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Studies in Galatians

Defending the Gospel of Grace


What is the gospel?  How can we know for sure what is right?  Is it that important that we take a strong stand?  Isn’t it just one of several equally valid interpretations of the Bible?  Isn’t love the most important thing?  Why divide over “doctrine”?  These and similar questions are often asked today and many people are ignorant of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  We, as fallen humans, have a natural tendency to rely on our own works and efforts to varying degrees, in our approach to religion and the knowledge of God. As we begin this study of the book of Galatians, we will begin by observing how strongly the Scriptures emphasize the importance of testing and discerning and contending for the truth.  Eternity is at stake and nothing is more important.


Testing Fruit


The Word of God warns us against being deceived.


            Matthew 24:4,5  “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, claiming, “I am the Christ.” And will deceive many.”


            Proverbs 14:15  “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.”


            Ephesians 5:6  “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”


            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.”


            I Thessalonians 5:21  “Test everything.  Hold on to the good.”


            I John 3:7  “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.”


            I John 4:1  “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”












Spiritual leaders have a responsibility to protect the flock from false teachers.

Acts 20:28  Paul’s admonition to the Ephesian elders.

            “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.   Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.”

1.      Leadership is vital.  It is ordained of God, not man.

2.      The Church is precious to the Lord.  He bought her with His own blood.

3.      Leaders are responsible to keep watch, to protect, defend, teach and correct.

Paul could say he was innocent of the blood of all men because he did not hesitate to proclaim the whole will of God.  It is not always easy to proclaim the whole will of God.  It may not make you popular because it is not pleasing to the flesh.

II Corinthians 11:2  Paul was jealous for the Corinthians with a godly jealousy.  His aim was to present the church as a pure virgin to Christ.  He feared they were being deceived and led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

            v.4.  “If someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted.”


            vv.13,14.  “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.”


Galatians 1:6-10  Paul was astonished that they would so quickly turn from the grace of Christ to a different gospel.

            v.8.  “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”


            v.10.  “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”


            A servant of Christ does not seek to preach or teach in order to win the favor of men.

Galatians 2:11-21  Paul publicly rebukes Peter for his inconsistency in the gospel.

Galatians 4:16  “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?  Some in the church were turning against Paul because he was not telling them what the false prophets were saying.

Galatians 5:7-9  “You were running a good race.  Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.  ‘A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.’

            These verses teach us that sinful practices and false teachings have a bad influence on the whole body.  I Corinthians 15:33,34


Ephesians 4:11-16  Ministry gifts are given to the church in order to prepare the saints for the works of service.  The church is to be built up in unity of the faith, knowledge of the Son of God and spiritual maturity.

v.14.  “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

v.15.  “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ.”


Philippians 1:27  “Stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.”


Philippians 3:2  “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.”


Colossians 2:2-4  “ ….  In order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.”


v.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.”


v.16.  “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink……..”


v.18.  “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize.”


I Thessalonians 5:21  “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”

            How are we to test everything?  What standard are we to use to determine if something being taught of done is right and ‘of the Lord’?  The only sure and unerring guide is the Word of God.

Isaiah 8:20


II Thessalonians 2:1-3  “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in anyway.”


I Timothy 1:3,4  “Stay in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies.  These promote controversies rather than God’s work – which is by faith.


v.6.  “some have wandered from the faith ….”


vv.19,20   “..  holding onto faith and a good conscience.  Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.  Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”


II Timothy 1:13  “What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you- guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

II Timothy 2:15  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”


v.16.  “avoid godless chatter”

v.17.  “their teaching will spread like gangrene”

v.23.  “don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments”

v.24.  “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel.  He must be kind, able to teach…..”


II Timothy 3:5  “…. Having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.”


v.6.  False teachers gain control over weak willed women who are always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

II Timothy 3:13  “evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”


vv.15-17  The Holy Scriptures are the only sure guide for faith and practice.  They are inspired by God.  They are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

II Timothy 4:2-4  “Preach the Word ; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”


            v.5.  As a pastor, Timothy is exhorted to “Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”


Titus 1:9  “He(elder) must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”


vv.10,11  “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.  They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain.”


v.13.  “This testimony is true.  Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.”


Titus 2:1  “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”


v.7.  “In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they havenothing bad to say about us.”


Titus 3:9-11  But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.  Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time.  After that, have nothing to do with him.”


Hebrews 2:1  “We must pay more careful attention, therefore to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”


Hebrews 5:14  “Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”


Hebrews 13:9  “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.”


v.17.  “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”


James 3:1  “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”




II Peter 2:1-3  “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.  They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them- bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.  Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”


vv.17-22  False prophets and teachers are condemned.


I John 2:18  “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.  This is how we know it is the last hour.”


I John 4:1-3  “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”














“Divine Authority”

Galatians 1:1-4


The apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians to call them back to a faithful commitment to the Lord Jesus.  In such a short time they had begun to listen to the crafty arguments of the Judiazers, who would seek to pervert the gospel of Christ by adding human works to divine grace and the finished work of Christ and His perfect righteousness.

v.1. “Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man…….”

From the outset, Paul would remind the Galatians of his unique status as an apostle of Christ.  The Church is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles.  Ephesians 2:20; 3:5

“not from men…”  All true ministers of the Word are called of God.  The false prophets claimed to speak for God without a call from God.  They acted without His approval and did not have a commission to represent Him.  John 7:28,29; Jeremiah 14:14,15; Exodus 3:13,14

“nor through man…”  This statement emphasizes the uniqueness of the original apostles.  They were called and chosen by Christ Himself.  Since then, all true men of God, while called of God, are also called and appointed by men, who recognize the gifts and calling of God and affirm this call.

“through Jesus Christ and God the Father……”  Christ has been appointed by the Father to be Mediator, Redeemer and Head of the Church.  Matthew 16:18; 28:18; Ephesians 1:22; 4:9-13

Christ has been given supreme authority and He is the One Who appointed and ordained His chosen apostles.  Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; John 15:16


Paul answers the question regarding his authority as an apostle that arose due to the fact that he was not one of the original Twelve.  1Corinthians 9:1; 15:8; 2 Corinthians 12:11,12

Acts 9:15; 22:14,15; 1 Timothy 1:11-16; 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11

(4-29) v.3.  “grace to you and peace….”  Peace, well-being, blessing, can only come to us by grace.  Grace always precedes peace.


v.4.  “Who gave Himself…..”  The most precious gift He could give.  He willingly gave Himself.

Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 7:27; 9:14,26

·        He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.  Isaiah 53:7

·        He emptied Himself.  Philippians 2:7,8

·        He humbled Himself.  Philippians 2:7,8

·        He denied Himself.  Romans 15:3; 1 Peter 2:21-24; Mark 10:45

“for our sins…..”  Romans 5:9

·        Redemption

·        Propitiation

·        Justification

·        Satisfaction

·        Ransom  1 Peter 1:19

·        Reconciliation  2 Corinthians 5:18-21

“to deliver us from the present evil age.”    This age is passing away.  1 John 2:17;

1 Corinthians 7:31; Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Acts 2:40

Christ has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.  Colossians 1:13,14

“according to the will of God the Father.”  John 10:18; Acts 2:23; 4:28; Hebrews 10:10; 2 Timothy 1:8-12





“Pleasing God or man?”

Galatians 1:6-10


v.6.  Paul is astonished at how quickly the Galatians were falling under the influence of the Judiazers.


            Men by nature are very fickle and prone to change.  Some are less stable than others.  Acts 14:18, 19

            Spiritual immaturity is the cause of inconsistency.  Ephesians 4:14


“deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ”  In view of the great mercy shown by God in calling us by His grace, it is even more blameworthy to revert back to error and disobedience.

            Ephesians 4:1 “walk in a manner worthy of the calling.”

Peter at Caesarea Philippi is a good example of this principle.  Mark 8:27-36

v.7.  “……some want to distort the gospel of Christ.”




vv.8,9.  “Whoever preaches another gospel is to be cursed!


            The Word of God is sacred.  Woe to any one who adds to it or detracts from it.

            Deuteronomy 4:2; Jeremiah 23:28,29; Matthew 5:18; Mark 8:38; 13:31; Revelation 22:18,19


            1 Timothy 4:1  “….in later times some will fall away from the faith……paying attention to doctrines of demons.”




v.10. You cannot be a man pleaser and a servant of Christ at the same time.  John 12:36-43

            Faithful preaching of the gospel will be rejected by the unregenerate man.  1 Corinthians 1:18-21; Jeremiah 6:10; 20:8,9


            Believers are chosen out of the world, (John 15:19) therefore, the world hates them.  Any attempt to gain the world’s favor will require a move to worldliness.  This trend is often reflected in today’s church culture, for example, in dress, music, ‘worship’ and preaching.

Matthew 5:11,12; 10:32-39; 24:9; 2 Timothy 4:3


The gospel is hated because:

o       It strips man of all grounds of boasting.

o       It proclaims the utter sinfulness of man.

o       It proclaims the absolute holiness of God.

o       It exposes the emptiness of man’s wisdom.

o       It declares the total defeat and judgment of Satan.

o       It declares the glorious majesty and victory of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.







The Revelation of the Gospel

Galatians 1:11-24


v.11:  The gospel is not man’s gospel.


            Romans 1:1-4; 1Thessalonians 2:13


vv.12-14:  Paul received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.  His prior life as a persecutor proves the triumph of grace and the inspiration of the gospel.  This is made clear by the emphasis of the Scriptures on his conversion.


            Acts 9:1-19; 22:3-16; 26: 4-18; 1 Corinthians 15:9,10; Ephesians 3:7-9; Philippians 3:6;

            1Timothy 1:12-17




v.15:  God’s sovereign and gracious work secures the salvation of the elect.


            “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace…”


            Jeremiah 1:5; Romans 1:6; 8:29,30; 9:11; Ephesians 1:4


            “was pleased to reveal his Son to me…….”


            Matthew 11:26; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Ephesians 1:5,9,11



            “ in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles.”


            1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:11; 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:8-12; 2:10; Titus 1:1-3


            “ for the sake of God’s elect…. “

1:18:  After three years he went to visit Peter to become acquainted with him and probably to discuss the earthly ministry of the Lord, among other things. He also saw James, the brother of the Lord.

The purpose of this visit was not to determine the content of the gospel or to gain their approval of his apostleship.


1:24God is glorified in the display of His sovereign grace.  “And they glorified God because of me.”


1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “ Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 2:5:  “faith rests in the power of God.”


Luke 7:47; 8:39  The more a person attributes salvation to the sovereign grace of God, the more love and gratitude will flow from the heart to God and the more fervent and devoted will be the service.

Romans 6:17,18; 7:4-6;1 Corinthians 15:10; Psalm 103:1-5; Ephesians 1:6,12,14  “TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY!”




“No Other Foundation”

Galatians 2:1-10


The apostle began this letter by affirming his apostolic authority which was given to him by the Lord.

1:1:  “ not from men nor through man….”  1:11,12:  The gospel he preached was not man’s gospel; he received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.


His apostolic authority derived from a direct call of Jesus Christ.  He saw the risen Lord and was declared to be a chosen vessel of the Lord.  He was set apart for the gospel and was in no way inferior to the most eminent apostles.


1:18:  After three years he went to visit Peter to become acquainted with him.  He probably discussed the earthly life and ministry of the Lord among other things.  He also saw James, the Lord’s brother.

The purpose of the visit was not to determine the content of the gospel or to gain their approval for his apostleship.

2:1:  Fourteen years later he went to Jerusalem again with Barnabas and Titus.  It is not certain if this is the visit spoken of in Acts 11:30 ( famine visit) or Acts 15:1-29 (Jerusalem council visit).  The second one seems more likely.

Paul was directed to go by a “revelation”.  He was not summoned to appear by the other apostles.  He did submit to them the gospel he preached in order to assure that there would not be any further hindrances to his preaching among the Gentiles that would come from the church leaders in Jerusalem.  Titus was not forced to be circumcised, which was evidence that the apostles preached the same gospel, though not necessarily in the same way.



2:4:  “false brethren secretly brought in……to bring us into slavery.”


The greater threat to the church always comes from within.  Persecution can be severe but it often leads to the strengthening and purifying of the church.  Acts 4:31; 5:41,42; 8:4


False teaching is more dangerous because it is more subtle and deceiving and it rots from within, like a slow growing cancer.  Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29,30; 2 Timothy 2:16-19




The Church of the Living God is to be a pillar and buttress of the truth.  1 Timothy 3:15,16


The gospel is of divine origin and it has been entrusted to the church.  It has not changed and does not need to change to suit the whims of an evil generation.  Paul preached the gospel to the Gentiles and Peter preached the gospel to the Jews; the same gospel.  Acts 15:6-11; Romans 1:16, 17; Ephesians 2:20; Jeremiah 6:16; Jude 3

The same God was at work in each of His vessels.  V.8; 1Corinthians 3:5-15; 12:4-11







“Confronting Error”

Galatians 2:11-21


v.11:   Paul rebukes Peter because of his hypocrisy and inconsistency.


            Public sins sometimes require public rebuke and exposure.  Many can be caused to stumble and reproach is brought to the name of Christ.  Luke 17:1-6; 2 Samuel 12:12-14; Romans 2:24;

1 Timothy 5:20; Ephesians 5:11; Titus 2:10


v.12:  “fearing the party of the circumcision”   The fear of man is a snare.  Proverbs 29:25;

Luke 12: 4-12


The “flesh” remains “flesh”.  It is weak and changeable.  Peter used to eat with the Gentiles at Antioch.  He was the first to be used to take the gospel to the Gentiles.  Acts 9:32 – 11:18


“What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”


Peter was originally criticized for eating with Gentiles and he defended the gospel of grace.

Acts 11:3   But when he is confronted at Antioch, it is a different story.  The flesh is weak.  It is interesting that Peter is the one who quotes Isaiah regarding the flesh in his first letter.

1 Peter 1:24:  “All flesh is like grass……”


v.13:  Even Barnabas is carried away by their hypocrisy. 


Our behavior, both bad and good, does not just affect ourselves, we also influence others.  We must recognize this and strive to be a good example and not cause anyone to stumble.

Romans 14:1-13; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13




v.14:  “But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel….”

This explains the seriousness of the situation as Paul saw it.  The fundamentals were threatened and he needed to respond forcefully.  The Galatians were being caused to question the whole truth concerning justification by faith because of Peter’s ceasing to eat with them upon the arrival of James’ people.  They would be tempted to think that they were second-class Christians who needed to add the works of the Law to complete their acceptance with God.

v.15:  Paul and Peter, though Jews and not Gentile sinners, recognized the inability of the Law to give righteousness, due to the sinfulness of man.  Acts 15:10; Romans 3:9-20


v.16:  We are justified by faith and not by the works of the Law.  Psalm 143:2; Acts 13:39; Romans 3:20; 9:30; Micah 6:7; Psalm 51:1-5; Jeremiah 13:23


Justification is defined in the Westminster Catechism, "An act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone."





“Crucified with Christ”

Galatians 2:17-21


vv.17, 18:  Seeking to be justified by Christ, while relying on works of the Law, makes Christ a minister of sin, which is a blasphemous suggestion.  The Law exposes sin, reveals it and incites it in our sinful flesh. Rebuilding what has been torn down, returning to the law as a means of righteousness, is transgression against God, Who provided a perfect righteousness in Christ.

v.19:  Dead to sin and alive to God:  Romans 6:11; 7:4


(9-9-07; 9-16-07; 9-23-07; 9-30-07)


v.20:  “I have been crucified with Christ………. “  Romans 6:11


Christ is our Surety, our Substitute, our Head, our Mediator, our High Priest, our life, our hope, our righteousness, our all in all.  Christ gave Himself for us.


1 Corinthians 1:30; 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; 8:9; Ephesians 1:7; 2:4-7,14-18; 5:2,25-27;

Philippians 2:7,8; 3:9,10; Colossians 1:20-22; 1 Thessalonians 5:9,10; 1 Timothy 1:15; 2:5-7;

Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7; Hebrews 7:11-28


(10-7-07; 10-14-07)


Justification by imputation: Treating as though; crediting to one’s account.  Our guilt and sin was imputed to Christ, His obedience and righteousness was imputed to us.

Scape-goat:  Leviticus 16:21,22; Isaiah 53:5,6; Romans 8:3,4; 2 Corinthians 5:21


Christ’s death brings reconciliation with God.  Romans 5:6-10; Ephesians 2:16




Christ’s death ransoms us from bondage.  Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; Revelation 5:9


Christ’s death appeases God’s wrath.  Romans 3:24,25; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9,10


Christ’s death was a substitution for our death.  1 Peter 2:24; 3:18


Christ’s death secures our sanctification.  Romans 6:8-14; Hebrews 10:10-14
















“Sons of Abraham”

Galatians 3:1-9


v.1:  “O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?  Paul continues to admonish the Galatians because of their tendency to revert to legalism and works-righteousness.  “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.”

They had the benefit of apostolic preaching.  Paul made it a habit to clearly and openly proclaim Christ crucified.  There was no doubt that the cross was central to the gospel message and the Galatians were favored with such teaching.  1 Corinthians 1:18-24; 2:1-5


It is one thing to sin in ignorance; it is even more serious and blameworthy to sin against the light.  Hebrews 6:1-8; 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:17-22




v.2:  “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”

John 3:6:  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh……… “

How does the Christian life begin?  Is it by the work of the flesh or by the power of the Holy Spirit?

11-18-07; 11-25; 12-2-07

“hearing with faith”  Romans 10:17; John 6:45  Christ’s words are spirit and life.  John 6:63


“Whoever is of God hears the words of God.”  John 8:47; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:17, 18; 2:1-13;

2 Corinthians 4:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 1:4, 5; 2:13; James 1:16-18; Psalm 119:18,130




vv.7 - 9:  “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.”

