December 7, 2007
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Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
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.
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.
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
And they glorified God in me.
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Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
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:
To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
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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?
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
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?
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
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.
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
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.
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
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Thought for the day:
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Much of the book of Galatians deals with the subject of legalism. Since this word is often thrown around today by people who have no real understanding of its meaning, it would be wise for us to spend some time looking at the problem that existed within the churches of Galatia for answers.
The word "legalist" never occurs in the Scriptures. Because of that, people have created the term and defined it for themselves. In much of today's Christianity, people who hold to Biblical standards of personal holiness are referred to as "legalists", and those who reject these Biblical standards use this term in a derisive and mocking way. This is a completely erroneous application of what the Bible says was taking place in the Galatian churches. The problem there was not that they were living holy lives; the problem was that they were putting themselves back under the Old Testament Law in an attempt to either keep themselves saved or gain favor with God. In 1:6, Paul says that these Christians were following another gospel, one that was not based upon grace, but was based upon law-keeping. He says that this is not a real gospel, but is rather a perversion of the truth (1:7). He is so adamant about this that he tells them that if any man, any angel, or even Paul himself would teach that salvation was in any way based upon law-keeping, that person should be accursed (1:8-9). Paul admits that his teaching at this point will not be popular, but that he is not in the ministry to make men happy, but rather to please the One Who had saved him (1:10)
In chapter 2 Paul begins to discuss the issue itself. He talks about how Jews who were "false brethren" came into the church and attempted to put the believers under spiritual bondage. This is very similar to the situation that occurred in Acts 15 when the Judaisers came in and said that believers still had to be circumcised in order to be saved (Acts 15:1). A conference was held in Jerusalem about this, and some believing Pharisees began to teach that Christians were under obligation to the Law of Moses (Acts 15:5). Peter finally spoke to the matter, and concluded by saying,
"Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" (Acts 15:10).
In other words, he was asking why the Jews would attempt to bind believing Gentiles by the Law of Moses when the Jews themselves had been unable to keep it. The conclusion of the council was that the Gentiles were under no obligation to keep the Law of Moses for salvation or for any other purpose. It is interesting that Peter himself later fell victim to the Judaisers, because in Antioch he fellowshipped with Gentiles until Jews from Jerusalem showed up, and then he separated from the Gentiles in order to please the Jewish law-keepers. Paul rebuked him by asking,
"If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"
Here is the situation: once a Jew got saved, he was free from the Mosaic Law (Romans 7:4, Gal. 2:19). Peter knew and practiced that, but under pressure attempted to make Gentile believers, to whom the Law had not been given in the first place (Romans 2:14, 9:4), conform to the Law's instructions. This is the same thing that was happening in Galatia, and the church members there were falling for it. In fact, in Galatians 3:1 he calls them foolish for having been bewitched into believing such a thing.
Chapter 3 indicates that the problem not only dealt with keeping the Law for salvation, but also with keeping the Law for perfection. Verse 3 asks,
"Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
The obvious answer is "No". The Mosaic Law does not save, it does not increase spirituality, it does not bring the believer to fullness and maturity. What purpose does it serve, then? It is a schoolmaster that brings men to Christ, and then once the Lord has been received by faith, the individual is no longer under the schoolmaster (3:23-25).
The real legalist is the person who is trusting in the Law to either save them or bring them to maturity. It is the person who is adding works to grace for salvation. Holy living is not legalism, for the Scripture says,
"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (I Peter 1:15-16).
The accusations of "legalism" are usually directed at Christians who want to live for God by "Christians" who want to live like the world. Don't be fooled by incorrect terminology. Follow the Lord, and live the victorious life not by law, but by faith.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery