Friday, February 22, 2019

Galatians Bible Study: Grace Defended #6: The Gospel Practiced

 Paul's gospel practiced.  5:2-6:15

The Gospel practiced in liberty.  Galatians 5:2-12

Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.  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.

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.  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.  And I, brethren, 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.

5:2 Is Paul saying that a person can lose their salvation if they are circumcised?  What is he arguing?
They are fallen from the way of grace, the only true way of salvation. This is not about losing their salvation but about understanding what salvation is.

5:3 Paul points out that to choose circumcision, the law, is to go into debt under the whole law. Once you add a work to grace, you nullify the gift of grace and must now try to keep all the law.

Application: In belief systems that add baptism to grace, is baptism the only work added or are their other “laws” that now become mandatory to keeping a person’s salvation?

5:4 In what way are the Galatians "fallen from grace?"
They are fallen from the way of grace, the only true way of salvation. This is not about losing their salvation but about understanding what salvation is.

5:5-8 Paul contrasts the way of Grace through the Spirit with the law. What is the contrast?
Those under the law are burdened with trying to do all the law and can never know if they have done enough, while those under grace “wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
They had faith working through love but now they have nothing.
They ran well but now are hindered.
This change of mind does not come from the one who called them to salvation.

5:9 What is the "little leaven" warning concerning?
A little false doctrine affects the entire doctrine of salvation.

5:10-12 Does Paul question their salvation or confirm his belief that they are saved?
He has confidence in them that through the Lord. He believes he is dealing with people who are saved but confused and misled and because they are saved the Lord will bring them out of this mistake.

What argument might Paul have been answering when he said that some contend, he preaches circumcision?
Paul had Timothy who was half-Jewish, circumcised when Timothy was with Paul in Jerusalem in order to not offend the Jews Paul and Timothy were trying to reach with the Gospel.

What was the proof this wasn’t true?
Paul was still being persecuted by those who believed in the law.

In the first chapter Paul says that those who preach a different gospel should be anathema, now he gives a different punishment for them,  being “cut off.” What exactly does he mean?
That they would be cut off, in the Greek it is the idea of emasculation. In a sense this punishment would be fitting for those who would make circumcision necessary for salvation. They were mutilating the Gospel so Paul wishes they were mutilated.

The Gospel practiced in love.  5:13-15

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

How is service and love a counter measure to the abuse of liberty?
I am free from the law, but I am in bondage o others through love.  Love will constrain me from abusing my liberty at the expense of others.

Paul condenses the Law to only one phrase.  What is it?
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

How does this compare to what Jesus said about the law?
Matthew 22: 36-40  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?   Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Later Paul will repeat this same truth when he writes to the Romans.
Romans 13:8-10  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Explain Paul's warning of biting and devouring one another.
The devouring will not stop, it will continue until there is no one left.  The church will be destroyed by all the members being deeply hurt by the contention this heresy will cause.

The Gospel practiced in the Spirit.  5:16-26
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.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  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.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 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.

What does Paul mean by "walk in the Spirit?"
Live and act under the power and influence of the Spirit.

5:17 Paul again states that law and spirit are in opposition, they contend against one another. If one tries to serve God in the flesh, through the law, they will not be able to do what they as spirit led children of God should do.

5:18 Instead they must be led of the Spirit because they are not under the law.

5:19-2 What are the works of the flesh?

Sensual Sins
Adultery - betrayal of spouse
Fornication - sexual union outside marriage
Uncleanness - unnatural practices, homosexuality
Lasciviousness – lewdness

Religious Sins
Idolatry - worship of idols
Witchcraft - Grk pharmakeia, drugs, potions

Personal Sins
Hatred -
Variance - contentions
Emulations - Grk zelos, indignation
Wrath - strong bitterness
Strife - arguing
Seditions - divisions
Heresies - factions, false doctrine

Lifestyle Sins
revellings, debaucherous parties

What is the fruit of the Spirit?

Love - agape (sacrificing love)
Joy - kara
Peace - eirene (at one)
Longsuffering – endurance through trials
Gentleness - kindness
Goodness - delight in what is good
Faith - trust, belief, faithfulness
Meekness - gentleness, mildness
Temperance - self-control, mastery of self

Contrast the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit

Works of the Flesh
Fruit of the Spirit
Selfish, self-serving
Selfless, serving others
Short-lived, passions
Long-lived qualities
Out of Control
Under Control

5:23 What does the term "against such there is no law" mean?
These stand above and apart from the Law.  They are not a part of the Law, but the outworking of the Holy Spirit within us. The law cannot have anything to do with them.

Should I strive to produce the fruit in my life?
No!  This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  To make the fruit into just another list of commandments is exactly what Paul has been warning about.   Whether it is circumcision as a physical show of salvation or "Fruit" as a spiritual show it is still adding to salvation.

5:24 How can our life be rid of the lust and affections of the flesh?
We must believe and accept that we have crucified the flesh. This was accomplished at salvation and we must believe and act upon that belief. Like salvation it is an act of faith but not a work of the flesh. We cannot in ourselves, do something to make it happen.

Paul amplifies this truth in Romans.
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

5:25 Is the "If" on "If we live in the Spirit" a condition or a declaration?
In the Greek, it is a first-class condition, and should be understood as since.  Paul is making a statement of what is right and logical not conditional upon a choice but what should be true.

5: 26 What kind of glory is vain according to Paul?
That glory, honor or being right which is directed toward ourselves. It is anything that provokes another or envies another.


            Paul’s epistles are almost all divided into a doctrinal and a practical section and this is the case with his letter to the Galatians. Yet there is as difference here, instead of a general description of Christian duties or actions, Paul gives practices that are sharply drawn from the truth he has been reinstituting to the Galatians.  He strongly warns them against strife within the churches caused by the error of works and grace being mixed. He describes the outflow of the Spirit in us but only after sharply contrasting it with the works of the flesh. He not only gives us guidelines for living in grace but also strong warnings against trying to living a life of grace by mixing it with the keeping of law. Paul says, it is one or the other, it cannot be both, so live the way you should.

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