Ladies Bible Study
A Study in Galatians
"Freedom in Christ!"
Before we get into this lesson letís briefly review the key points we have learned so far.
The Letter to the Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia, a province of Asia Minor, the area we know now as modern Turkey. These were churches he had established through his ministry as an apostle. Churches in which Paul was responsible for the spiritual growth and maturity of the believers. Paul had left the area and false teachers had followed him, spreading false teaching. Most specifically that it was not by grace you were saved but by following the law, most specifically the act of circumcision.
It is a strongly worded letter, with Paul at one point even referring to the Galatians as
"foolish" or the original Greek word is closer to our word "stupid." We see by this that Paul was very upset with the Galatians, for following after false teachers so soon after he had left the area.
The two main themes of the letter are:
The Galatians were being led astray by accepting the teaching that works of the flesh, notably circumcision, was the only way to salvation and righteousness not Godís grace.
Galatians 2:20-21: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.''
The law was not given as a means of salvation; it was given to show us what sin was and to show us Godís plan of salvation. Everything in the law, pointed to Christ, every sacrifice, prayer, feast, everything pointed to the coming Messiah.
Paul goes on to tell us no one is justified by the law, "for the just shall live by faith."
He quotes this verse again in Romans 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38.
We are saved by faith to live an life of faith, not works!
Galatians 3:13: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree''),
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us!
The curse of the law is threefold, poverty, sickness and spiritual death.
Jesus became what we are sinful, poor, sick and spiritually dead so that we could become what He is the righteousness of God. Christ became a curse for us, so that we could become the righteousness of God in Christ. Why? Paul answers the question in the next sentence, "that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles."
Christ became a curse for us, so that or in order that we as Gentiles can inherit the blessings of Abraham.
We as Gentiles can receive the blessings of Abraham, because we receive them by a spiritual relationship, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not a physical relationship Jewish by birth. After the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, we all became the spiritual descendents of Abraham, and thus in line for his inheritance
God gave the Law 430 years later, to point man in the right direction, to show man his sin and what the answer was! Jesus Christ!! It was given until the seed came, that seed was Jesus Christ.
The law pointed to Christ and it also defined in legal terms the Covenant between God and Abraham, until it could be fulfilled by Abrahamís seed, Jesus Christ.
Letís look at our scriptures for tonight.
26. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 4:1: Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2. But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 8. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 9. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 12. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.
Verses 27-29: 27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Verse 27 is not specifically describing the act of water baptism, Paul is metaphorically speaking to describe our total immersion into Christ. The act of water baptism is our physical action to represent our death and resurrection with Christ, our spiritual rebirth.
Here Paul is talking about our position in Christ.
The Greek word for into is eis (Phonetic: ice), it is a primary preposition; meaning to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.).
When we are baptized into Christ is it talking about our position in Christ, as heir with Christ, the seed of Abraham. It is referring to our new life in Christ and the purpose God has for us, not the act of baptism itself. It is our new relationship with God the Father.
I want you to seriously think about what that means, and what Christ did for you and me on Calvary!
He became poor so that we might become rich!
2 Corinthians 8:9: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
He became sickness so that we could have divine health!
Isaiah 53: 4-5: Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
1 Peter 2:24: who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed.
He became sin so that we could become the righteousness of God!
Romans 5:17: For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
2 Corinthians 5:21: For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Thank you Lord, for all youíve done!
This is what you as a believer are heir to, wealth, health and righteousness! Amen!
Now, letís continue with chapter 4.
4:1: Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2. But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
In these verses Paul is explaining to the Galatians once again, what their position was and is. In ancient Greek culture, the heir was raised by a slave or tutor who was responsible for preparing the child to accept his responsibility as heir. The child was no different than a slave or servant in the eyes of his father, until the time was deemed that he had reached the age of maturity. Then the child was no longer under the tutor but was now walking in his role as master. The tutor was no longer needed. It was a time appointed by the childís father, generally around age 13 or 14.
Paul is comparing this social custom to the Galatians situation, and to the situation of the entire world. The Galatians were not Jews and were not subject to Jewish laws and customs, they were not and never had been under the law and its curse. They were however, under the law of sin and death and its curse, just as we as sinners were.
Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
But just as the father of the Greek son, decided when the fullness of time had come, do did our Heavenly Father. And at that time, He sent His son Jesus, born of a woman, born under the law, to fulfill the law and redeem us from the curse of the law! Amen!
And since, Christ fulfilled the law; it was no longer needed, just as the tutor was no longer needed for the Greek child. Paul reviews this again with the Galatians, because he has such a hard time understanding their decision.
