matter what kind of plants they are, they must bear fruit at some point or He will eventually have them cut down. (Do not test the Lord your God, for while His mercy and grace endure forever, our opportunities to receive it don't)

c)  That not all of the plants in His vineyard are of the same kind. (He makes His rain to fall and His Son to shine on the just and the unjust alike)

e.) That He will not cut down a plant in His vineyard until all possible efforts have been made to nurture it into bearing fruit. (Love never fails or counts the cost)

So we begin to see that the story isn't so much about the tree, as it is about the relationship between the tree and the vineyard owner, which I'm pretty sure we both know are metaphors for the relationship between God and His creatures - us.  The story's most important message seems to be not when a "plant" bears fruit, or whether all the "plants" bear the same fruit, but that they do bear fruit.

The reason I went though this parable (which, btw, there are several other parables Jesus taught which include a similar lesson; for example the laborers who were called into the field to work at various times during the day, some just before sunset, etc.) is because it is so important for us to grasp why this story is being told, something I've only come to realize relatively late in my Christian experience.  What I mean here is that I knew it...but I didn't really know it.

But first, let me tell you what I always used to focus in on when I read this parable:  I was just so confident and full of the joy of the Lord that I was one of those fat, happy, fruit producing grape vines in this story instead of the poor, ugly fig tree that I missed the whole point.

Now I think I see the lesson clearly, and that it can't be fully appreciated until I mentally removed myself from "inside" the vineyard proper, and placed my perspective on this scene somewhere at the edge of the vineyard.
And what do I see from this vantage point?  Well, for sure I see a beautiful vineyard, full of grape vines laden with grape clusters. (That one over there is amazing!  Look at the size of those clusters...and those grapes!
I can hardly believe such a small vine could support that kind of weight!!) And off to the side, all by itself, I see this poor excuse for a fig tree, near what I take to be the owner's house.  I don't see anything or anybody else, just the grape vines and this tree (the owner and the field hand are obscured from my line of sight by the house).  And I wonder, why would such a good husbandman have such an unsightly looking thing so near the house?

But the story gives me a look "behind the scene", tells me of the great concern over this tree that looks to me as if anyone in their right mind would have cut it down long ago.  It tells me that this tree is going to receive some very special attention from the owner (by way of his employee's efforts) for a long time to come.  And it's finally speaking to
me as it should have from the very first time I read it; saying do not judge another's standing before the Lord no matter WHAT is looks like. Today's firewood could win the blue medal at next year's fig muffin bake off!...and there is more rejoicing in heaven over the lost sheep that is found than over the ninety-nine grazing happily in the meadow.

Bottom line here, [...], when we judge another by their fruit, as commanded by the word of God, that judgment is for self-preservation, not to determine another's standing before God.  We are to stay away from (as in not accept the teachings of) those who do not have the fruit of the Spirit evident in their lives, but we do not know what tomorrow holds for us, much less what eternality holds for another.  We simply can't know this (barring some special word of knowledge by the Holy Spirit) at any given time in a another person's life by the "fruit" we see today.  So when we're speaking to someone on this earth, be it the most godless individual imaginable (judging by their fruit), or the brightest saint (by their fruit), we should keep in mind that beyond ourselves (assuming we have the confidence of our salvation by the grace of God through Jesus Christ) we will never know until it happens in heaven who's going to be standing in line behind us (or WAY up in front of us!) at the Great White Throne Judgment.




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put away, put off, lay aside


Scripture without comments speaks volumes

Pray what it is that God wants you to hear in His words.


Eph 4:25-32

Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. 26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. NKJV

Col 3:1-11
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. NKJV

James 1:21-27

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Now do it.

Enough talk, just do it.

God be with you,

June 9th, 2004 in ACC

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If our 'faith' requires others . . .

. . . to act in a certain way, then we put our faith not in God who is above but in that which is below.  If you require others to worship on a particular day, or in a particular way before you yourself will act in a Christ-like fashion then God is not in control of you . . . others are.  You are still controlled by the flesh.

If you require the church to act in a particular way before you will give God a chance, then your faith is not in God but in people.  And people (ourselves included) have this predictable way of letting us down --  especially in the arena of the Spiritual.  That is because for the present, we are inexorably tied to vessels of flesh which actively battle against the Spirit.

If you require others to say or do nice things, or perform in a manner that you think is appropriate or not say things you may not like . . . then I daresay that you are letting them control you and will likely be waiting your entire life for them to change.  And when you stand before your Creator and are asked to account for YOURSELF, you will sound quite the fool saying "Oh, well HE wasn't nice, and THEY didn't live in a certain way, and THEY didn't worship on a particular day, and SHE was inappropriate to me and THEY should have done this or that or the other thing . . .".
"But what about YOU?", Jesus will ask.  Why did YOU do the things you did??"
"Oh, but he and she and they. . . !".
"What about YOU?".
"But he and she and they!!!"
"What about YOU??"

Why not focus on changing yourself?  In reality, you are the only person that you can effectively and consistently change.  If trying to change a spouse -- the closest person to you in the world -- is so difficult and so often fraught with disasters . . . why are we looking to change total strangers and casual friends as a condition of our own faith?  It's like we're setting ourselves up to fail!!
Our faith is in God alone.  And His Holy Spirit renews us as we seek Him.
Then that light shines forth as a valid witness of Him.  And the same will happen in others as they see the effective witness of a Spirit-led life and seek Him as well.
We no longer require others to be a certain way before we ourselves will believe or trust or act in a manner fitting of Christ.  We won't be relying on others as a condition of our faith.  We won't let their words or actions (or lack thereof), alter our course in Christ.  For such a faith that relies on others for steering it, is destined to run aground on the rocks.

Our faith shall be in Christ alone.  He alone charts us safe passage through the rocks and trials and tempests that life throws our way.

Yours in Christ,


8th August, 2004

in alt.christnet.evangelical



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Final Warnings & Benediction


"11See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, br others. Amen." (Galatians 6:11-18, ESV)

This study marks our last look at the book of Galatians.  Before we get to that, I want to briefly review what we've studied and show how it all fits together.  Paul's theme in this letter is the believer's freedom in Christ from sin and the law.  The basis of our freedom is in the fact that we are justified by our faith in Christ alone, and not be works (summed up nicely in Galatians 2:16).  Paul defends his thesis in chapters 1 and 2 by showing from his own life how this is true.  We also get a glimpse of Paul defending his thesis from attack by the Judaizers; we found out that Paul would not tolerate any other gospel being preached in the church except the pure gospel of Jesus Christ.  In chapters 3 and 4, Paul lays down the theological foundation for his thesis.  He does so by offering several arguments in support of his view, and demonstrates conclusively that salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  In chapters 5 and 6, he shows how all of this applies to living the Christian life-how we are to live out our freedom and how we are to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  In the final passage of this book, Paul gives us a final warning and, what is commonly called, a benediction.  The warning is broken down into two parts and instructs us how to spot a false teacher from a true follower.


1. How to Spot a False Teacher (vv. 11-13).  Paul begins this section with a very odd statement in v. 11.  Most commentators believe that Paul wrote his letters through a secretary.  So Paul had been dictating up to this point and wanted to write the final section personally.  It's as if he were saying, "Look, what I'm about to tell you is really important, so I'm going to write it personally; and I'm going to use large letters so you won't miss it."


