Thursday, October 28, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 2:19-21

Dead Through The Law

The law of Moses (the Torah--Genesis-Deuteronomy) portrayed Jesus Christ as the true Messiah and, therefore, it brought the message of condemnation to Paul, expounding to him his need of another way to justification besides the law itself, which cannot bring justification before God, though it can simply before men. Paul was able to see the perfection of Christ, his fulfilling the law with no guile and without sin, and he recognized the need not only of the law to bring him to Christ, but also the need of Jesus Christ to be his substitute for sin as the law determined and commanded.

The law,then, at one time was Paul's friend, Paul not realizing that his neglect to keep the law perfectly was his sure condemnation to Hell. Then the commandment came, sin revived, and Paul died (to himself and to the law for justification before God, See Romans 7:9). He is dead, then, through the law. Law did its job: to manifest the exceeding sinfulness of sin (Rom. 7:13).

That I Might Live Unto God

If the law could bring life (Gal. 3:21), then justification would be by the law; but since it can bring only death, there is a need for the Spirit of God to bring life into a person, being brought to life by the Spirit by grace: Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Of course, we know that to be quickened means to be made alive. We know that the letter (of the law) kills, but the Spirit makes alive (2 Cor. 3:6).

That We Might Be Married To Another

Another reason that we are dead to the law is so that we can be married to another, which is Jesus Christ (See Romans 7:4). Through faith in Jesus Christ and the Gospel through grace we are married to Jesus Christ, and we are to be faithful to him as a man is to be with his own wife.

Crucified With Christ

We are crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20); we have died to the old flesh and are alive unto God (Rom. 6:11). Therefore, it is not we who live (since we are dead), but it is Jesus Christ who lives in us. We live in our flesh by the faith of the Son of God, because he loved us and gave himself for us (Gal. 2:20).

Do Not Frustrate God's Grace

If Paul were to live under the law from which Jesus has set him free, he would frustrate (despise, disannul, bring to nothing) the grace of God; because if works (the law) were added to grace, grace would no more be grace (Rom. 11:6). If grace were added to works, then works would no longer be works. This would bring the grace of God to nothing (make it worthless).

Anyone who believes that he can be justified before God with his works (the law) frustrates the grace of God and depends upon the law under which he is cursed, because no man has kept the law, and has not believed upon Jesus Christ and his Gospel (death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ) for the remission of sins: Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 2:17-18

We Seek To Be Justified By Christ

Of course, this is the only way to be justified. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6). The word of God says that no man seeks after God (Rom. 3:11), but Prov. 8:17 says, I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. We know that the depraved soul does not seek after God, because he has no desire for God; but God's people seek after him and shall find him.

But here Paul is referring to salvation and says that we seek after Christ, turning from law to another Savior, Jesus Christ, the righteous one. We do this by the prompting of the Holy Spirit; and, of course, all by the grace of God by his mercy and through faith.

But when the Jews turned from the law to Christ, they were considered sinners; because they were turning from what the Jews considered the way to God: the law of Moses. If that is the case, then, we are found sinners, sinners against the law that God has laid down for all of us. If, then, we have turned from the law of God, which is supposed to be our savior, then not only are we sinners (through breaking the law), but this makes Christ the minister of sin. This makes Christ the minister of sin, because it is Jesus who has taught the apostles to turn away from the law and turn to Christ.

Paul says that, no, it does not make Christ a minister of sin. He uses an old cliche "God forbid," which is not a literal translation of the Greek words. The words literally mean "let it not be." Let it not be, or God forbid, because Christ is not actually a minister of sin but a minister of righteousness.

We Are Not To Build That Which We Destroy

If Paul, who has destroyed his old way of life, turning from his persecution of the church unto Jesus, the head of the church, and trusts him completely for salvation, then what need does he have in building again that former life from which Jesus saved him? Gal 4:9 tells us, 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?

You see, the law had us under its curse; and in order to be brought from under this curse, we had to turn from the law to Christ; for there is no redemption in the law, no life in the law, only death in the law. Rom. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Thank God, we are free, free to serve Christ, to love Christ, to love others, to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to sing of his beauty, to preach his word, to study his word, to depend upon his grace, which is sufficient for every aspect of our lives. We are no longer in bondage to sin, law, and death. We have been freed from them all and have liberty in Jesus Christ, to whom be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 2:15-16

No Justification By The Law

Paul, Peter and other disciples who trusted in Jesus Christ were Jews by nature; that is, they were Jews by blood linage. They were born Jews and had advantage as such from God because of God's special favor on the Jewish nation as his chosen and loved nation.

But they, along with all of the "sinners of the Gentiles," or the "wicked of the nations," were the same in the sense that they both must be justified, not by works, but by faith in Jesus Christ, For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him (Romans 10:12).

These Jews (Paul, Peter, and others) knew that they were not justified by the law. Saul had spent his entire life serving the law, and it had in it no justification for Saul. First, God had to reveal his son in him (Gal. 1:16). Then he understood that all those years of serving the law had done him no good. He was without God in the world (Eph. 2:12). He needed justification, and he realized on the road to Damascus that only faith in Jesus Christ could justify him before God.

Now, a person can be justified by works before men but not before God. Romans 4:2 tells us: For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. Then James tells us that Abraham was justified by works: James 2:21-22 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? Abraham was justified by his works before men but not before God.

Those who teach that a person can be justified by works before God are living in the world, but those who trust completely in Christ as the object of their faith are genuinely justified before God and are living above the world, above the curse of the law, above the challenges of personal endeavor, above all carnal efforts and petty works of man's hands. This is living like a king (Rev. 1:6), out of this world with Christ.

By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified, that is, before God. Baptism, good deeds, church membership, benevolences, these are all works of the law; for, if they are not done as Jews, who are under the oracles of God (Rom. 3:2), they are done as Gentiles, who, if they do what is written in the law, they are a law unto themselves (Rom. 2:4).

The law itself has brought us to God (Gal. 3:24), but it cannot justify us, but after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Ga 3:25)-- "Free from the law, oh happy condition, Jesus has died, and there is remission." Because of Jesus' keeping of the law, he could die for our sins in perfection satisfaction to the Father's command. Now those who come to Christ by faith can be justified forever. Amen!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Living Above The World - Galatians

Galatians 2:11-14

The Standoff

Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Some things we are to withstand, or stand against. We know that we are to stand against the wiles of the Devil and not to be overtaken with the enemies of God. We are to be faithful in God's work.

Peter was in the wrong in these verses, because he was a hypocrite. He pretended to be one and the same with Gentiles until the Jews came around; then he decided to change and pretend that he was with the Jews, one and the same with them. I wonder what the Gentiles thought as Peter separated himself from them? What would you think if someone pretended to be your friend and then turned his back on you? Is this ministry to Peter (to the Jews) a ministry that is exclusive in the sense that God is saving only Jews and that Peter must cater to the Jews? No. It is, we have already learned, for both the Jew and the Gentile.

Peter may very well eat with the Jews, but he has just given his right hand of fellowship condoning the work of Paul among the Gentiles and agreeing that God saves Jew and Gentile alike. To break from a lifelong tradition is very difficult, and to Peter a Gentile was a dog; and he and other Jews were not permitted to eat with them lest they become defiled. Peter should know better, because he is the one who had the vision from Heaven that revealed to him that God had cleansed the Gentile to receive the Gospel, cleansed the Gentile so that he is no longer a defilement to the Jews but that they are sinners in the same lot (See Acts 10:28).

Peter acted out of fear. We as God's children do that often, but we are not to fear the flesh, because the flesh cannot do anything against the truth (2 Cor. 13:8).

Paul had good reason to withstand Peter, because Peter was to be blamed, blamed for being inconsistent concerning the truth of God's working among Jews and Gentiles. Not only so, but he was causing others to be led astray, especially Barnabas, who was carried away with their "dissimulation," which means hypocrisy. We must take care lest we lead others astray.

Peter should not have been teaching the Gentiles to live as the Jews. He definitely was to be blamed. We are free from the law, oh happy condition. All have sinned against God (Rom. 3:23), and all need to repent (Luke 13:3) and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

Let us not be guilty of hypocrisy. We must preach the Gospel to every creature alike. Every man must give account of himself to God (Romans 14:12).

Yes, we need to stand against some things, but let us be faithful lest Paul or someone else may need to withstand us concerning our hypocrisy or our unfaithfulness.