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.

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.

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