The Galatians were a Celtic people who in the 3rd century BC. settled in the region around the city of Ancyra, presently Ankara, the capital of Turkey. After the Romans had conquered Asia Minor, in 25 BC. they established into the province of Galatia (Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe), which was considerably larger than just the city Galatia. This letter from the apostle Paul is addressed to the Christian community in the Galatian region. The letter can be dated around AD 47, when Paul was in Antioch.
Judaizers were Jewish Christians who believed, among other things, that a number of the ceremonial practices of the OT were still binding on the NT church. Following Paul's successful campaign in Galatia, they insisted that Gentile converts to Christianity abide by certain OT rites, especially circumcision. They may have been motivated by a desire to avoid the persecution of Zealot Jews who objected to their fraternizing with Gentiles (see 6:12). The Judaizers argued that Paul was not an authentic apostle and that out of a desire to make the message more appealing to Gentiles he had removed from the gospel certain legal requirements.
Verse 1 Paul starts this letter with a cool greeting and not like in the other letters with a greeting to the saints in Jesus Christ. Why? The Galatians were for the most part pagans who followed the Jewish faith and who had come to believe in Jesus Christ, but now returned to the maintenance of Jewish laws, thereby despising their faith. They no longer recognized Paul with his unique gospel and saw him as an apostle appointed by the remaining 11 apostles in Jerusalem. A former ex-Pharisee scholar. Paul opens his letter with THE FACT that he was not appointed by people (the 11 apostles) but by Jesus Christ and by God the Father. God the Father has the first place and He had raised Jesus Christ from the dead. That is not human work, but the work of God. That God Who had appointed Paul as apostle.
Verses 2-3 A grace from Paul and the brothers in Antioch, and may the peace of God the Father turn to you.
Verse 4 Not with the law, but because Jesus died for the sins of man at the Cross of Calvary, peace with God the Father is possible. That is the only and true gospel. Jesus has drawn the Christian from the evil world of satan and demons. Jesus died for the sins according to the Will of God and Father. Through faith in this fact and His resurrection from the dead by God, eternal life in Heaven is possible.
Verses 6-7 The Judaic-Christian error gained quickly access to the Galatians. Paul had hardly left this church before they turned their audience to another gospel. A gospel which is NOT of God and Christ. Paul reminds the Galatians that the gospel brought by him is the gospel given by God (verse 12) and not given by people. Paul blames them for letting go of the grace of Jesus Christ in a quick flight and expecting justice to come to pass through the law (Gal. 5: 4) and thereby leaving grace outside. By this, they have not separated themselves from the teaching of Paul, but have separated themselves from God Himself!
Verse 8 If Paul were to contradict himself and bring a different gospel than he had received from Christ Jesus Himself, then he is cursed. Yes, if an angel would bring another gospel, think of the Mormons and the angel who Sermoned another "gospel" to Muhammad that one is cursed. Note the words an angel from heaven, that means an angel of God, a heavy concept. Paul is not talking about a fallen angel, but an angel from heaven. Although the Bible teaches not to curse, Paul clearly writes here THEY BE ACCURSED. Luther cursed. One can think of Asmussen when he fought fiercely against socialism and communism: A church that cannot curse cannot be blessed either. She becomes a silly church, missing the frontal attack on satan and missing the power of God. Nor did the Galatians venture a frontal attack on Paul, they merely claimed that he had a second-hand knowledge and authority.
Verse 9 Even when Paul was in Galatians, he had then already clearly stated that if someone Sermoned another gospel, that person is cursed. Let this be a serious warning to all who follow a different gospel than the one taught in the Bible. Think of Mormons, Islam, Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, any invalidation of the Bible with the words it is not in the original text. Another gospel is also the prayers to the canonized persons by the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church. The Bible clearly says that there is only one Mediator between God and man: Jesus and therefore no prayers to saints. Exodus 20: 4-5 is clear
So clearly no kissing or worship of images of saints, nor asking for mediation. Realize how clear Paul is with THAT THEM BE ACCURSED.
The Archangel Michael did not dare to curse, but he said: The Lord punishes you. Here Paul is very clear in his words about anyone who brings a different gospel that is not in accordance with our current Bible, he or she be accursed.
Verse 10 Paul clearly shows that he is not out to please people and win souls by Sermoning a pleasing gospel that favours people. How do we see this reflected in our days. Give your tithes, give great gifts because then God will provide you with riches. No discipline when living together and having sex before marriage. The basic text of the Bible says nothing about same-sex sex, one forgets the clear language of Romans 1, the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah. Churches try to win souls to have as many paid church members as possible and do not Sermon anything about living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a non-life in the world. Nothing about conversion and repentance. Churches allow worldly life and Sermon another gospel of human pleasures. There is no more discipline.
However, Paul is a servant of Christ, who proclaims the only true gospel as he received it from Christ Jesus. He is not out to please people, has no problem with people attacking him and taking offence at him if they do not like his gospel giving by Christ. The apostle will not have denied that when he was in the days of being a Pharisee, he was seeking the favour of God. However, if he were to do this now, he would not be a servant of God.
Verses 11-12 What Paul Sermones is not a gospel told to him by the apostle Peter and supplemented by his own thoughts. What he Sermones is the gospel (and the doctrine he Sermoned in his letters) which he received directly from Christ Jesus. It was Jesus Christ Himself who taught him. He could not have learnt his gospel from Peter, because after seeing Christ Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) he had not travelled to Jerusalem, where Peter was staying but left for Arabia (verse 17). Only three years later was his first contact with Cephas (= Peter) and James (verse 18), so he could not possibly have received the gospel he Sermoned from Peter (people). This means that according to verse 18, that for three years Jesus Christ personally taught Paul the gospel and the precepts written by Paul in his letters . During three years, Jesus personally taught the other 11 apostles during his life on earth. Similarly this twelfth apostle Paul (replacement of the traitor apostle Judas) who was personally taught by Christ Jesus during three years. The 11 apostles had seen Jesus alive, including Paul, who saw Jesus alive after His resurrection from the dead. That is why nobody can dispute his apostolate. It was Christ Jesus Himself who appointed and taught him.
Verse 13 Paul was the one who had violently persecuted and killed the first Christians, with the aim of exterminating every Christian. Not only in Jerusalem, but in all of Judea and the foreign territories (Acts 26:11). Now he completely distances himself from Judaism and the Jewish doctrine that by keeping the law (the first five Bible books, the Torah), one comes to Heaven and receives forgiveness of sin. Judaism is over.
Verse 14 Paul was a very learned Pharisee, brought up in the Jewish faith from birth. Then at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22: 3) a teacher of the law in the Council, held in honour by all the Jewish people (Acts 5:34). Paul had lived with careful observance of the law, was a zeal for God. It was the power of his persecution rage: a passionate zeal of the ancestral traditions (the law of our fathers): the philosophies of life according to the written and unwritten laws of rabbinic traditions. It was his highest religious and moral flawlessness in this Jewish life. However, this ALL had become a great and serious sin for him. That is why Galatians had not return to this Jewish life, but stay at the grace of Christ Jesus. Law and gospel exclude each other. It is like water and fire. The Law does not bring eternal life to Heaven. The keeping of the law through the power of the Holy Spirit is pleasing to God, if this is not done on his own power and grace is despised.
Verses 15-17 It was God the Father who had predestined Paul to Sermon the gospel among the Gentiles. The other 11 apostles were called to Sermon among their own Jewish people. The apostle Paul was set apart by God for Sermoning among the Gentiles. His persecutions and murders of the first Christians had caused a heavy scar that meant he had to endure all his suffering and he would Sermon the gospel with great zeal. After his calling on the road to Damascus, he did not go to the apostles in Jerusalem to confirm his calling. In contrast, he left for Arabia.
Verses 18-19 Cephas (Greek képhas) is the name that the Lord Jesus gave to his disciple Simon, the later apostle Peter (John 1:42). The proper name is of Aramean origin; Aramaic kepa = boulder, stone, in Greek petros = boulder.
What the reason was for Paul to travel to Jerusalem and visit Cephas after three years is not mentioned in the Bible. Was it the Lord Jesus Christ who had finished Paul's training and instructed to visit Peter (you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church (Matthew 16:18))? Did he have to tell Peter that he was appointed by Jesus as an apostle and had to introduce himself? Was it Paul who wanted to visit James, the brother in the flesh of Jesus, to know what life was like with his brother Jesus?
Verses 20-24 After meeting Peter and James, Paul started Sermoning the gospel in the regions of Syria and Cilicia (Tarsus, birthplace of Paul). The church in Judea had not seen him in person, but heard about him how diligently he proclaimed the gospel, the faith in Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus and eternal life in Heaven. That is why they glorified God, because this heavy sinner who had tried to exterminate the Christian congregation, had now been converted by God and with great zeal proclaimed the Christian faith in all truth, without fallacy and his own thoughts.
Verses 1-2 Paul went to Jerusalem again after fourteen years. The comments disagree on whether to count this from Paul's conversion or after his visit to Jerusalem. It is unimportant, counted for me from his visit because it says after fourteen years I went AGAIN to Jerusalem.
It is not Paul's own initiative that he goes to Jerusalem, it is the command of the Holy Spirit who has spoken through a revelation.
Before those who were of repute, we can think of the 11 apostles who Sermoned the gospel among the Jews. It is to this limited group of repute, and not to the entire Jerusalem congregation, that Paul tells the gospel as he proclaims and explains to the Gentiles. He reports to the mother church and original apostles that his Sermoning had not remained fruitless, but very many Gentiles had come to faith AND had become followers of Jesus Christ. Not just a repentance of sin and the acceptance of Jesus. NO, followers of Jesus, letting go of worldly life and moving on to a new life led by the Holy Spirit. A true conversion to the spiritual life.
Verses 3-5 In this early phase of the Christian congregation, there are all kinds of problems which needed to be solved. Timothy a half-Jewish, half-Greek brought up in the Jewish faith, Paul had allowed him to be circumcised because of the weak brothers and his being half-Jewish. Titus was a born Greek, a completely heathen, without Jewish education since birth, Paul resisted that he had to be circumcised. Why? Circumcision was a covenant between God and Abraham, a Jewish covenant related to the Law of Moses. The invaded brothers, possibly Pharisees who had come to faith, insisted that the Gentiles should be circumcised. A painful and not harmless act (Genesis 34:25), if this is not done on the eighth day after birth. Jesus had completed the Law of Moses, so Paul strongly opposed living an "under the Law" instead of a "freedom under the law." The church had begun to live in the Spirit and threatened to live in the flesh, "under the Law." However, this is not a reason for Paul to force a break between him and the reputes. In the Lord Jesus Christ is UNITY. The importance of the young Christian congregation to lay down rules. There is tension between him and the core in Jerusalem, but no gap, they have understood him and imposed nothing on him, this creates community. They understood the two fields of mission: the world of the Jews and the world of the uncircumcised peoples. This consisted of variety.
We are dealing here with a core concept of "under the Law". No circumcision because this was a pure Jewish covenant between God and Abraham before the Law of Moses. A circumcision that applied to the sons of Abraham, Ishmael (circumcision among the Islamites) and Isaac (the Israelites). A promise from God that the Israelites would become numerous as the stars in the sky and the OLD Covenant, Genesis 15:18-21 and dwelling on the earth
The church is based on the NEW Covenant, a royal priesthood, who lives in Heaven through the belief of the forgiveness of sin through the SACRIFICE BROUGHT BY JESUS CHRIST. Jesus left Heaven and came to earth to PERFORM THE LAW (of Moses, the Torah). Thus the believer in Jesus is NOT fired to obey the Law. However, NOT by human power, a Law that frees from sin and leads to eternal life, but a Law instituted by God and given to Moses by God to PLEASE God (apart from the fact that it is in the interest of man himself to obey the 10 Commandments). The believer is given the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Law. The Law that prescribes the sacrificial service in the tabernacle and temple as TEMPORARY atonement for sins. With Jesus the ONCE and perfect sacrifice was made on the cross of Calvary. But everything concerning the sanctification of the priests applies to every individual believer, after all, he or she is a priest of God. The priest was only allowed to marry a virgin (a woman who had not had sexual intercourse). That is why a believer can only marry a virgin. And husband and wife must refrain from sexual intercourse before marriage. Before entering the tabernacle or temple, the priest first had to confess his sin and make a sacrifice. First the believer has to confess his or her sins before he or she can approach God (in church, prayer, reading the Bible, etc.). The priest was not allowed to perform his office in his daily clothing, he was only allowed to enter the tabernacle/temple in white clothing prescribed by God. How does the believer enter the church? In decent clothing or in torn jeans, half-naked?
The Law of Moses also applies to the believer, no tattoo, no eating or drinking of blood, keeping the 10 Commandments, to name a few by names. The believer MUST have knowledge of the Old Testament. In the days of the apostles, only the Old Testament was known. Neglecting study of the Old Testament is having poor knowledge of the Bible and being an easy prey for satan. The believer is NOT DISMISSED in keeping the Law and the prophets. Living in the Spirit is a life for the pleasure of God the Father.
The truth of the gospel is above all else, there must be no meekness for people with a Jewish past and who wish to impose circumcision.
Verses 6-9 Paul received his gospel directly from Jesus and does not avoid conflicts. He considers himself no more or less than the apostles James, Cephas (Peter) and John. They are the same three apostles in the exaltation on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-12). The core of Jerusalem they do not put anything in Paul's way, they acknowledge that Paul is entrusted with Sermoning the gospel to the uncircumcised. It is Jesus who gives Peter the power and has declared Cephas a rock to Sermon the gospel to the circumcised. These three, who served as pillars, gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas, and instructed them to Sermon the gospel among the Gentiles (not excluding the Jews). With 1 condition in verse 10.
Verse 10 The condition is that the Gentiles continue to support the poor among the Jews. A condition in which Paul worked eagerly. Why this condition? There must be no distinction between Jew and Greek. Both have the same root, namely the Jew Jesus Christ. There is only 1 church of Jesus Christ. Not a church of Jesus Christ for circumcised Jews and another church of Jesus Christ for uncircumcised Gentiles. It is 1 church in which mutual care is for each other. The mission of Jesus in Mat. 28:19-20 is "make disciples of all nations and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you". How pastors and churches do not fail in this assignment: making disciples and learning to maintain ALL what Jesus has commanded. The equipment maintained financially of the missionaries and the poor. Keeping the Law and living in the Spirit.