Galatians 3:8-10: Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 9. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Paul is stressing their bondage to their idols and sin, and their deliverance form them, He says in verse 9, " you have been delivered from bondage once, how in the world can you turn around and get into bondage again?" I believe it was either laziness or ignorance about who they were in Christ that let the Galatians be so led astray. This is still true today. Many Christians today, are so spiritually immature, and will not spend time in the word, getting to know God and His ways intimately, that they fall prey to any idea that comes down the pike. They are either spiritually immature or lazy and would rather have someone else tell them what to do, than find out for themselves.
And believe me, just as in the Galatiansí time, there are plenty of people who will gladly accept that role. One example is a teaching called "Shepherdship". The new convert is placed under a "shepherd" who literally runs his life, naturally and physically. In many cases using the new convert as a maid, errand boy and going so far as to tell the person how to dress, and who to marry. Believe me, this is not of the Lord!
This is what the Galatians had fallen into. The Judiazers had come in, after Paul had left the area, and told the Galatians that they could not really be saved unless they followed the Law to the letter.
This is what Paul is referring to in verse 10, Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. He is talking about keeping the Jewish Sabbath, Feasts and other events. But you see Christ fulfilled these types when he came, died and rose again. They no longer have to be observed.
The Sabbath had become a ritualistic observance of strict rules and regulations, even down to the number of steps that could be made before it was considered work. Christ redeemed us from this legalism.
Mark 2:23-28: 23. Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24. And the Pharisees said to Him, "Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?'' 25. But He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26. "how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?'' 27. And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28. "Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.''
The Sabbath is the day we have set aside to worship God, to dedicate time to spend hearing his word. It is not a day regulated by rules and regulations. We as believers are to show the World, the Lord of the Sabbath, and then they will want to spend time worshipping Him. Making laws and rules about what is acceptable on a certain day, does not lead anyone to salvation, it in fact drives many away. We need to concentrate on showing Godís love and salvation and let him take care of the rest. Amen!
The months Paul is referring to is the fast that was initiated by the Jews during their days of captivity in Babylon. It had nothing to do with the Galatians and they did not need to observe it.
The times Paul is referring to is the seven main feasts observed by the Jews, the first being Passover. Just to remind you, Passover is the observance of the deliverance of the Jews from the angle of death as he passed over all the homes covered by the blood of the lamb.
(See Exodus 12:11-14). We no longer observe this, for Jesus our Passover lamb has fulfilled it. This is why He was crucified at the time of the Passover. (see Leviticus 23 for a list and description of all these feasts.)
Hebrews 9:12-15: 12. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14. how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15. And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
1 Peter 1:18-19: knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
The second feast is the Feast of Unleavened bread. During this time, the Jewish women were required to thoroughly clean their homes of all dust. Leaven, a symbol of sin, represented by dust. This removal of sin, was accomplished by Jesus on Calvary, by his death and entombment in hell for 3 days and nights.
The next feast is the Feast of Firstfruits, the first Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was observed by the Jews bringing the first and the best of their harvest and flocks to dedicate to God. It was on the day of Firstfruits that Our Lord was resurrected, becoming our Firstfruits.
1 Corinthians 15:20,23: But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleepÖ23. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
The next feast, is the Feast of Pentecost, fifty days after Passover. This was fulfilled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The next feast takes place 5 months after Pentecost, it is the Feast of Trumpets. The five months represent the present church age we live in now and will be fulfilled when Christ returns to rule and reign.
After the feast of Trumpets comes the Feast of Atonement will be fulfilled with the return of Jesus, removal of sin and sinners from the Earth and removal of the curse from the Earth. (See Romans 8:19-23).
The Final Feast Paul was concerned about was the Feast of Tabernacles, which was begun to remind the Jewish nation of the time God dwelt among them in the Tabernacle of Moses. Christ will again dwell among us when he returns to rule and reign and this Feast also will be fulfilled.
And Years refers to the seven seven year cycle of redemption and restoration with the 50th year being the year of Jubilee. During the Year of Jubilee all slaves were set free, and all property was restored to its original owner. Jesus is our Jubilee, we are living in the year of Jubilee now.
Luke 4:17-21: 17. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19. to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.'' 20. Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.''
We have been restored to our right relationship and fellowship by Jesus, we are redeemed, healed, no longer oppressed. WE are living in the acceptable year of the Lord! Amen!
So you can see, why Paul was upset with the Galatians. You can also see how important it is for us as Christians today not to fall prey to false teaching. We need to be really careful and search the Word completely, open our minds to the truth and walk in it. We cannot be led astray by someone, just because they are on television or publish several books. We need to be sure that everything we do brings Glory to God and leads others to Christ. It is not what we do that counts, but how we do it.
We are to walk in faith with love. That is what brings Glory to God. Amen!