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.” 83  3:9 So then those who believe 84  are blessed along with Abraham the believer. 3:10 For all who 85  rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law.” 86  3:11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith. 87  3:12 But the law is not based on faith, 88  but the one who does the works of the law 89  will live by them. 90  3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming 91  a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree) 92  3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, 93  so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

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, 100  referring to many, butand to your descendant, 101  referring to one, who is Christ. 3:17 What I am saying is this: The law that came four hundred thirty years later does not cancel a covenant previously ratified by God, 102  so as to invalidate the promise. 3:18 For if the inheritance is based on the law, it is no longer based on the promise, but God graciously gave 103  it to Abraham through the promise.

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.” 163 

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 168  of the free woman. 4:31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 169  we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.

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 

Practice Love

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.

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