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Tag Archives: Galatians 3

Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 3 Part 5)

One last theme in Galatians 3, it seems to me, is the progress of redemption which culminates in Christ (vv. 23-29). The law provided a variety of services, not the least of which was to show us our need of a Savior. We are described as “held in custody under the law” (v. 23). The law was our “guardian” until Christ came (v. 24).

What does such language mean? Before Christ came, before “this faith” came, we were “locked up” in the law. The law prepared us for justification by faith in Christ.

As a result, we have now become children of God. Not because of the law, but the law had a function to prepare us for justification by faith. When Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (v. 28), this verse is in the context of salvation. This verse does not do away with gender-related guidelines regarding leadership in the church and in the home. This verse is saying that the ground beneath the cross is absolutely level.

Question: In light of all this, how do we believers show our oneness in Christ (v. 28)?

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2018 in Galatians

 

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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 3 Part 4)

We’ve seen a number of themes in this book of Galatians (in preparation for my teaching this book to the students at the Word of Life Bible Institute in Korea).  Let’s notice an additional theme here in chapter three.

The Apostle gets a bit legal in verses 15-22. He speaks of a covenant. God made a covenant with Abraham — and 430 years later the law was introduced. God’s promise to Abraham was not done away with by the law.

Why was the law given? It was given to show us our sin, not to save us! (v. 19). The law could not impart life. In fact, the law “locked up everything under the control of sin” (v. 22). It was our guardian until Christ came so that we might be justified by faith.

Without a knowledge of our sin, we wouldn’t know we needed a Savior — who comes to us by faith. Praise Him today for His incredible salvation!

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2018 in Galatians

 

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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 3 Part 3)

As we continue our study of this great epistle of Galatians (in preparation for my teaching this book to the students at the Word of Life Bible Institute in Korea), we are thinking about chapter three.  Paul deals with the theme of justification by faith (vv. 6-9).  But how is justification accomplished by the Lord Jesus?

The next theme in chapter three is indeed the atoning work of the Lord Jesus (vv. 10-14).

Those who rely on the works of the law are under a curse (v. 10).  Why?  Because that kind of justification requires perfect obedience to the law (an obedience impossible for us to attain).

We are told that “the righteous will live by faith” (v. 11).  However, it is a faith in GOD, not in oneself!  The expression “the righteous shall live by faith” is used in Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:16-17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38.

Our inability to keep the law perfectly puts us under the “curse” of the law (v. 12).  But Christ redeems us from that curse by becoming a curse for us (v. 13).  His substitutionary death on the cross brings the Abrahamic blessing and the reception of the Spirit to all who believe (v. 14).

If you’re right now not shouting “Hallelujah!” (at least inwardly), check your pulse.  You might be dead!

 

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2018 in Galatians

 

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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 3 Part 2)

Continuing on with our study of this letter to the Galatians, we are now in chapter three, looking for major themes.  We’ve seen the theme of the biblical place of rebuke or correction (vv. 1-6)

Paul now moves to an Old Testament illustration of salvation by faith.  The theme is justification by faith (vv. 6-9).

We are told that Abraham “believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (v. 6).  This exact expression is given three times in the New Testament (in Rom. 4:3; James 2:23; and here in Gal. 3:6).  But what is the background to that statement?

The Old Testament context is Genesis 15 when God promises old Abram that he will have a son who is his own flesh and blood. God then promises that Abram’s offspring would match the number of the stars in the sky. We are then told that “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (v. 6). God then established a covenant with Abram to seal His promise (vv. 8-21).

How does that OT story relate to the issue of justification by faith?  It is clear here in verse 8 that to be “blessed” through Abram means to be justified by faith!  Scripture “announced the gospel in advance to Abraham” (v. 8).  The issue in Galatians in not primarily legalism or Judaism or circumcision.  The issue is:  how is one justified before God?  And the answer is FAITH!

In our next post we will see more specifically HOW Christ brought about justification.  But my question today is:  Aren’t you glad for the blessing of justification you have received through Abraham, the man of faith?

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2018 in Galatians

 

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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 3 Part 1)

So many themes.  So little time!  I’ll be going to Word of Life Korea June 7-16 to teach this amazing book of Galatians to students at the Word of Life Bible Institute on Jeju Island.  Please put me on your prayer list!

Thinking our way through this six-chapter letter, we’ve seen three themes in chapter two. Let’s now notice a first major theme in chapter three: the biblical place of rebuke or correction (vv. 1-6)!

No one likes to be rebuked, and few of us want to rebuke anyone else.  But what if the gospel itself is compromised?  What then?  Just leave the judgment to God?  What about those who are misled?

Paul describes the Galatian believers as “foolish” (2x), “bewitched,” and as having “experienced much in vain.” (vv. 1-4).

Note the contrast Paul points out: the works of the law versus believing what they heard; beginning by means of the Spirit versus finishing by means of the flesh.

The Bible says “Open rebuke is better than secret love” (Prov. 27:5).  As a warning in the airport says, “If you see something, say something!”  If you hear the gospel perverted, don’t be silent!

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2018 in Galatians

 

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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 3 Part 2)

June 7-16 will be my trip to Word of Life Korea to teach this amazing book of Galatians to students on Jeju Island. I’m enjoying some preliminary study of this book as we look for major themes.  We are now in chapter three.

Let’s look at a second theme in this third chapter and it is this:  we receive the Spirit of God into our lives when we believe the gospel (vv. 1-6).

There is much in this epistle about the Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity.

Paul first mentions the Spirit in chapter three when he asks, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?” (v. 2). He then says, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (v. 3). He then repeats himself in verse 5 when he asks, “So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”

In chapter four the Apostle writes, “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” In chapter five he declares, “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” (v. 5).

We get some amazing information about the Spirit in chapter 5 (which we will look at in our next post). Are you thankful for the Spirit of God in your life?

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Galatians

 

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One Hundred Questions about the Book of GALATIANS! (Ch. 3)

Coming up in June I get to teach the book of Galatians to students at Word of Life, Jeju Island, Korea!  So we’re trying to think through this incredible book by asking a lot of questions.

I’ve got it figured out that with six chapters in Galatians, if I ask about 16-17 questions per chapter, that would total to 100 questions.  (My mother always said I was good at math.  She also said I was special).

Let’s dive into chapter 3 with our “queries” (Mom would have been proud of my using that word):

Sixteen questions on Galatians chapter three:

1. Would you ever call someone else a “fool” (v. 1)? Aren’t there verses that say we never should call someone else a fool? Then how does Paul get away with doing so here?
2. Paul has already described the Galatians as confused spiritual deserters (1:6). Now he says they have been foolishly “bewitched” (v. 1)! What’s the place of strong language in correcting others?
3. Some Christians say that the receiving of the Spirit is subsequent to conversion. How would you prove otherwise from verse 2?
4. What does it mean to begin “by means of the Spirit” (v. 3)?
5. Note that “the works of the law” and “believing” are contrasted here in verse 5. What point is Paul making?
6. In what way did Abraham believe God? Where is his story and how is he an example of belief (v. 6)?
7. What is meant by “faith” in verses 7-9, do you think?
8. This idea of a curse — what is the curse of the law (v. 13)?
9. How does His redeeming work redeem us from the curse of the law (vv. 13-14)?
10. Paul gives the example of a human covenant and emphasizes God’s “promise.” Put into your own words Paul’s argument in verses 15-18.
11. Why was the law given (v. 19)?
12. How has the law been misunderstood? Is it opposed to the promises of God (v. 21)?
13. What is meant by the expression “Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin” (v. 22)? (He repeats the verb “locked up” in verse 23).
14. It sounds like Paul shifts from the metaphor of the law as a jailer to that of a guardian in verses 23-25. What is his point?
15. How many times is “faith” used in this chapter?
16. What in the world is Paul’s meaning of his well-known statement that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female” (vv. 26-27)?

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2018 in Galatians

 

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