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The Authentic Boast

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from Google Images

“Before concluding his letter Paul returns once more to the antithesis of cross and circumcision, setting them forth this time as representing respectively the true and the false ground of boasting, and thus carrying a stage further his polemic against the Judaizers and their way of legal observance (Galatians 5:2-12).”[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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The Battle for the Good News

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from Google Images

The question at this point is: why is circumcision (or anything we do) unable to make us right with God (Galatians 5:6; cp. 3:10, 21)? Just as the wages we earn have nothing to do with being a gift we receive, so circumcision or anything we do can have nothing to do with making us right before God, because righteousness is imputed (i.e. it is a gift), and what we do looks for a wage (reward for services rendered). It is Christ who makes us righteous (through grace, a gift), and we can only trust it is so, just as we trust that any gift we receive is entirely a gift—no strings attached. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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It Is God’s Presence in Us

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from Google Images

Paul continues to build up his first theological argument by questioning the Galatians how they are sanctified or brought to spiritual perfection (Galatians 3:3). His question is rhetorical. The obvious answer is that we are being brought to maturity through faith. We grow in Christ not by works but through our trusting him to guide us in our new life. It is obvious that the works of the Law are fleshy matters in that anything that requires effort on our part is innately physical and therefore a matter of the flesh. On the other hand, trusting Christ is a spiritual matter Faith is not a physical exercise, because it is accomplished by waiting not working. Faith is completely dependent upon someone else to act. Activity is something done by another, not the one who trusts for the thing to be done. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Paul’s Second Argument with Peter

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from Google Images

Obviously, we cannot know who the men from James really were, but in another blog[1] I wrote some time ago I argue that they were probably very notable men, perhaps powerful Jews who worshiped with the brethren at Jerusalem. It is unlikely that either Peter or Barnabas would have been seduced doctrinally. That may have been a problem at Galatia with the new believers, as well as the new gentile believers at Antioch, but Peter and Barnabas were teachers of the word of God. Their seduction came by way of pleasing men. In other words, they were intimidated in the presence of men from James. They changed their behavior, not their doctrinal understanding. They acted hypocritically, that is, not according to what they knew to be correct. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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The Circumcision Controversy

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from Google Images

Circumcision was a religious ceremony, which was given to Abraham for the purpose of expressing devotion to God. It became the official sign of the covenant between God and the Jewish nation in the time of Moses. Although the rite represented the circumcision of the heart, Paul opposed its requirement for gentile believers, maintaining that all believers are justified before God by faith in Jesus Christ. The rite itself was merely a religious ceremony of Jewish tradition, which had no inherent saving value. What was important was the spiritual meaning of the tradition. Circumcision, which represents our dedication to God, is not a physical matter but spiritual. It is, therefore, a heart issue not something that can be witnessed by one or more of the five senses. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Paul’s Official Meeting with the Apostles

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from Google Images

According to Galatians 2, Paul went up to Jerusalem for a second time fourteen years after his conversion (1:18; 2:1; Acts 22:17). Some scholars wonder if Paul went up to Jerusalem fourteen years after his first visit with Peter, but I am wary of this idea. I base my understanding on the fact that Paul’s argument in Galatians appears to be that he had no time to learn his Gospel from any man, especially from the Apostles at Jerusalem. Paul is giving an account of himself from the very moment of his new birth which occurred on his way to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him for the first time. It was three years after his new birth that he came to Jerusalem, where he spent less than three weeks with the Apostles, and fourteen years after his new birth that he returned to Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Friendship with God

I think it is an astonishing thought that a man could be called the friend of God—that God calls him friend. Yet, the Scriptures reveal to us that Jesus considered his disciples his friends (John 15:13-15) and God considered Abraham his friend (James 2:23; 2Chronicles 20:7). What does that look like? Are all righteous people God’s friends? I may be wrong, but I don’t think this is true. Although Abraham was God’s friend, Lot was not, although he was considered righteous and a worshiper of the true God (2Peter 2:23). So, what makes a man God’s friend? I believe the answer to this question comes to us in Abraham’s life and his walk with God. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God

 

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