Paul Taught an Appreciation of History
As the saying goes, those who will not learn from history will repeat it! Paul made interesting use of this adage in this study. He wrote to Christ-followers in the cities of Galatia a) that only Jesus could save them from the present evil age (Galatians 1.4), b) that the Law could not give life (Galatians 3.21-22; Galatians 4.28), and c) that they would give up their eternity with Jesus by being circumcised to follow the Law (Galatians 5.2-3; all found in recent studies). This final study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians centers on his use of Jewish history to explain their present dilemma. Read Galatians 4.21-31.
The Problem in the Middle East is Only Resolved by Jesus.
- This is another example of the devolution of man discussed in Jeremiah 13.10. Corrupted imaginations cause problems!
- Ishmael and Isaac characterize the two covenants in Galatians 4.24.
- God had promised to make their father Abraham the progenitor of a multitude (Genesis 12. 2 & 15.4-6). But, he had no son at that time.
- Ten years later and realizing she was past conceiving a child, Sarah schemed to solve the problem by giving her maid as Abraham’s wife (Genesis 16.3). God’s promise was awaiting the fullness of time; however, she could not wait…neither could he.
- Genesis 16.4-16 tells about Hagar’s distain for Sarah and her jealousy of Hagar and about the character and temperament of her son Ishmael who was born to Abram at age 86. Because God had promised a son and multitude to Abraham ten years earlier, He promised a multitude to Ishmael, too, in verse 10 and Genesis 17.20. Impatience comes with a high price!
- Thirteen years later, God’s time was right for Isaac’s birth (Genesis 17.21, 24-25). [Note that Genesis 17.10 was the beginning of circumcision.]
- So, the fulfillment of God’s promise 25 years earlier, at Abraham’s age 100 years and Sarah’s 90 years, came into this world with a rival already a teenager (Genesis 16.12). The rivalry became evident and resulted in Hagar and Ishmael being banished from Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac (Genesis 21.8-21). However, God did not forget His covenant with Ishmael…though unintended and caused by Sarah’s impatience and Abraham’s thoughtlessness.
Paul Made His Point About the Covenants.
- Now, with this information, it is easy to understand Paul’s contrast of the covenants in Galatians 4.22-23. Ishmael was born to a slave; therefore, he was a slave…and his descendants. Isaac was born to a free woman; therefore, he was free…and his descendants. Ishmael represented a decision of man…flesh. Isaac represented a decision of God…His promise. [Note how Paul used this in his introduction in Galatians 1.1.]
- Paul extended this allegory in Galatians 4.25: Judaism is bondage to circumcision and Law, keeping people from faith in Christ/Messiah Jesus, instead of leading them to faith in Him…God’s promised Savior (Matthew 1.22-21; John 3.16).
- Paul concluded his application of this contrast of the covenants with a strong declaration in Galatians 4.31…that is, we who follow Christ (John 14.6).
- Do you?
In summary, Paul’s four arguments against circumcision and following the Law were:
All of this is true today, too!
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2013. www.sozoclass.com
In the Fullness of Time
The election of Pope Francis is an event illustrating this clause. The fullness is that of Saint Malachy’s prophesy from his vision from God that there would be only 112 future popes after the one he was going to see in AD1139. Pope Francis is number 112 and meets Malachy’s description. Interestingly, he was selected in the Chinese year of the serpent (deceiver of Eve in Genesis 3.1-5) and on the thirteenth (unlucky) day of March (a Tuesday, not Friday, however). Talk about alignment! A fullness of time; the Rapture next (Mark 13.32-37)?
Conversely, Paul used this clause to describe the event of the birth of Jesus Christ (Galatians 4.4). Why did God choose that time? Perhaps He counted back 70 weeks (Daniel 9.20-27) from His predetermined date for calling this world to account for itself (Revelation 20.11-15). Consider how Paul answered the question from Galatians 3.10-4.7. Note his timeline.
- In Galatians 4.3, Paul wrote that mankind was in ‘bondage under the elements of the world’. In Galatians 3.19, he wrote that the law ‘was added because of transgressions’ of the 10 Commandments which was God’s intended lifestyle for mankind. So, you see a line of time before the giving of the Law and after; the Law being another illustration of fullness of time.
- In a brief review of history, you remember the captivity of Jacob’s family in Egyptbecause of a famine that preceded the Exodus and giving of the Law. Exodus 12.12 reveals the greater bondage, a spiritual bondage, from which God would deliver His people. See in Joshua 24.14-15 the other gods people were deceived by.
- You also remember the Flood that destroyed everything but Noah, his family, and the animals on the Ark. Genesis 6.5-8 reveals the reason for the flood. Previous ‘wickedness’ includes Cain killing Abel and Adam and Eve eating forbidden fruit.
- Mankind’s ‘transgressions’ of God’s intent, because of the corruption of the imaginations of people’s minds (Jeremiah 13.10), called for guidelines for the children of Israel whom God delivered from spiritual and physical bondage, as Paul stated in Galatians 3.19 and 4.3.
- Read Paul’s summary rationale for the Law in 1 Timothy 1.8-11.
- In Galatians 3.21, Paul stated the deficiency of the Law: it could not give life. That is God’s supreme end, which Jesus acknowledged in John 17.24! The Law only makes you aware of sin and spiritual death because of Paul’s rationale in Romans 7.7-11. Note Paul’s source in Leviticus 5.1-6.
- Jesus even acknowledged the Law’s inadequacy in His rebuke of Pharisees and scribes in Matthew 23, especially verses 4, 5, 23, 26, 28. Not even the strictest of the religious leaders could keep the Law!
- Paul stated in Galatians 3.22-24 what purpose of the Law? The ‘promise’ he stated in verse 22 is life that he said in verse 21 that the Law could not give. The Law was to keep mankind ‘under guard…to bring us to Christ…by faith’ to receive LIFE with Him! That is the result that God intended from creation. See Ezekiel 33.11.
- Why is ‘tutor’ an ideal metaphor for the Law? Because, ‘in a household, the guardian/tutor is responsible for the care of and discipline/training of the children’ (NJKV margin explanation). Galatians 4.2 explains that the Father sets the date when the heir is released from the supervision of the guardian/tutor; a fullness of time.
- So, the coming of Christ is another ‘fullness of time’ event in Paul’s timeline and was the event determined by God to give life to the people He created…those who would receive Jesus by faith (John 1.12). This is what Paul wrote in Galatians 4.4-6.
- Paul used this same rationale against the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers at Mars Hill in Athens, Greece. In Acts 17.22-31, Paul led his audience from the ‘wickedness of man’s intent’ (Genesis 6.5-8) straight to the ‘life’ reason for Jesus in verse 31. Jesus is the way,…, to LIFE (John 14.6)! The Creator God has said so (verses 30-31)!
Today is the day of salvation; tomorrow may be too late!
- Many a preacher has voiced this plea, as I do right now. Some tragic event may take your life. Or, the ‘fullness of time’ may usher in the Rapture of Christ’s followers and leave you behind go experience God’s wrath, described in Revelations.
- Paul, too, wrote this plea, when he thought he would be executed, as a last plea to his readers, in Hebrews 3.7-15.
- It is the plea of God Himself!
- Have you accepted Jesus by faith for LIFE? Prayerfully read John 3.16-18. Receive Him by confession to God.
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2013. www.sozoclass.com
You are not Your Own
That’s right. Even your body is not yours; it belongs to God, and, contrary to culture, you cannot tattoo your body (Leviticus 19.28). There are other restrictions to using your body that you should read in Leviticus 19. Apostle Paul reminded in 1 Corinthians 6.19-20 that, if you accept John 14.6, your body is, in fact, the temple of the Holy Spirit, Whom you received as a guarantee of Heaven (Ephesians 1.13-14).
You were bought with the price of Jesus’ blood – of greatest value ever! You were made a new creation, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5.17. Jesus explained this to Rabbi Nicodemus in John 3.1-8 (note contrast to Church of Christ’s apology). With this understanding firmly rooted, Paul wrote the subject of this study – Galatians 2.20.
Remember the Context
- Jews had followed Paul into the churches he established in the Roman region ofGalatia(southernTurkey). They were teaching that believing in Jesus was okay but that followers must complete their salvation by being circumcised and observing Moses’ Law.
- In his letter responding to this, Paul expressed disbelief that these believers were now considering giving up Jesus Christ, their means of escape from the evil around them (Galatians 1.6, 4; written in AD48; lesson dated February 3, 2013; 130203).
- He warned them that, by following through with this consideration, they would be giving up any hope of eternal life with Jesus. They would be separated from Him and God forever! Read Galatians 5.1-4; lesson dated February 17, 2013; 130217. Stop and contemplate ‘fallen from grace’.
- These are two powerful arguments for not adding anything to John 14.6.
As a Receiver of Christ (John 1.12), You, too, Were Crucified with Him!
- That’s when you became a new creation and your body became a temple for the Holy Spirit, your Earnest of Heaven!
- Paul explained the consequence of this in Galatians 2.20. Jesus carried your sin with Himself on the Cross. His blood atoned for your sin of rebellion from God and for your sins committed against Him and your fellowman in your rebellion. Paul explains this in Galatians 5.24 and Romans 6.6 (written in AD56-57).
- Further, Paul explained ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2.20) in Galatians 6.14. What do you think he means by saying ‘by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’? Reflect on Ephesians 2.1-10, which Paul wrote 12 years later, in AD60. You sit with Christ now!
Christ Lives in You as the Result!
Do you live in the flesh by faith in Jesus Christ, Who shed His blood for you?
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2013. www.sozoclass.com.