Verses 11-14 Antioch was the third city in the empire, after Jerusalem the most important city, daughter for Jerusalem, the oldest Christian unit, which in turn became a mother of many Christian congregations. When Jerusalem is Peter's pillar, Antioch could be called the pillar of Paul, the city from which he departed his missionary journeys. Cephas also worked in Antioch. The two mission areas coincide. Peter had received the Divine revelation in Acts 10 that he was allowed to eat with Gentiles at the same table and thereby violate Jewish food laws. The Judaists fought tough for every statement. Certain men came from James (in Jerusalem) had arrived in Antioch and then Peter's hypocrisy began, he withdrew from eating at the same table with Gentiles. Possibly under pressure from this circle of James and even Barnabas felt. Paul completely dissociates himself from their attitude and OPENLY (before them all) opposes Paul, the rock on which Jesus had said he would build the Christian congregation. A human attitude of Cephas: the fear of (Jews) people and hypocrisy. The responsibility of Cephas (Peter) was very great (see Mat. 16:13-23 confession, trust of the church and get behind me satan), he was the pillar-apostle, whom all eyes were focused on, he was the example. The eyes of Jews and Gentiles were focused on his actions. He acted carelessly in practice by releasing a large group of Gentiles for a small group of Judaists. Paul is teaching strongly against Cephas, the true freedom and truth of the gospel is at stake. Celebrating the holy supper separately is a serious infringement. That is why the heavy power of attack and resistance. Not a private reprimand, the matter was too serious for that, but an OPEN opposition, because it was wrong on Peter's side, see also 1 Tim. 5:20. It was a denial of Jesus, who had instituted the holy supper. The breakthrough of the Spirit of Pentecost is at stake here.
Cephas who is a Jew and no longer lived as a Jew through Acts 10, how could he impose pagans to live as a Jew? No Jew was able to fully fulfill the Law in his own strength. And especially the interpretations of rabbis and judaists were an impossible burden for the Israelites.
Verse 15 We ourselves, who are Jews by birth, that are the 11 apostles and the apostle Paul, the Jewish people. We have great privileges (Romans 9: 4-7) through God's election. We have received the Law, we have priests who offer for sin, we have knowledge of God's Will. The concept of sinner here is the one who has NO knowledge of the Law and of God's Will. Gentiles do not have the possibility of justice through Jewish Law, they are people without law and therefore sinners.
Verse 16 Even the born Jew, who is not a sinner in this sense, knows that this Law (the Torah, the Law of Moses) does not bring them any further, they remain separated from God through their sinful life. No person is justified by the works of the Law. Abraham was justified by faith and not by his works. However, faith without works is dead. By faith Abraham brought his only son Isaac to the altar, which expressed faith in obedience and works. Through faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour, the believer receives forgiveness of sins.
Verse 17 Are we the apostles justified in Christ? No, because we have turned out to be sinners, because we do not do good, but sins work in us, see Romans 7:13-26.
Verse 18 What I have broken down, is that through perfect obedience to the Law, I am justified. If, after believing in Jesus Christ, I take this back, if I start to build on it again, I prove that I am a transgressor of the Law. With that I deny my salvation in Christ Jesus. I leave the New Covenant and go back to the faded Old Covenant. The Galatians set out on a dangerous road back to the Old Covenant, Luke 11:52
The Judaists try to prevent Christians from being justified by faith by imposing on them the Law that they themselves could not keep.
Verse 19 But you write that we must live and maintain by Law. The Law makes known to man what sin is. Show the human offences. You will love God above all else. No idols nor images. Do not steal, kill, covet what belongs to your neighbour. The violation(s) of the Law brings death, the separation from God, the displeasure of God the Father. Will be condemned by Law and end life in the lake of fire. How different the world would look if everyone obeyed the 10 commandments, an earth without theft and murder. The Christian is called to be an example and to let the Kingdom of God rule on earth without theft, murder and corruption, exercising the 10 Commandments. Before the Law Jesus Christ died as a sinner and by faith it is possible to live for God. The Law does not bring forgiveness of sins, life to the Law through the power of the Holy Spirit brings joy and peace with God the Father.
Verses 20-21 The sins in me are crucified with Jesus. The old life of sin died with Jesus at the cross of Calvary. Christ has risen from the dead and made the New Covenant with anyone who wishes to believe. Through Jesus Christ I receive the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sins. Through Christ I no longer live the old worldly life and give in to sin. But if I allow Christ to live in me, that is the power not to give in to sin and to resist the temptations of the world and satan. Then Christ lives in me.
If I were justice by the Law, then Jesus died for nothing. It has been grace from God who accepted Jesus' sacrifice at the Cross and raised Jesus from the dead as evidence. With that there is forgiveness of sin for everyone who wants to believe in Christ Jesus.
Verse 1 Paul continued with his cool greeting at the beginning of his letter, now with harsh words, O FOOLISH GALATIANS. He calls them GALATIANS by name and, in harsh words, FOOLISH. He does not wrap around it, he goes straight forward. No soft words like in the churches today, a tolerance of cohabitation and sex before marriage, a tolerance of sins without discipline and reprimand.
How is it possible that you will return to the law and circumcision? Paul clearly proclaimed the crucified Jesus, a death and end of the law that would bring forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness of sins is only possible through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus for man's sins. The law brings death, no person is able to keep the law throughout his or her entire life. The fulfillment of the law by works only leads to the death and separation of God the Father, to a judgment in the lake of fire.
Verses 2-3 Paul asks a clear question: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? The Galatians received the Holy Spirit after coming to faith at Paul's Sermoning. They had experienced the powers of the Holy Spirit and now they were so foolish to return to the law. Under the law (in the Old Testament) NO ONE had received the Holy Spirit as an indwelling. How could they be so foolish to return to the works of the law, which brings no deliverance from sins, no indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Foolish to return to circumcision? You are completely captivated by the Judaists who think the law brings deliverance from sin. It is a violation of Jesus' work, a grave violation of unbelief in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They declare the law valid again as liberation. No one can sin as badly as the believer, who has received a new house, but immediately break it off to return to their old home declared uninhabitable.
Verses 4-5 Had they received so much spiritual power that now they to disavow this freedom and return to the slavery of the law and circumcision? They had seen the powers of the Holy Spirit. Do these powers come through the law (which never happened in the past (from receiving the law) to Jesus) or after faith in Jesus Christ? The law has nothing to do with Messianic time: by faith one obtains forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Heaven. Opposite to the barren law is the fruitful gospel. The decisive choice is between works of the law or believing in the new proclamation of the gospel of the crucified Jesus.
Verse 6 Is Isaac given back to Father Abraham by works or by faith? Abraham believed that God was able to raise his son Isaac from the dead after he had sacrificed his son. Abraham was obedient by faith! God imputed this faith as justice. By faith Abraham became the father of many believers. He has become an example for many.
Verses 7-9 This promise applies to all children of Abraham from all nations. Not the children of the flesh are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants, Romans 9:7-8. The rabbis recognize Abraham as "our Father", the Jewish people as children of father Abraham. How can you then return to the law which was NOT there at the time of Abraham? Abraham did not participate in the polytheism of the nations, he believed in the ONLY God.
God knew that Jesus would go to earth and die for man's sins. And on the basis of FAITH everyone who believes in this work will be delivered from the penalty of sin. Regardless of whether they are Jews or Gentiles: In you all nations will be blessed, was and is the promise of God.
Verse 10 Paul recalls the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal, Deut. 27:11-26. The believers live under the blessing, the people with the laws live under the curse. Here it is assumed that the law can be kept. However, James 2:10 is clear: For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it (all commandments). In short, no person is able to keep the law, it is a yoke that neither our fathers nor we can accomplish. The law brings death (eternal death in the lake of fire). Be it literally through work, or through human thoughts.
Verse 11 Since it became apparent in the period from the law to Jesus that no one is able to keep the law, the necessity of the cross of Jesus has become clear. The need for faith has become clear. A conscious realization that man cannot abide by the rules and law of God, who is Holy, because of his sinful nature. Only "simple" believing can bring justice to God. However, man is haughty, wishes to know of no limitation, justifying himself through his own works, and this leads to injustice with God. Man is haughty to acknowledge being a sinner and to humbly acknowledge to need God.
