All One in Christ
Comments for Study 4
Memory Verse: 4:28
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I. All One in Christ (3:26-29)
>1. How are we sons of God? (26)
* Galatians 3:26 "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,"
* "You are all" -The letter was addressed to "to the churches in Galatia". (Galatians 1:2) Not everybody is a child of God, only those who have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord God.
* "through faith in" -Faith is believing to the point of living and acting in accordance with the belief. Belief has the root "be live".
* "Christ Jesus" -Christ Jesus is Greek in the letter's original language. It is the same as the Hebrew words "Messiah Yeshua". Messiah is the title that only applied to the promised Savior and Lord God. He is the one and only Son of God who came full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
* We who are justified believers are sons of God and adults. So we are full heirs with Christ, the Son of God, the firstborn with all the rights of a firstborn. Adults sons have all the attendant rights and privileges and so through faith in Jesus we are adult sons. Jesus spoke parables that state we are adult sons (i.e. prodigal son).
* Romans 8:14-17 "because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
* Paul's logic moves into a very deep subject, the preeminent reality for a Christian.
>What does it mean to be clothed with Jesus? (27)
* Galatians 3:27 "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."
* "who were baptized into Christ" -Baptism is an outward symbol of a spiritual reality. As water surrounds us when we enter water, so Christ surrounds and enters us as we start a relationship with him. (John 17:23) This is amazing considering we are mostly water. John quoted Jesus in his gospel saying that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5) In the same gospel John the Baptist said Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit. (John 1:33) Jesus said he would sent the Holy Spirit. (John 14:17, 15:26) Jesus and the Holy Spirit are stated to surround us and abide within us.
* "have clothed yourselves with Christ" -Every morning all around the world people cloth themselves. The clothing is next to the skin, covering us so that we have a new appearance. The person is the same, but the look is different. Clothing is inanimate and lifeless. Jesus is loving and the life of men. (John 1:4) Originally the Lord God gave Adam and Eve clothing to cover their shame because of sin. So Jesus covers us with himself. Jesus covers our shame.
* When a Roman male came of age (became an adult) there was a ceremony where the toga of an adult was placed on him, thus declaring to all that he was an adult. Paul could have had this in mind. In the previous verses Paul wrote how we are no longer under the supervision of a child's custodian (the law) because we are adults in Christ.
* Romans 6:3-11
* 1 Corinthians 12:13 "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."
* The relationship we have with Christ is illustrated in many ways. All of them are intimate loving relationships. Here we are siblings. Here we are surrounded by Jesus.
* The meaning behind "clothed yourself with Christ" here is slightly different than the clothing in Ephesians 6:10-18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:8. In those two passages the subject is our needed actions in the spiritual battle. Here the subject is our relationship with Christ.
>2. How are we one? (28)
* Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
* "Jew" -The word "Jew" first appears chronologically in the Bible at the end of the book of Jeremiah and the beginning of the book of Daniel, at the exile of the kingdom of Judah. (Jeremiah 32:12; Daniel 3:8, 12) Jew in Hebrew is "yehudi" and "yehudim". Chronologically after Jeremiah used the word "Jew" it is used a lot in Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the New Testament (mostly by John and Paul). The word Jew is derived ultimately from the tribe of Judah through Middle English Iewe, Old French Ieu, Latin Iudaeus, and Greek Ioudaios (the woman's name Judith originally meant “Jewess”). Though most view the word refers to descendants of Judah, in fact the Bible calls other Israelites Jews too. The Bible authors call anyone who lived in Judah's territory (which included other tribes' territories) during the fall of Jerusalem and after a Jew. For example Mordecai, a Benjamite is called a “Jew” in Esther 2:5 (while he was in Babylon). In the New testament Paul, a Benjamite called himself a Jew though born in Tarsus (Acts 21:39, 22:3; Romans 11:1, Philippians 3:4-5) and the prophetess Anna was of the tribe Asher, also a Jew (Luke 2:36-38). Extra Bible authors also used the term. The Greek name Ioudaios (plural Ioudaioi) was used for the Israelites in the Greek and Roman world. This is the name used in the treaty between Judas Maccabeus and the Romans, described in 1 Maccabees 8:23-32: “May all go well with the Romans and with the nation of the Jews...”
* "Greek" -"Greek" is found extensively in the New Testament (exception Ezekiel 27:19, Joel 3:6) where a distinction is observed between "Greek" and "Grecian". The former is either 1) a Greek by race (Acts 16:1-3, 18:17; Romans 1:14), or 2) a Gentile as opposed to a Jew. (Romans 2:9-10, Galatians 3:28) The later meaning properly "one who speaks Greek," is a foreign Jew opposed to a domestic Jew who dwelt in Palestine.
* "slave or free" -Most of the people in the Roman world in Paul's day were slaves legally. Slaves, the lowest social status in those days did not have the privileges of Roman society. A "free" person" had privileges of law and may or may not have been a Roman citizen.
* "male or female" -Some Jewish males greeted each new day by praying, "Lord, I thank you that I am not a Gentile, a slave, or a woman." The role of women was enhanced by Christianity. In Jewish society women did not have the same privileges of men. In some Gentile societies in those days (including Greek and Roman) woman had more rights then their counterparts in Jewish society. Some even had the same rights as men.
* Elsewhere Paul writes that women should learn in quietness and full submission and that he did not permit women to teach or have authority over a man. (1 Timothy 2:11-12) Why? Was he countering what he wrote here? No. Rather most women were not educated and trained as men were, especially in Jewish society and especially when it came to the Bible. Rather men were taught what they needed to know to support the family and society (For most men this did not include a formal education either.) Like men, women were taught what they needed to do to support the family and society. For women a formal education was not considered a necessity for family. Society in the western world changed until now women can have the same education as a man. So they are able to be as good a teacher as a man. However, it should always be recognized that in the family one is to lead, the man and that leadership is not as the world sees leadership. (See Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-25, and 1 Peter 3:1-7)
* "you are all one in Christ Jesus" -Faith in Christ transcends these differences and makes all believers one in Christ. We should make sure we do not impose distinctions that Christ has removed. Because all believers are his heirs, no one is more privileged than or superior to anyone else. This is referring to our status, not our gifts and talents.
* It's our natural inclination to feel uncomfortable around people who are different from us and to gravitate toward those who are similar to us, even within a congregation. But when we allow our differences to separate us from our fellow believers, we are disregarding clear Biblical teaching. Make a point to seek out and appreciate people who are not just like you and your friends. You may find that you have a lot of common with them. (Life Application Bible Studies)
* Paul is writing in these verses about our mutual status in Jesus which transcends ethnic, social, and sexual distinctions.
* Romans 10:12 "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,"
* 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."
* Ephesians 2:14-18 "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit."
>How is Jesus the key to understanding everything about the life of faith? (29)
* Galatians 3:29 "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
* "If" -With is the Galatian needed to examine the heart to see if they considered themselves belonging to Christ.
* "you belong to Christ" -We are his lover.
* "then you are Abraham's see" -Believers in Jesus, called Christians from the first century are the true descendants of Abraham. (John 1:12-13)
* "heirs according to the promise" -God's promise to Abraham.
II. God Sent His Son (4:1-7)
>3. How does human law of inheritance reflect God's inheritance? (1-2)
* Galatians 4:1-2 "What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father."
* "as long as the heir is a child" -A child, that is a minor, has all the rights that his name deserves, but none of the authority to invoke those rights. He does not own the family property, he cannot invoke the family name, he does not have any authority. A son can only hope in the future.
* "he owns the whole estate" -Whether his parents are alive or not a child legally owns the property. Yet he does not have the authority to do anything to or with it.
* "he is no different from a slave" -A slave has no rights and no authority. A slave can only hope in being released from slavery or at least that his master is kind to him.
* A child and a slave are the same in that in the end neither have access to authority and rights. Both are treated the same.
* "He is subject to guardians and trustees" -The guardians and trustees have complete of the property and can do anything they want to with it. They were chosen by the parents in trust that they would look out for the best interest of the minor child. The child does not have the authority to demand anything from them in regard to the inheritance. The child must do whatever the guardians tell him. (See notes on 3:23 and 3:25 in the previous study for more on guardians.)
* "until the time set by his father" -Whether the father is present or not, alive or dead, his words have authority over the child until the child comes of age.
* Paul's analogy is this; the law was given by the Lord to Israel to guard them from the pitfalls of sin until the Messiah would come. The Law was good only if they followed it. They were chosen by the Lord and he gave them a way to worship him, a way to live and prosper. He set up a way to express mutual love until a better time would come. Jesus, the Messiah came and set up a new and better way. He even sent his spirit which dwells in our hearts and writes the word on our hearts. So the old way is not needed for those who walk in the new way. Christians don't need a guardian. We are made new creations and we wait for the completion of what was started.
