Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

My Photo
Name:

Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Book of Galatians Summaries and Outlines

[Beginning in March of 2008, my Sunday school class at Kosmosdale Baptist Church studied through the Book of Galatians. In teaching through this book, I created summaries and outlines for each chapter. The outlines were adapted from class notes given by Dr. Tom Schreiner. at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently, Pastor Mitch Chase is preaching through the Book of Galatians on the Lord's Day morning services at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. It is for this reason that I am now re-visiting and re-publishing these summaries and outlines.]

In Galatians 1, Paul begins the epistle by defending his call as an apostle: that this call came directly from Christ and was not dependent on human authority. He gives this defense in order to make the case for why he is qualified to preach the true gospel of justification by faith alone in Christ alone, in contrast to the false gospel of justification by faith plus works of the law, as advocated by his opponents.

1:1-5 Grace and Peace
1:6-9 Astonishment at the Galatians Departure from the Gospel
1:10 Paul is not a people-pleaser.
1:11 The gospel message Paul preached was not from people.
1:12 The gospel message Paul preached was received from Jesus Christ.
1:13-14 Paul was previously zealous for Judaism.
1:15-17 Paul did not consult with the other apostles before he began preaching the gospel.
1:18-20 Paul had limited contact with the apostles after he began preaching the gospel.
1:21-24 Paul had limited contact with Judea.

In Galatians 2, Paul continues defending his independent ministry as an apostle: that he received his apostolic calling directly from Christ, and not from the other apostles. He mentions his Gentile friend Titus, who went with him to visit the other apostles (and was not compelled to be circumcised) as an example to prove that circumcision is not required for receiving the gospel. Thus, the other apostles approved Paul's gospel preaching. Later, however, Peter contradicted himself (and, more importantly, contradicted the gospel) by indicating with his actions that keeping Mosaic law is necessary for reception into the body of Christ. Therefore, Paul confronted Peter; this confrontation is a prime example that Peter held no authority over Paul's gospel preaching. Paul reminded Peter of the core gospel teaching, and Paul uses this account of his words to Peter as an opportunity to summarize the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone to his Galatian readers, before moving into a more detailed description of this doctrine in Galatians 3.

2:1-2 Paul and his associates went to Jerusalem due to a revelation (i.e., they were not summoned there by the apostles as if the other apostles had authority over them).
2:3-5 Titus was not compelled to be circumcised by the other apostles, proving that circumcision is not required for receiving the gospel.
2:6-10 The other apostles approved of Paul's gospel preaching.
2:11-14 Paul defended the gospel from the erroneous actions of Peter!
2:15-21 Paul reminded Peter of the core gospel teaching: justification by faith alone in Christ alone, apart from works of the Law

In Galatians 3, Paul gives the central soteriological argument of his letter to the Galatians: that we are justified by faith and not law. The chapter begins with an emotional exclamation from Paul, signaling a transition from teaching of doctrine as set within a historical narrative (i.e., the account of Paul's confrontation with Peter) to teaching of doctrine specifically directed to the Galatians. In arguing for the doctrine of justification by faith alone, Paul thus begins with the Galatians' own experience, for the Galatians had obviously received the Spirit, as evidenced by their conversion and the Spirit's miracle-working power among them. Next, he moves to an argument for justification by faith alone from particular texts of Scripture: texts such as Genesis 15:6, Genesis 12:3, Deuteronomy 27:26, Habakkuk 2:4, and Leviticus 18:5. Then, he argues for justification by faith alone based on the work of Christ: that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law and that the Abrahamic blessing has come to be focused on Christ. Paul argues for justification by faith alone based on the Covenant of Abraham as contrasted with the giving of the Law. Then, he argues for justification by faith alone through pointing out the purpose of the Law, which is not given to justify sinners, but to confine sinners under sin and to serve as a tutor until the coming of Christ. Based on the doctrine of justification by faith alone, Paul argues for the unity of believers in Christ.

3:1 Paul cries out in distress over the condition of the Galatian churches.
3:2-5 Paul argues for justification by faith and not law based on the Galatians’ experience.
3:6-12 Paul argues for justification by faith and not law based on the text of Scripture.
3:13-14 Paul argues for justification by faith and not law based on the work of Christ.
3:15-20 Paul argues for justification by faith and not law from the covenant of Abraham, as contrasted with the giving of the Law.
3:21-25 The purpose of the Law: to confine people under sin and serve as a tutor until the coming of Christ.
3:26-29 The Galatians (both Jews and Gentiles) have become sons of God–identified with the seed of Abraham–through faith in Christ.