Verse 12 The law emphasizes DOING, the performance of people. The Galatians are returning to the curse of the law. Paul does not criticize the law, because the law is good for man. How different would the world look if no one covet what is of his neighbour. Everyone complying the law, no accidents caused by collisions through walking or driving at a red light. After all, the law is about DOING, fulfilling what the law prescribes.
Verse 13 Deut. 21:22-23 hanging on a tree can be compared to hanging on a cross. Jesus was hanged on a tree/cross and with that He became a curse (a hanged man is cursed by God). It was fulfilled that Jesus was buried the same day.
Verse 14 The law was intended for Israel to sanctify itself and be an example to the nations. They had the law and from there they knew the Will of God, they knew by their transgressions that they were sinners. But that did not make them children of Abraham, for the Jews, Israelites, Pharisees, scribes, and elders clearly showed that they did not want to know of repentance or being a sinner. Through believing, the Gentiles acknowledge to be a sinner, the blessing of Abraham has come to the Gentiles. Let this be a lesson, Not through children of believing parents, not through (child) baptism, not through church membership, participation in the holy supper, one becomes a child of God, only through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ does one receive forgiveness from sin.
Verse 15 Paul is going to use an example from daily life: the human testament. The will is laid down in a legal manner (by a notary and registered) by the living person. As long as the person lives, it has no legal force whatsoever. Only after the death of the testamentary, the testament comes into effect and becomes effective. The notary MUST perform the will as described in the testament. The execution can be disputed, but only on grounds of incorrect execution. Everyone has free access to the registration data. No one else that the living person can add anything to it. As long as Jesus lived on earth, there was no forgiveness of sin. First the penalty for sin had to be paid by Jesus at the cross, first the death of Jesus, then the execution of the testament, the New Covenant. Removing the curse of the law.
Verse 16 Is a quote from Genesis 12:7: "Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." Why Paul quotes this verse is beyond me. It is a promise to Abraham to give the land of Israel to his posterity. Paul spoke earlier about the promise and faith that relates to believing Christians. And their home is in heaven and not on earth, not in Israel. Anyway the point descendant is singular, and that is indeed Christ.
Verse 17 This calculation of 430 years is a rabbinical calculation that includes the years of the patriarchs with the period of slavery in Egypt. The promise was given to Abraham. About 430 years later, on Mount Sinai the law was given to Moses.
Verse 18 The promise is given to Abraham, a promise of grace through faith. Not a promise based on personal works, a slavery of the law.
Verse 19 The law has been added to give man a deep sense of sin, his own powerlessness to keep the law and to be able to please God the Father in his own strength. The law has been added to show that own work is a dead end. Without law, there is no (realization of) sin.
The law was not given directly to the Israelites, but through the mediator Moses. They had to stay at a distance and were not even allowed to touch the mountain. Only Moses was allowed to climb the mountain and received the Torah from the hand of God. Moses acted as mediator between God and the Israelites. It is assumed that angels were present as witnesses when God gave Moses the law based on Deut. 33:2 Moses appeared in the light of glory from Mount Paran and he came from the ten thousands of holy ones (= angels).
Verses 21-22 The law is not at all contrary to the promise of God to Abraham. The law shows the sins of man, she is a disciplinary master for man. Sin is a power that everyone possesses, who lives in the person to whom everyone is subject. But that law shows the transgressions of man, but does not bring justice. Only through faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour does come salvation, forgiveness of sins, and through the power of the Holy Spirit there is the power not to yield to sin. But it is only for those who believe and put their lives under the power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately this is only a very limited group of people, who give their will to God and have the recognition of being a sinner. Unfortunately, not the majority of humanity, but only those who wish to believe.
Verses 23-25 The law was a temporary isolation: a custody until the time when the new life in Jesus Christ would be known through faith. The law was a custodian (paedagoog, a lad guide). These paedagoogs were slaves in ancient Greece who accompanied the children on the street and had to protect them from calamity. A strong person and uncivilized. Their uncivilized language had an adverse effect on the young people. However, there were also more developed paedagoogs who gave simple education. Israel needed the hand of a strict paedagoogs (disciplinary master) and could not miss this strong hand.
Verses 26-29 The Galatians had accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Through their faith in Christ Jesus, they had received the Holy Spirit and had themselves baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They had become partakers of the Kingdom of God and had become children of God. Paul speaks of sons of God here. That means that they had become mature Christians who no longer needed milk. However, Paul was harsh in his words and called them foolish. In the church of Christ there is no difference between Jew or Greek (pagan), slave and free (employee and employer), male and female. All are members of the body of Christ Jesus, with Him as the Head. By faith in Him, you (we) are the seed of Abraham, whose faith was counted to righteousness. And with that heirs of the Kingdom of God.
Just as the body consists of different members, ear, eye, mouth, hand, arm, leg and foot, organs, etc. so there are different members in the body of Christ, each with their own function. One member is no more or less important, each member needs the other member, their rank is equal. Therefore no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.
Verses 1-3 The heir, as long as he is a child, is no lord and master of his legacy, often under supervision, so that this position does not differ much from that of a servant. In the (Roman) testament it was by the testator (father) who co-determined the age of maturity. Until he reached this age, the heir was under guardianship, thereafter he was the real owner and could do with the inheritance as he wished.
Thus the believers are heirs of eternal life in Heaven. However, as children we are still under guardianship and we live on earth under the rule of worldly governments, satan and demons. Only after the believers have received a new incorruptible and sinless body, he or she will receive the legacy of eternal life in Heaven.
Verses 4-5 When the time had fully come, one could think of the fullness of the law, the Torah. When God the Father was satisfied with man's efforts to do the works of the law, He sent His Son Jesus to the earth to put an end to the works of the law. Jesus was born on earth from a Jewess under the law, a virgin woman. Why? To redeem Jews and Gentiles from the impossibility of fulfilling the law. So that everyone who believes in the work of Jesus will become a child/son of God and thus the deliverance from sin.
Verse 6 With Romans 8:15 We have received the Spirit of sonship by calling: Abba, Father. Today in Israel you can also hear the children calling abba, that is father. Everyone is born a child of satan, through faith in Jesus Christ the person passes on to being the child of God the Father and thereby becomes a family member. The believer has the freedom to call God his or her Father.
Verses 8-10 We are no longer a slave to satan, to sin. The Holy Spirit is the power to say NO to satan, demons, sins and worldly desires. If one concedes, then one becomes a (voluntary) slave again. Resist the believer then he or she is a son and therefore heir.
Formerly, when you did not know God, that is the time when you served strange idols, and you were not familiar with the true character of God (the Father) as revealed by Jesus and described in the New Testament. How can one return to a service under the law and idolatry after this revelation? Why does one choose to be a slave again and not an heir as a son in the Kingdom of God?
You observe days, months, seasons and years. Some commentaries see this as a reference by Paul to the Jewish festivals (Sabbath, Yom Kipur, Great Atonement Day, etc.), which were an obligation for the Jew to celebrate. Or the pagan worship of demons on half and full moon, or sun.
On the other hand it can be said that people have knowledge of days, months and years. If one is so wise, why does one return to Jewish and pagan customs after receiving instruction on the gospel, forgiveness of sins by Jesus, and the sonship of God? If one returns to the old, then Paul has worked in vain to Sermon the new, the gospel.
Verse 12 Paul has Sermoned the gospel to Jews with their Torah and to Gentiles with their worldly laws. In both cases a world with "law". Paul brought a new law, the law of Jesus Christ, that is not a law. Paradoxically, the situation of the liberator (Jesus), who entered the prison (the sinners caught by sins, the world of satan and demons), opens the doors and frees the prisoners (frees the believers).
Verses 13-14 Being sick was assigned to sins or demons. However, at Paul's visit, the Galatians did not attribute his disease to sins or demons. They had been willing to listen to Paul and accept his message of salvation through the blood of Jesus. Some commentaries claim that Paul looked deformed because of his blindness on the road to Damascus. And therefore people saw him as something despicable or scorn against him. That is going too far.
Fortunately the Galatians had received him as a messenger of God, as a messenger of Christ Jesus.
Verses 15-16 Was the disease in his eyes the problem in verse 13? For Paul was very happy during his first time that the Galatians received him so lovingly and caringly that he writes here that they themselves would have given their eyes? However, little of his joy is left now. He must speak harsh words because of their return to living into the world and under the law. In his or her puberty, man is the most opposed to his parents, powers above him or her, God and authority. Believers and churches can also go through puberty years. The office holder must present the truth with love and care.
Verses 17-20 Satan wishes to remove the believer and the church from his teachers, the pastor, the people who reprove. Satan has his followers within the church who are trying to distract church members from the true gospel and living in the Spirit. The Galatians were not actually guilty, they were seduced. The Galatians knew their enticants all too well. In our time we clearly know the seducers: yoga, R.C. saints acting as mediators instead of Jesus Christ, the Pope, Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah-witnesses, Jesus did not actually die at the Cross, wealth, free sex, etc.
Surely it should not be necessary for the gospel to be Sermoned again? That the Galatians must be born again? Paul expresses his deep concern about them as if they have already completely lost their Christian faith. He wishes that he can speak in a different tone, but unfortunately he must use harsh words to show them the way back. Gentle healers cause smelly wounds. Sometimes a hard word from a doctor is needed to shake up the patient that he has cancer due to his own fault. And with persistence in his unhealthy life, this leads to death. The return of the Galatians to their old life leads to an eternal destruction and the destruction of their salvation through Jesus Christ.
Verses 21-23 The Galatians wish to live under the law, but why do they not listen to the law and keep it? Paul goes back to father Abraham, two churches have come from him: one from Isaac, and one from Ishmael. His proposition is that the Jews and Judaists Christians do not come from Sara, but from the slave woman Hagar. The patriarch believed God, but. . . he wished to lend a hand to God. So responded to Sara's suggestion to take Hagar as a wife and make her pregnant. He laughed at God's plan and prayed: May Ishmael live before you. The believing Galatians laugh and pray. The believer who wants to live in two worlds simultaneously, the worldly and the spiritual.
The son of the slave was conceived in a purely human way, taken as a woman by sexual intercourse with a FERTILE SLAVE. Keeping the law by human ability.
The son of Sarah was born of the barren woman, by the promise of God. Not by your own human ability, but by the power of God.
The son of the slave brought hatred, envy and slavery, he almost died in the desert. Sara's son brought joy and freedom.
Verses 24-25 Now Paul proceeds to explain allegories: the son of Hagar is the allegory of Mount Sinai; the children of slavery, the children of the slaves of the law. The allegory of the law, Haran to Jesus, is around 2000 years. The allegory of faith/church to the present is around 2000 years (now living in 2019 at the time of this writing).
Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem: being a Jewish with maintaining the Torah. In contrast to the New Jerusalem which will come from Heaven, which comes by faith.
Verses 26-27 The new Jerusalem has as mother Sarah, by faith she became pregnant. The Christian, the Church, lives by faith and expects the New Jerusalem and eternal life in Heaven.
Verses 28-30 ONLY the son Isaac will inherit. In NO case will the son of the slave inherit. Let that be a clear lesson for your Galatians, who return to the expectation of eternal life through work. Paul, address the Galatians as brethren, but only those who are sons like Isaac, children of the promise.
According to tradition, Ishmael would have persecuted his brother Isaac. The church history is repeated, the congregation/believer is persecuted and laughed at by the world.
Verse 31 With a powerful SO Paul puts a powerful line under his argument: no children of the slave become free from the works of the law, BUT through the free, the faith in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some say that the law, the Torah and the 10 Commandments no longer apply to believers. A pure deception which becomes clear from Matthew 24 and 25. Only the wise virgins are among the believers being taken up, while the foolish virgins are among those who are left behind 24: 40-41 and go through the Great Tribulation.
So what is Christian freedom?
The believer's free choice to put his or her life under the control of the Holy Spirit and to live to the honour and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father and not to live a worldly life.
So what does Christian freedom mean?
This requires an in-depth study to understand.
First of all we go back to creation. God had forbidden eating from 1 fruit tree. Eve did not listen to God, but chose to listen to a speaking animal. Was the authority of God not far above a human being, let alone an animal that speaks, in itself a strange situation. Eve chose to listen to a beast. Adam had a free choice as to whether to choose and do what God had commanded, or to listen to Eve. He chose human Eve.
So what is sin?
Man's free choice not to obey God but to do what he wants. God's commandment: DO NOT EAT FROM THIS ONE FRUIT TREE, YOU CAN EAT FROM ANY OTHER FRUIT TREES. Man chose to disobey his Creator, the Lord God.
The believer has Christian freedom to do what God requires of him or her, that is to repent and let go of living in the world, OR to continue to live his or her own life in the world. Adam's disobedience led to sin and banishment from paradise. The Christian freedom of the believer, yours, in obedience leads at the Rapture of the Church to Heaven. In the event of disobedience to remaining on earth and going pass the Great Tribulation.
Why the Torah, the first five Bible books?
The Torah are the first five Bible books of the Bible, it tells the creation of the earth and man. Man's first disobedience to God. The refusal of Cain to obey to bring an offering of blood (slaughter of an animal) for the forgiveness of sin. Followed by the murder of his brother Abel. The humanity that rejects God, followed by the Flood. The covenant of God: the rainbow. The construction of the Tower of Babel, followed by the confusion and introduction of different languages. The calling of Abram from Ur and his obedience with the promise to become a great chosen nation. The offspring of Abraham: the 12 tribes. The exodus from Egypt and election of a HOLY PEOPLE SET SEPARATELY BY GOD, who receives the laws of God to obey. These laws are in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuterononium. This is the CORE, these laws are given to a PEOPLE set apart by God. Why? To do the Will of God, to live HOLY, to be a witness of God to the other nations.
On Mount Sinai, God gives the mediator Moses the 10 commandments and the regulations of the construction of the Tabernacle and the service of the priests.
We can compare the construction of the tabernacle with the construction of the BODY OF CHRIST, with the Mediator Jesus as HEAD.
The service of the priests and the rules concerning their holy walk apply to every believer.
1 Peter 2:9
The Israelites (the 12 tribes) had FREEDOM to obey TORA, but with a blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal, Deut. 27: 11-26. The 12 tribes voluntarily chose to disobey God, resulting in exile, and they were not allowed to continue to live in the promised land of Israel. How applicable this is to the believer, the blessing of Mount Gerizim: joining the first Coming of Christ, the Rapture of the Church: living in the promised land: Heaven. The curse on Mount Ebal, the lagging behind of the believer who lived disobediently to God's Will, the foolish virgin living in the world, and goes into exile: the Great Tribulation.
It is Christian freedom, the choice to obey the Torah through the power of the Holy Spirit. HOWEVER, THERE IS MORE!
Not every one of the Israeli people belonged to the priestly generation. The priestly service was reserved exclusively for the family of Aaron. However, every believer in Jesus Christ belongs to the ROYAL PRIESTHOOD. Being a priest brought ADDITIONAL laws and rules, their way of life had extra heavier rules. Personally I see it as follows: the Israeli people are the believers, but all believers have to comply with the priestly laws. The true priests are the ones who perform the service in the tabernacle/temple: they are the servants (pastors, elders, deacons, evangelists, missionaries, Sunday school, etc.) of God, who have absolutely to comply with all laws concerning the Old Testament priesthood, both marry as virgins (Lev. 21:13-14), see further Demands worker of God.
