VERSES 1-5: “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him 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 for ever and ever. Amen.”
This is the book of Galatians, and this video will be a verse-by-verse expository teaching. And like previous videos that I’ve made, I have no notes as such, and I like to approach this type of concept in a kind of informal way. And above all, I hope that you are following along with me with your Bibles open.
My aim is to read the verses as clearly and as accurately as I possibly can. Sometimes it’s rather difficult to pronounce every word correctly and to speak in the right manner. Even the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee who spent five years doing his “Through the Bible” study not only occasionally mispronounced words but would even leave entire verses out of his excellent series of book-by-book, verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter expository teachings. So like previous videos, my prayers and my hopes are very much that the Lord will (a) bless this and (b) that those that are listening will get saved if they’re not saved, and if they are saved, will grow in grace.
Let’s look at this from the beginning. Verse 1, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.”) I’m a Trinitarian. That means I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I’ll come back to the Trinity in a moment. First of all, Paul wasn’t chosen by man. He was chosen by God. Acts chapter 1 tells us that to be an apostle, somebody who was sent, you would have to have been an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. Now, I believe that Paul saw the Lord pre His crucifixion and subsequent resurrection but, of course, did not believe until Acts chapter 9 on the road to Damascus. He wasn’t chosen by the apostles also but directly from God, and yet we have this odd situation in the Roman Catholic church where the cardinals choose the pope and the pope chooses the cardinals. Kind of circular. It’s kind of strange, but that way the old boys at the top retain all the power. And your typical parishioner in any church in any part of the world has no say whatsoever in who runs their church. And that starts from the parish level with your parish priest right up to your prelates, and even higher to your pope. A bishop in a Catholic church can move a priest at a moment’s notice without even consulting the parishioners, the laity in the Catholic church. They have no say whatsoever.
Also, I want to take you back to the reference here to Jesus being raised from the dead. John chapter 2 told us that the Son of God raised Himself from the dead. Romans chapter 8 told us that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and here the Father is in reference to raising Christ from the dead. That is the clearest statement, I believe, in the New Testament of the Triune God, the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three separate persons but one God working together and yet independently to resurrect Christ from the dead.
The second account that I think is worth sharing with you is the creation of the world. Look at Psalm 90, Psalm 90 verse 1: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Ps. 90:1-2.) That’s a reference to the Father. Look at Job, Job 26 verse 13: “By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.” There’s your Holy Spirit. And then go to the book of Colossians, chapter 1. Look at 16: “For by him” – Jesus – “were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:16-17.) So the Father was found in Psalm 90; the Holy Ghost was found in Job 26; and the Son of God was found in Colossians chapter 1 – three in one, one in three, and the one in the middle died for me.
Back to Galatians, please. Also look at verse 2, to the brethren, 3, grace to you, 4, who gave himself for our sins. These are saved people that Paul is writing to. These are people that have appropriated the atonement. Now verse 6, the meat of this epistle.
VERSES 6-7: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Nothing whatsoever has changed. Two thousand years on, there are many people, many, many, many people that are out to pervert the Gospel of Christ, to deny the Gospel of Christ, and unfortunately, most of the people who do the most damage are those that are “in churches.” So-called “scholars” will look at books like Galatians and 1 Timothy, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Revelation, even the Gospels, and these so-called “men of God” will deny that eyewitnesses, that the apostles penned these books. And, of course, they are the modern-day Judaizers because they want to get you into bondage in intellectual ways. They want to have you put all your faith into them, not into the Bible. So when a person has a crisis in their life, they don’t go to the word of God to find the answers; they don’t go to the Lord Himself in prayer; they go to the man in the box if they are a Catholic or they go to the man with the collar if they are an Anglican.
This expression “another gospel, which is not another gospel” – allos and heteros, two Greek words. One means “another of the same kind” and the other word means “another of a different kind.” Now, if there are many gospels, of course, many accounts of the Lord’s life, the overwhelming majority were written by spurious writers, and here Paul is saying there’s another gospel which is not another gospel. In other words, it’s a worthless gospel. And as I say, Paul is writing this to saved people which had already been swayed by the subtlety of the devil, which is also referred to in 2 Corinthians 12. Look at 8.
VERSE 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.”
“We” here is in reference to the apostles. The angel here could be Moroni if you’re a Mormon or Gabriel if you’re a Muslim. Joseph Smith and Mohammed both claim to have seen angelic visitations, and these so-called angelic visitations completely contradicted the word of God, completely foreign to Scripture and therefore, according to the latter part of verse 8, they are to be accursed. Now, only the apostles can place a curse on this area of apostasy, on this area of false teaching. Paul also speaks about those being accursed in Corinthians and that, again, is in reference to those that are preaching another gospel, those that deny the only true Lord.
VERSE 9: “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
There’s your anathema. Now it’s gone from an angel to man. In other words, anybody who tells you anything which contradicts what we’ve told you – the apostles (a) verbally and (b) in writing, i.e., the New Testament – let that person be cursed. Again, only an apostle has the authority to put a curse on somebody, and the only way to be sure whether somebody is preaching the truth or not is to go to Scripture. The Bereans checked Paul in light of Scripture and were rewarded for it, and if you are a saved person that has the Bible, open it, read it, and check it, because your soul is at stake here.
VERSE 10: “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
You can’t have two masters. And verse 10, again, it takes time – I said this in my last video on John. Humility takes time. It does not come overnight. You could be a solid Christian saved for 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months – it doesn’t matter. If you try to run before you can walk, you will fall into all sorts of problems. But the point here is to be a true servant, a true disciple of the Lord, a faithful disciple, somebody who puts (a) the Lord first and (b) others in front of their own well being, their own needs. And that takes time. But nonetheless, you are to push forward for that. You are to deny yourself, and the Lord says you cannot be my disciple if you don’t pick up your cross and come and follow Me. That takes time. But I’ve always said that if you are willing to do that, the Lord will give you the grace to follow Him if necessary to the ends of the earth, which you find in Romans 10 that the apostles went to the ends of the earth, and all but one were martyred for their faith, all but one.
Second point to quickly make on this would be that if you love the world, you are an enemy of God. And, again, there is a need in Scripture for separation. The only exception I find in both Testaments is if you are either married to an unsaved party and got saved after the marriage had taken place or if you are working in an employment position with unsaved people. Then you have grounds for that yoking. But apart from that, there’s nothing found in either Testament that would allow a saved man or woman to regularly fellowship, to regularly socialize with unsaved people. The Bible says that you are to be a peculiar people. You’ve been called unto separation from the world and to keep your testimony clean.
VERSE 11: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.”
He didn’t get it from man. He got it straight from the Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles, also chosen by the Lord, knew that Paul was apostolic through and through. And I say that because there are many people around today and have been around for a while that still try to do a character assassination on Paul. And I’ve read Masonic books that say that he was the Antichrist. Complete nonsense. If the apostles were chosen and saved – and they were – if the Holy Spirit fell on them all and gave them an anointing at Pentecost – and He did – there’s no way that the apostles would have been misled by Paul. It’s totally unrealistic. It’s complete nonsense to even suggest that. They checked Paul out. Paul checked them out, and everything tallied. But my point again was that he got his calling, he got his ministry from the Lord, not from the apostles, not from a church council, but from God the Son Himself.
VERSE 12: “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
VERSE 13: “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:”
That last part “wasted it” is a very modern word. If you watch any gangster film, that is always used -waste ’em, lose ’em, take him out. The world uses the language of the King James Bible written 400 years ago this year.
VERSE 14: “And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
And that’s the problem. If your tradition is not found and clearly substantiated in Scripture, then it’s worthless. Now, I will say this that we’re coming up to Christmas, and the same question gets asked each year: Is it okay to (a) have a Christmas tree in the house and (b) to celebrate Christmas? And Jeremiah 10 is cited as Scripture to suggest that a tree has a pretty negative connotation to it, and the decorations and all of the festivities and the rituals also are problematic. Now, I will say this that Romans 14 says that to some a holy day is holy and to others it’s not. To some eating meat is okay and to others it is not. Paul told us that to the pure all things were pure. So always keep all that information in mind when you make your own personal decision about whether or not to have a tree or whether or not to even celebrate Christmas, per se. What I would say is that the Gospel of Matthew tells that the wise men brought gifts to the child, the child King, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. They came to celebrate His birth.
So we can’t be too dogmatic that Christmas in and of itself isn’t to be used as an outreach to the lost or even to be marked as a way to celebrate the Lord’s birth. If you’re born again, if you’re saved and you’re a Bible believer, then every day should be holy for you. Every day should be the Lord’s day for you, really. But if you’re yoked with unsaved people or if you’re watching this video or listening to this video and you’re not saved but you’re keeping Christmas, then there’s a touch of hypocrisy there, really, because although Christmas as we know it today has pagan roots, nonetheless, it still points in a roundabout way to the Lord Jesus Christ. So for nonreligious people to celebrate Christmas is kind of hypocritical, really. But for the saved person, which is my main focus, you have the freedom in Christ to either keep or celebrate Christmas day or not keep it, not retain it and subsequently dismiss it. But above all, whatever you do, do it for God’s glory.
But this reference here to tradition, again, has to be found in Scripture. Otherwise, you’re following the rules and the regulations of men. And just go to the Gospels. Look at the so-called religious elite, and time after time after time Jesus slammed them for putting their rituals ahead of the word of God and therefore nullifying Scripture.
VERSES 15-17: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”
This is a fascinating part of Scripture. And I will return to the main point of this ‒ not going up to the apostles but going into Arabia and waiting on the Lord. But my main point I want to look at here briefly is this calling. He was called; he was separated from his mother’s womb. If you go to the book of Isaiah, chapter 49 verse 1, it says, “Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” That’s a reference to God the Son speaking of the Father separating Him from His mother’s womb.
Now, without getting too deep here, what we do know is that God the Son is eternal; He’s always existed. But the son of man had a beginning and had an end. So here Jesus has been separated from His mother’s womb. He’s been chosen by the Father, not before the foundation of the world but while He was in His mother’s womb. Let me give you one more. Go to chapter 44, verse 1: “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen” – Jacob, Israel, chosen – “Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen” (Isa. 44:1-2.)
So they were chosen from the womb. Now, again, this expression “from the womb,” you can take it literally if you choose to or you can take it from a spiritual perspective, but either way, Jacob was a person, Jesus was a person, and Paul was a person, and as humans, they were chosen by the Father in time, not before the foundation of the world. And I want to make that point because this links into Calvinism. This links into predestination.
Go back to 49, verse 5: “And now, saith the LORD” – upper case – “that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.” And the rest of Isaiah 49 is in reference to the Son and the Father and the work that He’s going to do.
Predestination – and I’ll just quickly touch on this – in Calvinism teaches that in eternity past, God chose a select group of people to be saved, and everybody else He chose to be unsaved. The opposing view to that would be the non-Calvinist view that makes the case that God chooses people in time to be servants, i.e., the apostles, and in time people can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and through foreknowledge God knew clearly in eternity past who would be saved, and through foreknowledge those that would be saved are going to be saved and become the sheep.
One final point I want to just quickly say, that if predestination is correct, if God has chosen those whom He will save before the foundation of the world, why do we find in Romans 16 and 17 Paul speaking about those that were saved before he was, those that were in Christ before he was? If everyone has been saved from eternity past, why did he mention those that were saved before he was saved in time? That doesn’t make sense. Now, I’ve done other videos on Calvinism, so I don’t want to go over that again now, and you can look this up on our web site if you have the time to do so. But my main aim was to look (a) at the calling here, the separation here from his mother’s womb up to the second point of not going up to Jerusalem but going into Arabia when he knew that he was going to be preaching to the heathen.
VERSE 18: “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”
Peter was the oldest apostle. Peter was given the keys to open up the Kingdom of God, and vicariously all the other believers, all the other apostles, and all the other disciples get the keys too. Peter appoints elders in 1 Peter 5; Paul mentions the elders in Acts chapter 20. Those elders would have gone off and ordained elders who would have ordained elders who would have ordained elders. We have no records. That’s the way these elders are today. Yes, we have writings from Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Papius, and other early church leaders, but what we can’t say for sure is that those writings speak for every Christian group in the world in the second or third century. That’s just not the case. Their writings speak for the established church as it was at that time, and their writings must always be read in light of Scripture, never the other way around. We go to the Scripture first and we check what they have said in their writings to make sure it matches with the Bible. The Bible is your final authority, never the church fathers. They may have been holy, they may have been righteous, they may have been even right – maybe – but nonetheless, if they are of the Lord, their writings will line up with the Scriptures, and if they’re not of the Lord, then you won’t find their writings lining up with Scriptures, in which case you can simply discard them.
But 16, 17, and 18 point to Paul being saved, not going up to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles but going into Arabia and into Damascus, and then three years later he goes up to Jerusalem. Now, my belief is that perhaps Acts 9:30 to 11:25 when Paul is let down the wall in a basket because the Jews are coming after him and he goes into exile for a period of time, somewhere in that period of time, he went to the third heaven. It’s difficult to find another part of Scripture where those years are dealt with, and that gap, I believe, points to Paul’s trip to the third heaven and back.
VERSE 19: “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.”
That, of course, is the Lord’s half brother.
VERSES 20-24: “Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.”
The equivalent picture of that today, I would imagine, would be a well-known Islamist who was known in the Middle East for killing Christians, getting saved, and completely turning his life upside down – going from somebody who opposed the Gospel to somebody who was now advocating it and promoting it. And here Paul had a pretty notorious reputation among the saved, and yet the Lord was able to turn him around. But this whole belief of irresistible grace, as great as that would sound, just look at the prophet Jonah. The prophet Jonah was almost killed because he wouldn’t do what the Lord wanted him to do.
So you need to tread carefully, as I say, when you get into this whole sovereignty of God and the free will of man and how God can, when He wants to, override people and speak through people. But nonetheless, He always uses those who are already saved to do something directly for Him, i.e., to glorify Him or to bring people to Him. Pharaoh was already lost when God raised him up and ultimately destroyed him. Jonah was a saved man but fought the Lord tooth and nail, and the Lord in the end nearly killed him to get him to do what He wanted him to do.
So just a quick footnote. And my apologies if I went slightly off script there, but I just wanted to share these thoughts with you, put them on video, and as we go through the book of Galatians, Lord willing, things will become a bit more clear to you.
VERSE 1: “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.”
Acts chapter 15 is the cross reference to this.
VERSE 2: “And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.”
Paul was called by the Lord Jesus Christ for a special mission. He was the apostle of the Gentiles. He was to take the Gospel to Rome. He was the author of most of the New Testament. And as I said in the previous chapter, he was not called, he was not ordained, he was not sent by the apostles. He was called completely independently of the apostles.
VERSES 3-5: “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”
Here’s Titus, who was a Greek, a non-Jew, and yet he was compelled by the Judaizers, no doubt, to be circumcised. And in the book of Acts we find Timothy, whose mother was a Jew but whose father was a Greek, a Gentile, and to keep a good testimony among his people the Jews, he was circumcised. But here you find a Gentile being forced to be circumcised.
All Christians have liberty in the Lord. There’s different understandings of liberty. The liberty here is in reference to a person being saved without the deeds of the law, but the other meaning of liberty in Christ means that a saved person can live pretty much as they choose within reason, of course, providing (a) it doesn’t cause another party to sin and (b) it doesn’t hurt your testimony. And it’s a fine line; I appreciate that. But I want to make the point nonetheless because some Christians will push the Lordship salvation deal, and that puts you very much into a bind. It puts you back under the law and, in essence, strips you of any assurance you might have.
VERSE 6: “But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:”
That word “conference,” a very modern word used in the corporate world today, and yet the AV is 400 years old and it shows, once again, that the Bible is completely up to date with modern man’s language. But he says here that they meant nothing to him. Paul completely discards them. He’s an apostle. His credentials were from the Lord, and they were completely irrelevant to him.
VERSES 7-9: “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”
Interesting in verse 9 that he puts James, the Lord’s brother, before Cephas, before Peter. And it seems that James, Peter, and John were very much the pillars in the Jerusalem church, and they could spot an apostle a mile off. It’s the same when you meet a saved person. If you have any level of discernment, you know how it is when you come across a saved man or woman, especially somebody who has a special ministry, somebody who outshines his or her contemporaries due to their love, their commitment, their dedication to the Gospel. But here the early church leaders knew that Paul was an apostle. I believe the Holy Spirit would certainly have testified to that fact. But they also saw in him a reflection of Christ.
Paul was, I believe, the greatest man that ever lived – excluding the Lord Jesus Christ, of course, who was the God man. But Paul really is the model that Christians should base their lives on. He showed that it was possible to live an incredibly victorious life, and while it’s true that he went to the third heaven and while it’s true that he saw the Lord and while it’s true he had wisdom beyond most of his contemporaries, therefore giving him a rather special standing and privilege in the Lord’s service, nonetheless, he was a mortal man and he achieved great heights for the Lord. And I would say that if you were able to achieve just half of what Paul achieved or just a quarter of what Paul achieved, you will make the Lord very happy indeed and be a blessing to your brothers and sisters in the Lord.
VERSE 10: “Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.”
Again, Acts 15 is the cross reference to this, and this reference to honouring the poor is found in both Testaments. The Old Testament Jews were told to be lights; they were told to be beacons to the Gentile world. They weren’t just to be separated from the world and live like the Amish live. They were told to make a difference; they were told to shine; they were told to reflect Jehovah’s glory, and for the most part, they didn’t do it. It’s interesting that he doesn’t quote the meat restriction and the fornication restriction which was found in Acts chapter 15.
VERSE 11: “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”
Here you find Peter, a saved man – no doubt about it – and yet his twin nature (old man/new man) has caused him to fall into the sin of pride. He wants to be with the in crowd. The early church was predominantly Jewish, and the pressure on Peter and the pressure from James was enormous. These were saved Jews that still had their temple up and running, still had pride in the Mosaic covenants, still honoured the animal sacrifices, and yet Peter, a saved man, has fallen temporarily and wilfully, I should say, into the sin of compromise. And because he sinned openly, Paul is going to rebuke him openly.
VERSE 12: “For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.”
A bit of cowardice has also crept in here. There’s two ways to look at this part of Holy Scripture. The first is to see a saved man, a beacon, a pillar of the early church succumbing to peer pressure. And there’s a good and there’s a bad to that. The bad, of course, is the apostasy and the problems that it would have caused the Gentile believers. It would have made them feel inferior, and it would have put pressure on them to try and live as the Jews were living. But the good to that is that, although he was a saved man, he still fell, and he was very much like you and I, whereas the pope of Rome claims to be infallible when he speaks on areas of doctrine of faith. And I would have thought that this would have come under the category of doctrine and faith, doctrine simply because he is advocating a hyper form of separation, something which is not substantiated in the New Testament. And this is a grave error. So the Church of Rome and their doctrine of infallibility or even impeccability doesn’t stand up under Scripture.
As I say, Peter was a saved man and yet here he has fallen to sin. He wasn’t exempt from falling into sin, and yet when was the last time you had a pope confess he had fallen into sin? Very rare, indeed, if ever. Most popes of Rome will wait years and years and years before they issue an apology for any of the major catastrophes, and most of the apologies – which I put to you have come through gritted teeth – have only really surfaced in the last 30, 40, 50 years; and that’s during the most modern apostate era of the last 2,000 years, and that really has been done to appease the ecumenical movement. That was done to be seen, to be politically correct, but in truth, the Catholic church is not really saved. The Catholic church is not really sorry for the inquisition or the crusades. They’re not sorry for the way they treated true Christians over the centuries. They’re not really sorry for the fascists that they worked with during the Second World War. But because it’s not politically favourable to be seen to condone of that era, they have to come out and condemn it. But the main theme here is that Paul is going to publicly rebuke Peter because his actions are very dangerous.
VERSE 13: “And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”
That’s the problem with compromise. That’s the problem with hypocrisy. It’s contagious. Peter was a very strong character. He was one of the pillars from verse 9 in the early church. He preached on the Day of Pentecost. He had the keys to the Kingdom, which, as I say, was given vicariously to all believers through the apostles. So when he fell, you can appreciate why others also fell too, hence why Paul is going to publicly rebuke him.
VERSES 14-16: “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Mark that in your Bibles and underline it. Keeping the law won’t save you. Being circumcised won’t save you. Being baptized won’t save you. Speaking in tongues won’t save you. Falling backwards, falling forwards won’t save you. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17.) If you could do anything to get yourself saved, then Christ died in vain. He died for us, and by His death for us we are saved. That is what substitutionary atonement means. We don’t give ourselves to be saved. That’s what Islam teaches. A Muslim’s only assurance is jihad. That won’t work for a saved man or woman. A saved man or woman is saved by their faith in Christ alone. God gave His Son to die for the sins of the world, whereas Islam gives their sons to die for Allah, a complete reversal of how it should be.
VERSES 17-21: “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 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 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.”
And that’s completely true. If you could be saved any other way except by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then He clearly has died in vain. That’s the point that Paul is trying to drive home and will drive home. And we’ll completely cement this fact that you’re not going to be saved by keeping the law, keeping the Sabbath, keeping the Jewish rituals, calling Jesus Yeshua, calling God Yahweh. That won’t save you. Changing your lifestyle, anything that you do except by putting your faith in Christ alone will not save you.
Just back to 20 quickly. “I am crucified with Christ” – present tense – “nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” And that’s where we get our power from. When we walk in the Spirit, we are able to fulfil the law. Not that it saves us. It does not save us. I’ve already made that point. But we are able to live victorious lives for Him because He’s given us the ability to walk in the Spirit. But the truth of the matter is we normally walk in the flesh and they clash ‒ the Spirit and the flesh ‒ and the two are contrary one to another according to the book of Romans. And the latter part of 20, “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,” that’s what saved Paul; that’s what saved me; and hopefully that is what will save you if you put your faith in Him alone.
VERSE 1: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”
Please keep in mind that Paul is speaking to saved people. Chapter 1 verse 2 he calls them brethren. So he’s not speaking to the goats; he’s not speaking to those that are going to be deceived during the Tribulation or the unregenerate today or in Paul’s own lifetime. He’s speaking to the sheep, those that have appropriated the atonement, those that have believed on the Lord and were then saved. And just because you are saved doesn’t mean you are always going to be in the right. A saved person can be temporarily deceived, and normally it’s because of sin in their own life, sin which they haven’t dealt with. But one thing we know for a fact, that once you’ve been redeemed and you are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, you are saved, period, and therefore He will get you from A to B. He is the Good Shepherd, and He giveth His life for the sheep. So a temporary deception, yes, it’s possible if not probable depending on how strong your walk with the Lord is and knowledge of the Book is. But a permanent deception is totally impossible, absolutely impossible.
Verse 2: “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
He’s asking them, did you get saved by keeping the Ten Commandments or did you get saved by believing the Gospel? “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17.) The Lord preached the Gospel, and those that had ears to hear and eyes to see were saved because they had the good foundation. Their hearts were open and they were recipients of the Gospel. The same is true today. We preach the Gospel, and a person either believes or they don’t. If they believe, they are saved ‒ without any water baptism, without any Ten Commandments, without any Sabbath keeping, without any speaking of tongues.
If you go through the book of Acts very carefully, you will find several people who were baptized, who got saved that did not speak with tongues, that did not do any sign gifts. Lydia never spoke in tongues. The Philippian jailer never spoke in tongues. Again, dispensationalism is important to understand that Acts is a transitional period going from law to grace. The Jews seek after a sign, and the sign, of course, is found in Acts 1, primarily, up to the 10th chapter. The centurion Cornelius, who sent for Peter, he may have been born a Gentile, but the moment he converted to Judaism, he was a Jew, hence why he speaks in tongues. But the Philippian jailer, the Ethiopian eunuch, both Gentiles, didn’t speak in tongues.
VERSE 3: “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Twice he calls them foolish. Jesus said if you call somebody a fool, you are in danger of hell fire. Scripture with Scripture. Get the dispensations right. Jesus is speaking to the Jews under the law. Isaiah said He came to sharpen the law, and He said of Himself, I’ve come to fulfil the law. Paul is speaking to Gentiles post the law, post the resurrection, post Pentecost; therefore, he is entitled to call these people fools, not in a malicious way but in a loving way. But he’s still driving the point home by saying, Do you really think that you have started in the Spirit and now you are going to be made perfect by the flesh, i.e., doing external rituals, trying to be a good Jew – wearing the skull cap and all the Jewish apparel, which a lot of people dress up in, whether it’s the feast days throughout the year or the Sabbath on a Saturday.
Paul here is scathing, and everybody that is a Jew or a Gentile, especially the Messianics, should read this book verse by verse and do a proper exegesis on it, because he’s crystal clear that you cannot start in the flesh and get saved. You got saved by believing on the Lord, and Ephesians 4 said that when you believe on the Lord, you are baptized into the body of Christ.
VERSES 4-6: “Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Faith alone. Abraham believed on the Lord and was saved. Lord willing, my next video will be on the book of James, and I can see me taking an hour, quite possibly, going through the second chapter proving that man is saved by faith in Christ alone but making the point that when a person gets saved, the Lord looks at the heart, whereas man looks at the outward appearance. So while a person believes on the Lord and is saved by their faith and God sees that, their faith produces works, and the works are seen by their peers. Therefore, faith before God is one thing, and faith before man is another thing. And, Lord willing, I want to get to that on my next video.
But here Abraham believed on God and was saved. Abraham was saved, Isaac was saved, all of the patriarchs were saved. They had their sins covered. Only when Christ died were they permanently forgiven. So they had their sins covered; they died, went into the ground, which is found in Luke 16, and they waited for Christ to go into the earth and scoop them up and take them up to glory with Him. When that happened, of course, their sins were permanently forgiven. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22.) So consider that as a temporary covering which covered over the Old Testament saints – even those that were saved in the Gospel period pre the crucifixion – but when the Lord goes into the ground and comes up again, He takes all of the saved to Heaven with Him.
VERSE 7: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”
VERSES 8-10: “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”
If you are a law keeper, if you are a strong proponent of works and faith, then here Paul says if you don’t keep the entire law, you are cursed. Never mind cherry picking the bits that you want and discarding the rest. Here he’s quite clear that you are minded to keep all of the law, which, of course, is impossible, hence why Christ died for you.
I just want to stop for a second and give you a quick analogy which might help your understanding as to how substitutionary atonement works. Picture the Lord as an Olympic swimmer, and He is qualified to swim from A to B in a set period of time, and if He achieves that, He wins the medal. Picture yourself as a non-Olympic swimmer who can’t even swim and you also have to get from A to B at an appointed time to win the medal. Already you see that you are automatically disqualified. Therefore, Jesus swims the race for you and wins the medal. He did what you cannot do. In the Gospel of John He says I’ve already overcome the world. Our faith in Him has overcome the world. Substitutionary atonement means that He died in our place. Pre the new birth, whatever we do is totally irrelevant. Giving to charity, fasting, praying, meditating, going to church – all those things are totally worthless pre the new birth. Post the new birth, fasting is good, going to church is fine, doing good deeds is okay – providing you’re doing it because you have already been saved by your faith in Christ alone, not in order to get saved or to stay saved. But the problem is that many people try to justify themselves by living a “good life” on their own backs, not on the back of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, when we are saved, we are baptized into His body, which is a living organism, and through Him we are able to function. He said in the Gospel of John, “Without me, you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5), and that’s totally true. When you get victory over sin, that was possible because you yielded to the Holy Ghost, and He gave you the ability to overcome sin. When you don’t yield to the Holy Spirit and you try and do things yourself, then you fall hard.
So just keep the vision in mind of the Olympic swimmer achieving something that you could never do and I could never do.
VERSE 11: “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”
No further explanation is really needed from me for 11.
VERSES 12-14: “And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Jesus didn’t hang on an actual tree. This is a Jewish expression of somebody that died a cursed death. Absalom died a cursed death and was found hanging on a tree. So don’t get confused with this term. We know for a fact that Jesus was nailed to a cross, not a stake as the Jehovah’s ‒ false ‒ Witnesses claim, but He was nailed to a cross. His left hand took a nail; his right hand took a nail ‒ plural not singular. A stake would have the left over the right, one nail going through both hands, whereas the Gospel of John speaks about the nails plural going through His hands. And Psalm 22 said they pierced my hands and my feet. And, again, the latter part of 14, “that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith.”
VERSES 15-19: “Brethren” – again, saved people, he’s speaking to saved people here – brethren. This book is written to saved people. Just because they are in sin, just because they are carnal as the Corinthians were, does not mean they weren’t saved. They were saved. Paul wouldn’t write six chapters to unsaved people. He’s writing to saved people and vicariously to all people to read the Bible and become saved. But here, 15 starts out with “Brethren” – beloved brethren – “I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
The law was given primarily to (a) show the holiness of God and (b) to show man his need of God. Without the law, all men would do what was right in their own eyes. The law also gives the knowledge of sin; it brings you to your knees; hence, when you’re on your knees, when you’re on your face, you cry out to God to be saved.
One of the main reasons that so many professing Christians never preach the Gospel, never have any burden to reach the lost is (a) because they’ve never really seen their sin and (b) they have no understanding of the paramount need to try and reach their unsaved family and friends. And you can’t blame them. Unless somebody knows that they have done something wrong, unless somebody understands the enormity of their sin and the need of a Saviour, you wouldn’t expect them to go door knocking; you wouldn’t expect them to go onto the streets; you wouldn’t expect them to crisscross the globe risking their lives preaching to unsaved men and women.
The seed, of course, is Christ; that should be obvious. He goes back through the line of Abraham, Isaac, back to the godly line of Adam ultimately but post Adam, the godly line of Seth, Noah’s son.
VERSES 20-21: “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
In other words, could you have been saved by keeping the law? Verse 2, “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law,” meaning could you have been saved by the law, Christ wouldn’t have needed to come. You would have been saved by keeping the law.
VERSE 22: “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
Those that appropriate the atonement.
VERSES 23-24: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
Faith alone, sola fide. This is something that every saved man and woman really needs to stand up and fight for. Ecumenicalism is annihilating pretty much all of professing Christianity in the world today, and every ecumenical church now denies faith through Christ alone. You cannot be yoked to the Church of Rome, which teaches faith and works, and still hold to faith alone. It doesn’t fit. It doesn’t work. If a Catholic gets saved, if a Catholic comes to the knowledge of the Lord, if a Catholic meets Jesus and knows that his or her sin has been forgiven simply by trusting on Him, that Catholic cannot then remain in the church of Rome which denies faith alone, which curses faith alone.
Picture this: You’ve gone before a judge for your crimes against society, and you plead your case. He hears you. A fine is issued. The fine is paid. You are free to go. What would the judge think if you said, “Well, actually, I want to stay. In fact, I want to come back to this courthouse every day for the rest of my life.” What would the judge think? That judge has already dealt with your crime through the penalty which was paid on your behalf, I would add, and yet although you say you have accepted the payment paid on your behalf, you’re still going back to the courthouse every day because you’re not quite sure whether or not you have actually been exonerated.
That’s how it works with salvation. When Christ forgives a sinner, that person knows they are saved, and that person can sing Amazing Grace. Only a saved person can sing Amazing Grace and know what it means. Somebody who has yet to be saved cannot sing Amazing Grace. The tense is past – I was a wretch but now I am saved.
So if you are a Catholic that has got saved, then you need to find the nearest door and walk. Never mind staying behind to try and take people with you. That is not what is expected of you. Revelation 18 told you to come out from them, my people (Rev. 18:4.) But, again, the main point I need to underscore here is that sinners are saved by their faith in Christ alone, and if you are a saved person, you need to stand up and fight for this cardinal theme of the New Testament.
VERSE 25: “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
Faith and law don’t go. They are completely at odds with one another.
VERSE 26: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Only by the new birth is a person saved. You’re not a child of God until you are born again. You may have saved parents; you may have saved grandparents – that doesn’t save you. God has no grandchildren. Your first birth won’t save you. You need to be spiritually born from above, and then you become the children of God.
VERSES 27-28: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Positionally speaking, the moment a person gets saved, their spirit goes to be with the Lord according to John 5:24 and Ephesians chapter 1, and therefore there is neither male nor female in Heaven because we were told in Matthew that we are like the angels in Heaven, which are sexless. But on earth, we still have differing roles. A man is still a man; a woman is still a woman, and in the local assembly, there is still a pecking order. Women are not to be in the ministry – that’s the first point. Secondly, not all men are to be in the ministry, either. Sometimes when you say that women shouldn’t be in the ministry, that is considered chauvinism by the modern politically correct world. And we’re not interested in what the world thinks about the Bible, but there are differences, as I say, between saved people living today compared to saved people that are in Heaven already.
As I say, when a person is saved, their spirit goes to be with the Lord, and they become like the angels in Heaven, which has an ultimate picture at glorification when the body, soul, and spirit are all joined together. But now we are reigning spiritually with the Lord in Heaven, which is the spiritual part of the Kingdom of God, but physically we’re still on the earth. So try not to confuse the two kingdoms of God -physical and spiritual. And also never take 28 to be an endorsement that women can be in the ministry. That’s not what it’s saying at all. Positionally they are sinless with the Lord, but practically they are still here living on the earth, male or female, Jew or Gentile, and therefore their standing in the Lord can fluctuate, and, as I say, their roles clearly are not the same.
VERSE 29: “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
VERSES 1-5: “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Strictly speaking, those that were under the law in verse 5 were the Jews. It says in verse 4 that He was born to a woman made under the law. He came unto His own, John chapter 1, but His own received Him not. So first and foremost, He is the Jewish Messiah, and through their unbelief, according to Romans 11, we are grafted in. Also, this expression “the law” would be the moral aspect of the law, the Ten Commandments, really. The civil and ceremonial part of the law was fulfilled in Christ, but the moral aspect of the law still remains. But it needs to be said that when we are saved, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and when we walk in the Spirit, we don’t commit the sins of the flesh; we don’t break the law. So it’s a bit of a paradox, in a sense, because without the Holy Spirit, without Jesus, we were told we could do nothing, but with Him we can do all things because He strengthens us and He guides us and He leads us into all areas of truth.
But here adoption precedes justification. Justification is a legal term which means you are exonerated, and according to 1 Corinthians 12, you are baptized into the body of Christ, and according to Ephesians 4, you are now sealed until the day of redemption.
VERSES 6-7: “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 of God through Christ.”
There’s been quite a debate over the last couple of hundred years concerning this term “servant” versus slave. Now, the King James Bible calls the child of God a servant, and then a son or a child of God. So we are promoted from a servant to a son, whereas the new Bibles, which are based on the Westcott and Hort manuscripts, go for the term “slave,” and a slave, of course, is somebody who has no rights, has no privileges, has no standing in the sight of his master. But the King James Bible correctly translates the word to “servant,” which gives you one step above a slave, and by verse 7, you’ve also been promoted, as I say, to a son.
VERSE 8: “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.”
Anything that stands between you and the Lord of the Bible is a god, whether it’s money, whether it’s fame, whether it’s sex, whether it’s your children, whether it’s your car, whether it’s your hair extensions, whether it’s anything that becomes more important to you than the Lord Himself, that would be a god in the eyes of the God of the Bible.
VERSE 9: “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
That word “bondage” should be underlined in your Bible. That is something that all saved people must avoid at all costs. You were saved unto grace; you were called to the Lord, and you were spared eternal hell fire by your faith in the Son of God. And yet here you find Galatians, saved sinners, trying to better themselves, trying to increase their “standing” by returning to the law. Look at 10.
VERSE 10: “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.”
Saved Gentiles keeping Jewish feast days. Something’s wrong. Something’s wrong when a saved Gentile wears a skull cap. Something’s wrong when a saved Gentile wears the shroud. Something’s wrong when a saved Gentile keeps the Sabbath. Also, verse 9 makes it clear that God knows you rather than you knew God. The Bible says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God….” (Jn. 1:11-12.) Also, Luke 19 says He came to seek and to save that which was lost. So the source of the new birth is down to Him. If He didn’t call you, if He didn’t draw you unto Him, then you cannot come to Him, first and foremost; and secondly, if you come to Him, you’ve come to Him because He’s already called you unto Him. So all the glory goes back to Him. You know God because He first knew you.
VERSE 11: “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
Paul is now fearful. He’s fearful because these are people that he knows, these are people that he’s preached to, these are people that he’s baptized, these are people that he’s lived with and discipled, and he’s now fearful. He’s fearful that they have either misunderstood the Gospel and have believed another gospel, which is found in the first chapter, which is not another gospel – it’s a worthless gospel – or he’s fearful that these people have been deceived by the devil according to 2 Corinthians 11. The subtlety of the devil is all around us, and Paul as a saved man, as somebody who went to the third heaven and back knew exactly what that would entail. And in Acts chapter 20 he’s crying, he’s weeping, he’s mourning because he knows that the false teachers are going to come to the church and devour them. But here Paul is completely stunned; he’s flabbergasted at these saved Galatians trying to put themselves back under the law, which Christ came to fulfil.
VERSE 12: “Brethren” – again, saved people here. He’s not speaking to unsaved people. He’s speaking to saved people. “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.”
I beseech you, I beg you, I plead with you. Please listen to me. You haven’t injured me at all.
VERSES 13-14: “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.”
They received Paul as a messenger of God.
VERSE 15: “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”
Why does Paul say that? He says that because in 2 Corinthians 12 he speaks about a man he knew in Christ going up to the third heaven. And he pleaded with the Lord to remove this thorn in his flesh, and this thorn in his flesh, I believe, is found here in Galatians – Scripture with Scripture. Verse 15 tells us that it was his eyes. Paul was a writer; Paul was a scholar; Paul was a very intellectual man, and to lose his eyesight must have been very hard on him. And, of course, as he got older he ended up dictating the Scriptures, dictating his epistles.
VERSE 16: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
How true that is. Don’t shoot the messenger. Just because you’re saved, just because you know the truth, just because you warn those that have fallen into error, just because you separate yourself sometimes from those that teach error doesn’t make you an enemy of that party, but more often than not, you do become an enemy because you are threatening a foundation which people are trusting in. And here Paul is now considering himself an enemy because he’s telling these Galatians to come away, come away from this deadly error which he’s already cursed, he’s already anathematized. And only an apostle can curse; only an apostle can anathematize something which is wrong.
VERSES 17-18: “They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.”
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and Paul also told us in 1 Corinthians that zealous was fine but if it had no love, then it was a deadly thing. So make sure that what you preach is (a) correct and (b) filled with love; otherwise, you’re just an empty vessel spurting out words.
Verses 19-20: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.”
He knows that this message is going to be unpopular. He knows that they’re going to look at him in sadness, in misery. The Corinthians caused Paul a lot of pain, a lot of grief.
I will just add one point to this whole term of children and pastors. It is fair to say that Paul was an old man by this stage, and therefore he would have seen most people younger than him as children. That’s fair to say. Also, elders in an assembly or in a house or wherever you care to meet are always considered as father characters, and we love our fathers and we honour fathers. We don’t pay our fathers a salary to teach us or to raise us, and the same is true of church elders. We don’t pay our elders to teach us or to educate us. When the word of God says to give your elders double honor, it doesn’t mean financial reward, but it means respect. honour your mother and your father, the fifth commandment, whereas you are told to give double honour to the elders because they rule over you and they work alongside you – and they do work alongside you. A typical first century church would have elders – in the plural, not singular – working. They had to make a living; they had to provide for their children. You don’t find churches in the New Testament paying the elders to be their overseers, as it were. That came in much later, much later. And unfortunately that was retained by most of the churches at the Reformation.
But the latter part of 20, once again, makes it clear that he still was fearful of them. He was fearful of them back in verse 11, and now he stands in doubt of them, doubting whether or not they even understand the Gospel which he’s preached to them. First Corinthians 15 made it clear that if Christ hadn’t been resurrected, then our faith was still in vain; we were still dead in our sins. And this must be very difficult for him. These are people he knew intimately, and yet he has to say this; he has to make the point to them. Otherwise, deception becomes contagious, and a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Look at 22.
VERSE 21: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”
VERSE 22: “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.”
Paul is going to allegorize the book of Genesis chapter 16’s account of Abraham. And we know Abraham had a wife called Sarah who he later had Isaac with, and he was told to wait for Isaac to be born, and through Isaac, all the nations would be blessed and ultimately the Messiah would come. But, of course, Abraham doesn’t wait for Sarah to give birth to Isaac. He goes to the bond woman, the maid Hagar, and she gives birth to Ishmael. And, of course, that’s what all the problems go back to when you look at the Jewish/Islamic problem today.
VERSES 23-25: “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.”
Okay. So what he’s saying here is that Hagar represents those that are under the law, and Sarah represents Isaac, those that are under grace – two covenants and, of course, two people: the Jew who has been adopted back in verse 5, and through the adoption, we are also grafted in through our own personal faith in the Messiah, but also through Hagar, through Ishmael you have the law, as it were; and ultimately you can apply that to the Muslims today because they claim to be descendents from Ishmael.
VERSE 26-29: “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 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.”
And that still is the case to this day. Two seed lines here. The two blood lines here are completely at war with one another, and until the Jew receives Christ, until the Muslim receives Christ, that warfare will continue, and the devil will be laughing, laughing all the way to the lake of fire.
VERSE 30: “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 freewoman.”
That is very clear. God is not going to let Jerusalem be split into two halves, one-half given to the Jews and the other half given to the Muslims. It will never happen. And also there’s no fellowship here. Second Corinthians chapter 6 Paul told us to be separate from the world, and here he’s saying that the woman and her son are to be cast out. Now, you can if you want to apply that prophetically to Mohammed if you choose to ‒ and there’s many good Bible teachers that have done that – but what Paul is really saying here, first and foremost, is that the woman, as I say, Hagar, the servant, represents the law. And if you want to go back to the law, then you go back into her line; you go back into her genealogy, which is kind of complicated to explain, and I’m not sure I really grasp it entirely myself. But what he’s saying here is that we are of Jerusalem, 26, and the latter part of 30, that we are heir of the son of the free woman, Isaac, going back to Sarah. And Sarah’s name in Hebrew means princess, the mother of many nations.
VERSE 31: “So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
And there’s your analogy ended – two nations, two people, Jerusalem/Isaac/Sarah, which is the loins to be in. That’s the genealogy to be in, and you’re adopted into that line through verse 5 because you have been granted everlasting life through the Jewish Messiah. Or there’s the other line, Mount Sinai linked to Hagar, linked to Ishmael, and you’re back under the law. And if you do not keep the law, you’re cursed. But we push on, we push on, as the writer of Hebrews says, and Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.
VERSES 1-2: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.”
Verse 1, stand fast, stand firm, hold your ground. Jude told us to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Therefore, as a Bible believer, you are to take a stand here. You are to fight for the liberty that Christ has given us. John 5:24 said the moment you believe on Him, you have already passed from death unto life, and your positional standing with the Lord is fixed. You are eternally secure. All past, present, and future sins are forgiven, but your practical standing will fluctuate, especially when you look at verse 2, because if you are circumcised post your new birth, then Christ will profit you nothing.
And this is where you get the area of falling from grace, which we find in the fourth chapter. But the third chapter, Paul made it clear that you got saved by believing on Him. Faith came by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, and therefore, once you are saved and baptized into the body of Christ, you can’t then “perfect yourself” by going back to the law. It doesn’t work that way. In fact, to go that route puts you into the Hebrew 6 category where you crucify Christ afresh because you’ve come to a knowledge of the Saviour, you received Him by your faith, and then to go back to the law which couldn’t save you – and all the prophets and John prophesied up until the Messiah, Matthew chapter 11 – to put yourself back under the law puts you in the loins of Hagar, a cursed line, a worthless line. You need to be in the loins of Sarah; you need to be in the loins of Isaac.
There’s two kingdoms: There’s the Kingdom of God and there’s the kingdom of the devil. John 8 said that the unbelieving Jews were of their father the devil, whereas in the book of Acts, Paul says you are being saved out of the kingdom of darkness, out of the devil’s kingdom.
VERSE 3: “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.”
Nobody in the Old Testament could keep the law. The apostles couldn’t keep the law. Acts chapter 15 told us that they couldn’t keep the law. Only Jesus kept the law perfectly, and that is what God demands – total perfection. That’s why God became a man in Christ. He came to the earth as the second Adam and fulfilled what the first Adam couldn’t fulfil – sinless perfection.
VERSE 4: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
When a person gets saved, they are positionally secure. Their salvation is fixed, but their practical standing can fluctuate. And here you have saved Galatians that are trying to put themselves back under the law, trying to “better themselves” by returning to the law, and they are fallen from grace. Their practical standing has fluctuated. And you can’t take verse 4 to teach that you can lose your salvation. No. Your salvation is dependent on the Saviour, on the Good Shepherd, not on you as a sheep, not on you as the recipient. He saves us and He keeps us. We don’t save ourselves and we don’t keep hold of His hand. He keeps hold of our hand. But here these Galatians, like the Corinthians, are carnal; they’re babes in Christ. They are still on the milk, not the solids, and they are falling from grace.
VERSES 5-6: “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
Pretty self explanatory.
VERSE 7: “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
The devil, of course. The devil hindered them. The devil will draw near to a young Christian, somebody who has not yet matured and start whispering doubts in their ears. He will give them doubts of the trustworthiness of the Bible. He will put doubts into your mind that God inspired and then preserved the Bible, and he will certainly put doubts into your mind that you cannot be saved because you’re so sinful and you still battle sin every day and therefore you cannot be saved, which is a huge lie. The Bible says that He came to seek and to save that which was lost. So, again, the burden is on the Saviour to save the sinner, not on the sinner to somehow become a junior partner with the Saviour and therefore save themselves.
VERSES 8-9: “This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”
And that’s why you need to stand against false teaching. It may not be popular; it may divide houses; it may divide families; it may divide churches. But Paul told you in Acts 16 to mark them which preach another gospel, that cause divisions. And as we saw in the first chapter, angelic hosts are cursed and human messengers are cursed if they bring another gospel unto you. And the second epistle of John says don’t even allow these people into your house because a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
VERSE 10: “I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.”
Paul didn’t abandon the Galatians. Paul didn’t abandon the Corinthians. You shouldn’t abandon a weak brother or sister who falls into sin. You were told to be forgiving; you were told to be loving, and you should always have your door even slightly ajar so that the backslidden, the carnal, the weak believer can come back to the Lord. And when he/she comes back to the Lord, your door remains open to them.
The latter part of verse 10 interests me because Paul doesn’t know who the false teachers were that were giving out this disinformation, this dangerous heresy. And it’s interesting because in Acts chapter 5 verse 3 Peter, also an apostle, knew that the devil had lied to Ananias and Sapphira. So his apostolic knowledge was still up to date as of Acts chapter 5, but here in Galatians chapter 5, some years later, Paul, also an apostle, doesn’t know who these false teachers are. And I flag that out because I believe that the sign gifts had already ceased during the lifetime of the apostles, especially Paul. And Paul couldn’t heal Timothy, who was sick, and here he doesn’t know who these false teachers are. So already the sign gifts are receding because the New Testament has been written.
VERSES 11-12: “And I, brethren” – again, brothers – “if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”
“Cut off” in the Bible pretty much always refers to death, but it can also refer to separation, excommunication. Paul is a father figure here. He’s pleading for his children to come back to the truth, and he realizes that the false teachers are lethal. The wolves in sheep clothing are already devouring his congregation, and he hasn’t even left them. He’s still alive; he’s still breathing, and yet they are creeping in and constantly undermining his authority.
VERSE 13: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
Don’t ever abuse the grace that God has given you. Those of us that hold to eternal security are sometimes accused of issuing a license to sin, and Paul mentions this in the book of Romans when he says that it is not the case. He says may it never be; God forbid. We don’t teach justification by faith through Christ alone which links into eternal security to then turn around and give people a blanket endorsement to live as they choose. No. People that live as they choose and aren’t chastised are illegitimate according to the book of Hebrews. So when you know somebody who says they are saved and lives like the world week after week, month after month, year after year and is totally unphased by that, then you are dealing with a false convert, somebody who was never saved to begin with. But somebody who is saved can fall into sin and will fall into sin, but as the expression goes, you can fall inboard but you cannot fall overboard.
VERSE 14: “For all the law is fulfil ed in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Mark 12 told us to love the Lord thy God with all our mind, with all our heart, with all thy soul and with all thy strength. So when we love God totally, when we love our neighbor as ourselves, we have already fulfilled the law.
VERSE 15: “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
You can destroy somebody, you can destroy yourself by turning on a brother or sister in the Lord and therefore completely neutralizing your testimony, completely neutralizing your ministry, and in the end, you become totally irrelevant, worthless, and you become like a dried-up branch, a dried-up tree, which is found in John 15.
VERSES 16-17: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
How true that is. If you are born again and yet carnal, you cannot please the Lord; you cannot walk in the Spirit; you cannot be a vessel fit for His purpose and use, and therefore you become carnal, backslidden, and you become constantly critical of other people, constantly nasty toward people. And misery loves company – well, maybe so – but in the eyes of other saved people, they will avoid you because you are constantly the bearer of bad news.
VERSE 18: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
You are not under the judgment.
VERSES 19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
That list isn’t complete. Paedophilia wasn’t mentioned in that list, and yet God would clearly condemn that. Bestiality wasn’t in that list, and yet God would clearly condemn that. So just because all of these sins under the sun are not found in 19 to 21 doesn’t mean that they are somehow exempt, that you could somehow do those things and be okay. No. Even incest isn’t found in there, and yet God condemns that clearly in the Old Testament.
Also keep in mind that the Kingdom of God is physical and it’s spiritual, and if you cross reference this to 1 Corinthians 6, you find Paul has told that saved people that live after the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Saved people that live after the flesh don’t go into the Millennium. They forfeit their Millennial inheritance. They are still saved, but they have lost their thousand year reign with Christ. That’s my belief; that’s my position on this part of Scripture. Now, other people will look at this and say, no, this is talking about people that live like this will go to Hell, which is fine. I don’t have a problem with that. But people go to Hell first and foremost for rejecting Christ. They go to Hell because they chose to live their own life and discard what the Saviour of the world did for them, and then they pay for their sins found in 19 to 21.
But here Paul is speaking to saved people, and he’s saying if you live after the flesh, you’ll be consumed, verse 15, and ultimately, according to verse 21, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And I guarantee you that for a saved person to die in a position like this and not get the rewards, plural, that God wanted them to get will be a huge, monumental blow. But their salvation is already fixed according to Romans chapter 8 and John chapter 5. When you believe on the Lord, you’ve already passed from death unto life, but your positional standing, as I say, remains unchanged, but your practical standing can fluctuate. And here I put to you that if you live after the flesh, your practical standing will fluctuate, and ultimately, if you’re not careful, you will lose your Millennial inheritance. Look at 22.
VERSES 22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Nine points of the fruits of the Spirit are rarely, if ever, spoken about by the Charismatics. The Charismatics will always speak about the gifts of the Spirit but never the fruits of the Spirit. And just skimming through this now, I would say that the faith found here in 22 would be a faith of a missionary, a faith that will send a man or woman from one side of the globe to the other, a faith that will carry that person and allow that person to do great things for the Lord. That is the faith spoken of here, not faith to believe the Lord, but faith to do wonderful things for Him.
VERSES 24-26: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
This expression that you’ve already crucified the flesh, yes, positionally you have done by your new birth. Romans 6 said you’ve already been baptized with Christ and resurrected with Christ; but, again, your practical standing still has to be taken into consideration because, as you can see clearly from the book of Galatians, these are saved people that are carnal as the Corinthians, and clearly they haven’t yet understood that their flesh is being crucified with Christ. They’re still living after the flesh, hence why Paul is writing six chapters to them and 16 chapters in 1 Corinthians to straighten out these misguided people.
So positionally, you are perfect, but practically your standing can fluctuate; and unless you deal with it, you will obviously reap what you sow and ultimately, if you’re not careful, lose your Millennial inheritance.
VERSES 1-7: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Verse 7 should be quite clear by now that you reap what you sow. The book of Numbers told us that your sin will find you out, and the book of James also said that some people’s sins go to the Judgment, and therefore you may see a saved person die and they may have an outward appearance of godliness, but chances are their inward appearance is something else, and at the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will give an account of their life to the Lord. They’re still saved, of course, but depending on how they lived post their new birth will depend on what rewards, what crowns the Lord gives them. But here Paul is speaking about people living here and now in the flesh, and like Ananias from the 5th chapter of Acts, like the Corinthians in the 11th chapter, some of these people died. They died because of their sins. They died because of their carnality, and because they would not repent, they died. And Paul, of course, is pleading with them to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh, and therefore to get a full reward.
VERSES 8-9: “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
The Judgment Seat of Christ.
VERSE 10: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Similar language to 1Timothy where it says that Christ is the Saviour of all men, especially those that believe. The provision is made for the world, but only those that appropriate the atonement will be saved. Also, if you hold to limited atonement, that God loves only the elect and hates the non-elect, then it’s kind of difficult to reconcile this part of Scripture, to do good unto all men, if all men aren’t going to be saved. It’s difficult to reconcile this with Matthew chapter 6 where you are told to love your enemies. God does love all men, and yet the paradox is that He is angry with all men; He hates all workers of iniquity, and He’s angry with the wicked every day, and therefore man needs to repent because until man repents, the wrath of God abides on him. But nonetheless, God has still provided a love, He’s still provided an atonement for the world, and that atonement, of course, is found through His Son Jesus Christ.
VERSE 11: “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.”
Due to his poor eyesight.
VERSES 12-13: “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”
Very much like being converted to a false religion. The moment you sign up to a cult or false religion, the leaders of that institution get the glory, get the credit.
VERSE 14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
A cross, not a stake. As I’ve already said, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the erroneous belief that Christ was nailed to a stake, but here Paul is glorying, he is basking in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being crucified to the world, again his positional salvation was certainly secure. He was living a separated life unto the world according to 2 Corinthians 6, and according to the latter part of the second chapter, he makes it crystal clear that he is completely sold out to the Lord. Here’s a man that has achieved great success for the Lord, and if we can achieve just a quarter of what Paul achieved, then we have done very well indeed.
VERSE 15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
A new birth. Until you’re born again, you’ve achieved nothing in the sight of Christ Jesus.
VERSE 16: “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
The latter part of 16 refers to the Israel of God, which is sometimes cited by the proponents of replacement theology, and replacement theology is a system of belief which advocates that the church has replaced Israel, which is partially true because Romans 11 says that the roots which is Jewish, of course, has temporarily fallen through unbelief; and therefore the church, which is the branch, has been grafted in. So we have partially and temporarily replaced Israel for this period of time, which is known as the church age, but once the Rapture has occurred and the church has been removed, then the Lord returns to the Jews and they become His people.
So temporarily and through adoption – also found in the second chapter – we are the Israel of God, we are the people of God, but permanent replacement theology is completely false.
VERSE 17: “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”
Whipped many times, naked many times, shipwrecked many times, abandoned many times. This man truly lived the crucified life, and as I say, we were told in 1 Corinthians 11 to follow Paul because Paul followed Christ. And I believe that if you can follow Paul, if you can follow his example, then you will get a great crown, a great crown indeed.
VERSE 18: “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”
As he opened the book, he closes the book with the term “Brethren,” and the reason I make the point clearly that Paul is speaking to saved people is because I do hold to eternal security, not conditional security but eternal security; and Paul wanted you to know that he is speaking to the saved people of God -the sheep, not the goats – for those that have appropriated the atonement, those that have believed on the Lord and therefore are new creations in Christ.