Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ye Did Run Well

Galatians 5:7

Ye Did Run Well

There was a time when "ye" (plural of you, to the Galatian churches) followed the fundamental teachings of the Gospel of grace by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. There was a time when you believed in and followed Christ and not man. There was a time when you did your work with singleness of heart and not in division, allowing men to have such influence on you.

There is mostly always a time in the past when believers have trusted the Lord more, served him more, and loved him more. It is certain that churches do leave their first love (Rev. 2:4). Some of the Galatian churches had, no doubt, left their first love, or they were on their way to doing so. "Ye did run well" in the beginning of your service to Christ, but what about now?

Who Did Hinder You?

Churches will go along just fine with their "first love" of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ until a person (who) comes along to mar the image of the blessed Gospel and to pervert it, making it a human idea or philosophy instead of a heavenly gift.

Notice Galatians 3:1 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? Someone has bewitched these believers not to obey the truth of the Gospel.

It was interesting to look up the word "who" in the book of Galatians to see their antecedents. There are 14 references with the word "who." Four times the word "who" refers to God or Christ. Three times the word "who" refers to believers. Once it refers to Jews, and six times the word "who" refers to those who are trying to hinder the Gospel.

Here are the references: 2:4 "false brethren;" 2:6 "those who seem to be somewhat;" 3:1 "ones who bewitch;" 4:23 " those of the bondwoman;" 5:7 "those who hinder;" and 6:13 "those who are circumcised and do not keep the law."

These are the ones who hinder the Gospel, the truth of it, and the glory of it. Theirs is a humanistic Gospel, a social or religious Gospel; but Christ's Gospel is one of divine origin and of God's working.

That Ye Should Not Obey The Truth

The truth begins with Gospel truth. That truth is the power of God unto salvation, and no other "truth" will accomplish real, genuine, and active salvation. Many religionists today are hindering the preaching of the Gospel of Christ by their humanistic means, their shallow doctrine, and their pernicious ways. Beware of false prophets (Matt. 7:15); beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matt. 10:17); and Phil. 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. Concision means mutilation, and that is what these interlopers do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

But Faith

Galatians 5:6

Paul is explaining again, as he has so many other times, that circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing as far as our salvation is concerned.

John 7:22 says, "Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision." John 1:17 says that "... the law was given by Moses." So, we are speaking about the law when we speak about circumcision. Circumcision was the sign of a law covenant between God and Israel, and it runs parallel to God's conditional promise to keep Israel in the land if they will obey all of his laws, Exod. 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Circumcision, then, was an important part of Israel's obedience to God when he was building, promoting, protecting, and promising Israel. Circumcision was to be done on the eighth day after birth, and it was kept in the main by Israel except for some aberrations at times. In those times God disciplined Israel for not keeping the commandments of God.

Circumcision is a type of sin, and sin must be dealt with. Sin is the excess flesh, if you will, that is detestable even to the mind. So, God in a type had Israel to rid themselves of that excess skin in the flesh in order to picture the ridding of one's sin in the flesh; and Paul teaches us that for sin circumcision is ineffective. Circumcision is only a sign, a type, not a real spiritual rebirth.

Circumcision will not rid a person of sin, but faith will. Remember it is the faith that is by the grace of God, and only that faith, that can save. This faith works by love, for God so loved. He loved me so much that he came to earth and died for my sins personally, and it is only by faith in him that will work.

It is faith that works, not we ourselves; and faith works because Christ is the object of it and because that faith is in the work that Christ did in his death, burial, and resurrection. Therefore, baptism, communion, church membership, doing good deeds, or believing a particular set of doctrines will not and cannot save: it cannot rid a person of his sins; but faith can.

There is no difference, then, between the Jew and the Greek (Gentile): Romans 10:12 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.

The waters of baptism cannot save,
but faith can.

The force of the law can't make us behave,
but faith can.

So the heart of the matter
Makes wickedness scatter

The works of the law can't save us at all,
but faith can.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wait For The Hope . . . By Faith

Galatians 5:5

We who believe in and preach faith for salvation are not "fallen from grace" but are preaching the real and true gospel of Christ, for it is a gospel of grace, not a gospel of works. Hence, this verse follows verse four with a salient anticipation for a hope, but not only a hope alone, but also a hope of righteousness, a continued righteousness that was begun in us and one that will be accomplished until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6).

We wait "through the Spirit" for this hope of righteousness. This hope is begun by, substantiated by, and fulfilled by the Spirit of God and of Christ Jesus. The Spirit is our Comforter, our Teacher, our Guide, and our security. We are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14); we are justified by the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11); we are quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18); we speak by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3); we know his abiding by the Spirit (1 John 3:24).

The hope we have is a "sure and steadfast hope." It is our hope that rests completely in Jesus Christ, not in our own, personal, simple, Sandamanian faith, but in our genuine, God-given, righteous faith that produces fruit in the Christian life. It is a hope of righteousness, perfect and flawless, by which Jesus Christ can present us faultless before his Father.

But let us not forget that, behind every element of faith is grace, that grace which emanates from God, flows from him to the believing sinner, quickens the sinner, and sustains him unto that eventual perfection that awaits all who truly believe in Christ.

With that sense of comfort and security, every believer should be able to patiently wait for that which is to come, though present circumstances may seem to oppose our optimism. Heb 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ye Are Fallen From Grace

Galatians 5:4

These nominal believers have not in reality been justified, for they claim to be justified before God by the law of Moses; but Paul himself says that one cannot be justified by the works of the law, Galatians 2:16 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.

Instead, Christ has become of no effect to them. Christ has not convicted them of their depravity and their active sin; he has not behooved them to come to him; he has not regenerated them nor converted them nor forgiven them; for in the law are none of these things. If law can save, then Christ died in vain, and our faith is vain: 1 Cor. 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. But our faith, not standing in the law but in Christ, is sufficient through his grace to justify the vilest sinner.

The law is our schoolmaster (Gal. 3:24-25) to condemn us so that Christ can save us from the bondage of the law. If the law is the object of justification, then no one is justified before God, Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Those who are justified by the law are "fallen from grace." They have turned from the only object who can justify: Jesus Christ. They have turned away, or fallen away, from the only true Gospel, the Gospel of grace. There is mercy in the law, but there is no grace in the law, For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, John 1:17.

Certainly they had not fallen from a condition or position of grace in Christ, for they show themselves to be without grace in Christ, yea, without Christ Himself, and without divine justification. They are leaven (verse 9), and they will leaven the whole lump if not stopped; and they will bear their judgment (verse 10).

Paul puts it succinctly in Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Liberty In Christ Jesus

Galatians 5:1-3

Being saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-10), we are free. The truth has made us free indeed. We are now free from the bondage of the law of Moses, which had kept us under tutelage until faith came (Gal. 3:23). We have been made free from sin (Rom. 6:18), free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2), and free from all men (1 Cor. 9:19). We are free to serve Jesus Christ and be among his bondslaves, or servants of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1).

Now that we are free, we are to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. We do this by faith, knowing that we are no longer in bondage but are set free from the bondage of sin and the law and are made free in Christ Jesus, 1 Peter 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

The greatest challenge, evidently, of nominal new-born believers is that temptation that comes to bring ourselves (usually by the help of those who have come in unawares) back under the bondage of the law, the "yoke of bondage." Those unconverted proselytizers demanded that new believers be circumcised, as under the law; but Paul instructs the Galatians that, if they are to be circumcised, there is no profit from Christ in that, Gal. 6:12 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.

Under the New Covenant Jesus Christ does not bind us under the obligatory service of the Old Testament Law; therefore, circumcision means nothing, and uncircumcision means nothing (See 1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 3:28; Rom. 3:22; 10:12).

If a man is circumcised, he is a debtor to the whole law. The Greek word for "whole" here is HOLOS and means "completely, every whit, every part." James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. This means every jot and tittle of the law, every nuance of the law, every practice of the law, and this, being impossible to do, plunges those who surrender to it into a situation of a dire circumstance, one from which a man cannot lift himself except by divine faith in Jesus Christ and not in Moses.

If one cannot stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and if he is willing to be put back under the yoke of bondage, then it seems to me that he does not have genuine, divine faith in Jesus Christ and that he is not indeed free but is still in his sins.

Be thankful for your freedom, your liberty. We are free in Christ, and the law cannot condemn us, for Christ has nailed all of these ordinances to the cross. Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

We are servants either of sin or of Christ. When Christ made us free, we were freed from being servants of the law to being servants of God and of Christ. Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.