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It Is God’s Presence in Us

from Google Images

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

from Google Images

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

from Google Images

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 Paul, Epistle to the Galatians

 

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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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Circumcision and Its Application Today

The covenant of circumcision is an interesting one. It’s symbolism for the Christian is so enlightening that it seems a whole new world with new values opens up to us in the spread of the Gospel. The Abramic Covenant which included only the cutting of the flesh has always meant more to the godly (Deuteronomy 10:16). Yet, its literal meaning has always been the main take for most of God’s historic people, the Jews. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God

 

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The Second Covenant

Ancient people used covenants to formalize agreements between parties, whether for political or economic or even social purposes. Usually such covenants were one of two main types: bilateral and unilateral. Bilateral covenants were ancient agreements negotiated between equals or at least each of the parties had input into the agreement, which defined their responsibilities to produce the desired result. The unilateral covenant was different in that it was not negotiated but dictated by the party of higher rank, such as a king or military general. The covenants God made with Abraham were unilateral covenants. Each time the text reveals that it was God who both initiated the covenant and dictated the conditions whereby Abraham would enjoy the promises God made to him. (Genesis 15:1-18; 17:1-14). Read the rest of this entry »

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

 

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