Southern Christian University

A Study of Galatians #2


Please read all of the references. They will help you to get a fuller understanding.


Galatians 3:8, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed."  This does not mean that God preached the facts:  the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ unto Abraham, but it is a quotation, part of Genesis 12:3 that if Abraham would do as God called upon him to do, in thee shall all nations be blessed, meaning as set forth in third chapter of Galatians that Christ came through the seed of Abraham. 


Verse ten, "For as many as are under the works of the law. (Old Testament law)  are under a curse, for it is written cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them."  The quotation is from Deuteronomy 27:26. None were able to do all of the things written in the law.  So as far as just the law itself is concerned, everyone was left under a curse.  "Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for the righteous shall live by faith." that is from Habakkuk 2:4, and I wish we had plenty of time to turn and see the setting of that reference, but we don't have the time. "But the righteous shall live by faith and the law is not of faith, but he that doeth them shall live in them." and that's from Leviticus 18:5.  So the Old Testament law gave the promise of spiritual life if man kept the law perfectly.  None were able to keep it perfectly, so it left them all under a curse. 


Then what did Christ do?  Verse thirteen, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us:  For it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," and that is from Deuteronomy 21:22. The people of Israel usually stoned a person that committed a crime that carried a death penalty, but it must have been when a person did what they considered a very terrible crime that they hanged him on a tree.  God gave them instruction that you are to take down the cursed criminal before night,  And cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”.  And the application here is that Christ died on the cross, cursed for our sake.  And I think that is why Paul and Peter (Acts 13:29; I Peter 2:24-25) referred to him being hanged on a tree.    So he became a curse for us by being hanged on a tree, by being hanged on a cross in our behalf. Verses fourteen and fifteen, "That upon the Gentiles might come the blessings of Abraham in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man's covenant, yet when it hath been confirmed, no man maketh it void, or addeth thereto."  I guess a contract would suit better for our understanding than a covenant.  When a contract is made and signed by both parties, neither party can change it without the consent of the other.  "Now to Abraham were the promises spoken and to his seed.  He saith not, and to his seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ."  When God said through thy seed all nations shall be blessed, he meant that Christ would come of the seed of Abraham. 


Verse seventeen, "Now this I say, a covenant confirmed beforehand by God, the law which came four hundred and thirty years after, does not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect."  What law is he talking about?  He is talking about the Old Testament law.  And here is one of the best passages in respect to how long it was after the call of Abraham until the law was given.  It says four hundred and thirty years.  And if you give careful attention to everything involved, I believe, you will be able to see that for about two hundred and fifteen years, the people of Israel were still in the land of Canaan, and then two hundred and fifteen years in the land of Egypt, and then God brought them forth under the leadership of Moses out of Egyptian bondage. 


While they were encamped at Mount Sinai (Exodus Chapters 19,20,21) God gave the Old Testament law beginning with the Ten Commandments written on those two tables of stone, and also many other commandments.  That's what he is talking about in verse seventeen.  "Now this I say, a covenant, confirmed beforehand by God."  That promise, that covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  "the law which came four hundred and thirty years after does not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect."   That covenant was first with Genesis 12:3.  "For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise:  But God hath granted it to Abraham by promise.  What then is the law?"  Please remember that Paul asked a lot of questions which he needed to ask and answer for the benefit of his hearers, and this is still very effective today, to ask questions that need to be asked and give plain answers to them. Jesus frequently answered questions by first asking the questioner questions.


 Verse nineteen, "What then is the law? (and then he tells)  It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator." Genesis eleven indicates that in a matter of a few hundred years after God had destroyed the world by a flood in the days of Noah, the world had become wicked again.  And it was still not time to send his son, the only begotten son into the world to become a sin offering for man, and so God called Abraham, and then four hundred and thirty years later, God gave his descendants the Old Testament law which made “sin exceeding sinful” (Rom. 7:12-13), and it at least kept some of those people in covenant relationship with him until it was time to send the Christ.  Verse twenty, "Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.  Is the law then against the promises of God?"  Is it against the promise that God made to Abraham?  "God forbid (or no sir, no sir) for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been by the law."  In other words if there was any law that just on the basis of perfection in keeping the law, then righteousness would have been by such a law.  One of the big difference between the Old Testament law and the New Testament law, sins were not forgiven completely under the Old Testament law, but under the New Testament law, Hebrews 8:12, "And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” When sins are forgiven under the law of Christ, they are forgiven completely and forever."  "But the scripture shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."  Again Paul deals with that in a more complete way in the second and third chapters in the book of Romans.  Do you remember how he reached the conclusion “for all have sinned, (Jews and Gentiles alike), and have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23).” 