So what is so urgent that Paul took the pen in his own hand?  He wanted to give his readers a final warning on false teachers and how to spot them. Paul discusses three ways to spot a false teacher.  First is to understand they want to focus on externals.  That's what Paul means when he says they "want to make a good showing in the flesh."  Paul mentions circumcision here, but any external ritual will do.  Beware of those who place a premium on rituals and experiences-things external.  Jesus himself said that the workings of the Spirit couldn't be seen (John 3:8).  Second is the way they avoid controversy (v. 12b).  Paul says elsewhere the cross of Christ is an offense and a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 1:23).  False teachers will avoid controversy by compromising the truth or ignoring the differences between true Christianity and all other false religions.  They do this to avoid being persecuted, unlike those who boldly proclaim God's truth for any length of time.  Finally, false teacher don't practice what they preach (v.13).  They are all talk with no walk; all style with no substance. Beware of those who do not practice what they preach.


2. How to Spot a True Follower (vv. 14-16).  In contrast to the false teachers identified above, a true follower exhibits humility (v. 14a).  A true follower does not boast in any of his accomplishments because he knows without Jesus, he is nothing.  The true believer knows any good he does is the work of the Holy Spirit within him.  Secondly, true believers do not have a worldly focus (v. 14b).  They display a true "in, but not of" mentality.  They don't hate the world; they just know the folly of placing one's hope in the things of the world.  Thirdly, their energy is focused on nurturing the spirit (the inner man) and not on external ritual (v. 15).
This is not to say that ritual in inherently evil.  It is a realization that the heart is where a believer ought to focus.  Take baptism for example.
Jesus commanded believer baptism, but it doesn't save!  It is a symbol of the inward reality of the new birth.  Paul offers a concluding comment to this section in v. 16.  To those who do not boast about their own accomplishments, who do not have a worldly focus, and who focus on the new creation-the inward man-peace and mercy be upon them.  Peace, that calm, confident assurance in the plans and purposes of God, and mercy, the withholding of God's righteous wrath because of the finished work of Christ.


Now Paul says a very curious thing at the end of v. 16.  He says "the Israel of God."  This is a reference to the church (not "a" church, but "the" church).  Israel was the name God gave to Jacob back in Genesis 32:28. Jacob was Abraham's grandson, and heir to the promise.  Now go back to Galatians 3:29, and Paul says the same things about the followers of Christ. Now maybe you're saying, "So what!  What's the big deal?"  The big deal is there is a lot of incorrect teaching within the church that says the church has replaced Israel as God's covenant people, and that all of the OT promises given to Israel have been transferred to the church because of Israel's rejection of Jesus.  It is true that Israel has been temporarily set aside for the church, but there is still a future for the nation of Israel.  How do I know this?  Because God never breaks a  promise!  Read Romans 9 - 11, and you will see that God still has a role for the nation of Israel-they will be redeemed, and the OT promises will be fulfilled!


3. Paul's Final Statement and Benediction (vv. 17-18).  Paul concludes this great epistle with a closing remark in v. 17.  It's as if the Apostle has made his case to his readers, so he says "let no one cause me trouble." Why?  Because Paul bears on his body "the marks of Jesus."  In other words, he has suffered physically for the gospel (see 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 for an inventory of Paul's sufferings).  Finally, he gives us the benediction in v. 18 where he wishes the grace of Christ to rest with us.


Application Time.  This is a great epistle!  It is a liberating epistle.
God has saved us by his grace, and he keeps us by his grace.  We are free from the legalistic demands of the law, and from bondage to our sin.  Not free to do what we wish, but free to live as God designed us to live.  Jesus Christ has fulfilled the requirements of the law, and that righteousness is ours by faith in him.


Bottom Line.  "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).

Carl Gobelman

8th August, 2004

in christnet.christianlife, alt.christnet.public, alt.christnet.evangelical


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Wisdom from Australia...

[The following gem is an article written by my highly valued and beloved agnostic online friend Pedro - Prince of the POP. I am very honoured to have this excellent and profound article here. ::: vera :::]


Melbourne's Moomba celebrations at the weekend included a parade that in the words of the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper gave Melburnians the
'shock treatment' with "topless street artists and raunchy floats spicing up a traditional family day". The Melb HS went on to say "Generations of families, young and old lining the city centre for the public holiday parade, were stunned by the sight.. topless women and men replaced clowns.. a partly naked couple eating grapes in a clear plastic bubble joined new-look floats". The parade, described as Madi Gras style, was defended by the Moomba festival director Ian Scobie who claimed that "a new-look parade was the right move to ensure that Moomba had a future. If Moomba is to survive it has to look forward and not back."

So I would ask what is it that we are supposedly needing to look forward to? One spectator commented "I personally thought it's gone to paganism, and completely disintegrated from something children enjoy." So is this the future that Mr. Scobie speaks of? A pagan festival that we need to hide from our children? As these events seek to outdo themselves each year, can we look forward some way down the track to naked couples copulating on city streets??? That maybe an exaggeration, and I'm no prude, but there has been a constant trend towards nakedness in live theatrical productions, the film industry, and all forms of media. Where is it all headed? Where are we going as a society? These questions need to be asked. The children of Israel descended into paganism in the wilderness and were punished by God. Despite ones religious beliefs we reap what we sow in life. That is true of an individual as much as it is of a Government, a Nation, or a society. Our future is determined by the decisions of today. We need to look seriously at these issues, and ignore the directives of political correctness that demand unequivocal adherence to the status quo, or current trends.


'(A)bort, (R)etry, (P)anic (D)eny this ever happened!'

[This repost was published on August 24th, 2004 in ACE.]

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  The Bible says that God is love


Charly [name replaced by webmaster],
    Simple question:
    The Bible says that God is love.
1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for ***God is love***.
    Agreed? One would presume that this verse is fairly straightforward and teaches that God is indeed, the pinnacle of love. Done any mountain climbing? I know the joy that comes from knowing that I am on higher ground than anyone else to the horizon, 200km  away!
    Christ stated what the greatest love was:
John 15:13 "=Greater= love has **no one** than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
    The greatest love is to give your very life's blood for your friends. We are fathers, you and I; we would take a bullet, a train, an avalanche, for our children. This goes without saying. This verse also seems to be fairly clear and I have a hard time imagining that you could object to it.
    Yet, you say that God is not love, that He does not have the greatest love, because He sent someone =else= to die for us. He refused to come in
our place, but chickened out and sent a carpenter of Nazareth instead.
Perhaps He is like Baal:
1 Kin 18:27 It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or ***gone aside***, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened."
    You and I are knowledgeable enough about God's word to know that ***gone aside*** meant "using the bathroom".
    Do you believe God was too busy to demonstrate what love He has for us? Or He was in the bathroom????
Playing cricket with Gabriel and the gang?
Having a pint?
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates =His own love= toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, =Christ died for us=.
    How can you find it within yourself to deny the =central= teaching of the Christian faith? That Almighty God, by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, entered human flesh, and DIED because of His love for us, showing that GOD has the greatest love of all?
    You boldly and recklessly fly in the face of the historic teaching of 2000 years of the Christian Church, and the Holy Bible!
    As Ricky Ricardo said on "I Love Lucy", "Jou got a lotta 'splainin' to do......"!!!!

 27th August, 2004 in alt.christnet.evangelical

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And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors  

Consider this:
Matt 6:12 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matt 6:13 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.']
Matt 6:14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you.
Matt 6:15 "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not
forgive your transgressions.
    I forgive Charly [name replaced by webmaster] et al for what they do; that does not mean that I act
like they are perfect, or keep silent when they do it, or act like it never
    Also, later on in Matthew Christ does say it =is= forgiving our brother
that counts:
Matt 18:34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.
Matt 18:35 "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his ***brother*** from your heart."
    Soooo, I really don't feel strongly convicted to change my own behavior.
Others may believe I need to, but at this point, I don't. I may not have smileys all over creation like Oliver [name replaced by webmaster] or others, but I am not a mean-spirited person. The vast majority of what I say is intended as gentle prodding, with an occasional wake-up slap thrown in. People here need to focus less on who is saying what, but on what is being said and why! If Charly [name replaced by webmaster] is soooo sensitive, why is it that he acts like the most insensitive ass on Usenet? If people are following Charly [name replaced by webmaster] around and yet claim to be Christians, they need to look at what example they and their leader are setting.
    You have one side that says that the Bible is the Final Authority and Christ is God, and to reject that is not a possibility for a Christian.
"Let God be true, and every man a liar."
    The other side says the Bible is full of errors and myths, Jesus is just a good example, and that you can certainly be a Christian without recognizing His deity or the truths of the Bible.
    I'll stick with my ideas, and they can stick with theirs. I cannot change anyone's mind anyway; all I can do is make suggestions and observations.
    "No one has ever changed their mind in the history of Usenet!"- Bob-

th August, 2004



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Your Only Hope

Jesus Christ is your only hope,
and he is your sure hope.
God chose the apostle Paul
to take the gospel to the nations,
and he revealed to him
that no one will be justified
by the law of God,
but only by Christ through our faith.
Jesus Christ took your place
and paid for your sins on the cross,
so that the grace of God,
the unmerited favor of God,
could be yours by faith in Christ.
Your hope is not you or your efforts,
or your church or your baptism,
or your anything.
Your hope is Christ;
put your total trust on him to save you,
and he will that moment give you eternal life.
by Frank


28th August, 2004
in ACE



That IS the Gospel of Christ AND the Wisdom of the Cross.
The law served its purpose in showing how the human organism on its own was utterly incapable of keeping all the requirements of God all of the time.
The children of Israel struggled and strived, failed and fell forgenerations as a tutorial of how even God's Chosen People were insufficient on their own.  Elaborate religious constructs were built as displays of 'doing what pleased God'.  But little attention was given to 'being what pleased God'.

We as a species, on our own, are patently unable to be what pleases God.
Mainly because we have this thing called pride that always gets in the way and is the root of all sin.  WE want to be the driver; the director; the one calling the shots.  WE want to be the translator; the interpretor; and the doer that gets the glory; the writer of our own story; the chooser of our own path; our own saviour.
It is only by setting all of that aside and surrendering to God, that His Spirit comes to live in us and makes us NEW CREATIONS in Christ Jesus!  He has already done that which we could not do.  He paid the price that we could never pay!  He fulfilled ALL the requirements of the law in HIS flesh . . . then shared the victory with us.

Even as we share in the death of ourselves and our pride on the cross with Him and rise as new creatures in Christ's Spirit.

THIS is the Gospel of Christ.
THIS is the Wisdom of the Cross.

And those who miss it, know neither Christ nor His Spirit.
Without Christ there is no redemption from sin or reconcilliation with the Father.  Without the Spirit there is no new creation and no ability to please the Father.

These are foundational points of the path of Christ.

Yours in service,


28th August, 2004

in ACE



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Women Pastors


*****1 Peter 3:1-22 says this concerning HUSBAND AND WIVES:
  ***1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-- 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

  ***(Pay close attention to the following)

  ***8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." 13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

  ***16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

  ***18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

  ***21 There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

  ***This tells me that even though wives are to submit to their husbands, woman are not to fear their husbands and are NOT to be treated like slaves. Woman ARE to be treated with love, compassion, respect, and couresy.  This passage also tells us that God should be the head of ones household FIRST and then the husband and the wife. Man is never to be above God, but God is to be above ALL mankind.

  ***Think of your household like a triangle.  Place God at the top point of the triangle (center) and then place the husband on one side and the wife on the other side of that triangle. If God is the center of ones house then everything else will fall into place accordingly, but if God is NOT the center of ones house then their house may fall like a deck of cards because nothing is  holding it up to keep it from falling.

by an anonymous poster in alt.christnet.evangelical

August 2004

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