STUDY IN GALATIANS
1) In the last session we learned of the conflict between the Works of the Flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit – walking by the Sinful Desires of the Flesh or under the Guidance of God the Holy Spirit
2) Now St. Paul approaches the area of Personal Relationships between Brothers and Sisters in Christ
a) We must not be self-absorbed (v5:26)
b) If someone is “caught” or “surprised” by a sin
i) Not a habitual sin
ii) Martin Luther “not doctrinal faults but faults due to the weakness of the flesh”
iii) Rather a mistake or an error in judgement
c) You who are spiritual
i) Matthew Henry – incumbent upon all Christian brothers and sisters living by the Holy Spirit
ii) Called to Christian duty
d) You are to “restore” such a one gently
i) “katartizete” – signifies resetting a joint or to set in joint – heal a dislocation
ii) bring them back to themselves via convincing of error
e) In love (gently) – Martin Luther: not condemnatory but in gentle persuasion
f) In short, vv2, we are to bear one another’s burdens
i) This does not replace the bearing of the burden of sin in Jesus alone
ii) It is the acting out of a neighbour or brother/sister in Christ in walking along with a fellow Christian
iii) This is living in the “Law of Christ” to love one another as He has loved us”
g) In doing this, we are to wary of our own walk lest we be tempted to fall into the sin ourselves – Satan often uses sin to tempt one to sin
i) As we walk in Christ, we need to learn to look to the dignity He has given us
ii) We need to jealously guard that dignity
iii) Our fall can become a trophy in the cases of those who would have us be “like them”
iv) WE need to walk in humility not seeing ourselves as being something we are not
h) Thus, we need to constantly test ourselves and compare ourselves to the Holy Word of God, especially the Life of Christ, so that we can carry our own load.
i) IN the end, we stand alone before God with our own burden – which, of course, is relieved by Jesus!
3) Vv6 The teachers of the Word of God must be revered and supported in all things.
4) Vv7ff – Don’t be fooled (remember from where deceptions and lies emanate) by manmade logic – God Cannot be mocked!
a) Live by the Sinful Nature – the Flesh = Eternal Condemnation
b) Live by the Fruit of the Spirit = Eternal LIFE!!!!
c) Therefore, stay strong in faith; live by the Holy Spirit; do good to all people.
d) John Stott: “It is not the reapers who decide what the harvest is going to be like, but the sowers. If a man is faithful and conscientious in his sowing, then he can confidently expect a good harvest.”
5) Vv 11ff – “See what large letters….” St. Paul gets Up Close and Personal
a) Some think the large letters were due either to lack of ability to write (St. Paul was not a scribe) in Greek or poor eyesight
b) But most commentators think that it was due to either
i) Treating his readers as children, or
ii) Providing visual emphasis to what he is saying
c) The Judaisers make a good impression so that they will be seen as being good by man and not be condemned by the Cross of Christ – yet they do not obey the Law themselves!
d) St. Paul only boasts in the Cross of Christ Crucified
i) The Cross separates the world from Christians
ii) The Cross Separates Christians from the world
iii) The only thing that really counts is “the new Creation in Christ Jesus!”
e) Those who so follow will receive Peace and Mercy from Almighty God.
f) The Israel of God – John Calvin: “Circumcision was a disguise before men, but regeneration is a truth before God. In a word, he gives the appellation of the Israel of God to those whom he formerly denominated the children of Abraham by faith, (Galatians 3:29,) and thus includes all believers, whether Jews or Gentiles, who were united into one church.”
6) St. Paul bears the marks of Christ in his Body
a) Probably not actual “stigmata” – the marks of the wounds of Christ on hands, feet, and side (sometimes head)
b) More likely the wounds he received for being a Christian (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-25)
c) Another possibility would be the use of stigmata in Roman culture for the branding of a slave – St. Paul saw himself, as a Christian, as a Slave of Jesus Christ
d) In saying let no man trouble me, St. Paul is saying that, as an Apostle, his authority should be unquestioned.
7) AS St. Paul began with a conferring of the Grace of Christ upon his beloved Galatians so he finishes with a similar blessing to his “brothers” in Christ!!
NEXT SESSION: “Bringing It All Together”