* See chart of the workings of the Law and the Spirit in God's Time line by Irving L. Jensen in his Self-Study Guide on Galatians.
>What were we in slavery to? (3)
* Galatians 4:3 "So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world."
* "So also" -Not only was Israel under the guardianship of the Law, but something else was affecting them which they could not resist.
* "when we were children" -Paul adds this statement so the Galatians knew for certain that he is talking about their mutual past. He a Jew and they Gentiles, different pasts with a common problem. We are no different though separated by time. Now that Christ has come his people are no longer children. He has made us a new creation and given us the Spirit. We are still in the flesh, but our Spirit is cleaned of the stain of sin. Our spirit has been made anew.
* "the basic principles of the world" -The Greek term here for "basic principles" meant essentially "things placed side by side in a row" (i.e. the letters of the alphabet) and then came to mean fundamental principles or basic elements of various kinds. The context here suggests two such basic principles. First, the elemental forms of religion, whether those of the Jews (under the law) or those of the Gentiles (under their old religious bondage). Second, the basic "coding" of the human body, fallen man, and establishment of human society. "Of the world" means the principles and society established by men (without God). The opposite of "the world" is of "the Lord God".
* Everybody has a common problem that cannot be escaped, our fallen sinful nature and the inability for to do anything about it. We may be convinced that we are slaves of no one and nothing; that we are free to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, and how we do it. Yet this misconception ignores many things both interpersonally and externally that are beyond our control. We may say, "If circumstances give us lemons, then I'll make lemon-aid," meaning I can turn anything that comes my way to my favor. Yet no one can change themselves. No matter where we go or what we do, there we are in our sinful state with sinful people around us. Who can save us and all mankind? Only Jesus.
>What are they? (Col. 2:8, 20-23)
* Colossians 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
* Colossians 2:20-23 "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."
* As described above the basic principles of this world are internal and external. They are what comes from a broken and unclean heart. They are thoughts, ideas, plans, practices, and words from a fallen state. "Fallen state" refers to what happened to Adam and Eve when they sinned. All their descendants have this defect. So all that fallen mankind have interacted with is called of the world.
* "Basic principles" -This can be translated as "element" and "rudiment". It's the source and starting factor. It's basal, fundamental, and initial.
>4. What did Jesus subject himself to so that we may have full rights as sons? (4-5)
* Galatians 4:4-5 "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons."
* "when the time had fully come" -God has a timetable which he established and is fulfilling. He is not doing things "on the fly". He is not making it up as he goes. He has predestined events to happen.
* "God sent his Son" -God the Father sent God the Son. John 1:14 states, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." Colossians 1:15-20 states, "He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
* "born of a woman" -The virgin birth. Jesus was a human. He shared in our humanity.`
* "born under law" -Jesus was an Israelite, a Jew and thus subject to the covenant given to Israel.
* "to redeem those under law" -Redeem is a barter term. The law, religious and civil granted the ability to buy back things and people sold to another. For example if a person wants to buy a house they can ask a lending institution to buy it for them in their name. Then they would slowly redeem the property from the lending institution. This is redeeming a mortgage. People could also be bartered. This is called redeeming a slave.
* "that we might receive the full rights of sons" -A slave has no rights. If a son was sold into slavery he had no rights, not even as a son. However, if the father redeemed the son from slavery, then he would regain the full rights of a son.
* Jesus redeemed us by offering himself as payment.
>Being sons how did God enable us to communicate with our daddy? (6)
* Galatians 4:6 "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'"
* "Because you are sons" -Those who accept Jesus' act of redeeming have been made sons of God.
* "God sent" -Elsewhere in the Bible it the apostles record that Jesus said he would send the Spirit. Thus, Jesus is God.
* "Spirit of his Son" -The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus said he would not leave us as orphans. The Spirit is our new guardian, replacing the law as our guardian.
* "into our hearts" -God has promised through the prophets that he would dwell in his people's hearts. Jesus said that he and the Father would dwell in his people. Christians are the temple of God. Walking into a church is not walking into God's house for we are God's house.
* "the Spirit who calls out" -The Spirit of God enables us to communicate with God.
* "Abba" -Aramaic for daddy.
* "Father" -Father is translated from the Greek word for daddy.
* "Abba, Father" -These words are personal and intimate title a son called his father.
>As sons what will we inherit? (7; Rom. 8:15-17; Gen. 15:1)
* Galatians 4:7 "So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir."
* Romans 8:15-17 "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
* Genesis 15:1 "After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: 'Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.'"
* We will inherit all that is Jesus'. Jesus is creator of all. Therefore, with Jesus we will inherit all.
III. Until Christ is Formed in You (4:8-20)
* See chart displaying three distortions of Christianity from Life Application Bible Studies, Galatians.
>5. What do the false gods mentioned in verse 8 have to do with special days in verse 10?
* Galatians 4:8-10 "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God--or rather are known by God--how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!"
* "when you did not know God" -No one knows God from birth. The only way for us to know God is for God to reach out to us and introduce himself. God reaches out to us in many ways. Some ways are through his people (acts, words, and/or written), through the Bible, through angels, and most importantly through his son.
* "those who by nature are not gods" -The Roman culture in Paul's day consisted in many religions systems. Some worshipped idols, others worshipped ancestral gods, some worshipped beings (heavenly bodies, demons), and there was even a Caesar cult because he claimed himself a god.
* God's very nature makes him god alone. Nothing and no one is like God for he is the only that was not created. Some fools ask, "Can God create a rock greater than himself?" Just because a person puts the word God in a sentence does not make the sentence sanctified. Gibberish and non-sense is and always will be so. Ask it this way, "Can a created thing become a non-created thing?" or "Can a thing with beginning become a thing without beginning?" See, the statement is gibberish even if the word "God" is added to the sentence.
* 1 Corinthians 12:2 "You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols."
* 1 Thessalonians 4:5b says, "the heathen, who do not know God".
* "are known by God" -"Known" here implies a personal intimate relationship; much more than a superficial concept of intellectual knowledge. Something comparable would be the relationship between a husband and wife. The loving relationship between God and his people is totally subjected to God's will as Paul's statement here makes clear.
* "turning back" -A years ago the phrase "back sliding" was popular in Christian circles to describe someone who was pulling away from Jesus and his church. Paul's use of "turning back" is the same principle. It is repenting of repenting. It is turning back to that which was walked away from. Instead of doing a 180 degree turn, this person does a 360 degree turn and ends up where they started.
* "weak and miserable principles" -Every religious belief system has a code of conduct, ethics, and morality. They can be called codes, rituals, dogma, doctrine, precepts, regulations, rules, laws, and principles. Religions are not the only organizations to have these. Gangs, social groups, organizations, clubs, businesses, governments, and collection of friends have some kind of principles. Even "outlaws" live by their own established laws. Isn't it funny that "biker gangs" portray the illusion that they live outside of the law, when in fact they make up their own laws which are often used to oppress their own members? What happens when a member of a biker gang breaks one of their laws? Isn't it punishment, pain, and even death? That is why such groups don't tell a potential initiate all their laws. So which social group has better laws and justice? The one established and lead by God! All others are "weak and miserable principles".
* "enslaved by them" -See note above. Whenever two or more people join together they establish laws that bind and enslave. A person will remain in the group only as long as they can tolerate it's established laws. Unfortunately many groups do not have an exit law; that is a law exists which says they are not permitted to leave the group. Thus the members become slaves of the group. They say, "Once a member, always a member." However, no matter how tight and binding a non-exit law may be God can always break that law when someone establishes a relationship with him. So does a relationship with God have a non-exit law? Since it is based on God's everlasting unchanging love, no. Can we establish a relationship with God on our own? No. Only God can establish this relationship with God. How does God establish a relationship with us? Through Jesus, his one and only Son.
* "observing special days and months and seasons and years" -Social groups often have special days. A couple will celebrate a wedding anniversary and their birthdays. A nation will have special holidays. A religion has holy days, weeks, and months. God gave Israel special days too. (Leviticus 23; Numbers 9; Deuteronomy 16) Other religions make/have special days so a person may worship it's god and/or undergo rituals. Jesus only established two special events which were founded in the Old Testament, but given new meaning. These two are not linked to specific days. They are baptism and communion. Some argue that the Old Testament required holy days must be observed, such as Passover. How foolish. Do they go to the temple in Jerusalem as the law dictates? And why then don't they celebrate the other Old Testament holiday's that require all Israelites to go Jerusalem and the temple? Doesn't the mere fact that God used the Roman's to destroy the temple prove that the Old Testament holy days do not need to be followed? And does not the fact that each believer is now the temple of God prove the case of passed-away concerning the Old Testament holy days? Didn't Jesus himself say he fulfilled the Old Testament laws? The Old Testament holy days are good; but now Jesus established a better way. It is not wrong to celebrate Old Testament holiday if in fact that is possible without a temple in Jerusalem. But they are not required and the law is fulfilled.
* Click here to view a chart showing the Old Testament feasts and their meaning.
* Click here to view a chart showing prophecies Jesus fulfilled.
* Since the heresy Paul is addressing in the rest of the book is Judaised Christianity it can be assumed that the special days and months and seasons and years Paul is writing about here were the Old Testament ones. Paul stated in the beginning of the book that he said to Peter, "You are I are a Jew and yet we don't live like a Jew." (Galatians 2:11-16 paraphrased) All their lives the Apostles, who were Jews had keep the Jewish holy days, but when Jesus came these same holy days had new meaning as they testify about in their letters. Don't let some religious sounding person make you feel guilty because of holy days. Rather reply to them, "I have put my faith in Christ Jesus and am justified by that faith, not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
* Today many Christians consider Easter and Christmas in the same way Judaised Christians see Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. They claim not observing them is a violation against God's way and day.
* "The 'days' could refer to the liturgical calendar of orthodox Judaism, with its 'new moons' and 'sabbatical years'. They could equally refer to the quasi-magical observances that we know to have been rife in Ephesus and, presumably, in other parts of Asia Minor (Acts 19). Heterodox Jews certainly practised these arts, as we see from Acts 19:13. In inter-testament days, the Jews displayed immense interest in the calendar, probably considered from this 'lucky days' aspect. Where observance of a Christian 'liturgical year' has become a similar bondage, it is interesting to speculate what Paul's views would have been on the matter." (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Galatians)
* At Derbe, Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey had reached a boundary of importance: that of the kingdom of Commagene, whose king, Antiochus, though a Roman vassal, was nominally independent. The kings were protectors of certain cults and by virtue of their powers could act drastically. Commagene was devoted to the cult of Mithras. The relief to the right from Nemrud Dagh shows this god on the right and the king Antiochus on the left, whose mountain tomb still exists. (Rand MacNally Bible Atlas, page 435)
>What was Paul's reaction when he saw this amongst the Galatian believers? (11)
* Galatians 4:11 "I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you."
* "fear" -A strong word.
* "somehow I have wasted my efforts on you" -Paul let many to Christ, started congregations, and taught many. These things were not easy for him. They have not been easy for any Christian including myself. Personal sacrifice is required and good fruit is not guaranteed. Yet such sacrifices are acceptable offerings to God.
* I wonder what has become of the many people I shared the gospel with, lead to Christ, taught the Bibe to whether one-on-one or in groups, and preached to.
>6. How did the Galatians respond to Paul the first time he came to them? (12-14)
* Galatians 4:12-14 "I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself."
* "I plead with you" -More strong words.
* "brothers" -Brothers in Christ. Paul is not addressing unbelievers.
* "become like me, for I became like you" -Paul left Jewish customs and rituals when he followed Christ. (See notes in question 5.) Now Paul wants them to do likewise, whether Jewish or Gentile.
* "because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you." -Paul visited Galatia on his first missionary journey. (Acts 13:14-14:23) Acts does not record this illness. We can only speculate what the illness was, and many have too!
* "my illness was a trial to you" -The care they gave Paul was not easy for them.
* "you welcomed me" -They love him practically.
>As a result of accepting the gospel Paul preached, what did they have that they now lost? (15-16)
* Galatians 4:15-16 "What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?"
* "all your joy" -Accepting the gospel brings joy. This is not an uncontrolled emotion such as ecstasy.
* "you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me" -This lead some to speculate that Paul's "illness" was eye trouble. Elsewhere, Paul indicates he had eye problems. Perhaps he was extremely near-sighted like me. So now I speculate like others.
* "become your enemy by telling you the truth" -This does happen. It seems some of the very people Paul first taught the gospel to and lead to Jesus now have rejected his words because others told them that following rules of religion was needed.
* I have gone through trials and tribulations of my own. Do I laugh during them? No. However, the peace of God testifies to me through the Spirit that I am his and he is with me and he loves me and is watching over me. So I have inner joy. My stomach may be in knots, but he loosens the pain and eases my fears and worries. Jesus said that he gives us His Peace. He is the Prince of Peace.
