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Monday, March 4 2013
Galatians: Don't Pervert The Gospel Of Christ
Ancient Galatia was located in what is today north-central Turkey. The apostle Paul was born in Tarsus, in what is today southeastern Turkey. Paul's missionary journeys began in his native land (see Paul's First Missionary Journey), before the LORD (see The Kingdom Of The LORD God to understand Who "the LORD God" was and is) commanded him to take the same Gospel to Europe (i.e. Greece and Italy; see Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey). Galatia is mentioned in Paul's later journeys because he traveled through the area to go beyond it (see the maps below and in the study links above for each journey).
"16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 16:8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night [see also What Happened At Night?]; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them." (Acts 16:6-10 KJV)
Paul helped the Christians of the region of Galatia to become Christians. As such, his epistle to them began with a greeting to "all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia" i.e. it was addressed to more than just one congregation in any one city of Galatia - which also indicates that their "other gospel" problem involved more than just one congregation.
"1:1 Paul, an apostle [see Straight Street], (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead [see Counting On The Resurrection];) 1:2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
The epistle to the Galatians is primarily a dire admonishment for their falling into "another gospel" (some of the other epistles also seem that way, but keep in mind the principle of "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" - those who were doing better didn't need the corrective attention). As we will read, their problem was actually happening in two ways. The first was by the typical situation where some ambitious "leader" sought a religious following for himself by telling people what they wanted to hear (making himself a smooth-talking politician, or a salesman of something that he was peddling, or both) - and calling that invention the "gospel." The second is where some were teaching "Judaism," the man-made religion that rejected the Messiah, as though it were the gospel of salvation. Read carefully, and it's clear (it gets even clearer immediately after) that Paul's opening applied to both.
"1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ [see The True Gospel Of Christ and What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?]. 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Paul then explained that while he was proudly raised as a Jew, and was still an academic Pharisee, he now taught the true Gospel that, as he will explain when we get to it, existed long before the LORD created Israel from a line of Abraham (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches).
"1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ [see also The Apocalypse Of Jesus Christ].
A humanistic false gospel is one obvious problem that they were having, even at that very early time (see also The Messiah's Warning About Christian Charlatans). But their reverting to the religion of those who rejected Christ, as a supposed means to be Christians, was their much greater problem (in the modern day, that has been inverted - even though many "Christians" still look to Judaism, rather than to Israel as the LORD actually created it, in a quest to be "better Christians").
"2:1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles [see What Did The Messiah Say About Gentiles?], but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 2:3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised [see Circumcision]: 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
The apostle Peter, before the LORD corrected him, again, had even fallen into the idea that Judaism was the way to salvation - not that one had to be a Jew to be a Christian, but that one had to observe man-made Judaism. For that, Paul, a Jew and a Pharisee, publicly rebuked him (Paul himself had the same idea before he was converted, so Paul well understood Peter's error).
"2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles [see The Epistles: Luke]: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 2:13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the Truth"
Many Christian-professing people today claim that "the law is done away." They base that wrong idea on an incorrect reading of Paul's epistles. Paul never taught that the Law of the LORD is done away. What Paul taught was that what became "Judaism" was the man-made law of man, not the Law of the LORD. That is exactly what the Messiah Himself said: "7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:6-9 KJV)
"3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 3:4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3:1-5 KJV)
Abraham lived before his Israelite descendants existed (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches). The Gospel began with righteous Abraham because he was truly righteous - He obeyed the LORD. He didn't create a religion to suit (i.e. to worship) himself.
"3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness [see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram and A Biography Of Abraham: From Ur To Canaan]. 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:6-9 KJV)
Salvation is open to anyone who truly repents and truly obeys the LORD - according to the terms and conditions commanded by the LORD. Anything else is not the true Gospel (see also What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?).
"3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus [see Works Means Obedience and Christ Died For Repentant Sinners]. 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus [see The Church: Mission Accomplished]. 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26-29 KJV)
Notice very carefully that salvation will only be granted to those who obey God's Law (see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God). Those who commit "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like" "shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
"5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Studies For The Book Of Galatians
Fact Finder: (a) How did the people of Judah take the Law that the LORD gave to Israel and change it into "another gospel" of themselves? (b) How has the Christian-professing world (i.e. those who claim to be Christian, while ignoring or rejecting what the Messiah actually taught) also created a "gospel" merely of themselves?
This Day In History, March 4
527: In Constantinople, a gravely ill Justin crowned his nephew Justinian as co-emperor.
1152: Frederick I Barbarossa was proclaimed King of the German tribes.
1461: During England's Wars of the Roses, Lancastrian King Henry VI was deposed by his Yorkist cousin, who then became King Edward IV.
1493: Christopher Columbus returned (aboard the Nina) to Lisbon, Portugal from his voyage to "America" (actually only the islands of the Caribbean; see the map at Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).
1507: Future Protestant "reformer" (although, like nearly all of the Christian-professing world, Luther's doctrines never actually changed; he merely rejected the Papacy's leadership) Martin Luther, at age 21, was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic church.
1519: Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico on a mission of conquest and plunder of the Aztec civilization.
1541: Ignatius of Loyola became the first superior-general of the Jesuits.
1581: England's Frances Drake and his crew completed the circumnavigation of the world.
1628: The Massachusetts Bay Colony was granted a Royal charter for English pioneers to build a civilization in the wilderness later to be known as "New England."
1665: King Charles II of England declared war on the Netherlands, thereby beginning the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
1675: John Flamsteed was appointed the first Astronomer Royal of England.
1681: King Charles II granted a land charter to English developer William Penn to create a civilization out of the wilderness area that would later be named after Penn - Pennsylvania (after completing his assigned task, Penn returned home and is buried in England).
1687: James II ordered his Declaration of Indulgence read in church, allowing for full liberty of worship in England. It allowed peaceable meetings of nonconformists and forgave all penalties for ecclesiastical offenses.
1791: The British House of Commons introduced the Constitutional Act which defined Upper and Lower Canada - geographic terms based merely upon the flow of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. "Upper" Canada was what is today southern Ontario and "Lower" Canada was what is today southern Quebec i.e. Upper Canada was upriver of Lower Canada.
1812: The former French territory of Orleans became a U.S. state, with the name Louisiana (named after the French King Louis).
1905: An earthquake in Kangra India, killed 375,000 people.
1918: During the First World War, the Battle of the Somme ended.
1936: The first flight of the airship Hindenburg was made in Germany.
1947: The Dunkirk Treaty of alliance was concluded between Britain and France. Its aim was to meet the danger of any new German aggression, while at the same time serving as a Western European grouping of nations to stand against further communist expansion. The formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would follow.
1949: 12 nations - the U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Portugal - founded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). West Germany, Greece, Turkey and Spain joined later.
1960: The French freighter La Coubre exploded in Havana, Cuba, killing 100 people.
1970: The French submarine Eurydice exploded underwater, the entire 57-man crew were lost.
1976: The Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention was formally dissolved. Direct rule of Northern Ireland by the British Parliament began.
1983 The first launch of the space shuttle Challenger. It was in service less than 3 years before exploding shortly after launch on January 28, 1986.
1986: The Soviet Vega 1 spacecraft began transmitting images of Halley's Comet, and the first images of its nucleus, back to Earth.
1991: Sheikh Saad Al-Abdallah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister of Kuwait, returned to his country after Iraq's invasion.