There are many questions regarding the Torah. Correctly, the sacrificial service has been abolished and no longer applies because Jesus on the Cross of Calvary once and for all made the perfect sacrifice for sin for anyone who wishes to believe. Keeping the Torah does NOT bring forgiveness of sins, which is ONLY through faith in Jesus Christ. Keeping the Torah is now ENJOYMENT to God the Father. To make God the Father enjoy! That is the big difference.
The law of Leviticus 20, in particular 9-27, is clear. But does this apply to the believer, or is Christian freedom here? A big question is that the believing man may not have sexual intercourse during his wife's menstrual period, verse 18. The big complaint is that commentaries up to the Internet circumvent this. Why is it unclear to me? Verse 18 has to be read in its context. It deals in Leviticus 20 with IF A MAN LIES/TAKES (the INTERCOURSE). One cannot put this verse alone, but has to be read in connection with verses 10-21. Verse 13 speaks about same-sex sexual intercourse, that is Sodom and Gomorrah. God's punishment is the complete destruction of these cities. Many countries (still) prohibit marriage to brother, sister, cousin and niece. The prohibition of sex with animals. That is why it is clear that no sexual intercourse can take place during menstruation and yes this also applies to the believing man with his wife. And all extramarital relationships must be severely PUNISHED, without any tolerance!
Funeral or cremation, or free choice?
That is a clear text. Note: burn with fire. FIRE is a punishment from God, therefore not a cremation, but a funeral.
The answer to the question of Christian freedom is: People do or leave things to please God.
Is tattoo allowed or free choice?
We have received our bodies on loan. This gives believers great responsibility for how we treat our bodies. The body of man is created in the IMAGE OF GOD and is the TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. God speaks clearly in Lev. 19:28 you will not make any cuttings or marks in your skin, that means no tattoo. Your body belongs to God, you are his image. With a tattoo you bring a memory to a person other than God. When you put a decoration on your body, you deny that you are satisfied with the body as God created you in His image. With tattoo you draw the attention of people to your body, while all attention should be focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity in whose image you were created. Do not say, but with my tattoo is a cross that points to Jesus. Lev. 19:28 is clearly no tattoo!
But you already had a tattoo(s) before you were converted. What now? Confess this first. And do not show your tattoo(s), but covered with clothing. On YouTube a man shows photos of his body including his entire face with tattoos. He got a son and was ashamed of this. Now he has already removed all tattoos from his face. Yes you see the photos and there is nothing left to see except small scars. And he came to faith afterwards. Praise the Lord! He continues to remove the other tattoos from his body.
How do you please God?
The believer pleases God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ by maintaining the Torah, God's precepts in the Old and New Testaments through the power of the Holy Spirit. This maintenance is not forced. I personally confess my sin when I become aware of my transgression, or when the Holy Spirit points me to sin. That is a relaxing life and not giving an opening to satan. That is taking care to live a holy life, a life to please the Lord God.
Verse 1 Opposite the slavery of legalistic spirits, an exposure of Christian faith and attitude to life must be given. Freedom in itself is a void: freedom must have ground, purpose and content. Everyone who wants to drive a car must have a driver's license. The driver's license says to have knowledge of the traffic rules and ability to drive a car. Without traffic rules, traffic becomes a chaos with many deaths and injuries. Taking selfish driving as a priority leads to blocking of intersections and the progress stops, chaos. Failure to comply with the rules, stopping in front of the red light and zebra, driving when drunk, passing on the right (at left traffic) leads to many accidents. The same applies to the freedom of the Christian faith, if the believer does not keep the commandments, this leads to the loss of faith, depression, mockery and contempt by unbelievers and damage to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus Christ has redeemed the believer from the penalty of sin, the yoke of the law. In the old world, the law actualises sin. It is an obligation, every violation requires a sin offering, leads to punishment, death penalty by stoning or burning with fire. Freedom in Christ leads to a holy life that pleases God the Father. The believer is faced with a choice: slavery as the Judaists wish, a life of fear. Or a freedom with love for God and the neighbour. The truly free are the SERVANTS of God: to stand firm and to persist in faith and to leave old worldly life behind.
Verses 2-3 With strong apostolic authority and personally: I, Paul, say to you. I myself, who believed in circumcision, realized that the circumcision of the Gentiles has no use. I, the apostle of Christ Jesus, tell you not to get caught in the net of Jewish circumcision drivers. The freedom of the circumcision of Timothy has its grounds on his Jewish upbringing. No circumcision of Titus is complete freedom, because he is a born pagan. The old may not supplement the new. The grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient. Circumcision is a fulfillment of the law, a hidden selfishness of man. The Adventists fully obey the Sabbath. Anyone who concedes on one point has to obey everything: everything or nothing, that is the sphere of the law and becomes slavery. Because stumbling on one point of the law is guilty of the whole law. An evil infinity. Reuse of an already used stamp that has not been stamped. Give someone else an unused return from the train. Where is the border? The end of the road is unclear. Everywhere new difficulties and new commandments (interpretations of the law by Jewish rabbis) emerge.
Verse 4 Whoever wishes to be justified by the law falls outside the grace of Christ. Has become detached from Jesus. The redemption is expected again from maintaining and doing what the Torah prescribes. Then one must also bring the sin offerings for each committed sins. At the time of this letter, the temple in Jerusalem still existed. So in our time, how can one still bring sin offerings? And for failing to bring the sin offering, one is guilty of the whole law. And that leads to an eternal separation from God and the eternal punishment for sin: the lake of fire.
Verse 5 We, apostles and believers who remain with the teachings of Jesus Christ, believe that Jesus Christ died for sin. Having received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by faith, Who wants to teach us, convince us of sin, wants to be our guide to live holy. Who makes known to us God's Will. On this basis, we may hope for eternal life in Heaven and to be delivered from the penalty of sin.
Verse 6 Being circumcised or uncircumcised, the rebellion against God applies to both. Not wishing to obey the commandments of God. But a new power is revealed in faith: love. A new creation, being born again, letting go of the world with its selfish desires, letting go of the Self-I. The word AGAPÉ is used here for the first time. For Paul, the by love working faith is equal to keeping God's commandments. This faith does not make justified through love, but it works through love.
Verses 7-8 You were running well. The Galatians had accepted the gospel at Paul's Sermoning. They had turned away from their worldly way of life and started to live in the Spirit. What happened to you by strange doctrine, different interpretations of the truth, and a yoke of slavery?
Verse 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Only 7 grams of yeast per 500 grams of flour are needed, that is 1.4%. This little yeast is sufficient for the bread to rise and bake. When known sin is tolerated in a congregation, it kneads the entire congregation. Other church members with their sins will not confess guilt, but refer to the tolerance of tolerated sin. Unbelievers will point to the tolerated sin (adultery, cohabitation, etc.) and will not want to know about any recognition of sin. A low tolerance of interpretations by Judaists (a tolerance of circumcision) leads to more and more obedience to the law. A continuous dead road. That is why all the teachings of Judaists has to be resolutely rejected.
Verse 10 Paul is convinced that with the above words, the Holy Spirit will separate the Galatians from those who lead astray. Yes, Paul continues, the false teachers and judaists will be punished by the Lord Jesus Christ. Let this be a lesson for pastors who do not correctly explain the Bible, who are tolerant of sin and do not discipline. For the judgment seat of Jesus, they will have to answer for the Lord and be proportionally rewarded (punished). Whoever is unclear about teaching and explaining the Bible from the pulpit in the church or Bible study, causing confusion among a church member, let that person be convinced that he or she will have to answer to Jesus.
Verse 11 They challenge Paul on the circumcision of Timothy. But Paul defends himself by proclaiming the cross of Jesus: the end of the law which Jesus has accomplished. And when Paul had Timothy circumcised, why do they still persecute him? The offence of the cross is that the cross puts an end to the law, not by human works, but by faith in the finished work of Jesus and the resurrection from the death of Christ.
Verse 12 Paul goes a step further, let them castrate (mutilate) themselves who troubles you. According to Deut. 23: 1, a castrated person may not enter the Lord's meeting. What an irony from Paul. The excessive zeal of them brings them into conflict with their own Torah.
Verses 13-15 The believer is called to be free. How is this text not used by many a religious or misleading pastor that as a Christian one has complete freedom. The Christian would be free from sin or sinning. Would be free from the law, the Torah. This text and others would be the basis that as a Christian one can live a worldly life, have sex before marriage, have sex with whom one desires, because Jesus died for all sins (and only one needs confessing for forgiveness). What a deception, Paul clearly speaks different language in his letters. Christian freedom can be offensive to the weak brothers. Christian freedom, however, is NOT a license to sin, but to serve and please God. The disharmony lies in the FLESH, the compulsion to earthly life which is centrered upon itself. The Corinthians are carnal because there is envy and contention among them. The diligent fulfillment of the law from YOUR OWN power is also carnal. The flesh is all of the human ability and desire that goes against God. The spirit is the love of God and the neighbour in the first place. The radical self-denial of Jesus at the cross.
If there is disagreement (you bite and devour one other) in the church, then the church will collapse and the charity will come to an end. Clear proof that the law is not being fulfilled: You will love your neighbour as yourself. How is there not a division within churches, do churches refuse to cooperate during Christmas and evangelism campaigns? And who is smiling? Yes, Satan is laughing because he is the winner and the believer is the big loser.
Verses 16-18 The ruin within the church can only be prevented if all church members walk within the Spirit. The desire of the flesh is not only sexual desire, it is the desire for respect that other believers look up to you because of your place in the church. Desire of the the flesh is a luxury car, luxury home, wealth, having everything that YOUR heart desires. It is despising God's commands and rules. They are the human wrong thoughts in the human mind. During this life on earth there is the constant struggle between FLESH and SPIRIT. They are perpendicular to each other. Because the believer is and remains a sinner with a sinful character who does not do what he or she wants, but the sinful nature constantly seduces. Continuing living a life led by the Spirit, the believer can say NO to sin and do what pleases God. The Spirit releases the human will to live for the good of God. The believer who goes to church on Sundays and goes to festivals on weekdays, lives with unbelieving friends, does not care about spiritual life, does not read a Bible, can hardly expect that the Spirit lead him or her (the Spirit is extinguished) because this believer lives a carnal life. The consequence of being left on the earth at the Rapture of the Church.
Verses 19-21 The people who are so keen to uphold the law invoke the clearly defined and documented rules. The sharp conscience of man. However, the Spirit also gives clear guidance, witnessed by the letters of Paul and the other apostles. In this verse, Paul makes the works of the flesh evident. These works are not only clear in the world, but unfortunately also in the church, with worldly believers. Some believers boast of their spiritual gifts as a sign of their spiritual life. While their way of life is full of adultery, deception or wealth. The spiritual gifts serve for the extraction of unbelievers and the reprimand of believers. The spiritual gifts say absolutely nothing about their personal spiritual life. A test can be to look at the list of verses 19-21. This list is far from complete, one can supplement it with the 10 Commandments, 1 Cor. 6:10, Ephesians 5: 5, 1 Peter 4:3-4, 15.
The test of the spiritual life follows in verse 22. If one sees these fruits in a believer's daily life, then one can say that he or she lives under the control of the Holy Spirit.
What are the works of the FLESH?Verses 19-22 https://www.vandale.nl/gratis-woordenboek; https://nl.wikipedia.org; https://www.encyclo.nl; wikipedia.org
- FORNICATION The word Porneia is used in Greek. In the Bible translations usually translated by "fornication" or "adultery." Porneia includes fornication and other forms of unauthorized sexual intercourse. All sexual intercourse outside the sexual monogamous relationship between the married man and his wife. So pornography, incest, pedophilia, sex with animals or sex, prostitution, sex before marriage.
- IMPURITY untraceable, dirty, reprehensible, something that according to the Torah is not acceptable. Example The Jew became unclean after touching a carcass of a dead animal.
- LICENTIOUSNESS Boundlessness; Excessive; Looseness; Independence; Immorality. Who does not adhere to moral rules and regulations.
- IDOLATRY An idol is an object of divine worship that is not the true God. Jupiter, Apollo, Mars were gods of the ancient Gentiles, Wodan and Thor gods of the Normans. The sun and moon can become objects of idolatry. Worship of satan and/or demons, deceased persons. Buddha image, Japanese images, images of saints in the Roman Catholic Church. Any worship that is not directed at God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- SORCERY Witchcraft, Magic, Voodoo. Trying to manipulate supernatural powers (satan and demons). For many people in this modern world, sorcery is something that only belongs in the fairy-tale world and fantasy. After the era of humanism and rationalism, people are increasingly influenced by mysticism, esotericism, Gnosticism and New Age. Furthermore, one must think about paranormal gifts and phenomena.
- ENMITY Lasting enmity. Not wishing to forgive, even after the perpetrator's excuse.
- STRIFE Disagreement, causing an argument, aversion, conflict, debate, dispute.
- JEALOUSY is a kind of displeasure and annoyance about other people. It is a feeling that is experienced as unpleasant. Someone who is jealous has the wish that someone else has less than himself, or that someone else loses something which they in turn get themselves. Annoying feeling because someone else has something nice or beautiful. A dislike of what the other has.
- ANGER is a state of displeasure in which one loses all calm; a fierce movement of mind. If the angry loses his dominion over the mind, then one speaks of anger. If this anger is accompanied by great noise or violent movements, then frenzy is used.
- SELFISHNESS Self-interest, Greed. The pursuit of self-interest, without taking others into account. Selfishness is a human trait where someone strives for his own benefit and happiness while neglecting the interests and happiness of others.
- DISSENSIONT Disagreement, division, controversy, friction.
- PARTY SPIRIT Choosing the party of a certain person or something. Division.
- ENVY enmity from hatred, bitter envy, displeasure about the prosperity (the honor, the happiness, the wealth, etc.) of others.
- DRUNKENNESS is a physical and psychological state in which strong behavioural changes occur due to an excess of blood alcohol. In humans, this usually occurs by drinking alcoholic liquids. Being unable to think and act clearly anymore. But one can also think of the use of addictive substances.
- CAROUSING from the meaning of the original Greek word KOMOS, the meaning of bravery, commotion, that which goes together with and the consequences of drunkenness, excessive eating and drinking, greedy and excessive, debauchery.
Paul and Peter warn that these believers will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God. Under the law, the works of man have brought death. The Spirit comes with the forgiveness of sins and love. The believer who says goodbye to the works of the Spirit and seeks it in the worldly, says goodbye to his or her faith of forgiveness and will obtain the consequence of not inheriting the Kingdom of God. The ways of the worldly believers end in death, the transience. They lag behind at the Rapture of the Church. May they come to this repentance and insight in the tribulations of the Great Tribulation and not succumb to accept the 666 sign, which means a definitive end in the lake of fire. Hopefully these believers come to insight and refuse the 666 sign, which means torture, but eternal life (on the New Earth?), not in the lake of fire.
