Bible: Galatians 2-5
Confirmation from the Jerusalem Apostles
2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem 1 again with Barnabas, taking Titus along too. 2:2 I went there 2 because of 3 a revelation and presented 4 to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did so 5 only in a private meeting with the influential people, 6 to make sure that I was not running – or had not run 7 – in vain. 2:3 Yet 8 not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, although he was a Greek. 2:4 Now this matter arose 9 because of the false brothers with false pretenses 10 who slipped in unnoticed to spy on 11 our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, to make us slaves. 12 2:5 But 13 we did not surrender to them 14 even for a moment, 15 in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. 16
2:6 But from those who were influential 17 (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism between people 18 ) – those influential leaders 19 added 20 nothing to my message. 21 2:7 On the contrary, when they saw 22 that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised 23 just as Peter was to the circumcised 24 2:8 (for he who empowered 25 Peter for his apostleship 26 to the circumcised 27 also empowered me for my apostleship to the Gentiles) 28 2:9 and when James, Cephas, 29 and John, who had a reputation as 30 pillars, 31 recognized 32 the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me 33 the right hand of fellowship, agreeing 34 that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 35 2:10 They requested 36 only that we remember the poor, the very thing I also was eager to do.
Paul Rebukes Peter
2:11 But when Cephas 37 came to Antioch, 38 I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong. 39 2:12 Until 40 certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this 41 and separated himself 42 because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. 43 2:13 And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them 44 by their hypocrisy. 2:14 But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas 45 in front of them all, “If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force 46 the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Jews and Gentiles are Justified by Faith
2:15 We are Jews by birth 47 and not Gentile sinners, 48 2:16 yet we know 49 that no one 50 is justified by the works of the law 51 but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. 52 And 53 we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ 54 and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one 55 will be justified. 2:17 But if while seeking to be justified in Christ we ourselves have also been found to be sinners, is Christ then one who encourages 56 sin? Absolutely not! 2:18 But if I build up again those things I once destroyed, 57 I demonstrate that I am one who breaks God’s law. 58 2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I may live to God. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, 59 and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So 60 the life I now live in the body, 61 I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, 62 who loved me and gave himself for me. 2:21 I do not set aside 63 God’s grace, because if righteousness 64 could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing! 65
Justification by Law or by Faith?
3:1 You 66 foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell 67 on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed 68 as crucified! 3:2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law 69 or by believing what you heard? 70 3:3 Are you so foolish? Although you began 71 with 72 the Spirit, are you now trying to finish 73 by human effort? 74 3:4 Have you suffered so many things for nothing? – if indeed it was for nothing. 3:5 Does God then give 75 you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law 76 or by your believing what you heard? 77
3:6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, 78 3:7 so then, understand 79 that those who believe are the sons of Abraham. 80 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, 81 saying, “All the nations 82 will be blessed in you
Inheritance Comes from Promises and not Law
3:15 Brothers and sisters, 94 I offer an example from everyday life: 95 When a covenant 96 has been ratified, 97 even though it is only a human contract, no one can set it aside or add anything to it. 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. 98 Scripture 99 does not say, “and to the descendants,
3:19 Why then was the law given? 104 It was added 105 because of transgressions, 106 until the arrival of the descendant 107 to whom the promise had been made. It was administered 108 through angels by an intermediary. 109 3:20 Now an intermediary is not for one party alone, but God is one. 110 3:21 Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? 111 Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 112 3:22 But the scripture imprisoned 113 everything and everyone 114 under sin so that the promise could be given – because of the faithfulness 115 of Jesus Christ – to those who believe.
Sons of God Are Heirs of Promise
3:23 Now before faith 116 came we were held in custody under the law, being kept as prisoners 117 until the coming faith would be revealed. 3:24 Thus the law had become our guardian 118 until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous 119 by faith. 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 120 3:26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. 121 3:27 For all of you who 122 were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave 123 nor free, there is neither male nor female 124 – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, 125 heirs according to the promise.
4:1 Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, 126 is no different from a slave, though he is the owner 127 of everything. 4:2 But he is under guardians 128 and managers until the date set by his 129 father. 4:3 So also we, when we were minors, 130 were enslaved under the basic forces 131 of the world. 4:4 But when the appropriate time 132 had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. 133 4:6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls 134 “Abba! 135 Father!” 4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are 136 a son, then you are also an heir through God. 137
Heirs of Promise Are Not to Return to Law
4:8 Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all. 138 4:9 But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless 139 basic forces? 140 Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again? 141 4:10 You are observing religious 142 days and months and seasons and years. 4:11 I fear for you that my work for you may have been in vain. 4:12 I beg you, brothers and sisters, 143 become like me, because I have become like you. You have done me no wrong!
Personal Appeal of Paul
4:13 But you know it was because of a physical illness that I first proclaimed the gospel to you, 4:14 and though my physical condition put you to the test, you did not despise or reject me. 144 Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, 145 as though I were Christ Jesus himself! 146 4:15 Where then is your sense of happiness 147 now? For I testify about you that if it were possible, you would have pulled out your eyes and given them to me! 4:16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 148
4:17 They court you eagerly, 149 but for no good purpose; 150 they want to exclude you, so that you would seek them eagerly. 151 4:18 However, it is good 152 to be sought eagerly 153 for a good purpose 154 at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 4:19 My children – I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you! 155 4:20 I wish I could be with you now and change my tone of voice, 156 because I am perplexed about you.
An Appeal from Allegory
4:21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not understand the law? 157 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the 158 slave woman and the other by the free woman. 4:23 But one, the son by the slave woman, was born by natural descent, 159 while the other, the son by the free woman, was born through the promise. 4:24 These things may be treated as an allegory, 160 for these women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar. 4:25 Now Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, 161 and she is our mother. 4:27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren woman who does not bear children; 162
break forth and shout, you who have no birth pains,
because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
than those of the woman who has a husband
4:28 But you, 164 brothers and sisters, 165 are children of the promise like Isaac. 4:29 But just as at that time the one born by natural descent 166 persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, 167 so it is now. 4:30 But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son
Freedom of the Believer
5:1 For freedom 170 Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke 171 of slavery. 5:2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all! 5:3 And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey 172 the whole law. 5:4 You who are trying to be declared righteous 173 by the law have been alienated 174 from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love. 175
5:7 You were running well; who prevented you from obeying 176 the truth? 5:8 This persuasion 177 does not come from the one who calls you! 5:9 A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise! 178 5:10 I am confident 179 in the Lord that you will accept no other view. 180 But the one who is confusing 181 you will pay the penalty, 182 whoever he may be. 5:11 Now, brothers and sisters, 183 if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? 184 In that case the offense of the cross 185 has been removed. 186 5:12 I wish those agitators 187 would go so far as to 188 castrate themselves! 189
5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; 190 only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, 191 but through love serve one another. 192 5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, 193 namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” 194 5:15 However, if you continually bite and devour one another, 195 beware that you are not consumed 196 by one another. 5:16 But I say, live 197 by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. 198 5:17 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires 199 that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to 200 each other, so that you cannot do what you want. 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 5:19 Now the works of the flesh 201 are obvious: 202 sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, 203 hostilities, 204 strife, 205 jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, 206 factions, 5:21 envying, 207 murder, 208 drunkenness, carousing, 209 and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!
5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit 210 is love, 211 joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 212 5:23 gentleness, and 213 self-control. Against such things there is no law. 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ 214 have crucified the flesh 215 with its passions 216 and desires. 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with 217 the Spirit. 5:26 Let us not become conceited, 218 provoking 219 one another, being jealous 220 of one another.