In Galatians 4, Paul continues with his argument for justification by faith alone in Christ alone–apart from a system of law-keeping–specifically basing his argument on the redemption accomplished by Christ, which purchased us from slavery to the Law in order that we would receive adoption as God's sons. This is a Trinitarian work, in that God is said to have "sent forth His Son" for our redemption, and is said to have "sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts" in our adoption.

Notice the proper emotional response articulated by Paul based upon his contemplating the truth of the gospel versus the danger of the Galatians in their being potentially led into apostasy. Paul is not ashamed to beg the Galatians to follow him in the gospel, nor is he ashamed to prevail upon them based upon their previously established relationship.

Finally, Paul gives a true 'liberation theology.' The liberation spoken of by Paul is illustrated from biblical history, it is accomplished by Christ, and it liberates us from slavery to a system of law-keeping into freedom as sons of God in Christ.

4:1-11 Paul argues for justification apart from the system of law-keeping based on our adoption as sons of God through the redemption accomplished by Christ.
4:12-20 Paul pleas with the Galatians to imitate him and to be warned against the false teachers, basing his plea on his previous relationship to the Galatians.
4:21-5:1 Paul gives an allegorical illustration of our freedom from the system of law-keeping through the liberation accomplished by Christ.

The final two chapters of Galatians are primarily devoted to application based upon the doctrine that has been presented in Chapters 3 and 4. Galatians 5 primarily serves to give warnings based upon the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Paul warns the Galatians against trying to add law-keeping to faith as a means of justification: justification comes by faith alone. Justification by faith alone is based upon the agency of the Holy Spirit and upon our union with Christ. Paul then warns the Galatians against false teachers and defends his own ministry against the charge that he is secretly teaching a system of law-keeping. Next, Paul warns the Galatians against viewing their freedom in Christ in a selfish way; Paul teaches service through love and warns against quarreling. Finally (for this chapter), Paul teaches on the works of the flesh (which works indicate that those doing them will not inherit the kingdom of God) versus the fruit of the Spirit (which fruit indicates that one belongs to Christ and that one is not bound under a system of law-keeping). Faith that comes by the agency of the Holy Spirit produces fruit of the Spirit; true faith produces good works toward others.

5:2-4 Law-keeping cannot be added to faith as a means of justification, for law-keeping demands our perfect obedience, which would nullify the benefits given by Christ, and would condemn us
5:5-6 By the Spirit we have the hope of justification; in Christ our justification is accomplished–so that faith (and not initiation into a system of law-keeping)–is what matters
5:7-12 Paul warns the Galatians against false teachers and false teaching, and he defends himself against the charge that he is secretly preaching a system of law-keeping as well.
5:13-15 Paul warns the Galatians against viewing their freedom in Christ in a selfish way; Paul teaches service through love and warns against quarreling.
5:16-26 Paul teaches on the works of the flesh (which works indicate that those doing them will not inherit the kingdom of God) versus the fruit of the Spirit (which fruit indicates that one belongs to Christ and that one is not bound under a system of law-keeping).

In the closing chapter of Galatians (Galatians 6), Paul continues his exhortations to the Galatian Christians based upon the previous instruction he had delivered to them. Rather than doing works of the law to find favor with God, Paul writes of fulfilling the law of Christ. This fulfillment, in terms of understanding Paul's argument in a non-contradictory fashion, must be seen as a working out of what Christ has already accomplished on our behalf. We can help carry each other's burdens because Christ has carried our ultimate burden–the curse due to sin–on His Cross. In carrying one another's burdens, Paul is quick to remind his readers that we still each have accountability before God.

In conclusion, Paul gives one final contrast between his own ministry and that of the false teachers: the false teachers seek to escape persecution and boast to others in what they can accomplish through persuading the Galatians to accept a system of law-keeping; Paul, however, will boast only in the Cross, and he has suffered great persecution for the message of the Cross. Paul reminds his readers of the theological truth that what really matters is not keeping to a legalistic system, but becoming a new creation in Christ.

6:1-10 Christians are not lawless, but fulfill the law of Christ through doing good works to others: especially other Christians.
6:11-18 Christians boast only in the Cross of Christ; what matters is not partaking in the system of law-keeping, but becoming a new creation in Christ through His work.

Labels:

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Galatians: Extended Synopsis

Explanation

In my Sunday school class at Kosmosdale Baptist Church in 2008, we studied the Apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians. I wanted to help the class get an overview of the book of Galatians without reading the entire book of the Bible in class, so I came up with the following extended synopsis of Galatians. This synopsis is based on outlines I had to make of various sections of this book for my class on Galatians here at Southern Seminary. This synopsis contains all the major propositions of the book with enough additional information from other verses in order to make sense when read. Some of the more theologically significant verses are not found in this synopsis, but as we studied through Galatians, we went well beyond the synopsis to examine the book verse-by-verse. I'm bringing this back up now, because currently Pastor Mitch Chase is preaching through Galatians in the Lord's Day morning services at Kosmosdale.

Synopsis

Paul, an apostle. and all the brothers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia: grace to you and peace.

I am astonished that you have turned yourselves away. As for me: do I now seek the favor of men? Do I strive to please men? If I were still trying seeking the favor of men, then I would not be a servant of Christ. For I declare to you, brothers, the gospel I proclaimed. For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism. But when the one who selected me from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace was pleased to reveal his Son in me, I didn’t immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up into Jerusalem to the apostles who came before me, but I went away into Arabia and afterward I returned to Damascus. Later, after three years, I went up into Jerusalem to meet Cephas, I didn’t see any other of the apostles. Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. But they kept on hearing, “The one who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith.” And they were glorifying God because of me.

Later, after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas along with Titus as well. And I reported to them the gospel I preach in the nations. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But as for those appearing to be something: they added nothing to me. But on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, then James, Peter, and John knew the grace given to me.

But when Peter came into Antioch I opposed him to his face: “We, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners were ourselves justified by faith in Christ. But if I construct again those things I destroyed, I demonstrate myself to be a transgressor. For through law I died to law. I have been crucified with Christ. I live, but it is no longer I, but the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God. I don’t set aside the grace of God.”

O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?! I only want to learn this from you: are you so foolish? Have you endured so much in vain? Consider Abraham: he believed God and it was counted to him for justification. So that those believing are blessed with believing Abraham.

But that no one is justified with God by law is evident. Brothers, I speak in terms of human relations: no one annuls or adds to even a human covenant that has been established. Now I say this: the Law does not cancel a covenant. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise. What, then, is the Law? It was added on account of transgressions. It was ordained through angels by means of a mediator. Is the Law, therefore, against God’s promises? May it never be! But before faith came, we were being kept [as] those confined under law, so that the Law has become our tutor in order that we might be justified by faith. But since the coming of faith we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God. For as many of as have been immersed in Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. But if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

But I say that as long as an heir is a minor, he is no different from a slave, but he is under guardians and trustees. So we too had been enslaved under the elements of creation. But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his son. And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.

Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son. And since a son, also an heir through God. But formerly, not having known God, you were enslaved to things that aren’t really gods. But now, knowing God– or, rather, being known by God– how can you turn again to the weak and bankrupt elements? Do you want to serve them all over again? You scrupulously observe days, months, seasons, and years; I fear for you.

Brothers, I beg of you: become like me, for I became like you. You didn’t wrong me, but you know that through an infirmity of the flesh I formerly proclaimed the good news to you. And you didn’t despise nor reject your temptation in my flesh; rather, you received me as an angel from God: as Christ Jesus.

Therefore, where is your blessedness? For I testify that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?! They [those adding to/opposing the gospel of grace] court you dishonorably, but good is always to be courted in a good way.

My children, I’d like to be with you now and change my tone. Tell me, you who want to be under law, don’t you hear the Law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, but the one by the slave woman had been born according to the flesh, while the one by the free woman was through a promise. These things are allegorical, for these women are two covenants; one, indeed, is from Mt. Sinai, giving birth into slavery: this is Hagar. Now Hagar (Mt. Sinai) is in Arabia; this corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with her children. But the higher Jerusalem is free; she is our mother. For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren woman, not bearing children! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor pains! Because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of the woman who has a husband.” Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as it was then, when the one born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so it is even now. But what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son.” Therefore, brothers, we aren’t children of a slave woman.

Christ has liberated us into freedom; therefore, stand firm and don’t be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Look! I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision Christ will not benefit you at all. Again, I testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace! For we by the Spirit through faith eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything, but [what matters] is faith acting through love. You were running well, who cut in on you to prevent you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from the one calling you. I have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you will take no other view. But the one troubling you will bear the judgment: whoever that may be. But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the offense of the Cross has been abolished. For you were called to freedom, brothers.

But I say walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: fornication… and things like these, which I forewarn you. . that those doing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love… . self control. Against such things there is no law. But those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Brothers, if someone is overtaken by any transgression, you– the spiritual ones– must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Carry one another’s burdens. For if anyone considers himself to be something even though he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work. But the one being taught the Word must share all good things with the teacher. Don’t be deceived! For what a man sows, that he also reaps. But we should not grow weary in doing good. So, then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone.

See what large letters I write to you with my own hand!

Those who want to make a good show in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised. For the circumcised ones themselves don’t keep law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything.

Finally, let no one cause me trouble.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers.
–Amen.

Labels:

Monday, July 03, 2017

My Translation of the Book of Galatians

Chapter 1

1 Paul, an apostle–not from men, nor through a man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead–2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ 4 who gave himself for our sins so that he might rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom is the glory forever and ever.
– Amen.

6 I am astonished that you have turned yourselves so quickly away from the one who called you by the grace of Christ unto a different gospel, 7 which is not another [gospel], although someone is unsettling you and desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we–or even an angel from heaven–might preach to you in deviation from that which we preached, let him be damned! 9 As we have said before, now I say again, if someone preaches to you in deviation from what you have received, let him be damned!
10 Now, do I seek the favor of men or God? Do I strive to please men? If I were still seeking the favor of men, then I would not be a servant of Christ!
11 For I declare to you, brothers: the gospel I proclaimed is not according to Man. 12 For I didn’t receive it from a man, nor was it taught to me, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism, that I persecuted the church of God to an extreme, and I ravaged her. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many peers in my class, being exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when the one who had selected me from my mother's womb and called me by his grace was pleased 16 to reveal his Son to me, in order to proclaim him in the nations, I didn’t immediately consult flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up into Jerusalem to the apostles who came before me, but I went away into Arabia and afterward I returned to Damascus.
18 Later, after three years, I went up into Jerusalem to meet Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I didn’t see any other of the apostles except James, the brother of our Lord.
20 Look! Before God, that which I write to you is not a lie.
21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, 22 but I remained personally unknown to the congregations of Judea that are in Christ. 23 But they kept on hearing, “The one who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he was formerly destroying.” 24 And they were glorifying God because of me.

Chapter 2

1 Later, after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas along with Titus as well. 2 But I went up according to a revelation. And I reported to them the gospel I preach in the nations (but privately, to those reputed to be important, lest somehow I might run, or have ran, in vain).
3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. Because false brothers who were smuggled in crept in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. We didn’t yield to them for a moment in obedience, so that the truth of the gospel might remain unchanged with you.
6 But as for those appearing to be something–when, in fact, they are nothing to me (God does not consider a man’s appearance)–those appearing to be something added nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for he who effectively worked in Peter’s apostleship to the circumcised also effectively worked in me among the nations), 9 then James, Cephas, and John–those appearing to be pillars–knew the grace given to me, and they gave Barnabas and me their right hands of fellowship that we might go into the nations, but they might go to the circumcised. 10 They only asked that we might remember the poor, which was the very thing I was intending to do.
11 But when Cephas came into Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he had been condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he would associate with the Gentiles. But when they came he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray in their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw they weren’t straightforward in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of everyone, “If you, a Jew, are living like a Gentile and don’t live like a Jew, how do you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?
15 “We–who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, 16 after having known that a man isn’t justified by works of the law, but rather through faith in Jesus Christ (and we have believed in Christ Jesus)–since we were justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of law (because by works of law no flesh will be justified): 17 if, while we are seeking to be justified by Christ we ourselves were found to be sinners, then is Christ a minister of sin? May it never be!
18 “For if I construct again those things I destroyed, I demonstrate myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through law I died to law so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. 20 I live, but it is no longer I, but Christ lives in me. But the life 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 don’t set aside the grace of God, for if justification is through law, then Christ died in vain.”

Chapter 3

1 O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly set forth as crucified? I only want to learn this from you: did you receive the Spirit by works of law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, Are you now perfected by flesh? 4 Have you endured so much in vain? (If, indeed, it really was in vain…) 5 Did he then, supplying the Spirit to you and working miracles among you [do these] from works of law, or from hearing with faith?
6 Consider Abraham–he believed God and it was counted to him for justification. 7 You know, then, that those believing–these are the sons of Abraham. But the Scripture, having foreseen that God justifies the nations by faith, foretold the gospel to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So that those believing are blessed with believing Abraham.
10 For as many as are from works of law are under a curse. For it has been written, “All who don’t persevere in everything written in the book of the law, in order to do them, are cursed.”
11 But that no one is justified with God by law is evident because, “The just will live by faith.” 12 But the law is not from faith, rather, “The one doing them will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, becoming a curse for our sake (as it has been written, “Everyone hanging on a tree is cursed”), 14 so that the blessing of Abraham might come into the nations through Christ Jesus, so that the promise of the Holy Spirit might come through faith.
15 Brothers, I speak in terms of human relations. No one annuls or adds to even a human covenant that has been established. 16 But the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but rather, “And to your seed,” as of one, which is Christ. 17 Now I say this: the Law, coming four hundred thirty years after the covenant, which had been previously ratified by God, does not cancel a covenant, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19 What, then, is the Law? It was added on account of transgressions until the seed, to whom the promise had been given, might come. It was ordained through angels by means of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not for one [party only], but God is one.
21 Is the Law, therefore, against God’s promises? May it never be! For if a law was given that was able to impart life, then justification really was on the basis of law. 22 But the Scripture confined all under sin, so that the promise based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were being kept [as] those confined under law, until the coming faith was revealed, 24 so that the Law has become our tutor until Christ, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But since the coming of faith we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been immersed in Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 But if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

