Paul ‘marveled’ (Galatians 1.6) that believers in the Galatian churches [partial descendants of migrants from Gaul (France; in BC 300) living in Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Lycaonia, Phrygia, and Pisidia (southern present-day Turkey)] had turned so quickly from the message he preached to the sincere Jews who said that they had to follow the Law of Moses and be circumcised in addition to accepting Jesus for salvation. Do you marvel today when you hear of Christians who convert to atheism, Mormonism, Islam, or some other philosophy? What about the attempts of some to mix relativism with the absolutes of Scripture? Is Jesus the only way, or are there other ways to escape from satan’s evil on earth for the security of Heaven and God? Is John 14.6 really true for you? That is what Paul wrote about in Galatians and for our present study. When might Jeremiah 13.10 and Hebrews 2.1 become true for you? In these ‘last days’, is there a pleasure or a persecution that will draw you away from Christ alone? Consider Paul’s understanding from the following.
Distorted to Please Others
- A fundamental decision you must make is Paul’s subject in Galatians 1.10. Who did he want to please? Who do you want to please? What is the cost? When could the cost become too great and you ‘drift away’ (Hebrews 2.1)?
- Paul wrote later about this in Romans 8.5-10
- . Note his warning about wrong choices; he states this again at the end of Galatians 5.21. Jesus accused the Pharisees of having made the wrong choice in John 5.44. Whose ‘honor’ do you seek?
- Jesus’ half-brother and ‘servant’ (Jude 1) explains the motives of those who want you to agree with them, in Jude verse 11. Some are jealous of another (as you read about the Jews of Paul in Acts 13-14); some are greedy and choose money over Christ (1 Timothy 6.9-10; Matthew 6.24); some want power at all cost (1 John 2.15-17; Matthew 27.25).
- Jude saw the pattern expressed in Isaiah 5.20-25 and agreed with Isaiah 8.19-20 and with Jeremiah 8.8-9 and 13.10.
Distortion from Absolute Certainty brings Absolute Death
- Galatians 1.6-9 presents Paul’s bewilderment that his readers would even consider that there was another deliverance from ‘this present evil age’ (Galatians 1.4) than Jesus. Note Paul’s hyperbole in verses 8-9 to emphasize his point! He graphically added emphasis in Galatians 5.12!
- In Galatians 2.4 & 14, he stated satan’s cunning ways, with which you should be familiar (by knowing the absolute truth for identifying the lie).
- Paul repeated his bewilderment again in Galatians 3.1-9 and made a sharp distinction between Jesus and the Law, and reversed the distorters’ arguments by using Abraham’s faith. Note verse 3 especially. The Abrahamic Covenant was ratified by circumcision; i.e., flesh (discussed in Genesis 17.1-10). But, Abraham’s faith in God’s promise had been expressed 24 years earlier; see Genesis 12.1-4. So, Paul argued that faith came before flesh. Consider the absoluteness of verse 7.
- Consider Paul’s rationale in Galatians 5.1-4 and 2.18, 21. What does his argument say about Mormon works to complete salvation, Catholic penance through repeating a phrase a number of times, or works and law versus grace, generally? How does Micah 6.6-8 enlighten this? What about Isaiah 66.2?
- How do you explain the seeming difference between what Paul wrote in Galatians 5.4 and Hebrews 6.4-8 with what he wrote in Romans 8.35-39? Is this contrary to John 10.28-29 and Isaiah 43.10-13? Can you give up your eternal life salvation? Why or why not? Was Paul correct in Galatians 5.4?
- Remember that Paul wrote Hebrews thirteen years later, in AD 61, because of his continuing concern that believers would ‘drift away’ (Hebrews 2.1). He issued a stern warning in Hebrews 6.4-6 and devoted the remainder of the book to advancing the superiority of Christ over the Law and the importance of faith in God’s Savior for mankind, Jesus the Anointed Son of God (John 3.16).
- The opposite of John 14.6 is eternal death!
Life or Death: Your Choice
- True preachers teach that Jesus is the only way to salvation. False preachers add satan’s distorted philosophies and traditions of men (Colossians 2.8-10), leading to bondage (Romans 6.16).
- Joshua 24.13-24 presented Paul’s argument centuries earlier.
- Who will you serve?
Praise God for ‘His indescribable gift’ (2 Corinthians 9.15)!!!
Copyright © Maurice L. Painter 2013. www.sozoclass.com