Galatians 1:14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
There were some extra rules and regulations that were added by the Jewish leaders before Paul’s time
Some were okay, some were useless and some were against the law of God as we covered in Part 1. Paul knew all of them – better than most and he wielded them with a heavy hand – persecuting the church and killing its members because they didn’t fall in line with his wrong understanding of scripture.
This was the danger of the extra knowledge that he was dealing with because of those that were bringing in knowledge outside of scripture. This is what Paul is battling here in Galatians.
He also dealt with these same issues in Colossae as we mentioned before.
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Now Paul continues elaborating on his conversion at the hand of God as he shows at the same time that all of these things come from God and not man (or their gnostic ideas)
Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,
Had a purpose from birth though he wasn’t called until around 35AD;
Paul expounds on this a little more in Romans:
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Also notice that calling comes by Grace: God’s undeserved favor and love that He shows towards us; it is a gift from God, not man, which cannot be earned or acquired by ourselves or through another man; it is not something that we deserve either because of what we did or who and what we are.
Now “Why” he was called:
Galatians 1:16 to reveal His Son in me [by and through the power of the holy spirit], that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, [not right away]
Galatians 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.
Taught by Jesus Christ in Arabia: physically or by revelation through holy spirit (Galatians 1:12 ) we do not know. God was working with him in a special, perhaps in the same way that He works with us (inspiring us by and through the power of the holy spirit. Either way, it is still a miracle and it appears that this happened over the course of three years.
He is also bringing up the point that his credentials as an apostle were just as good as the other apostles. He is establishing the fact for those in the region of Galatia that what he taught them was legitimate and there was no need for more or special knowledge for their salvation.
Galatians 1:19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
We can deduce that by the fact that James was not one of the original 12, there can be other apostles (Paul, Barnabas, etc)
Galatians 1:20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)
He wraps up this section by stating in no uncertain terms that the foundation that he has laid to begin this letter is the truth.
Galatians 1:21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
Galatians 1:22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ.
Galatians 1:23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
Galatians 1:24 And they glorified God in me.
Glory goes to God in that He was able to accomplish this change in Paul – to bring him, through conversion, to the point that Paul would go from being one way to another. That is for now not only being a believer but teaching and preaching all the tenets of the faith to others.
Galatians 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus [who was Greek] with me.
Going to conference in Jerusalem of Acts 15
He was the apostle to the Gentiles; full recognition of them
Titus a gentile; it was decided that there was no need to circumcise him or any of the others because circumcision was not a salvation issue
Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.
He was respected as the apostle to the Gentiles
Run in vain: running in vain; What he was presently doing
Galatians 2:3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
Galatians 2:4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),
Liberty: freedom; true liberty is living as we should, not as we please; liberated from sin (Romans 6:6)
James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:11 For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
James 2:12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.
By keeping the law we are liberated from sin and its penalty BUT not the need to obey the law.
2 Peter 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
Those that were telling the Galatians that they needed to be circumcised and follow all the traditions of men in order to obtain justification or to be right in the sight of God, were actually leading them back into bondage and out of and away from liberty
The “false brethren”
Acts 15:1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
Acts 15:2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
Acts 15:3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren.
Acts 15:4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.
Acts 15:5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
Acts 15:6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
Acts 15:7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
Acts 15:8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,
Acts 15:9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Acts 15:10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
Galatians 2:5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
Galatians 2:6 But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
God is not a respecter of persons and shows no partiality (Romans 2:11)
The apostles added nothing to his understanding
Galatians 2:7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter.
Peter was primarily sent to the house of Israel and he understood that Paul’s commission was to the Gentiles. And we see that others understood this as well.
Galatians 2:8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),
Galatians 2:9 and when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Galatians 2:10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.
Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch [in Syria; Gentile area], I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; [he was at fault] Galatians 2:12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
Galatians 2:13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
By his actions he was showing that there was still a separation between the Jews and Gentiles
Paul called him on the carpet for it in front of “all”
All: not sure if it is the elders or everyone
Galatians 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
God gave the gift of His law to them and not to the rest of the world.
Galatians 2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in [and of] Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
Addresses the central theme of the book;
The Works of the Law
Only found in Paul’s epistles
Sometimes translated deeds of the law (Romans 3:20, 28)
Works of law; no definite articles
Ergon nomos: there are no articles “the” so it is not a specific law but generally speaking
Not talking about whether to keep the law or not, BUT is a person justified by ANY law by ANY works
A person is justified by faith in Christ
Justification: made righteous (we don’t have this word in modern or use it this way)
By way of review, justification: the forgiveness of sin and making us right before God
We have not been living the right way and God begins by making us right through the forgiveness of our sins
Brought into a right relationship with God by the grace of God
NOW, the only way that we can begin to keep the law and walk this way of life is by faith and Christ in us; That is Christ working in us, not by what we are doing
Of course we are not justified by the law, it is not the function of the law. The purpose of the law is to show us what sin is in order that we may avoid it and live a godly life by knowing right and wrong
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds [ergon] of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith* apart from the deeds of the law.
*Luther : faith alone. Protestant reformation and Catholic counter-reformation; this is where most of the problems that we have with law or grace as opposed to law AND grace come from. And this is why Luther disliked the epistle of James.
James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
James 2:15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
James 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
James 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
James 2:20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
James 2:22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” And he was called the friend of God.
Imputed to him because of his faith
Quoting the same scripture that Paul does in Romans. Some think that James or Paul was correcting the other. But in reality they go hand in hand.
James 2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
James 2:25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Faith is belief confidence and trust in what God says, so we do what He says…. [the law in other words]
Faith really is the instigator for obedience
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Faith is belief translated into action
Without obedience it is not a genuine faith
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Galatians 2:17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!
Justification, meaning “made righteous” Made right; Declared righteous
Justification means to be made righteous in God’s sight.
Righteousness is being like God and having the same character as God: perfect, holy, and righteous.
There is no amount of obedience of laws that can do this / forgive past sins; it is by asking for forgiveness and having faith in the sacrifice of Christ that it will be granted and our sins will be covered
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Romans 6:2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
We are to keep the law, that is to quit sinning. It is law AND grace. They each have their purpose and function.
Jesus Christ living in us by faith is the only thing that can save us (see :20)
Galatians 2:18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
The old man is what we are to have subdued and if we go back to what we were before Christ in us we simply become a sinner without the mechanism to forgive those sins.
Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with [KJV: destroyed], that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Galatians 2:19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.
It was through his understanding of the law, that we know by breaking it (sinning in other words) we would die because of it. Therefore the only way to live was to God; towards God; having faith in God.
The law gives us knowledge of sin and when we sin it brings about death.
Romans 7:9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.
He thought he was alive only because he did not realize the rules that God required him to be subject to.
But when he found out the necessity to keep the commandments as well as how to keep them, he then understood that sin was the breaking of that law and carried a penalty with it.
Romans 7:10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.
The law is to show us the character and nature of God, the way They live and how They want us to live; the way that leads to being like Them and eventually being with Them
How did it bring death?: Romans 6:23
Romans 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
Speaking metaphorically, because this was not the intent of the law, but because of our lack of understanding this happens.
James 1:13-15 We are not tempted by God; drawn away by his own desires and enticed. The fault lies with us.
Romans 7:12 Therefore [meaning based on what he previously said, here is the conclusion:] the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
The law and commandments are of God and they are righteousness
Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
The law revealed sin and condemns us because we cannot fulfill its requirements. It makes us a sinner and then punishes us for it. But now we have Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
It CAN’T be done; Jesus Christ is necessary; the law cannot do that.