Chapter 4


1 But I say that as long as an heir is a minor, he is no different from a slave, though he is lord of all, 2 but he is under guardians and trustees until the time appointed by the father. So we too, when we were minors, had been enslaved under the elements of creation. But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 in order that he might redeem those under law, in order that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son. And since a son, also an heir through God. 8 But formerly, not having known God, you were enslaved to things that aren’t really gods. 9 But now, knowing God–or, rather, being known by God–how can you turn again to the weak and bankrupt elements? Do you want to serve them all over again? 10 You scrupulously observe days, months, seasons, and years–11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored for you in vain.
12 Brothers, I beg of you: become like me, for I became like you. You didn’t wrong me, 13 but you know that through an infirmity of the flesh I formerly proclaimed the good news to you. 14 And you didn’t despise nor reject your testing in my flesh; rather, you received me as an angel from God–as Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, where is your blessedness? For I testify that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?!
17 They court you dishonorably; rather, they desire to isolate you so that you court them. 18 But good is always to be courted in a good way, and not only when I am with you.
19 My children, for whom I am again in labor pains until Christ is formed in you, 20 I’d like to be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you.
21 Tell me, you who want to be under law, don’t you hear the Law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons–one by the slave woman, and the other by the free woman–23 but the one by the slave woman had been born according to the flesh, while the one by the free woman was through a promise. 24 These things are allegorical, for these women are two covenants. One, indeed, is from Mt. Sinai, giving birth into slavery: this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar (Mt. Sinai) is in Arabia. This corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with her children. 26 But the higher Jerusalem is free; she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren woman, not bearing children! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor pains! Because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of the woman who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as it was then, when the one born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so it is even now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son. For the son of the slave woman will certainly not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 Therefore, brothers, we aren’t children of a slave woman, but of the free woman.

Chapter 5


1 Christ has liberated us into freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Look! I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision Christ will not benefit you at all. Again, I testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law are alienated from Christ: you have fallen from grace! 5 For we by the Spirit through faith eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything, but [what matters is] faith acting through love.
7 You were running well, who cut in on you to prevent you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from the one calling you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole batch.
10 I have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you will take no other view. But the one troubling you will bear the judgment,whoever that may be. 11 But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the offense of the Cross has been abolished. 12 I could wish that those troubling you would even emasculate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only don’t turn freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, rather serve one another through love. 14 For all the law has been fulfilled in one statement–in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, lest you be consumed by one another.
16 But I say walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other so that you don’t do the things you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious–which are: fornication, impurity, debauchery, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, faction, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these, which I forewarn you (as I told you before) that those doing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law.
24 But those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited– provoking one another, envying one another.

Chapter 6


1 Brothers, if someone is overtaken by any transgression, you–the spiritual ones–must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, watching yourself lest you too are tempted. 2 Carry one another’s burdens, and thus you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone considers himself to be something even though he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have glorying in himself alone, and not in others. 5 For each one shall carry his own load. 6 But the one being taught the Word must share all good things with the teacher. 7 Don’t be deceived; God is not mocked! For what a man sows, that he also reaps. 8 Because the one who sows to his own flesh will reap ruin from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 But we should not grow weary in doing good. For in the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. 10 So, then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, especially to the household of the Faith. 

11 See what large letters I write to you with my own hand! 12 Those who want to make a good show in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised only so that they might not be persecuted for the Cross of Christ. 13 For the circumcised ones themselves don’t keep law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; all that matters is a new creation. 16 So peace and mercy on those who will keep this rule, even on the Israel of God. 

17 Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear in my body the brand-marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers.

–Amen.

Labels: