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)

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

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.

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