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Showing posts with the label Galatians

Fullness of Time

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In his Letter to the Galatians , Paul argues that adopting the rite of circumcision would constitute regression to something rudimentary, a reversion to an earlier stage in the redemptive history of God’s people. If Gentiles adopted a Torah -compliant lifestyle, they would return to bondage and once more experience the social divisions inherent in the Law. They would forsake the great and many benefits they had acquired through the “ faith of Jesus .”

Rebuilding Walls

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The final paragraph of Chapter 3 in his Letter to the Galatians is pivotal to Paul’s argument. It stresses the oneness of God’s people. In the covenant community, the old social divisions that existed under the Mosaic legislation are inappropriate since the promised “ Seed of Abraham ” has arrived, namely, Jesus of Nazareth. In the covenant community, “ there can be neither Jew nor Greek .”

Evidence of Sonship

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In the assemblies of Galatia, “ false brethren ” preached “ another gospel ,” one that pressured Gentile believers to adopt circumcision and conform to other regulations of the Mosaic Law. Paul repudiated the very idea and sent a series of arguments demonstrating why Gentiles need not be circumcised. This included the fact that believers in Galatia had received the Spirit while still uncircumcised.

Preaching a Different Gospel

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Paul’s Letter to the Galatians begins with a stern warning. What some believers were contemplating amounted to replacing the true Gospel with a false one. To turn from the “ faith of Jesus Christ ” to circumcision and other “ works of the law ” as the basis for justification meant abandoning the Gospel preached by Paul and the other Apostles. And there is a lesson here for all followers of Jesus, a warning of the dangers posed by any deviation from the apostolic tradition.

Spirit and Covenant

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In the Letter to the Galatians , the Apostle Paul links the “ Promise of the Spirit ” to the “ blessing of Abraham ,” the covenant promise that God would bless the Gentile nations in the Patriarch, namely, the Gift of the Spirit received by the Galatians “ through a hearing of faith ” rather than “ from the works of the Torah .” Thus, the bestowal of the Baptism of the Spirit is in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.

Rudiments of the Old Era

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In his Letter to the Galatians , Paul chides believers for their desire “ to return to bondage under the weak and beggarly rudiments ” of the world, including calendrical observations and circumcision. Since they are no longer “minors” but full heirs who live in the AGE OF FULFILLMENT and have the Gift of the Spirit, resorting to outmoded rituals is tantamount to returning to a state of slavery.

Heirs in Jesus

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In his  Letter to the Galatians , the Apostle Paul portrays the Mosaic Law as the “ pedagogue ” that supervised Israel “ until the seed came ,” and that “ seed ” is Jesus. In Greco-Roman society, the “ pedagogue ” was the slave with custodial and disciplinary authority over an underage child until he reached maturity, even though the custodian was often himself a slave. The child’s minority status and the custodian’s authority were temporary.

The Spirit of Promise

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The Apostle Paul referred to the “ Promise of the Spirit ” which he equated with the “ Blessing of Abraham .” Jesus subjected himself to the “ curse ” of the Law to redeem believers so that the “ Blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the Promise of the Spirit through faith .” He wrote elsewhere that believers were “ sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession .”