Grace and Law

“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-5 NKJV

Every day, I struggle with if I should focus done on one good things or overview the passage or give you the historical origins with modern application. Unlike the Old Testament – there is a lot more packed into fewer verses.  But we have times and formatting constraint in the format. And you all are not looking for a 3 hour lesson each day. I pray and seek God and hope I give you the part he wants you to have and understand. Today is more of an overview of the book as well as today’s chapters.  

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Galatians, chapters 1-3 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  Welcome to the letter to the church in Galatia written by Paul, who we know is a Pharisee, Jew, and expert on ‘The Law’. Each letter written to different churches was written to address different points, which in most cases could also be called problems.  To sum up the problems in the Galatian church, was the question of if the gentiles had to come under Jewish law. We will revisit this in other letters as well – it keeps popping up.  We just read in Acts where the elders all came together to discuss this and all agreed on how to proceed and sent out news – Paul explains this in this letter as well.  But on the chronological time line, that event, was a couple years ago and Galatia is not on board yet. NOT only that, but people have come from Jerusalem to that church and are encouraging the gentiles to come under the law. (These people are not named but Paul implies some name calling on them: “Who has bewitched you” chapter 3, verse 1). But Let’s stay on track.

In their time period the Jews understood what was meant by the words: The Law. People and Rabbi’s study for years before they truly understand it. There is the mosaic 10 commandments – obviously we should all be under that law (or maybe so full of God that it comes natural and should go without saying).  There are the covenant laws that are constitutional in nature, like keeping the Sabbath and eating certain foods.  There are the penal laws (often call criminal law) having to do with sacrifice and atonement of sin. Atonement is a person with a repentant heart and God covers the sin. 

The problems occur when we do not have the knowledge of the law, learn it in a simplified manner and think we understand. I myself am guilty of teaching a simplified message in order to get to the point and IRONICALLY, the only way to address this book is if I do it again! Luckily we have Paul, who basically has a doctorate in the law to help us and the Galatians through this.  

So here is my OVERLY simplified summary, if it is worth anything: Jesus fulfilled the law. Jews must be circumcised in order to have access to the sacrificial atonements.  But Jesus was the final sacrifice so that sin is no longer atoned and covered – but forgiven and washed away. We no longer need a sheep at an altar. THAT was the law that was fulfilled – the penal law. The sacrificial laws. You see, you have to go to a temple to make sacrifice – and how was a human living in the Americas or in northern Europe (or any other distant place) supposed to repent and be atoned – so they can through a priest reach God?! The curse of the law is you MUST always be near the temple and the entire world cannot live near it and you must always continue – if you stop sacrifices, then you no longer have atonement. If you get taken to Babylon – how is sin handled? If you live in 2021 and the temple doesn’t exist – where and how is sacrifice and atonement obtained?!

Jesus fixed it. Now we can all have a restored relationship with the Holy Father through Jesus, through the FORGIVENESS and WASHING away of our sins. Jesus wasn’t a sacrifice in our place but HE ACTUALLY took our sins upon Himself and killed them! WE CAN BE FREE. This. They no longer hold possession of us.

Grace.

So when people say they are under grace they should read Galatians – they both wanted to get under Jewish law (which honestly was a political power play at that time) and they wanted to live outside of the law saying they were not subject to it but grace and that gave them license to sin freely. (facepalm)

Under grace doesn’t mean free from the law of sin – sin still leads to death. Under grace means the law is fulfilled (in Jesus) and we have the opportunity to be free from it if we choose to repent and NOT sin any more. Under grace means sin can’t control you, addiction can’t control you, demonic influences cannot own you – the anointing of the grace of the cross transforms! Changes. Pushes you higher on this foundation. It doesn’t say this no longer matters because it is the foundation we built on.

Let’s get more confused.  Gentiles do not need to participate in much of the Jewish stuff because they are not the promised people. Gentiles do not have the Noah Covenant (although we benefit) we do not have the Abraham Covenant (although we again benefit) nor the one with Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, etc… and again we benefit.  Gentiles were never told not to eat pig. Gentiles were never told to keep the Sabbath. So here is the confusing part – gentiles ARE adopted children of God. So, as adopted children shouldn’t we participate? Well, if our home is, it would be peaceable if we did… so the early church was told not to offend the Jewish brothers by bringing a pig roast to the Sunday fellowship dinner.  But those promises are not mine. There are enough that are mine. I am adopted by God not Abraham. Let that sink in.  So yes, when God calls for a day of atonement – you better bet I am honoring God. Not necessarily the way my Jewish brothers and sister do. But I am repenting and reflecting and humbling myself – because God said to and called for it. I apply the blood of Jesus and my sins are washed – I am not atoned.

So yes, I keep the Lord’s holidays and the Lord’s guidance – I have a new covenant with Him, through grace and the blood of Jesus. This is the gospel. Do not accept another.

Like these Galatians struggled with someone presenting them with a corrupted gospel, and Peter often had trouble separating what was rabbinical law and what was covenant law – our modern “Christianity” has been corrupted. Do not accept another gospel. Do not fall into the name it claim it – but also do not fall into poverty. These apostles had struggles but the early church and the followers were provided for in abundance; enough to share and care for the apostles and poor, as God said.  And Paul might not have been so poor, except he gave to His own depletion and then accumulated legal bills from being jailed so many times. Peter had a much more stable financial situation. So do not buy a different message. God did not promise you a fancy car – but He will provide a way for you to get around.  (That is just one example of many corruptions that have confused the minds of believers.)

As always, read and ask for understanding. Get your eyes fixed on God and be hungry to understand Him. If you focus first on God, everything else comes together. This is all about you building a relationship with God through Jesus in the Holy Spirit. So get alone with Him and learn His ways.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another powerful verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand! Knowing the Word is our Sword and Jesus is the Word! Jesus accomplishes what He set out to do. Quoting this verse is therefore the very act of walking in the victory!  

Isaiah 55:11

NKJV – “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
NAS – “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.”
ESV – “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
AMP – “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
NIV – “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Galatians 1-3 NKJV

Greeting

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Only One Gospel

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert[a] the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be [b]accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

Call to Apostleship

11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Contacts at Jerusalem

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see [c]Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)

21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me.

Defending the Gospel

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. And I went up [d]by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God [e]shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, [f]Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

No Return to the Law

11 Now when [g]Peter had come to Antioch, I [h]withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing [i]those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, [j]why do you compel Gentiles to live as [k]Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not [l]justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died [m]in vain.”

Justification by Faith

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you [n]that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed [o]among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so [p]many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

The Law Brings a Curse

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is [q]justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Changeless Promise

15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God [r]in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Purpose of the Law

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, [s]kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our [t]tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Sons and Heirs

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 1:7 distort
  2. Galatians 1:8 Gr. anathema
  3. Galatians 1:18 NU Cephas
  4. Galatians 2:2 because of
  5. Galatians 2:6 Lit. does not receive the face of a man
  6. Galatians 2:9 Peter
  7. Galatians 2:11 NU Cephas
  8. Galatians 2:11 opposed
  9. Galatians 2:12 Jewish Christians
  10. Galatians 2:14 NU how can you
  11. Galatians 2:14 Some interpreters stop the quotation here.
  12. Galatians 2:16 declared righteous
  13. Galatians 2:21 for nothing
  14. Galatians 3:1 NU omits that you should not obey the truth
  15. Galatians 3:1 NU omits among you
  16. Galatians 3:4 Or great
  17. Galatians 3:11 declared righteous
  18. Galatians 3:17 NU omits in Christ
  19. Galatians 3:23 Lit. confined
  20. Galatians 3:24 In a household, the guardian responsible for the care and discipline of the children

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