>What can we learn about why some who claim to be believers have no joy? (5:22-23)
* Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
* "the fruit of the Spirit" -Just as a tree produces fruit, so the Spirit produces fruit. Fruit in the New Testament is often metaphorical, often used by Jesus as such, and almost always of good result.
* "love" -The first and premier benefit and gift of life in Christ. Love is not just an emotion. Love is not sex as modern day man precipitate its meaning. The Greek language has three words for the one word in English language. God's love is "agape" love in Greek and its the word used here. Agape love is unconditional sacrificial love.
* "joy" -Joy is the result of a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Joy here is deep in the heart. Laughing at a joke is joy on a more superficial level than the joy of the Spirit. Joy of the Spirit is not dependant on outward situations. Joy of the Spirit surpasses understanding. A person may be ill and in physical pain and will still have joy of the Spirit. A person may have had a love one die and still have joy of the Spirit. A person may have financial problems and still have joy of the Spirit. A person may be persecuted and hated and still have joy of the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6; Romans 5:2, 14:17, 15:13; and 2 Corinthians 6:10; Philippians 1:25, 4:4; and 1 Peter 1:8; and 1 John 1:4)
* People have claimed and continue to claim to be Christians and yet do not have a love relationship with God through Jesus, God's one and only Son. So they do not have his joy.
>7. What wrong motives should we watch out for in preachers and teachers even though they are zealous? (17-18)
* Galatians 4:17-18 "Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you [from us], so that you may be zealous for them. It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you."
* "Those people" -People who say they are from and of God, and may even believe it themselves; but do not have a love relationship with God. People like this were amongst the congregation of Jesus at Galatia.
* "zealous to win you over" -They are zealously paying you court in order to win you over to their side. Affect in this sense, is obsolete. It is from to strive after and earnestly desire. (Word Studies in the New Testament, Marvin R. Vincent)
* "they want is to alienate you [from us]" -Paul preached the gospel to them first and taught them about Jesus. Now a group wanted to separate them from him and those who still believed Paul spoke the truth. There has always been people who want to pull people away from God, Satan's desire in the Garden of Eden. This is why Bible study is important. Satan did use God's word in the garden and when he tempted Jesus. However, he did not use it in context as the false teachers were doing in Galatia. Sound Bible study inspired by the Holy Spirit is vital to avoid the dangers of being deceived. Topical Bible study is dangerous. Back it up with many verses and with many years of chapter-by-chapter thru the Bible studying and praying.
* "so that you may be zealous for them" -A false teacher draws people's attention to themselves. They display false humility if they display humility at all.
* "zealous" -Zealous here is passive meaning, "to be zealously sought".
* "provided the purpose is good" -Paul is saying, "There is no harm in seeking to interest and enlist you, provided it is in a good cause." (Word Studies in the New Testament, Marvin R. Vincent)
* What motivates a person is very important. Consider someone who is trying to persuade you to do something. Consider why you are doing what you are doing. Search your heart. Is your or other's motive for self or for Christ, the church, and the gospel. Who benefits? Who is brought honor and glory? Who is enriched? If someone says, "The benefits go to..." check it out to see if it is true or they are lying and deceiving.
>What does Paul compare teaching and preaching the gospel to? (19-20; John 3:3, 6)
* Galatians 4:19-20 "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!"
* John 3:3 "In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'"
* John 3:6 "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."
* "My dear children" -Jesus said, "Do not call anyone father." So what is Paul saying here? He is not telling them to consider him their father here. This is the only place Paul refers to a congregation as his children, though John often does. Elsewhere Paul expresses a person's spiritual growth in terms of physical growth. Jesus said, "You must be born again," meaning spiritually born. Since Paul was the first to preach the gospel to many in Galatia he not only considered them children, but he considered them his children, an affectionate relationship to his converts.
* "pains of child birth" -The children Paul is speaking about is the believers in Galatia. Here he portrays himself their mother in labor until they are mature and in the presence of the Lord. Paul is in anguish and pain because someone is trying to take them away from Christ and him. Paul did not receive personal benefit from believers in this world, and yet he labored for their benefit.
* "until Christ is formed in you" -The goal of Paul's ministry was not for selfish gains. He worked until they were completely changed and mature. A Christian life is a transformation that takes time. The progress differs from person to person. The Holy Spirit enters a person at the beginning of a love relationship with God. However, our change to be in the image of God takes time.
IV. Hagar and Sarah (4:21-31)
>8. What illustration from Genesis is sighted to further explain the point? (21-23)
* Galatians 4:21-23 "Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise."
* "Tell me" -Paul is going to use a very typical rabbinical teaching method to press his point onto the Galatians. He is using this type of argument on Gentiles because they are fascinated with Jewish culture and impressed with Jewish rabbis. So he uses a typical rabbinical teaching method in a strong way here to impress his point. Today with more and more Jews accepting Jesus as the Messiah many rabbis have growing prominence with Gentiles and in Gentile congregations. This can be helpful and it can be harmful. Humans naturally blend culture with teachings to the point were we can't tell the difference from culture and truth.
It goes without saying that Jesus and the apostles lived in a Jewish culture. And that culture had aspects that can be traced to God's word. Yet, one of the biggest problems Jesus stressed was that people often elevated their culture to the point of, or even greater than godly living. That is exactly the main point of Paul's letter to the Galatians. Knowing the culture Jesus and the apostles lived in can give more understanding of events recorded in the Bible. However, the helpfulness to righteous living ends there. Beware of a teacher who says or impresses their cultural ways are the way God likes.
Today, the problem Jesus and Paul had in teaching the truth has come to us again. There is a popular Messianic TV show that mostly talks about Jewish culture and how a person's walk of faith will be greatly enriched if we embrace and live Jewish culture. They teach we should speak God's words in Hebrew even though we can't understand what we are saying, and we should reiterate blessings the Jewish rabbinical way, and live culturally as Jesus and the apostles did. Very little word of God is spoken on the television show, seldom from the New Testament, and never from Galatians. They occasionally warn of false Jewish teachers without understanding that what they are mostly doing is leading people to a new culture and advertising it as the better godly way. Are they leading people to a loving relationship with Jesus and others?
Similar to them, a long time ago I attended a group for around ten years who consisted of mostly missionaries from Korea. They too had a hard time distinguishing between culture and truth. Like most humans they taught the word of God blended with their culture. They weren't comfortable with American culture and so condemned much of it's culture. They tried to convert American's into Korean Christians. I love many of them, but like my piers saw the cultural aspects of their teachings. They are no different than the Messianic TV rabbis.
Are these any different from you and I today? Beware. Are we blending culture with truth and looking down and talking down other cultures? Every culture has sinful and unhelpful practices. Reject the bad and unrighteous parts. Keep others while understanding that these things are only cultural items.
Cultural differences are just not found between country borders and people living in an area. There are also cultural differences separated by age, skin color, and the people we like to hang around with. Don't judge someone's culture.
Do you try to convert people to your culture and then wonder why your congregation size doesn't increase?
* "you who want to be under the law" -They wanted to live according to all the Old Testament laws and the rules and regulations created by the Jewish rabbis.
* "are you not aware of what the law says" -Paul used the law to teach that we are not under the law. Though technically Genesis is purely history Paul called it the law because the Jewish rabbis classified as such because Moses penned it as he did the books of the law (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).
* "Abraham had two sons" -Abraham had more than two sons (after these two sons). (Genesis 25:1-2) Paul knows this. He is only bringing us to the attention of Abraham's first too sons. He is not contradicting scripture saying these two and no more sons.
* "born in the ordinary way" -They had sexual relation with the intent to have children.
* "the result of a promise" -They had sexual relation because God gave them a promise of having a son.
* "slave woman... free woman" -Their children would have the same status as their mother.
* The act was the same. The reason for the act was different. Why do we do what we do? Blessing or curse depends on motive more than the act itself.
>How was Isaac's birth extra-ordinary? (Rom. 4:19: Heb. 11:11-12)
* Romans 4:19 "Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead."
* Hebrews 11:11-12 "By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore."
* Abraham and Sarah were old. Sarah surely was past her child bearing years. They must have tried again and again to have children. After so much disappointment how could they have hope for ever having children?
* In those days and in that culture to not have a child, especially a son was a great humiliation. A couple was duty bound to carry on the family line. Having a son was seen as God's blessing to the marriage. No children people must have believed that God was not happy with the couple. Some even called it a curse.
* Abraham and Sarah had two major things to destroy their confidence in God's love and promise to them; physical and social. Yet they believed and acted in that belief. Many reasons existed to not believe and only one to believe. Obedience took faith, hope and love.
* When Abraham and Sarah believed and acted in that belief they were reciprocating God's love to them back to him.
* Entering a love relationship with God should be a two way love relationship. He showers us with love. We can and should reciprocate his love. How? Abraham and Sarah show how.
>9. What happened at Mt. Sinai that is represented by Hagar? (24-25; Ex. 19:3-6)
* Galatians 4:24-25 "These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children."
* Exodus 19:3-6 "Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
* "These things may be taken figuratively" -This is one of the few places that Paul teaches us in this way. Figurative teaching is another way of saying symbolic or emblematic teaching. Symbolic teaching needs to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to be effective and true. Matthew Henry wrote it this way, "These things, says he, are an allegory, wherein, besides the literal and historical sense of the words, the Spirit of God might design to signify something further to us."
* Mount Sinai was the place were the Lord God appeared to Moses and Israel. Mount Sinai is where the Lord and Israel entered a covenant relation; he would be their God and they would be his people. The covenant between the two were written on stone and given to Israel at Mount Sinai.
* "Hagar" -Hagar was Sarah's slave maidservant. She was an Egyptian. After many years of not having children Sarah proposed to Abraham to have children through her. This was common practice back then for barren couples.
* "Mount Sinai in Arabia" -Mount Sinai is in modern Saudi Arabia. It is not the traditional sight that is shown on maps in most modern Bibles and dictionaries.
* Click here for a map showing the location of Mount Sinai.
>What is the home of the free children represented by Sarah? (26-27; Rev. 3:12-13, 21:1-3; John 14:2-3)
* Galatians 4:26-27 "But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: "Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband."
* Revelation 3:12-13 "Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
* Revelation 21:1-3 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God."
* John 14:2-3 "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
* "Jerusalem that is above" -Heaven has a city that is the true Jerusalem. It is the location of the Father and Jesus, the Son. When Jesus comes again the Jerusalem that is on earth now will be rebuilt and replaced with a New Jerusalem by the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Thus the Jerusalem that is in heaven will be extended to a New Jerusalem on earth. And so God's throne will be extended to earth and God himself in the presence of Jesus will walk among men on earth.
* Matthew Henry wrote, "Mount Sinai justly represents the present state of the Jews, who, continuing in their infidelity and adhering to that covenant, are still in bondage with their children. But the other, Sarah, was intended to prefigure Jerusalem which is above, or the state of Christians under the new and better dispensation of the covenant, which is free both from the curse of the moral and the bondage of the ceremonial law, and is the mother of us all, a state into which all, both Jews and Gentiles, are admitted, upon their believing in Christ."
>10. What else can we learn about the children of the two women? (28-29)
* Galatians 4:28-29 "Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now."
* "Now you, brothers" -Paul is addressing Christians whom he calls brothers. Most of the people he calls brothers were Gentiles. As he writes, "in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (3:28)
* "children of promise" -Isaac was a child of Abraham and Sarah, based on a promise of the Lord God. Those who put their faith in Jesus have human parents. However, we are children of promise as well. By faith we are children of Abraham. By faith Isaac was born. By faith we are born again. All this is based on the Lord God's promise. And he keeps his promises. The promise has not been completely fulfilled yet. The promise has only partly been fulfilled. It will be completely fulfilled soon. What have we been promised? Forgiveness of all our sins, this already true through Jesus when he was crucified and died. There is the promise of eternal life. This is in the process of being fulfilled and started when we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. There is the promise of the Kingdom of God. This has begun, but only in the sense that people have been, are, and will be invited in and accepted into its roles. The Kingdom will be established when Jesus comes again and places his throne in Jerusalem. There is the promise of the Holy Spirit poured out onto all believers in this age. This was fulfilled when Jesus sent the Spirit on Pentecost (Shavuot). This brings us to the point here. Savuot is a feast held on the sixth and seventh days of the Hebrew month of Sivan in commemoration of the revelation of the Law on Mount Sinai and the celebration of the spring harvest in ancient times. Now, with Jesus' resurrection (the spring harvest) the old, the Law is gone. As the law was given on a mount the Spirit was given on a mount and replaces the Law. Both happened on the same calendar day.
* "persecuted" -Esau persecuted Isaac by mocking him. Now Christians are also persecuted, just as Jesus, our First was persecuted. All Christians are persecuted.
>What is the result of those who do not live by faith, that is by the Spirit? (30)
* Galatians 4:30 "But what does the Scripture say? 'Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son.'"
* "Get rid of the slave woman and her son"
* "will never share in the inheritance"
>Whose child are you? (31)
* Galatians 4:31 "Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman."
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