Galatians 3:29; 4:28 (Luke 19:9, 10)


Jews considered physical lineage from Abraham to be of primary importance.  John the Baptist and Christ rebuked them for this attitude.  Matthew 3:7-10; Luke 16:22 – 29; John 8:31-41;

Romans 9:6-9




Why is Abraham so important and for what is he remembered? 


v.6:  “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”  He is the pattern of justification by faith and not works.




Abraham was justified by faith.  Romans 4:3-5, 9-22  James does not contradict Paul when he writes that Abraham was justified by works in James 2:18-24


Saving faith is not a work that merits justification, but it does work to give evidence of the reality and sincerity of faith.  We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God ordained that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:12,13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3;

Galatians 5:6




“Curse of the Law/ Blessing of Faith”

Galatians 3:10-14


v.10:   All who rely on works of the law are under a curse. (Deuteronomy 27:26)


This person is to be pitied because of the ignorance that is in them.


            They are ignorant of God:  His holiness, His glory, His wrath and His righteousness.

Romans 10:1-4; Ephesians 4:17-19


            They are ignorant of themselves:  Their sin, their foolishness, their frailty and corruption.  Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 13:15

At best we are only unprofitable servants, if we do all we are supposed to do.  Luke 17:7-10

The heart of man is defiled.  Matthew 15:10-20


The Law only brings about wrath.  It is meant to expose our sin. Acts 13:38, 39; Romans 3:20; 5:20; 7:7; Galatians 3:19, 24; 1 Timothy 1:9


Genesis 3:7When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to see their nakedness, they attempted to cover their shame with fig leaves of their own making.  They covered their flesh but could not cover their sin or ease their guilty conscience or relieve the curse of God.  Vv.8-19



v.21:  God Himself provided the perfect covering through the blood of an innocent victim.


Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.

Ephesians 2:13-16; Colossians 1:20-22; 2:14,15; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18


1-27-08; 2-3; 2-10; 2-17; 2-24

Isaiah 53:5: “ the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him…”

Romans 4:25:  “He was delivered up because of our transgressions and was raised because of our justification.”

Romans 5:10:  “We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.”


Matthew 20:28: “The Son of Man gave His life a ransom for many.”

1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23:  “You were bought with a price.”

Galatians 1:4:  “Christ gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us out of this present evil age.”


Ephesians 5:25, 26; Titus 2:14; 3:4-7; Hebrews 9:11-15; 13:12; 1 John 1:7; 4:10; Rev. 5:9














“The Blessing of Abraham”

Galatians 3:15-29


v.14This verse states the purpose of Christ being made a curse for us and redeeming us from the curse of the Law.  “So that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”  Luke 24:49; John 7:38, 39


The blessing of Abraham is synonymous with salvation, justification, forgiveness.

Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 26:4; 28:14   “All nations shall be blessed in you.”  This is a reference to Christ.

Acts 3:25, 26


3-9-08; 3-16


Salvation is of the Jews.  John 4:22; Romans 9:3-5

Matthew 8:11; 22:31, 32; Acts 3:13; Luke 16:22-31; 19:19“God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”


vv.15 - 18The new covenant is based on promise which the Law does not invalidate.

Romans 4:13 – 16; Ephesians 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:12 – 20; 11:17;

Acts 13:23, 32, 33; 2 Corinthians 1:20


3-21-08 ( Good Friday )


Christ’s shed blood is the blood of the covenant.  Matthew 26:24, 28, 31, 54, 56; Hebrews 13:20

John 10:17,18; Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:27,28; 13:27-33; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:9,10;

2 Timothy 1:9, 10; Hebrews 9:14-16; 12:24; 1 Peter 1:19-21


3-23-08 ( Easter Sunday )


vv.19 – 29:  The purpose of the Law.


It was added because of transgressions.  The Law exposes sin, shows our depravity and bondage.  Vv. 22, 23 “imprisoned” Romans 3:20; 7:5- 12


Sermon on the Mount:  “You have heard it said….., but I say….”. Matthew 5: 27, 31, 33, 38

The Rich Ruler:  Matthew 19:16 ff.


The Law serves as a deterrent to further sin.  1Timothy 1:8- 11


The Law is our guardian to lead us to Christ.  The covenant of salvation is based on grace, secured by the work of Christ and received by faith. It does not lead to lawlessness.


Through the power of Christ’s resurrection we walk in newness of life!