The law made sin exceeding sinful as stated in the seventh chapter of Romans. It gave them a much greater knowledge of what is sinful.  "But the scripture shut up all things unto sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law. (the Jewish people)  shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed.  (faith in Christ)  so that the law has become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."  By faith in Christ and obedience to Christ, we are justified.  The King James says the schoolmaster.  And however you account, the tutor or the schoolmaster, the law assisted in providing faith in Jesus Christ.  "But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."  So it is plainly stated by verse twenty-five that we are no longer under the law, and here a lot of these people in these churches were hearing these false teachers and ready to go back under the law.  Some had already obeyed them and had lost their salvation. 


Verse twenty-six "For ye are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ."  Now, how according to this passage does a person get into Christ?  Is there salvation out of Christ?  If this passage is not teaching that baptism is essential to salvation, will you please send me an Email and tell me why it does not mean that baptism is essential to salvation.  Read Romans 6: 3-7, and read I Corinthians 12:13, "For by one spirit where we all baptized into one body."  Baptism not only puts one into Christ but into Christ's church  (I Corinthians 12:13; Acts 2:47).  The church is his body, Ephesians 1:22-23 and Colossians 1:18.  "For as many of you" so just as many as have been baptized into Christ.  And if you have not been baptized into Christ, then verse twenty-seven is saying that you are not in Christ, that you do not belong to Christ.  Many, of course, have believed false teaching and think that all they have to do is to pray, “Lord save me”.  But the Lord has given plain commands, and we must obey his commandments in order to be saved (Hebrews 5:8-9). Verse twenty-eight, "There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male or female:  For ye are all one man in Christ Jesus."  Of course, this does not mean that a Jew looses his identity, or that a bondman is made free from his master, or that the sex of a male and female is done away. But regardless of a person's condition, he is saved on the same terms. He must hear and obey the gospel of Christ (II Thessalonians 1:6-10).  And we are all to live by the same instruction that the Lord has given. Verse twenty-nine, "And if ye be Christ, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise”? 


Chapter Four

“But I say, so long as the heir is a child,  (under the Old Testament law) he differeth nothing from a bond servant, though he be Lord of all."  If a father in his will gives to one of his sons ten million dollars, and sets it up that he will not receive it until he is twenty-one years of age, then verse two applies.  “But he is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father.  So we also (the Jews) when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world but when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."  In regard to the fullness of time some talk about the fullness of time, in that the Greek language was almost the universal language, and the Roman government was a strong government, and one could travel from one end of the Roman kingdom to the other without being molested.  It had good roads, and all of those things were true.  But, I think, the primary thing we are to understand is that when it was time in God's infinite wisdom to send Christ into the world to become a sin offering for us, when that time came, he sent forth his only begotten son born of a woman.  What does born of a woman in 4:4 mean?  Is there any man that you know of that has not been born of a woman?  It means that Christ was born of a woman without the agency of man.  It is talking about that reference of Christ being born as the angel talked to Mary about in Luke 1:26-35, and was the beginning of the fulfillment of Gen. 3:15.  "That he might redeem them that were under the law."  Verse six, says that we are adopted sons through Christ.  "So that thou art no longer a bond servant, but a son and if a son an heir through God." 


When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to have a son, she responded, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man.”  She had not had sexual relations with any man.  But the angel said to her, Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the most high shall overshadow thee:  Wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God."  So Paul is very definitely referring to the Virgin birth of Christ.  Any person who does not believe in the Virgin birth of Christ does not believe in the Christ of the Bible!   


In these first seven verses, he has been talking about how that the Jews were the children of God, but they were under the bondage of the law until the coming of Christ, and by his death upon the cross, they became adopted sons of God.  Now, in verse eight he is referring to the Gentile people.  All the churches of Galatia were made up predominantly of Gentile people.  He says, "Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods.  But now, that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again?"  Here, they were listening to these false teachers and going back under the Old Testament law.  And he is saying, why?  Back there you were in bondage to those idol gods, and now here you are turning back to the law, and you are going to be in bondage to those rudiments of the law. 


