Ladies Bible Study

A Study in Galatians

Part 3

 

In the previous lessons, we have discussed apostleship, grace and peace. We have discussed Paulís calling as an apostle and what the grace of the Lord is and how it leads to peace. We discussed that

Salvation is through grace by faith. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines grace as favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that person deserves. So God's grace is His favor to us even though we don't deserve it and in spite of the fact that we are sinners who really deserve to die. Once we understood what grace was we then were able to accept peace, as peace is the product of understanding godís grace. Loss of peace comes from striving and stress. Striving is the result of attempting to do everything in our own power and not through Godís power, Amen!

So today, letís discover what is revealed in this second Chapter of Galatians.

Remember, we discussed there are 2 main theme running through Galatians.

  1. Salvation by grace of God versus salvation by works.
  2. Spirituality by grace versus spirituality by works.

In this chapter Paul discusses salvation by grace not works by describing his trip to Jerusalem.

Galatians 2:1-10: Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3. Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4. But this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),

5. to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6. But from those who seemed to be something whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 7. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8. (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),

9. and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10. They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

This was his second trip to Jerusalem, his first being 3 years after his conversion and then he met only with Peter and then later with James, the Lordís brother and He stayed only 2 weeks. (see Galatians 1:18).

Paul tells us that he went up by revelation. When God revealed to him to go in not exactly know, it is just important for us to know, God sent him. It was not his decision to go; he went under the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit.

We sometimes have the tendency to think Paul went to defend himself but this is far from the truth,

Paul did not need to get approval for either his teaching to the Gentiles or approval of the content of the message, as both came as direct revelation from God.

He came to reinforce to the church in Jerusalem, the need to get back to basics, salvation by grace through faith. The Jerusalem church was becoming bogged in legalism and it was influencing other churches.

Paul took Titus as a living example of salvation by grace and not works. Titus was a gentile, an uncircumcised man. He was not marked by outward evidence of salvation, but by inward evidence, that of a born again, spirit filled believer, Amen!

So, Peter meets with the inner circle, including Peter, James and John and reviews with them the gospel message. They are in agreement with his teaching and sent him out with only the encouragement to remember the poor and widows.

In verse 2, Paul uses the phrase ", lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain." He was not referring here to his teaching being in vain, but in his ability to meet with and discuss with the elders of the church the need for all to be in unity. He came in an effort to maintain the unity of the church, not

divide it.

Paul understood the situation, people claiming to be Christians had become involved with the church, but in fact they were "Judiazers", legalistic Jews who taught that the Mosaic Law had to be followed and that the first step was all believers should be circumcised. Paul handled both the inner circle and then this group effectively, "But from those who seemed to be something whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 7. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to PeterÖ10. They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do."

So Paul had successfully cleared another hurdle without sacrificing the truth of the gospel or the good will of the church in Jerusalem.

This is an important example to us. We may not agree with all that is taught or believed by a certain group. We need to get before the Lord and seek his face and His revelation, so that we can know the truth, as Paul did. Paul did not get in everyoneís face and harshly enforce his beliefs, no, he went in love, met in private and then in public and maintained the unity of the body. This is how we are to act, in love and discernment at all times. Donít be in such a hurry to prove your point that you run flat over someone and loose your ability to feed into their lives. If an agreement cannot be reached, then pray for that person and yourself to have the eyes of your understanding opened so that you can understand the truth and then walk in love so that you can express that truth. Amen!

Ladies, unity in the body is vital to its ability to do the Lordís will, unity in both the local body and the universal body of believers, not just your own denomination. We, as born again, spirit filled women of God, need to be praying for our local body and the entire church to come to unity, so that Jesus Christ our Lord can be held up and glorified! Amen!

It was probably this group of Judiazers who plagued Paul throughout the remainder of his ministry.

Paul relates this event here, in this letter, to show the Galatians, the error of there thinking.

Before we go further in this chapter, letís take a brief moment to discuss the Mosaic Law and what it is and isnít.

It has several aspects we need to understand.

  1. It is found in the first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It was given to Moses. It does not include the entire Old Testament.

There is a distinction between the law and the prophets. The Law is the first 5 books, the prophets is the remainder of the books, including the major and minor prophets. Jesus fulfilled both with his life and death! Jesus said in Matthew 5:17:

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill."

The Mosaic Law is divided into three parts:

    1. The Moral law: this includes the Ten Commandments.

Romans 3:19-22: Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

    1. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is

the knowledge of sin. 21. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22. even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

We realize through this verse, that the law is impossible to keep. The law was to show us what sin is and the need of accepting Godís free gift of righteousness through faith. It teaches salvation by grace. All the sacrifices pointed to Jesus as the redeemer, unfortunately the focus became the act of the sacrifice itself and not what it meant and the bondage of legalism became entrenched.

    1. It is a shadow of Christ.
    2. Hebrews 10:1-4: 1. For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

      This means that everything in the law, the sacrifices, the temple, the furniture, the feast days and the rituals of worship. Remember, Godís plan was for Israel to be a nation of priests for the entire world, not an exclusive private club with no chance of membership.

      The need for constant sacrifices was to atone for breaking the law, which could not be kept in the first place. The sacrifice was to atone for the sin, and point to Jesus as our redeemer, it did not remove the sin, it was a reminder of the sin. Every Sacrifice made pointed to Jesus Christ, who would put away the law forever. All the elements of Jewish worship represented the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

    3. It contained social law. It taught the Jewish nation how to physically live, dietary

regulations, sanitation, care of the land and crops and animals. Jesus fulfilled all this by living

the perfect life on earth. They no longer apply today. It is easy for us to become obsessed

with, trying to keep rules and regulation, just because they are in the Bible. We need to be

very careful and use wisdom and discretion in all choice we make.

  1. Another import aspect of the law is It was for the Jewish nation only.

Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:

Leviticus 26:46: These are the statutes and judgments and laws which the Lord made between Himself and the children of Israel on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses

Romans 3:19: Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

It was not given to the Gentiles:

Romans 2:12-14: For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13. (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;

    1. for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,

  1. As Christians we are not under the law.

Romans 6:14: 14. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Jesus said on the cross "it is finished", meaning the law was fulfilled, that is why the Temple veil was rent from top to bottom, to show there was nothing between God and man any longer.

Jesus paid the price for our sins, He earned the righteousness and now all we have to do is receive it by faith.

4. The law now applies to unbelievers: