GALATIANS

Introduction: Part 2 of the Apostle Paul’s Trilogy [Romans, Galatians, Hebrews] of Systematic Theology – The Book of Galatians

The book of Romans was written to Rome a Gentile Nation that was used to being in charge and used to having their own rights, power, authority and privileges to the extent that the Roman people as Pagans had viewed their privileges as god given entitlements. In this letter to the Gentile Region of Galatia the Apostle Paul is addressing a group of Gentiles that are foreigners from power and are accustomed to being the outsiders, separated from authority and alienated from the privileges of class and status that the Superpower Nation of Rome had enjoyed and had even taken for granted. The Galatians accustomed to their second class status could not quite grasp the concept of the free gift of Salvation and with it the free gift of receiving the Holy Spirit. The Galatians kept reverting back to their second class mentality of having to labor and earn every single accomplishment that came their way however being a second class citizen is itself a concept that is completely foreign and outside of Christianity. Christianity has only one class of citizens and they are all Saints, Sons of God and Children of the Promise. There is no second class status in Heaven there are no throwaways or hidden undesirables in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ only Jesus Christ and His class and that is the first class of eternity for all eternity.

Short introduction/synopsis to the New Testament Book of Galatians and an outline to the book – The book of Galatians was written by [the Apostle] Paul in the year 49 A.D. or 55 A.D. – The subject of Galatians seems to be parallel to that of [the Book of] Romans in the aspect of justification by faith alone

The book of Galatians was written by Paul in the year 49 or 55. The churches in Galatia were fashioned to a certain extent of converted Jews and Gentiles. The Apostle Paul emphasizes his apostolic personality as well as the doctrines that he was teaching. He did this in hopes that he would sanction the Galatian churches in the faith of Jesus Christ. It is believed this letter was written during the third missionary trip and that the church was founded during the second missionary trip. - The subject of Galatians seems to be parallel to that of Romans in the aspect of justification by faith alone. Paul directs special attention to the fact that men are justified by faith not by the Law of Moses. This of course was something quite different for the Jews to hear. The Jewish people had after all been brought out of the wilderness by Moses; now Christ is becoming the authority for people to stand on. - The concept of Galatians is one that deals with how people can come to God being of a sinful nature while God is of a holy nature. How does a sinful person stand in the presence of a Holy God? Paul gives the answer to this problem by saying there is one way only, through the salvation of God's grace which comes from the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. In other words, Paul says that one must receive Jesus Christ as savior to come before God. Paul says no longer do we need to pay attention to the "good point or good works" salvation of Moses law, but instead we simply need to follow the salvation plan of God through His Son Christ Jesus. The main theme of Galatians is justification by faith. This concept is explained, defended and applied. Paul also talks of his three years in Arabia, the fruits of the Spirit and his correction of Peter. [link]

Galatians – Salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit – The book of Galatians played a critical role in the formation and development of the Reformation and the conversion and spiritual life of Martin Luther

Background: Paul wrote to the Galatians after he had received word that there had been a change of attitude toward him and his Gospel among the Galatians. Not long after Paul left them during his first visit, false teachers and leaders began to attack Paul personally and turn the Church against him. They were preaching another Gospel. They were looking to the law for their salvation. They were being urged to accept circumcision and to observe Jewish days and seasons. (Galatians 6:12) This caused dissension and conflicts in the Church. - These agitators were likely Jewish Christians trying to sway the Gentile Christians to Judaism. It appears that they either had come from Jerusalem or had the support of the Jerusalem Church and leadership. They held that Gentile converts must enter the Kingdom of God by means of Judaism. As this was contrary to the teachings the Galatians had received from Paul, the Judaizers found it necessary to attack Paul's authority and apostleship. ... Salvation is by God's grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit. -- The book of Galatians played a critical role in the formation and development of the Reformation and the conversion and spiritual life of Martin Luther. Galatians has been called 'Luther's Book'. [link]

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) on Galatians by ARLAND J. HULTGREN Luther Seminary St. Paul, Minnesota (PDF)

DURING HIS LIFETIME NO FEWER THAN SIX EDITIONS OF MARTIN LUTHER'S lectures on Galatians were published. Of these six, five were in Latin, and one was in German. Two of these have been translated for inclusion in the American edition of Luther's Works. The one is translated from the 1519 Latin edition (based on lectures in 1516-1517), published during the early years of Luther's career, and the other is translated from the 1535 Latin edition (based on lectures in 1531), published at a later point in Luther's life. The two editions, from lectures given a decade and a half apart, are quite different in many respects, reflecting two very different times in Luther's life and career. Luther's teaching career was marked on many occasions with study and lecturin on Paul's Letter to the Galatians, often called the Magna Carta of Christian liberty, but called "my Katie von Bora" by Luther himself. In what follows the focus will be limited to the two sets of lectures published in the American edition. ... Luther made use of both the Greek New Testament and the Latin Vulgate in his work on Galatians. The Greek text used for the 1519 edition was that of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, which had been published in 1516. Luther's subsequent exegetical work continued to make use of the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, which was revised and republished several times during the lifetime of these two contemporaries. ... It comes as no surprise that in both editions of Luther's lectures on Galatians the theme of justification by faith should take center stage. The theme is, of course,a major one in Galatians itself (2:16-21; 3:6-11, 24; 5:4-5). For Luther, however, it is not simply a major theme; it is the heart of the matter. When he writes concerning the "argument" of the letter as a whole, Luther says that the letter sets forth "the doctrine of faith, grace, the forgiveness of sins or Christian righteousness." Distinctions are drawn again and again between "political" (or civic) righteousness and righteousness received by faith and distinctions between law and gospel. The "real theologian," he says, is one who "knows well how to distinguish the Gospel from the Law." The actual phrase "simul justus et peccator" is to be found in the 1535 edition. ... The two editions of Luther's works on Galatians, coming from very different times in his career, exhibit striking differences. It is clear that when Luther lectured on Galatians in 1531, he did not simply pull out his notes from 1516-1517 to repeat what he had said earlier. Nor did he simply "touch them up." The printed edition of 1535 differs markedly from that of 1519; it is a new work altogether. The most obvious differences between the two editions are that the 1535 edition is longer, more polemical, and less philological than the edition of 1519. It applies the text of Galatians more directly to events in Luther's own time. In the 1519 edition Luther still identifies himself as an Augustinian. That is lacking in the 1535 edition. What also becomes obvious in reading the two editions is that the 1535 edition has much to say about the "fanatics" and "sectarians" that assail Luther, the evangelical movement, and the church at large. Luther refers, in fact, to his own work as a "movement,"34 but also says that in Wittenberg a "form of a Christian church" has been acquired over against the fanatics who would destroy it. ... That evaluation notwithstanding, problems with Luther's interpretations and perspectives have become evident in modern times, particularly in his understanding and treatment of Judaism in Paul's day. Moreover, connections between his understanding of first-century Judaism, his portrayal of Paul's opponents in Galatia, and his descriptions of his own opponents are drawn too easily. Luther himself admitted that his commentary of 1535 was inadequate and, above all, too "wordy." But every interpreter is bound by his or her social and temporal location to one degree or another. It remains clear that in Luther one finds a sympathetic hearing of the apostle Paul and a masterful performance in representing the teachings of the Letter to the Galatians in new circumstances. -- ARLAND J. HULTGREN is professor of New Testament. He is the author of a forthcoming commentary on the parables of Jesus to be published by Eerdmans. [link]

Galatians 1 – Continuing the Apostle Paul’s Trilogy of Systematic Theology with Part 2 the Book of Galatians – Perhaps no other book either Christian or secular has made more of an impact in the changing, designing and shaping of Western Culture than the Bible’s Book of Galatians — ‘Galatians 1:1-5 Paul, an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him (Jesus) from the dead; And all the brethren which are with me, unto the Churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and Peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.’

'Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.' - 'Matthew 28:1-6 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward [Sunday] the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre [tomb]. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is Risen, *as He (Jesus) said. Come, see the [empty] place where the Lord lay.' - Paul mentions that whether a man or an angel preaches a different Gospel than the Gospel that Jesus Himself spoke about then it is not from God and not being from God it is an accursed message. The Angelic spiritual realm along with the Holy Spirit and with the human realm is also very active in preaching the Gospel of the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Later in the Book of Revelation immediately after the Mark of the Beast (666) is offered to all of mankind remaining on the earth it will be Angels that will also preach the everlasting Gospel to mankind along with the sealed (selected) 144,000 Jewish Witnesses. The Angels will be preaching the Gospel instructing mankind to Worship the True and Living God the creator and giver of physical life as well as the creator and provider of eternal, everlasting, Spiritual life. - 'Revelation 14:6-7 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, *having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every Nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give Glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and *Worship Him that made [created] heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.'

Galatians 2 – The Apostle Paul is encouraging the Galatians to work on areas that they know need improving – By demonstrating in his own life that they don’t need permission from a Church hierarchy in order to do what is Biblically right even to the point of rebuking authority figures when they fail to practice themselves what they preach — ‘Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith [resurrection] of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.’

'Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I (Apostle Paul) withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.' - Note: It's very important to know that when rebuking someone particularly an elder that 1. If you feel compelled to rebuke them don't even if you have prayed about it because it's probably not from God. 2. If you feel really, really compelled to rebuke someone then absolutely really, really Do Not rebuke them. 3. If you do not feel led to rebuke someone but you have a clear picture of the situation and you understand the beginning of the situation and know where the problem is in its current middle form and most importantly can see the resolution to the problem and in fact feel that the problem has already been resolved [maybe in Heaven] and that there just needs to be a tiny notification, a tweak, an adjustment here on earth to match God's will in Heaven [Matthew 6:10] then go ahead and talk to that person or persons about the topic. 4. When you do talk to someone try to ascertain if you have an open door for the conversation but if you have to seek someone out to have a conversation then forget it, don't even bother they probably won't listen to most of what you have to say and will probably twist what they did hear and then the whole situation will be worse after the conversation. If however there is a 'chance meeting' or a defined opportunity and both people are calm and there is a moment to build each other up in the faith then take that moment and build your brother in the faith up. For instance if you think a preacher is excessively telling too many personal stories from the pulpit then don't mention the personal stories much or at all but instead mention what part of the preaching blessed you for example a background on Biblical doctrine or an explanation of the original Greek word that helped explain the Bible better to you. In time the particular Preacher might lend more preaching to Biblical interpretation or in time we might be the one who needs to move on. A final comment about rebuking and you can tell that the Apostle Paul did this and that is that when the Apostle Paul rebuked someone else like in this case the Apostle Peter that Paul was also rebuking himself at the same time and was listening to what he was saying and making his rebuke a part of his own personal Christian Walk and life. Later when the Apostle Paul welcomes Mark back into his presence it is after Paul had rebuked the Church at Corinth for not accepting back into their midst a repentant believer. Always remember that for us the Word of God is a two edged sword [Revelation 1:16] it cuts [affects] both the speaker of the Word and the hearer of the Word.

Galatians 3 – The Apostle Paul explains that works have never been a part of a relationship with God – There has always only been one program with God and it is a program based on faith and trust in God and not in the works of man – Even Abraham’s great relationship with God was based on faith and trust as Abraham had faith in God before he exhibited his works to God — ‘Galatians 3:2-3 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the [Holy] Spirit by the works of the law {no}, or by the hearing [free gift] of faith {yes}? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the [Holy] Spirit, are ye now made perfect [complete] by the [human] flesh? {no}’

'Galatians 3:6-7 Even as Abraham believed God, and it [his circumcision] was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of [Christian] faith, the *same are the children of Abraham.' - Note: Traditionally after Abraham the children (descendants of Abraham) are circumcised as an infant on the eight day after their birth. The infant circumcision is not a seal of the faith of the child but it is a seal of the faith of the parent [it is a generational faith]. Abraham was not circumcised as an infant Abraham was circumcised as an adult, he made his own decision and therefore Abraham's circumcision is the faith of an adult and his adult decision for faith is why our Christian faith is compared to Abraham but not necessarily to circumcision. Circumcision after Abraham is more like a child dedication for us as it is more of an exhibit of the faith of the parent than of the child. Abraham circumcised himself as an adult but then he also circumcised his infant son Isaac with his adult faith then later Isaac circumcised his infant son Jacob with his adult faith and on and on until the present time. -- 'Galatians 3:12-14 And the law [self-ability] is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them [self-ability]. Christ hath redeemed us from the [self-ability] curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written [Deuteronomy 21:23], Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the [Spiritual] blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the [Holy] Spirit through faith.' - The Apostle Paul is again declaring the finality of the death of Jesus on the cross and then with the finality of death on the cross then the giving of the Holy Spirit and a new life. Yes, Jesus in the eyes of man was made a curse [for our benefit] but keep in mind that Jesus died on the cross and with Jesus all sin and every curse also died [though Jesus resurrected the sins and curses of mankind remained dead and nailed to the cross]. The cross of Jesus Christ removed both the curse of our own human restrictions and constraints and also any curse or restraints from the Satanic, Demonic realm that might be placed on us in attempting to hinder and restrict us. 'Colossians 2:14-15 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary [against] to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His (Jesus) cross; And having spoiled principalities [fallen satanic angels] and powers [demonic powers], He (Jesus) made a shew [show] of them openly, triumphing [Victory] over them in it.'

Galatians 4 – The Apostle Paul continues to dispel any notion that there might be benefits to following the Law that faith alone and the receiving of the Holy Spirit cannot provide — ‘Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time [human history] was come, God sent forth His Son (Jesus), made of a woman [virgin birth], made under the law [Temple in Jerusalem was in operation], To redeem [bring into the presence of God] them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. *Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir [inheritor] of God through Christ.’ {Note: Being redeemed from the law is not the same thing as being redeemed from sin. It is similar to a Christian practicing alcohol, drugs, pornography etc. and then being redeemed from those things that are restricting a Christian from their closer more intimate relationship with the presence of God in their life. The Law was actually a boundary keeping sinful people apart from the Holy God but after being cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ and with the finality of His death on the cross the Holy Spirit then removed the boundary of the law from us and redeemed us into the actual perceivable presence of God.}

'Galatians 4:21-5:1 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid [Hagar], the other by a freewoman [Sarah]. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh [man's plan]; but he of the freewoman [Sarah] was by promise [God's plan]. Which things are an allegory [parable]: for these are the two covenants [Old Testament, New Testament]; the one from the mount Sinai [Mt. Sinai], which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar [Hagar]. For this Agar is mount Sinai in [Saudi] Arabia {the Biblical Mt. Sinai is located in Saudi Arabia with the now traditional Mt. Sinai located in Egypt}, and answereth to Jerusalem [Mt. Zion] which now is [in effect, New Testament], and [Hagar] is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem [Mt. Zion] which is above is free, which is [Sarah] the mother of us all [in faith]. ... *Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: *for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.' - This analogy of two Mountains or two locations Mt. Sinai [the Law] and Mt. Zion, Jerusalem [the cross and the resurrection] is one of the most important Biblical concepts because it goes straight to how and where we are to approach God. God was on Mt. Sinai when Moses met God in the burning bush and then as a sign God brought the Children of God out of Egypt and to Mt. Sinai to worship Him there. But they could only worship from a distance as they could not approach Mt. Sinai 'whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death' then as Moses and the Children of God journeyed to Israel their Promise Land God went with them. God in allegory left Mt. Sinai [Law] and relocated with the Children of God to Jerusalem [Mt. Zion]. If you want to keep the Law that mountain [Mt. Sinai] is vacant and if it's not vacant it's certain death if you even try to approach it. Mt. Zion in Jerusalem the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the other hand is both open and available to all mankind and along with the availability of Mt. Zion there is an invitation to all to come to God freely but only to Mt. Zion not to Mt. Sinai. It is only to Mt. Zion that the invitation for mankind to meet with God has been given.

Mountain Of Fire – The Search For Mount Sinai pt 2 of 5 – The boundary markers around Mt. Sinai (Video) – Exodus 19:12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount [Mt. Sinai], or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:’ (YouTube)

Bob Cornuke from BASE Institute has been called a modern day Indiana Jones. This video is a clip from Bob's video about the The Search For Mount Sinai. -- {Note: The Apostle Paul is writing about Mt. Sinai from both common knowledge of the day and his experiential knowledge having been to Mt. Sinai himself. After his Damascus road experience and departing Damascus the Apostle Paul went to Saudi Arabia and stayed in Saudi Arabia for about three years. Earlier the Prophet Elijah [1 Kings 19:8] had also gone to Arabia [Mt. Sinai also called Mt. Horeb] and stayed for a short time in the cave on Mt. Sinai (video part 4 of 5).} 'Galatians 1:17 Neither went I [Apostle Paul] up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; *but I went into Arabia [for about three years], and returned again unto Damascus.' - 'Galatians 4:25 mount Sinai in Arabia ...'  [link]

Galatians 5 – The Apostle Paul exhorts the Christian Church to live in their newfound life of freedom and liberty in Jesus Christ — ‘Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith [Jesus] Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.’

'Galatians 5:5 For we [Christians] through the [Holy] Spirit wait for the hope of [Jesus'] righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.' - The Apostle Paul makes another comment to Christians about the practice of circumcision reiterating that the physical practice alone symbolizes a bygone era and brings with it the bondage of that previous era. Circumcision the actual physical, ritual, process does not save people. People are not saved because they have been circumcised. The Apostle Peter will also make the same comment [1 Peter 3:21] to the Christian Church in regards to our water baptism. Likewise the physical, ritual event and process of baptism does not save us. People are not saved because they have been water baptized. Note: There are other significant reasons and blessings for each individual person to be water baptized [and it is a commandment from God] however salvation apart from a relationship with God is not a possibility even with a water baptism. - '1 Peter 3:21-22 The like figure [Noah's Ark] whereunto even baptism doth also now save us *not the [baptism in water] putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him.'

Galatians 6 – The Apostle Paul concludes his remarks and encouragement to the Christians in Galatia — ‘Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of (Christian) faith.’

'Galatians 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew [show] in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest [in hopes] they should [avoid] suffer [suffering] persecution [from fellow Jews] for the cross of Christ.' - A final note about the practice of circumcision in the early Christian Church. The Christian Jews and Christian 'Judaizers' knew and understood full well that the promises of God belong to the Jews and that circumcision was give as a sign to those who had received the promises of God. Therefore in the early Christian Church there was the understanding that if you weren't circumcised you weren't a part of the promises of God. The early Jewish Christian believers were just trying to keep things on a Biblical foundation according to the best of their Biblical understanding. It was the Apostle Paul that was called by God to go to the Gentiles and to bring the Gentiles into the primarily Jewish Christian Church and as a part of his ministry to the Gentiles the Apostle Paul was given an understanding in the doctrines of Gentile Salvation in the Christian Church. It was a part of the Ministry of the Apostle Paul to present and to clarify the doctrines pertaining to the predominantly Gentile Christian Church. - The main point that the Apostle Paul makes in regards to circumcision is that circumcision was an old physical sign but that now with the finality of the death of Jesus on the cross and the giving of the Holy Spirit the new Spiritual sign for the Christian Church for also having received of the promises of God is the Spiritual sign of the resurrection of Jesus Christ living inside of the 'born again' believer. Where circumcision was an outward appearance available to only a few the 'born again' Spiritual sign is an inward appearance and is available to everyone; male, female, Jewish, Gentile, rich, poor, young, old, sick, healthy, in prison, released from prison, in any circumstance, at any given location and during any time all are within the category of receiving the Holy Spirit and eternal life from God. Even those in the category of unbelief because unbelief itself in any given moment can be overcome by belief it's that simple, that easy and that fast that a person can receive the Holy Spirit from Jesus Christ and with it eternal Salvation life. - The Apostle Paul closes the Book of Galatians by imparting his personal blessing to them. 'Galatians 6:18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.'

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