Verse ten, "Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years."  Of course, that has reference to requirements of the Old Testament law.  And so they had been deceived by those false teachers and were trying to keep the Old Testament law, or at least portions of it.  "I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain."  If they went back under the law, they would loose their salvation in Christ as is plainly stated in chapter five.  And so Paul's labor then would be in vain.  "Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am; for I also am become as ye are."  Now, what does he mean by that statement?  Paul did not expect to be saved by the Old Testament religion, but by faith in Christ.  But here they were trying to go back under the Old Testament law.  So here he is saying, become as I am, for I am become as ye are.  In other words the Old Testament law was not given to the Gentiles, and he expected to be saved by faith in Christ; but they wanted to go back under the law.  "Ye did me no wrong but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time.  And that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but ye received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus."  So they had received him in the very best way possible.  "Wherefore then is that granulation of yourselves."  In other words where is that good feeling that you had toward me back there, that spirit of thankfulness for your salvation in Christ has changed.  Why the change? "For I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes, and given them to me." On the basis of the latter part of verse fifteen and chapter six of this letter, verse eleven, "See with how large letters I write unto you with mine own hand." some have concluded that Paul's thorn in the flesh was bad eyesight.  But the statement, “ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me”, could very well be a proverb of that day, meaning that they would have done anything possible for him.  We sometimes make similar statements today.


It is strange how we sometimes have big arguments about things, which the Bible does not give an answer to.  The Bible does not tell us what that thorn in the flesh was other than it was a messenger of Satan to buffet him, and Paul wanted it removed, but the Lord said, “my grace is sufficient for you (11 Corinthians 12:9).”  Let us be careful and not try to decide things that the Bible does not give us any definite determination about, and let each man have his own opinion about such matters as long as he does not try to bind his opinion on others. 


Verse sixteen, "So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth?"  There was very definitely a change of their spirit and attitude toward Paul, and now there is danger of some of them becoming his enemy because he is telling them the truth.  Well, that still holds, doesn't it?  The preaching of the truth today will make some enemies.  "They zealously seek you."  He is talking about those false teachers who were trying to bind circumcision, and requirements of the law on them.  "They zealously seek you in no good way; yea, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them.  But it is good to be zealously sought in a good manner, at all times."   If their zeal toward them was good, it would have been fine, but their zeal toward them was not good.  "But it is good to be zealously sought in good manner at all times, and not only when I am present with you.  My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you." 


So some of them according to that statement had already fallen away from Christ, and Paul represents himself as being like a woman in childbirth until they turned back to Christ and “until Christ be formed in you. But I wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you."  The sense of verse twenty might well be that I just wish I could be present with you, and talk to you face-to-face, and get this matter settled in a hurry.  There is nothing that will take the place of that face-to-face meeting.  A telephone conversation, a letter, an E-mail just won't quite do what that to face-to-face and hand to hand contact will do, and that must be what John has reference to (II John verse 12, III John 13-14).  If I could just be with you, I could change my tone in a hurry, because I have enough confidence in you to believe that you would see that you are following false teachers.  "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?  For it is written, that Abraham had two sons."  Well, he had more than two sons, but these two sons was one son by the handmaiden, Hagar and one by his wife Sarah.  Hagar’s son represented the Old Testament covenant and bondage, and the son by his wife, Sarah, Isaac, represented the New Testament covenant, but after the death of Sarah, Genesis twenty-five, Abraham married Keturah and had six sons by her, but he just mentions these two because they represented the two covenants.  "For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, the other by the freewoman." Do you remember how Sarah wanted to run ahead of God and gave Abraham her handmaiden for him to have a son by her (Geneses 16:1-10).  "Howbeit the son by the handmaiden is born after the flesh."  He was not a child of promise he was a natural fleshly birth.  Sarah gave her handmaiden to Abraham to have a child by her, which thing occurred.  "But howbeit the son by the handmaiden is born after the flesh; but the son by the freewoman is born through promise."  “It had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women” (Geneses 18:11).  She had gone through the change of life, or menopause. And remember, God had told them back there in Geneses fifteen that Eliezer of Damascus would not be his heir.  "Which things contain an allegory."  In other words these two women and their two sons represent the two covenants:  Hagar and her son representing the Old Testament covenant, and   Sarah and her son representing the New Testament covenant.  "Which things contained an allegory:  For these women are two covenants; one from Mount Sinai."  Mount Sinai was where the Old Testament law was first given.  "Bearing children under bondage, which is Hagar.  Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is, and she in bondage with her children.  But Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother.  For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not:  For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband." 


