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).
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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
justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose"
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.
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
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).
a blessed day!
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).
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.
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
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)
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.
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)
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.
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!
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
It is your decision. You can come to Him the
way you are, you do not have to be good already:
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, Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find; knock, 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)
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Pray what it is that God wants you to hear
in His words.
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
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
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness,
and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save
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. NKJV
. . . 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.
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.
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??"
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.
faith shall be in Christ alone. He alone charts us safe passage
through the rocks and trials and tempests that life throws our way.
"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,
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).
[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.
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
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 happened. 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. Bob<><
"No one has ever changed their mind in the history
of Usenet!"- Bob-
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 -- http://roines.home.mindspring.com
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
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
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
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.
foundational points of the path of Christ.
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
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.
anonymous poster in alt.christnet.evangelical