Verse 22 The fruit of the Holy Spirit must be separated from the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 12: 8-11. Gifts given are definite and will not be taken away by the owner's sins. They serve to build the Kingdom of God. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is a personal thing, normally grows, and determines the relationship of the believer in his or her relationship with God. The closer to God, the more obedient the believer is, the more the fruit of the Holy Spirit will be visible in the day-to-day life of that believer. Some say that the singular fruit and not plural fruit indicates that all summaries in this verse mean that all are present. I personally cannot testify to this. That they are all 9 present at the same time.
What are the works of the Spirit?
- LOVE, see 1 Corinthians 13
- JOY is a positive emotion, a satisfaction with the circumstances or environment. Whoever is happy, experiences no lack or stress, has positive feelings about the environment or himself and therefore has no great need to change the circumstances. A well-known expression of joy is laughter, but sometimes someone can cry for joy. Those who are happy will also make others happy – Anne Frank.
- PEACE is defined in positive terms as a beneficial state of peace and harmony, or in a negative state as an absence of disorder, strife or struggle.
- PATIENCE Merciful, Generous, Patient, Goodness, Tolerant. Very patient, admitting, able to tolerate a lot (before getting angry).
- KINDNESS something that shows care and attention for others, smiles, gives compliments, is interested in the other, courteous, assisting each other in adversity, genuine interest in the other.
- GOODNESS has the meaning of a certain degree of excellence. It is a desirable quality, something that is recommended, reliable, pleasant, pleasing, admirable, very welcome. Being diligent about doing well. God can sometimes correct very sharply, it is goodness in action. This way parents can correct their child and that is good because it helps to produce a responsible adult.
- FAITHFULNESS or loyalty is a moral bond, tenacity, or adherence to a commitment, bond, or obligation. Where this obligation is not complied with, where loyalty is violated and infidelity occurs, there may be betrayal.
- GENTLENESS refers to a trait of character that bears witness to kindness. Someone who is gentle, has a friendly character and is gentle in nature. Meek people will never deliberately harm another, since that goes against their meek nature. Gentle in mind, not inclined to fierceness, easily settling.
- SELF-CONTROL means that in strong emotional situations you are able to deal with your own emotions; you have control over your own behaviour, manage to control desires, needs and drives, and you prevent escalations. The Greek word enkratia, which means: "possessing power, being strong, having dominion, being in possession, having control, (self-) controlled, controlling desires".
Verse 23 The fruit of the Holy Spirit fulfills the law, love God and your neighbour as yourself. This no longer knows law as coercion but is a spontaneity that emanates from the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is not something that the believer has under control, it is the Holy Spirit who works in the believer, partly because the believer desires this fruit and through his or her holy walk of life.
Verses 24-26 The believer who belongs to Christ Jesus will be a disciple/follower of Jesus. People will see the lifestyle of Jesus in his or her daily life. A life of sacrifice, good for fellow human beings, not evil, forgiving, but also severe in reprimanding like the Pharisees and scribes. Full of education and with examples from daily life. A life focused on pleasing God the Father. Not self-centered, simple without wealth, sharing with each other. Resistance to temptations of the world (the three temptations to Jesus by satan). Saying NO to desires and passions, that people look up to you, boast about your qualities.
It is the Holy Spirit Who convinces of sins, who ensures that the believer keeps track. The condition is that the believer opens himself or herself to the working of the Holy Spirit through his or her sin confession and does not grieve the Spirit. That also means o self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.
Verse 1 Paul continues his education. The Judaist does not help the fallen brother, his law kills love, and he thanks God that he has not fallen. In this sphere every mistake (sin, violation of the law) counts as a blunder of the fellow-believer, a degradation, a slip of the flesh.
Paul points out that church members are only sinful people. You who know how to admonish you and catch your brother or sister for a violation, beware, because you yourself are only human, you can easily fall into the same violation. Where is your spiritual life in the Spirit and brotherly love and support? A reprimand in love is correct, but afterwards the day-care must come to prevent falling into the same offence again.
Verses 2-5 Paul goes deeper, living together in the church is only possible if one builds each other up, helps each other and there is mutual love and patience. Keeping track of the church is in danger: individualistic self-glorification. People consider themselves better than others, and with that high quality spiritual life they have the right to correct the lesser brother or sister. The apostle rejects this act. If there is real dignity or prestige, if there are things in which one is superior to the other, then one must tolerate each other. And so the law of Christ is fulfilled, in all humility one considers the other more excellent than himself. That is the commandment of love. That attitude lived with Jesus as a servant.
Everyone tests if he or she can stand the test of Jesus on a daily basis or whether people stumble in the comparison with Jesus. Everyone has received his or her own place in the body of Christ and his or her own gift of the Spirit. The one is no more than the other. It is the work of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit. The sinful person has nothing to regard himself as more excellent than the other. Everyone will have to give an account to God.
Verses 6-8 Jesus set the rule that the Sermoners of the gospel live, Mat. 10: 715. The church members are responsible for the costs of the church, including the church building, energy, water, maintenance and salary of pastor and evangelism. The message of the gospel and teaching must be brought thoroughly and in order. Money and property must come from the church members. The apostle takes this matter high: GOD IS NOT TO BE MOCKED! If a congregation does show spiritual gifts (such as speaking in tongues) and knows how to reprimand others, but fails in the material gifts, then people mock at God! That is devious deception. The work of the devil through permanent lack of money. However, God is serious about the maintenance of evangelism and the churches.
What a man sows, he will also reap. If the farmer fails to sow good and much seed, he will also receive a bad harvest. If the believer fails to sow the gospel and make this possible, he or she will only be saved as by fire and will not receive a reward. He who sows sparingly reaps death. He who lives in the flesh reaps death. He who lives in the Spirit will reap gold, silver or precious stones. A rabbinic text says: "On New Year's Day the livelihood of man for the coming year is determined by God. However, this does not include what man spends for the holidays or bringing his children into their teacher's house with a gift: what he gives in surplus, God gives him things, which he shortens, God shortens him".
Verses 9-10 The church members must be constantly encouraged to live in the Spirit and leave behind the life in the world. That requires all the attention of pastor, elder, deacon, Sunday school teacher and Bible study group leader. Their first responsibility is their own members, but also the social care of outsiders. It would be a mockery of the world if the church did not care about the misery in the world.
Verse 11 A personal conclusion to this letter. Has the earlier content of this letter been dictated by Paul? And now follows a personal end? Why with large letters? An explanation is to impress. Another explanation is that Paul was partly blinded by his blindness on the road to Damascus. In any case, personally, a scripture that the Galatians know and know that this letter comes from Paul and not from anyone else.
Verses 12-16 Paul turns against his opponents again, who want to look good on the outside and want to play a nice role. They are people who want to impose the law with, among other things, circumcision, but who keep themselves far away to fulfill the law. So say the apostle, do not follow their example. They wish to impose the law and reject the cross of Jesus Christ that brings freedom and eternal life. One can only do good in one way, namely as a slave to the Lord Jesus Christ. The cross of Jesus has brought the freedom of punishment upon sin (of the law). That is all fame. The believer is a new creation in Jesus, a new citizen in the heavenly kingdom.
Verses 17-18 Paul is asking the Galatians to stop their attacks (let no man trouble me) on his gospel, his apostolate and person. The persecutions by Jews (2 Cor. 11: 24-27) have clearly left their scars on him. The proof that he is willing to suffer for the gospel and his Lord, and is not out to please people. The best proof of his apostolate. There is no greeting and no holy kiss at the end of this letter. It is a grace of the Lord Jesus Christ Who hopefully opens their eyes. A cool bye-bye to the brothers.