If you read verse twenty-seven without giving attention to where it is quoted from in the context, you might think it is talking about Sarah, but it is talking about the new Israel of God (Isaiah. 54:1).  Several times in the book of Isaiah, God through Isaiah, talks about the new Israel of God that was to come in the future made up of Jews and Gentiles.  And I would like for us to take time to briefly look at two of them.  If you will, turn to Isaiah chapter forty-nine.  In verse six, he is talking about Christ when he says, "Yea, he saith, it is too light a thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel:  I will also give you thee for a light to the Gentiles."  God is going to give Christ as his light for the Gentiles.  "That thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth."  We do not have time to read all the passage, but come down to verse nineteen.  "For as for thy waste and thy desolate places."  The ten northern tribes were carried into Assyrian Captivity, and the southern kingdom was carried into Babylonian Captivity.  "For as thy waste and thy desolate places, and thy land that hath been destroyed, surely now shalt thou be too strait for the inhabitants."  The land of Israel, the land of Canaan, would be too strait for all of the people that would make up the new Israel of God.  It would be too strait, not enough room for the new Israel of God.  "And they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.  The children of thou bereavement, shall yet say in thine ears, the place is too strait for me:  Give place to me that I may dwell.  Then thou shalt say in thine heart, who hath begotten me these, seeing I have been bereaved of my children, and am solitary, an exile, and wondering to and fro?  And who hath brought up these?  Behold, I was left alone; these, where were they?"  (Isaiah. 49:19-21). God, divorced the ten tribes, and sent them into Assyria Captivity in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign (II Kings 18:9-12) in about 722B.C. Judah was carried into Babylonian Captivity about 136 years later or 586 B.C. in the eleventh year of Zedekiah (II Kings 25:1-2, 25:8-9). This was the final end of the earthly throne of David! But while they were separated from him, (Ezekiel 23:1-49) God was planning to bring in the Gentile people, and the family would be greatly enlarged.  The land of Canaan would not be sufficient to hold all the children of the new Israel of God. (Romans 2: 28-29; Philippians 3:1-6).


Now, turn to chapter fifty-four where the passage is quoted.  Verse one, "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child:  For more are the children of the desolate.  (desolate in captivity) Than the children of the married wife, saith Jehovah.  Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations:  Spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited."(Isaiah. 54:1-3)  So in Galatians 4:26-31 Paul is talking about the new Israel of God and all Christians, Jews and Gentiles, (Romans 2:28-29) make up the new Israel of God, and we belong to that Jerusalem that is above.  “But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother”.  


Verse twenty-eight, "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, so also is it now."  That is referring to chapter twenty-one of Genesis. When they weaned Isaac, Abraham gave a great feast.  Many think, that he was at least around three years old before he was weaned, and on that occasion, the son of the handmaiden mocked Isaac.  Sarah saw Ishmael mocking and she said to Abraham, Cast out the handmaiden and her son.  He is not going to inherit with my son, Isaac.  Abraham did not want to do it! Ishmael was thirteen years of age when God gave the law of circumcision, and it was a year later before Isaac was born.  If Isaac was three when they weaned him, that would make Ishmael seventeen years of age at this time, and don’t you think that Abraham was very fond of his son, Ishmael?  But the Lord appeared to him and told him to do as his wife had told him, to cast out the handmaiden and her son, and that his seed would be called through Isaac; but he would make a nation of the descendants of Ishmael.  So that is what he is referring to here.  "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so also is it now."  Those fleshly, unbelieving Jews were persecuting the Christians, and that continues today.  Those who go the way of the flesh are ready to persecute Christians today.  "Howbeit what saith the scripture?  Cast out the handmaiden and her son:  For the son of the handmaiden shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman.  Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of the handmaid but of the free woman” We do not belong to the Old Testament religion, but to that freedom in Christ religion. 


Chapter Five

Then in chapter five, "For freedom did Christ set us free."  He set them free from the Old Testament law, and He set them free from the bondage of sin.  "Stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage."  He means don't go back under the Old Testament law and be under that yoke, which as Peter said, “neither we nor our fathers were able to bear (Acts15: 10)”.  Well, I don't think we have any danger of our being pulled back under the Old Testament law today, but we still need to think about what the writer says here.  We have been set free from the Old Testament law by the life and death of Christ.  We have been set free from sin, but we can turn away from Christ, and go back into the world, and be entangled in the yolk of bondage, although it would not be the same kind of bondage of them going back under the law.  So we have been set free, and we need to stand fast in our freedom, and be not entangled again in the yolk of bondage (II Peter 2:20-22). 


"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing."  If they received circumcision as a matter of a requirement of religion, then Christ would profit them nothing.  "Yea I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is debtor to do the whole law."  Now, think of that.  There are many who want to go back to the Old Testament law for a part of their religion, but none are ready to go back to the Old Testament law for everything.  The Adventists want to go back to the Old Testament law for the keeping of the Sabbath, but Colossians 2:14-17 plainly tell us that the Sabbath law has been fulfilled.  The law has been fulfilled completely.  Remember how we read from II Corinthians chapter three where he speaks of the Ten Commandments as a “ministration of death written and engraved on stone,” but here they wanted to go back for part of their religion.  Many want to go back to the Old Testament religion to justify the use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship, when every passage in the New Testament concerning music specifies singing. (Matthew 26:30; Acts 16:25; I Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5: 18-20; Colossian 3:16; Hebrews 2:12; Revelation 14:1-3, 15:3)  They had mechanical instruments of music under the Old Testament law.  Yes, they did, and I believe that God approved of it, (II Chronicles 29:25-30) but they also had animal sacrifices, and incense, and a lot of other things in regard to that religion.  Would it be all right to start offering animal sacrifices and expecting it to atone for sin today? The law has been fulfilled, taken out of the way, nailed to the cross of Christ, Colossians 2:14-17. 


Verse four, "Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."  If there was not another verse in all the New Testament, that one ought to put us on plain notice that a child of God can fall away from Christ, and be in a lost condition again.  They had been joined to Christ.  How could they have been severed from Christ if they had not been joined to Christ?  They had obeyed the gospel under the preaching of Paul, but they had been led back under the Old Testament law, and he says, “Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law, ye are fallen away from grace.”  Please turn and read Ezekiel 18:19-24.


That grace is the gift of God whereby we are saved. (Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11-14)  "For we through the spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love."  So the primary thing of importance is not, whether a person has been circumcised or whether he is uncircumcised, the important thing is that our faith is to work through love.  "For ye were running well." again, Paul uses that word running.  "Ye were running well; who hindered ye that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion came not of him that calleth you, a little leaven leaveneth a whole lump."  He is saying these men are false teachers, and their leavening influence of unrighteousness is dangerous!  "I have confidence to you ward through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded:  But he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be."  Paul is expressing confidence; I believe you are going to discipline these false teachers.  Let them bear their judgment as false teachers.  "But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted?  Then hath the stumbling block of the cross been done away?"  Does verse eleven indicate that some were saying that Paul preached circumcision?  And he said, no sir, I wouldn't be persecuted, if that were the case.  The stumbling block of the cross would be done away.  "I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision."  Some of the versions read, would mutilate themselves”, but I wonder if it does not mean that they would go ahead and cut themselves off, and not claim to be a part of the body of Christ.  But I do not have any real authority of that. 


"But ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion of the flesh, but through love be servants one to another."  That is surely good admonition for all of us today, we are to be servants one to another motivated by true love.  "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."  We have all known of families that started that process of biting and devouring, the husband and the wife, and then sometimes the whole family gets involved, until the whole family falls apart because of biting and devouring one another.  The same thing can take place in the church.  One member makes a cutting remark, and another returns a cutting remark, and the first thing you know, they have devoured one another.   


"But I say walk by the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."  We have been born again under the New Testament law.  We are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, and we are to “walk by the spirit”.  Here is another passage that shows that Paul is not speaking of himself as a Christian in Romans 7:14 through the rest of the chapter.  Now, it is true that the flesh and the spirit are contrary, but a child of God can walk by the Spirit, and when he does he will not fulfill the lust of the flesh!  It does not mean that he is going to be sinless and perfect, but his life will balance on the side of righteousness.  "For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh these are contrary the one to the other; that they may not do the things that you would.”  "But if ye are led by the spirit, ye are not under the law."  You are not under that old law of the flesh having control over your body.  "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; fornication, uncleanness (uncleanness is sexual immoralities) Lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcerer, enmity, strife, jealousies, wrath, factious divisions, envyings, drunkenness, and revelings and such like of which I forewarn you, as I have forewarned you that they who practice such things."  Think of that word practice.  Now, all children of God are going to err from time to time, but they should never practice such things.  "That they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of the God.  But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control:  Against such there is no law."  If we walk by the Spirit then here is the fruit:  “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering kindness, goodness”.  My, what a wonderful person a person like that is. 