Romans 6:1- 11; 7: 4- 6; 8:1- 11; 2 Corinthians 4:7- 14; Ephesians 1:19 – 23; Philippians 3:9, 10






“The Spirit of Adoption”

Romans 8:14-26; Galatians 3:26- 4:7


Romans 8:14“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”


Galatians 3:26“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Adoption: ‘son-placing’  We are put into the position of mature children; with full rights and privileges of son-ship.  The full responsibility of this position is ours as well.  It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of this blessing. And again, it is all of grace, founded upon God’s purpose and Christ’s saving work.  John 1:12, 13; Ephesians 1:4, 5; Hebrews 2:10-18; 1 John 3:1

4-13/ 4-20

Romans 8:15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba Father!”

v.17.   “And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

vv.18- 25:  The end time hope of the completion of the plan of God; all creation will benefit from the glorification of the children of God.  The kingdom of God will be fully revealed and established.

Daniel 7:18, 27; Revelation 2:26; 21:7

4-27/ 5-4

The Spirit of sonship is the Spirit of intercession.  Zechariah 12:10

            “We cry out, “Abba Father.”  This denotes very strong emotion and fervency.

§         In us.  V.15 “Abba Father”

§         For us.  V.26.  “groanings too deep for words”

The Son of God was preeminently a Man of prayer.  He has left us an example to follow in His steps.


§         He has given us extraordinary promises. 

Matthew 7:7; 17:20; 18:19, 20; Mark 11:22-25; John 14:13,14; 16:24

§         He has not given us a ‘blank check’.

We must ask according to His will.  I John 5:14

We must ask in Jesus’ name.  This means we come to Him fully identified with Him, we plead His merits before God, we ask only for that which is according to His perfections and what will be for His glory.

When God’s purpose is set to do a certain thing, even the most fervent intercession will not change it.  Deuteronomy 3:26; Jeremiah 15:1; II Corinthians 12:7-10

Nevertheless, we are exhorted to pray, not only for ourselves, but also for others.

I Thessalonians 5:17, 25; II Thessalonians 1:11; James 5:16-18; Revelation 8:3-5



“The Fullness of the Times”

Galatians 4:4-7


This passage in Galatians perfectly sums up for us the true significance of the gospel message.  As we look at it, we will hopefully understand something of the greatness and glory of the amazing grace of God.

I.                    GOD IS IN CONTROL. 

The first thing that comes to our attention is a truth that is taught throughout Scriptures, the sovereignty of God.  By the sovereignty of God we mean God’s absolute control over all things.  Nothing is left to chance or fate.  The greatest event in human history, the coming of the Son of God, did not just happen at any time or place.

Acts 1: 7; 3: 21; Romans 5: 6; Ephesians 1:10, 11; I Timothy 2: 6; Titus 1:3


God is the One Who initiates the plan of salvation.  He sends His Son into the world.  He so loves the world that gives His Son to die for our sins.

John 3: 16; 6:37- 40; II Timothy 1: 9; Hebrews 10:5-10


He was born of a woman; He shares in our humanity while remaining sinless.

Romans 8: 3; Colossians 2: 9; Philippians 2:5-8

He was born under the law in order to produce righteousness.

He redeems those under the law by bearing our guilt.

Romans 3: 21; 4:22-25; I Corinthians 1:30, 31; II Corinthians 5:18-21; Ephesians 2:11-18 Hebrews 9:11- 14; I Peter 1:18, 19; 2:24


He gives the new birth and assures us of our salvation.

John 3:5- 8; II Thessalonians 2: 13; John 1: 12; Romans 5: 5; 8:15- 17; I Corinthians 2:12

I John 4:13

V.                 WE RECEIVE SALVATION.

We receive the adoption as sons.  We once were servants, not part of the family.  Now we are made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.  We now receive the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of sonship. 

Romans 8:15-17,23 ; Titus 3:7 ; Hebrews 6:17





“Until Christ Is Formed In You”

Galatians 4:19


One of the main purposes of the letter to the Galatians is to encourage them to remain steadfast in their adherence to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 1:11; 2:5,14.


 They were in danger of reverting back to a legalistic approach to righteousness and spiritual growth.  Paul expresses concern and speaks very strongly about the danger they were in.  This verse expresses his intense desire for them and also gives us a clear reminder of the absolute importance of faithfulness to the gospel and Person of Christ.

Intense desire and longing helps to develop spiritual growth: 

            “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.”


Paul deliberately uses the analogy of a woman in the pains of childbirth to describe his struggle and desire for the stability and growth of the Galatians.  The word, formed, is used to describe the formation of an embryo in the womb.  Growth in Christ is compared to the development in the womb.

He often expressed intense desire for the growth of his converts.  II Corinthians 11:2

            “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I bethrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”


God often expresses His intense desire for our growth and faithfulness. Deuteronomy 4:24; 5:29

            Psalm 81:13; Matthew 23:37-39




Beware that spiritual growth is not short-circuited.  “I am again in labor…”

            The Galatians were not where they should have been and were in danger of falling back.

            Galatians 1:6; 3:1-3; 4:11-18;

This was something that was often addressed by the apostles.

1 Corinthians 2:12- 3:4; Hebrews 5:11-14; 2 Peter 1:3-11;


Christ-likeness is the goal of spiritual growth.

            Romans 8:28, 29; 13:14; Ephesians 4:20-24


The life of the Spirit of God produces growth.  “born of God”

            I John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1











Children of Promise

Galatians 4:21-31


v.21:  Paul asks a very pertinent question in light of all he has taught to this point.  He makes one final application from the Old Testament to establish the doctrine of justification by faith.


“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?”


This is a classic example of the problem facing the natural man, the legalist and casual reader of the Word of God.  These individuals have an innate disability in discerning spiritual truth. They are only able to see on the surface, the letter of the law, and they have a tendency to distort the biblical message. 

            Matthew 22:29-32; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16; 2 Peter 3:15, 16


vv.22- 26:  Paul refers again to Abraham and the fact that he had two sons.  The differences between them give a clear picture of the contrast between grace and law.

Hagar bore Ishmael (of the flesh) a slave woman = works of the law.  Genesis 16:15

Sarah bore Isaac (of promise) a free woman = hearing with faith.  Genesis 17:1-21; Romans 4:13 ff


We are told that these events are to be interpreted allegorically.  This is not to give license to indiscriminately interpret Scripture this way.  Scripture itself must be our guide in this.  It will interpret itself, and context, etc, will make this clear.

The work of the Spirit is again emphasized and we are reminded that salvation is a work of God’s grace and not a work of the flesh.  Isaiah 54:1 is quoted in support of this truth.  Emphasis is on the “barren”, the “desolate”

v.28:  “Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.”

v.29:  born according to the Spirit”


John 1:12; 3:6; 6:63; 1 Peter 1:22-25; 1 John 3:9, 10; 5:1-5

















6-22 08

“Bearing Spiritual Fruit”

Galatians 5: 1-6, 22-26

vv.1-4:  Stand in the liberty of Christ.  The freedom here spoken of is freedom from legalism, being under the law as a means of justification.  We are in grace, we stand by grace, we are saved by grace.  Our position is in the grace of God and we trust fully in the merits of Christ. If we seek to be justified by works, we fall from grace.  We must also be reminded that grace is not a license to sin, rather, it is a power unto holiness that is motivated by love.

Romans 5:2; Ephesians 6:10-18  STAND FIRM!!!!!!!


V.6.  “For in Christ Jesus the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.”

Genuine saving faith is not just acknowledging that we believe in Jesus Christ with our heads, faith also involves the emotions and the will.  True faith leads to a quality of life, actions which are motivated by love.  I Thessalonians 1: 3; James 2:14- 26.

We prove to others that our faith is real by the way we live our lives.  In this great work of sanctification, we as believers must be active.  We are responsible to further our growth, but we can only do it through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.


VV.13,14:  Freedom is not an opportunity for the flesh to work, rather we are to serve one another through love.  Love is the fulfilling of the law.  Romans 13:8- 14


Galatians 5:16-26  Contrast the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit.  (Eph. 5:9 ; Col. 1:10)

II Peter 1:3   Bearing fruit is something that the fruit tree does naturally; it is fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.  This must also be true of the person who has been born again by God’s Spirit.

IICor. 5:17 ; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10

Fruit comes from the life that flows through the tree, but it must be properly nourished.

Air = prayer

Soil = Word of God

Water = Holy Spirit

Sunlight = God’s favor and blessing.

Our roots must be healthy and they must go deep.  Ephesians 3:14-21 ; Colossians 2:6,7

Psalm 1 gives a description of the blessed man.  The negatives are stated first.

The positive qualities:

He delights in the law of the Lord

He meditates on the law of God.

He is like a tree planted by the streams of water which yields its fruit in season.

Isa. 55:10,11 ; 61:3 “the planting of the Lord”

In the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:6), the seed that fell on the rocky soil were scorched and withered because they had no root.

vv.20,21  They received the word with joy, but because he has no root, he only lasts a short time, he falls away because of trouble or persecution.

To the one whose roots go deep in Christ and His word, living and walking in the Spirit, trouble and persecution become a means of growth and maturity.

Romans 5:3-5 ; II Corinthians 4:16-18 ; Hebrews 12:10,11 ; James 1:2-4 ; I Peter 1:6,7

 “Living By The Spirit”

Romans 12:1-3 pp. Galatians 5:16-26

As Christians, our great calling in this life is to manifest the sweet fragrance of Christ in us by our daily walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.  What does it mean to walk in the Spirit?  How can I know that I am walking in the Spirit?  What must I do to walk in the Spirit?

Romans 12:1-3 gives us some very important principles to apply.

V.1“In view of God’s mercy.”

            This is our motivation.  God’s mercy relates to His compassion concerning our misery and helplessness.  Frequent contemplation of all that God has done for us in Christ is essential.

II Corinthians 5:14

            “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”  Romans 6:13 : yield, give right of way.

Place yourselves at God’s disposal, be set apart unto Him.  This is the only reasonable thing to do as an act of worship.

            God doesn’t want our words of praise, our tithes and good works if He doesn’t also have our hearts.  Matthew 15:8,9.

V.2.  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.  What is the one thing that characterizes this world?  DarknessJohn 12:46 ; 14:16 ; 16:8-11 ; I John 2:15-17


We are no longer to be conformed or molded by the world.  The word schematizo denotes an act of an individual assuming an outward expression that does not come from within him, nor is it representative of his inner heart life.

Christ died to deliver us from this present evil age.  Galatians 1:4.  Although we are left in the world, we are not to be of the world.  We must stop masquerading or imitating the world, and instead, be salt and light.  This happens by our being transformed by the renewing of our minds.  Why must our minds be renewed?

            Romans 8:5-8  The sinful mind is death. V.6.  It is hostile to God.  V.7

            II Corinthians 4:4  The sinful mind is blinded by Satan(10:3-5)

            Philippians 3:19The sinful mind is focused on earthly things.

As we walk in the Spirit we begin to look at things differently, we begin to think differently, in conformity to God’s Word.  Philippians 4:8

V.2.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will isI Corinthians 14: 29 ;

1 Thessalonians 5:21

We will have wisdom, and use discernment, to weigh things carefully.  We will find that God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect.  Only as we continue to renew our minds in God’s Word, through prayer and fellowship, etc. will we be able to offset that fleshly and sinful tendency to view God’s will as something hard and bitter.

In our walk with the lord, in being led by the Spirit, we need to use great caution and obey the words of Micah 6:8   “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.”



 “Principle of Sowing and Reaping.”

Galatians 6:7-10


Proverbs 11:18; Hosea 10:12,13


            This principle is true in the natural realm.  The farmer must be diligent to plow the field and plant the seed if he is to expect a harvest.  If he doesn’t sow, he doesn’t reap, and whatever seed he sows, he expects to reap that crop.  This principle holds true in the spiritual realm.

            God works within us to will and to do His good pleasure but we are exhorted to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Philippians 2:12,13.

            Like newborn babies we are to crave the pure spiritual milk of the word so that we may grow up in our salvation.  I Peter 2:2

Proverbs 2:1-6   Wisdom must be searched for diligently.

Proverbs 13:4   The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are full satisfied.


Matthew 19:27-30 ( Mark 10:27-31; Luke 18:29,30 )

ENTERING THE KINGDOM.  “Follow Me.”  V.21.

            Philippians 3:7-15; Matthew 11: 12  (the violent take it by force….)

            Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:37,38


            “judge not”  Galatians 6:7-10

            “forgive”  II Corinthians 9:6-10


            Matthew 25:14-30; Mark 4:23-25; (Luke 19:12-27)


            “multiplying talents”  Ephesians 4:16; I Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12:6-8; I Peter 4:10,11







“At The Proper Time”

Galatians 6:9

            This is a very timely and important exhortation to consider, this warning against becoming weary in the work of living as a Christian.

            What are some of the causes of weariness?






            Those times when God seems to have hidden His face can produce anguish in our souls and we are tempted to forget some very important things.  This condition is sometimes reflected for us in the Psalms.

            Psalm 77:7-9 “will the Lord forget forever?”

            Psalm 80:4; 85:5  “How long, O Lord?”

            In times of testing and chastening, this is the greatest temptation: to give in to despair, fear, bitterness, lukewarmness, and indifference.  We sometimes feel that things are never going to improve, we wonder if the light of God’s countenance will ever shine again.

            The only basis of assurance and peace is a constant return to basics and to remind ourselves of the truth about God.

            REMEMBER PAST MERCIES.  Ephesians 2:1-5


            REJOICE IN FUTURE HOPE.  II Thessalonians 1:6-12

            Blessing comes out of breaking.  Isaiah 57:15,16; Psalm 102:13; Lamentations 3:22-33

            We have to learn to wait upon the Lord and continue in faithfulness.

            We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

            I Corinthians 15: 58  “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”



[1]Hodge, Charles: Systematic Theology. Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. 3:114

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