Tag Archives: Galatians 1-6

December 6, 2017 Bible Study — Freedom To Act According To The Leading Of The Holy Spirit

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Galatians 1-6.

    In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he focuses on salvation through faith not by works. The focus of his point is that we cannot be saved by following rituals, not even the rituals of the Law of Moses. We have been freed from following the Law by the Holy Spirit and faith.

I am going to take a slight aside here because I came across a story which suggested that there is a strain of Christian theology which teaches that women are inferior to men and will continue to be so in Heaven. That is an idea which Paul puts firmly to rest in this passage. In the same verses where he does that, Paul also puts to rest the notion that people of one ethnic background are superior, or inferior, to those of another ethnic background. Finally, Paul also rejects the idea that those from one social class is superior, or inferior, to those from another social class. In Galatians 3:28 Paul tells us that “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” I am not better than you, you are not better than me. And neither one of us is better than that other person over there (no matter who that is).

OK, back to my main theme. We have been freed from the obligation to follow the Law of Moses by Christ’s death and resurrection, which is a good thing because we would fail to follow on one point or another even if we were obligated to do so. We are not capable of being good enough to earn a spot in Heaven.

    However, if we have truly embraced the saving faith which the Spirit will give to us, we will not use our freedom to indulge our fleshly desires. Instead we will strive to serve others in love. Our fleshly desires are contrary to the Spirit. So, Paul points out that our freedom from the Law of Moses comes from being led by the Spirit, but if we are led by the Spirit we will act according to the Spirit, not according to fleshly desires. If we act according to fleshly desires we will find ourselves falling under the dominance of the Law once more. If we look at society around us we see how this works out. Harvey Weinstein used the freedom afforded him by the “sexual revolution” to indulge his desires rather than to serve others in love. He is now discovering that he is under the dominance of a Law which will demand he suffer the consequences of his actions, consequences of which he thought he was free. So, let us not make a similar error.

December 6, 2016 Bible Study

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

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Today, I am reading and commenting on Galatians 1-6.

    There are many lessons in the Letter to the Galatians and I am only going to touch on a few of them. Paul starts off by telling the Galatian believers that there is only one Gospel, there is only one way to be saved, to be reconciled with God. From this we learn that, while there are many paths to God, they all converge to faith in Jesus Christ. Different people come to this faith and realization in different ways. Paul tells us that he came to this understanding through direct revelation from God, but the conclusions he reached from that revelation were the same as those reached by those who had walked with Jesus and witnessed His ministry first hand.

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    One of Paul’s central themes throughout this letter is that one of us is not better than another. He repeatedly stressed how he was not impressed by the credentials of the apostles who preceded him, who had spoken with Jesus in this life. He points out how he even had to confront Peter when Peter was in the wrong. Paul does not point out this confrontation to build himself up, nor to tear Peter down. The point of the illustration was that even someone as respected in the Church as Peter could be held to account for his actions. The idea that no one of us is better, or worse, than another is the point Paul is making when he says that in Christ there is no longer Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female. He was not saying that those categories stopped existing, rather he was saying that, in Christ, they did not denote greater or lesser value.

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    Early in this letter, Paul emphasizes that our works do not save us. We will not be reconciled with God by obeying the Law of Moses (or any other system of regulations). However, towards the end of the letter he writes about living by the power of the Holy Spirit. He compares a life lived controlled by the Holy Spirit to one lived controlled by our sinful nature. He makes two important points here at the end. The first is that none of us are too good, or too important, to help another. The second is that we should focus on doing what God calls us to do and not get distracted by comparing what we do to what others do. What we do does not make us better than others, nor does it make us inferior to them. He reminds us that we will harvest what we plant. If we spend our time seeking to satisfy our sinful desires, we will harvest death and decay. If on the other hand we spend our time see please the Spirit, we will harvest blessings