Verse twenty-four, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”  When one is baptized into Christ, the old fleshly man dies, he is separated from that old fleshly state, and he rises to walk in “newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-7) And he is to keep that fleshly nature crucified. If we live by the spirit, by the spirit let us also walk.  Let us not become vain glorious, provoking one another, envying one another."  This strongly indicates again that they didn't have good spirit toward each other in Christ, and so he says, “Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.”



Chapter Six

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness: , looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another burdens, and so fulfill the law the Christ."  So we have responsibility to help restore those who become overtaken in sin, and we are to do it with a kind and gentle spirit remembering that we are also weak. Verse two carries across the board.  There are sometimes financial burdens that we can help our brethren to bear, and sometimes a heavy burden of sickness that we can have some part in cheering them up and helping them to bear it a little better.  The particular burden is the burden of sin.  Suppose a brother returns to an old habit, maybe he is an alcoholic and he turns back to his old habit, and brings shame and reproach to himself, and to his family, and to the church, and is so ashamed that if somebody doesn't help him, he may not be able to pull out of it.  So Paul says, “Bear ye one another's burden and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."  I believe he is talking about the man that thinks, “I am holy and righteous, and I am not going to have anything to do with that fornicator like they had at Corinth, or I am not going to have anything to do with that drunkard”.  Well, if that is the case, then verse three fits him.  He thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, and deceiveth himself.  "But let each man prove his own work, and then shall he have his glory and in regard of himself alone, and not of his neighbor.  For each man shall bear his own burden."  There are burdens that we can help one another to bear, but there are also responsibilities that rest solely upon the shoulders of the individual that no other person can bear for him.  For instance there are responsibilities that rest on a father and on a mother that no other person can properly bear.  Unless they come through with their responsibilities, then those responsibilities are not met in the best way.  Others may try, but they are still not met like they ought to be. 


"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things."  The word “communicate” means to share with his teacher in all good things.  In other words verse six is talking about supporting the preaching of the gospel, supporting those who teach.  "Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life."  When this passage is read, many people have a strong tendency to think of going the way of fornication, or strong drink, or various other sins of the body.  But from the context, the particular thing that he is talking about is what a man does with material things. Verse six, is talking about how those who have been taught are to use their material things to support those who teach the gospel.  And in verses nine and ten Paul is talking about communicating unto the needs of others.  "Let us not be weary in well doing:  For in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  So then as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good, toward all men especially toward them that are of the household of faith."  So in verses nine and ten, he is talking about being ready to render to the needs of all people, but especially to them that are of the household of faith.  Our first responsibility is to our brethren, but we have responsibility to others (II Corinthians 9:12-14; Acts 24:16; Ephesians 4:28). Verse eleven, "See how large letters I write unto you with mine own hand” On the basis of the reading of verse eleven some have concluded that Paul wrote all of the Galatian Epistle. I Corinthians 16:21 reads, “The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.” Colossians 4:18, “ The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.” II Thessalonians 3: 17, “The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.” Romans 16:22 reads, “I Tetius, who write the epistle saluteth you, and Quartus the brother.” These references show that it was Paul’s pattern to have some one else to do the writing of the epistles, but he wrote enough with his own hand to show that it was from him. In my judgment this is the meaning on Galatians 6:11. Verse twelve, "As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.  For not even they who receive circumcision do themselves keep the law; but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.  But forbid for me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me and I unto the world (6:12-14)."  And again that doesn't sound like he could not do what Christ wanted him to do.  He says the world has been “crucified unto me and I unto the world.” 


Verse fifteen, "For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature."  He is saying that the thing that counts is the new man in Christ, who continues to put to death the ways of the flesh and follows the Spirit and becomes more Christ-like all the time, that new creation in Christ.  "And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. Henceforth let no man trouble me:  For I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus."  It must have been the pattern of the day for slaveholders to brand their slaves like farmers brand their cattle now.  And so Paul is saying, do not let any man trouble me, I am a branded bondservant of Christ.  I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus.  Well, think of how that he must have had a number of scars that he could be referring to as branded on my body.  In II Corinthians eleven he tells us that he had received of the Jews five times forty stripes save one. He been beaten by the Romans three times and at Lystra he was stoned and dragged out of the city for dead, so he must have had a number of scars on his body that he is referring to when he says,  “I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus”.  I am a bondservant.  I am a slave of Christ.  I have been branded, and I belong to him (I Corinthians 6:19-20)!  "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren, amen.”