Galatians 6:18 “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”
Hello readers, going to be looking at various verses in Galatians today! Gleaning from the Bible daily is a very important part of growing as Christian. The Bible is our food, and like we need food and water to live physically, that’s what our spiritual man needs to grow day by day. And you are meant to grow, we are all meant to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ when we are saved. Start in grace, continue in grace, finish in grace!
As Ruth gleaned in Boaz’s field, so should we also today, and every now and again we get handfuls left to us on purpose! God rewards our work in his field, it is good work, and rewarding work, and she ended up marrying the owner of the field! So get in Boaz’s field and stay in his field, don’t go wandering off to greener pastures in the hope of something better of which there isn’t, all because of being dissatisfied with the grace that you have received and the wings whom you have come under.
In the book of Galatians, this is Paul writing to a church that has been removed from the gospel of Christ that convinced them and converted them to another gospel, which Paul said is not another, but was just a perversion of the gospel. And that’s what we are dealing with today… a widespread and far reaching perversion of God’s word, a perversion of truth, which has taken many Christians far away from the grace of God.
To be clear, there is no other gospel. There is no other good news. Being saved by how good you live and trying to make your flesh more religious and acceptable to God which it never will be… is not good news, that is bad news… because none of us will ever be good enough so why go down that path? The only thing God has ever required of us through all time is faith, all the way back to Abraham, who’s example Paul constantly refers back to in order to prove this point from the Bible.
It doesn’t matter who says it, and with what authority they state it… the apostle Paul here is stating on the authority of Jesus Christ that there is only one gospel, and anyone and everyone who has been saved will only be there because of and by the grace of God. Without his grace, we are all sunk. But to receive and grasp grace, you do need revelation, and so many people are in religion without revelation. It’s not the truth is different, just there has been no enlightenment yet, something that Paul had at conversion and that we all have when God turns the light on “Let there be light”. Yet even after we learn of and trust in the grace of God, we tend to sink our own ship anyway, because we all just love to get ourselves caught up in the briar patch of religion, when we had been set free from all that mess. But let’s get to the first verse I want to focus on…
Galatians 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
Who has persuaded you? Because later Paul would say “this persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you”. Is God persuading you, or has some man persuaded you? In who’s and what direction have you been persuaded? See, Paul’s case for the gospel is “listen to what God has said”. Paul had only delivered what he had received, which had saved his soul and had saved and founded the church at Galatia. Paul is saying here to the church, listen to God, stop listening to these fake religious idiots! Let’s remember that Paul didn’t invent the gospel he preached. He didn’t come up with it, it wasn’t “his thing”. Before Paul got saved, he was a religious zealot in ignorance and darkness before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Have you had your Damascus road experience, you know, that road where you’re eagerly pursuing the life against Jesus Christ even if you don’t call it that, but then the Holy Spirit changed everything? As Paul certified the gospel to the Galatians, you can bank on it, because the gospel of Jesus Christ is certified truth.
So when you look at your life, look at who and what has persuaded you into believing what you now hold as truth, or rather “your” truth in life. Paul was writing to a Galatian church that had been persuaded by men not to obey God’s word. There are persuasive people out there, and they can have very persuasive personalities, arguments and accreditation, but they will take you away from the grace of God and into bondage if you don’t know how to turn them off, and turn on your ears to the truth of God’s word. My blogs themselves are meant to persuade you to the truth of God’s word, not my opinions or ideas or theories… let God persuade you, I don’t want to, I don’t need a disciple of me.
The second part of this verse is an important truth for every Christian, but even moreso a servant of Christ, that is, someone in the ministry. If you are seeking the approval of man, you will never be useful to God. Paul wasn’t a man pleaser, and this letter certainly wasn’t a man pleasers letter… just read Galatians. Paul made it clear, Christ is my highest. This letter was a stinging but needful rebuke and exhortation to the truth. But if you’re trying to please men, you will not please God. I have recently thought about Ahimaaz and Cushi, two messengers whom Joab sent to tell David of Absalom’s death in 2 Samuel 18. But Joab didn’t bother sending Ahimaaz except upon his insistence because he couldn’t count on him to deliver some bad, but truthful news to David. If you’re only interested in delivering fun messages that are well received, God likely can’t use you as his faithful messenger. And so many churches are man pleasing stations who have the programs, have the members… but don’t have the message.
Do we as Christians surround ourselves with man pleasers who tell us what we want to hear, or will we listen to people like Paul whom God places in our lives who will tell us the truth? Paul is about to unload on the Galatian church, and he’s making it clear, I care about pleasing God… and this is the truth. See, Paul was fully aware the Galatian church could well “cancel” him for what he was writing. “Am I your enemy because I tell you the truth?” But Paul cared about the truth and their souls more, even at expense to himself. And that is true love. This letter was not sent to please the Galatians, and in fact this would have been quite displeasing. Just think of how displeased we are when someone rebukes us and tells us we are in the wrong… especially when we think we are right. Because the Galatian church was going through a surge of “super spirituality”, they were all getting circumcised now so they were extra Christian, so this letter was a sharp pin popping their fleshly religious bubble.
Galatians 1:22 “And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:”
Would you be happy being an “unknown”? See, Paul wasn’t a religious bighead. What mattered to him was Christ getting the glory, not him. And that’s the problem at Galatia, there’s a lot of glorying in self going on now. I’m circumcised and you’re not, I’m more saved than you are. Like all religion does, it becomes about rank and status and climbing the religious ladder. Who can be more at the top? Who can be the Saul, head and shoulders above everyone else? But when Paul got saved, guess what happened? He got stopped in his tracks. He got humbled… hey you’re pretty humbled when you’re totally wrong and blind and needing someone to lead you around and then to give you sight. And Paul got alone with God. So many times Christians get in the way of God, rather than doing what they should be doing, getting out God’s way. Hey, let Christ show a newly saved person the way? Be a help not a hindrance… after all, there were hindrances in the Galatian church who Paul wanted cut off, who were troubling this church, not guiding them in paths of righteousness like they thought.
And Paul wasn’t the disciple of man anymore like he had been, he was taught of Christ. He’d come a long way from the feet of Gamaliel. But that’s the thing, if you are a product of man, that is a fallible Christianity. Paul’s salvation wasn’t a product of man, but the product of true conversion. See, that was the problem at Galatia, when Paul went, they started following the next name, they didn’t have their own conviction of truth from God’s word. Why couldn’t they stand fast? Why were they so easily bewitched? How could they be so soon removed? But Paul made it clear he “had it” before he ever saw the other apostles, and that’s what we need to get back to in reaching souls for Christ, not producing converts in our image, but letting Christ save them and conform them into his image!
Galatians 2:13 “And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”
A lot of Christians get “carried away” with what the or their “group” is doing. How often majority and reputation determines the direction we go. But what if the group is heading in the wrong direction? Does that mean you go that way with them too? The situation in chapter two is that Paul has gone to Jerusalem, where they’re sharing the gospel, but there’s a group of religious big deals there trying to make his companion in travels, Titus, get circumcised. Because if you haven’t done that, you’re not saved apparently. And Paul says “To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour” because Paul didn’t, as we often do, sacrifice the truth just to be part of the group. Like being physically circumcised made an ounce of difference to Titus’s salvation… and what an insult to Jesus Christ! Oh your death on the cross didn’t quite do it, it needed me cutting myself a little to get me across the line. And Paul didn’t tolerate that a second.
But what was going on at Jerusalem didn’t seem to go away, because this same works based religious mindset reared it’s head again when Peter came to Antioch. You visited us, we will visit you. That’s nice. But more Jews come from Jerusalem to Antioch also, and when they do, Peter’s behaviour changes because he’s scared of being seen with uncircumcised Gentiles. Oh, we’re more holy than them, and if I hang out with these beneath me then that might cost me fellowship and approval back at Jerusalem with my crew. “Big authority” back at Jerusalem, we all report back there, after all they control and lord all our faith! C’mon people. And James obviously held quite a bit of sway at Jerusalem because those that came to Antioch “from James” had Peter on the run.
But worse still, Barnabas gets caught up in this too! This same Barnabas who has been going with Paul preaching the gospel of grace, but now he’s caught up in this you’ve gotta live under Jewish law or you haven’t quite got it yet mentality… which they had been freed from! Hadn’t they finally learnt, wasn’t all that history of law breaking and Jesus dying on the cross because we can’t keep it enough? The Jews had never kept it. But now they expect the Gentiles to come under the same yoke rather than enjoying the liberty of being saved and living in the grace of God which the Jews like Peter had finally come to experience? Here we go,the old play of adding works to the grace of God to get salvation over the line. Obviously Jesus didn’t q u i t e get it done. But look at the names being caught up in this! It just goes to show, don’t follow the name, and don’t get carried away by a wrong thing in your life which takes you away from the grace of God and the truth of his word.
Galatians 3:22 “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
Let’s get this straight, we are all sinners, Jews or Gentiles. It doesn’t matter. The difference between uncircumcised and circumcised is what exactly? Really. The best any of us could do was dirt in the sight of God even our petty religious distinctives. So why go back to this trying to please God with what we do and don’t do… when we all fall so far short? Isn’t it all just pretentious hypocrisy? See, the Jews thought they were superior to the Gentiles, and that’s what religion produces… superiority complexes. We’re circumcised and you’re not. But God didn’t create us for rules, he gave us the rules to lead us to faith in his Son, and a relationship and fellowship with him as a son of God. And his rules are meant to be for good, not to put us in bondage… wouldn’t you rather be free? But as soon as Christianity becomes about how good you are, and self elevation rather than Christ being elevated, you have completely taken away from the grace of God and the faith of Christ. How about do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do out of a pure heart because you want to do right, not because you have to in order to prove some sort of spirituality which everyone else just sees as giant hypocrisy seeing how fallen and frail we all are.
Are you trying to transform you? Isn’t that what worldly religion is? Or has God saved you by faith, and by his grace and mercy he’s changed you inside and he’s transforming you through his Spirit who now dwells in your heart whereby you cry Abba Father? And here’s a newsflash: God wants to bless you because he wants to bless you, not because you decide what you have to do to earn it. Hint: you weren’t present when the new covenant was made. He made it because he can do that, because he chose to love us and show goodness and kindness to us that we didn’t deserve. Were you involved in contract negotiations at all? Tell everyone how you met God at the bargaining table and what kind of quid pro quo you were able to establish with the Creator of all things. Hey, God has promised to bless you, but you want to make him bless you because he has to because you’re so good? Which you’re not and no one is. We are all sinners.
And before you start talking about your faith journey, just forget it. If there is something that Galatians teaches, it is the faithfulness of Christ to us! Stop trying to earn and prove and elevate and exalt and work… how about love God and love others, and you’ll do right. Faith works by love remember. Why can’t love be the motivator because of the grace of God, rather than religious obligation and religious one-upmanship? And finally on this point, note that Paul used scripture, he used the Bible, truly and honestly, to prove that it is all of grace, it is all God and Christ, how about we just thank him and receive it by faith, and live in that grace, rather than turning it into another dead and bound and graves clothe swaddled religion of the world even with a “Jesus” figurehead.
Galatians 4:13 “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.”
Galatians 4:14 “And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.”
These verses were amazing to me, because I didn’t get them at all, but then I gradually realized what Paul was saying here, particularly given the context of the chapter and the book. Guess what. Paul wasn’t perfect. Paul wasn’t a superhero. Paul was a man, and as he said, chief of sinners. That wasn’t an excuse, but just he wasn’t living under some fake spirituality which everybody could see through but himself, like we all do. He didn’t come in as this big apostle above everyone else. Remember, he rejected that at Jerusalem, where people tried bluffing him with their person, which if God does not respect, maybe we shouldn’t put so much stock in either. Paul had infirmities… his flesh was weak… and he had temptation in his flesh too. See this is the stupidity of fleshly religion, because you’re trying to make something better that can’t be made better. You’re meant to crucify the flesh, not give it a religious overhaul. And that’s what circumcision was doing, giving the Galatians a religious overhaul job that robbed them of grace, not enhanced their Christianity.
Guess what… Paul was tempted to sin as we are. His flesh was just as prone to those works of the flesh that he talked about as any of us. And what endeared him to the Galatians was here is this humble, down to earth, broken man… under no false pretences, with no flattering titles, who has poured out the gospel to them… and they got gloriously saved. See, Paul didn’t save them… God did. What did Paul offer them? The best he had… not opinions, not theories, not big words… but the grace of God, hey Jesus Christ died for you and he will save you from your sin. And there was blessing abundantly, because God’s blessed Son brings blessing into any life or home that receives him… despite the flaws in the messenger that you may see or could point out. Paul wasn’t a fake, he was honest about who he was, he was up front, there was no religious pretence, there was no show… by the grace of God I am what I am. Turns out people can respect you when you’re genuine, rather than putting on the glaring glitzed and glammed and gloating garbage.
Galatians 4:17 “They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.”
Galatians 4:18 “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.”
People affect people. Shocking I know. We can be affected far more than we think, and for good or for bad. This church had been affected, and affected in a big way. They had gone through a religious surge alright… but not a good one. Their surge was away from the grace of God and into bondage and the weak and beggarly elements of the world. Let’s think about what worldly religions are like, where they have to keep their gods happy and earn favour … and we treat the Lord like that. Furthermore they can’t ever be saved, they get no forgiveness or eternal life, and they live destitute of light and life and grace and fulfillment. Why go back to the weak and beggarly ways of life, religion, think and doing that God saved you out of? And it’s fine to be zealous, and good, after all Jesus was zealous for his Father “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”. But let’s remember, Paul was zealously killing Christians, so he had been zealously affected by his religion and his buddies in that… but clearly “not well”. Get zealous for the right thing, not in the wrong thing.
“They would exclude you, that ye might affect them”. Get this. This was huge when I got it finally. Because this is what religion does, it makes you exclusive. It produces exclusivity! Because guess what, I’m holier than you because I do this and that and you don’t do it! I’m more spiritual than you! That creates exclusivity. We don’t associate with you… and that’s what happened to Peter, not associating with saved Gentiles all because they were what? Saved Gentiles? Not living like Jews, which they were not? Like the Jews, the same Jews who crucified Christ, had it down better. But this exclusive religious rot only ends up excluding you from God’s grace. As soon as your religion becomes about you and your performance… you’re not serving Christ or living in his grace… you’re only benefiting the pockets and prestige of the people who have come up with what you’re following. They want to turn you from following Christ, to following them… and check out any cult or even denomination out there… and that’s exactly what’s going on… so why be such a religious sucker? Don’t forget, part of the reason they crucified Jesus was because of envy, because they wanted the “follows”. They liked the head swell from having people following them. That still happens today, the more follows you get on Facebook, the more you’re the big man or woman aren’t you. You carry a lot of weight when lots of people follow you and put stock in what you say… and guess what, they listen to and you affect them don’t you. Followers tend to be affected by who they follow!
So by all means, get zeal for the right thing, but also, how about do it when others are not around. How does that zeal go without limelight? How does that zeal fare when there are no congratulations. How does that zeal go when someone’s not around who you’re trying to seek the approval of or whom you need validation from? Paul’s saying don’t just get zealous for God’s grace when I’m around. So often Christianity just creates people who behave when “I am present with you”. Are you a Christian when I’m not present with you, or they’re not present with you? Will you do right when somebody isn’t there to motivate you or for you to impress? If nobody knows, will you still serve God? Because the motives can often be horribly wrong. I would know, because mine are often wrong. And that’s why I think I’m more like Joash who only did right in the days of Jehoiada the priest or Amaziah his son who “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.”
Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
If you’ve been saved, you’ve been made free. You’ve been adopted by God, and gone from servant to son! And with the new birth, you’re born free! Isn’t it nice being born free? Why would someone born free voluntarily become a servant and a slave, particularly if you’ve been there and know how bad it is? God’s children are free. Living by faith is freedom. It is free knowing Jesus said “It is finished.” We have been set free from sin. We are free from all those things we were entangled in which were choking and strangling our lives out. Abstain from things strangled… is that works religion… or is it just for your good? Don’t you not want to be strangled by the curse of the law? You have no debt to pay, it has been paid. Your sin has been atoned for. The inheritance of Jesus Christ is yours, who’s are all things. If the heavy yoke of religion that has no grace, no power to save, and can give you no life has been struck off you, why take it back on? Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Make no mistake, the law and do’s and don’t create bondage, because I gotta do my deal to keep God happy. But aren’t you his son now? What kind of a relationship with God is that? And like you cutting yourself makes God happy. Like ordinances and observations really do anything. A relationship based on love and grace is far better than a relationship based on dead dos and donts which were just a shadow anyway… because the body is Christ.
Galatians 5:15 “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
I do want to wrap this up, but this verse really did remind me of what works based religion is like. If you get in it, there’s a lot of barking dogs and snapping turtles. It really did remind me what living in the flesh, even super “spiritual” in the flesh looks like. We all end up biting each other and devouring each other. It’s horrible, because there’s no grace, just flesh. Christians chew each other up over nothing… over petty nothings. Instead of blessing and testimony and witness… there’s a curse there. The Galatian church was in danger of doing this, because it would turn into a big religious fleshpot where everyone is snapping each other off for not doing what they’re supposed to do and I’m better than you. Which leads to this…
Galatians 5:26 “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Why are we seeking our own glory when the glory belongs to Christ? Glory to me is vain glory… I don’t want the glory, even in heaven they cast their crowns before him. What make it about my performance, my glory, look how good I am. And when someone does something better than me, then I envy them. How about we just be happy with where we are and what God has given us, and be happy for what God is doing in the lives of others? Is that too hard? If God hasn’t given you enough already, he would give you more, just as he told David. Instead of envying others, be content, for godliness with contentment is great gain. But in fleshly religion it’s all about me and I can’t be happy for anyone else and I’m always trying to oneup the other, rather than being set free from all of that bondage and being able to realize we’re all saved by grace, and it’s all about Jesus Christ and lifting him up. You know, you actually need to be set free not to envy someone else, because our flesh envies… and it is pure bondage to live a life jealous and envious. What kind of freedom do you want? You get it through God’s grace and his Holy Spirit… no through trying harder or pretending it isn’t a problem when it most definitely is.
Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
So if you’ve been saved by grace through faith, and God fulfilled his promise in giving you spiritual life and you’ve been born again, how about continue in that? Why change? Why begin in grace and go to fleshly works and religion? Let’s continue in faith. Continue in the promises of God, he promised to save you, he also promises to lead you and guide you and change you. His Spirit will take you far further than your flesh will manage. And as Paul said, it is a battle, and the battle is on inside, because Spirit versus flesh is real. But now I finish with these verses from the final chapter…
Galatians 6:13 “For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”
Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
Galatians 6:15 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
You know, even if you have done this and that, you’re still lacking and lacking everywhere else. All the law can do is show you how sinful you are and how you need Christ. See the law is meant to lead you to Christ, not you get to Christ then go back to law based living. Even those Jewish elite back at Jerusalem, they still were lusting, lying and cheating and so on. They were still sinning. The previous verse Paul wrote of their “fair shew in the flesh”… and you may be putting on a good show. You’re putting up a jolly good show in your flesh. Kudos to you, your flesh is managing to live Christian. You live right, do right, speak right… seem right. But how is it really? Is that all bondage? Or is your life because of a new creature? Are you an old creature trying to learn new ways, or are you a new creature created in true righteousness and true holiness? Because salvation is about a new creature, a new creation of God… born of God… so you know why you don’t want to sin? Because God’s given you a nature that desires to do right because it’s right, because you love God. It’s gotta come from spiritual life, not from fleshly efforts. If the Holy Spirit is in you, just like fruit trees, you will bear fruit and hopefully much fruit to God, that he is well pleased in. But it won’t be because of you, it will be because of the life force of Christ in you, running through you, because of that fountain that opened up in you when you believed, far more faithful to spring forth than Old Faithful.
So Galatians points believers back to the cross of Christ, back to his faith, and let’s go back to God’s grace. Because that’s enough for the journey. That’s how we do the journey. We can do this life by God’s grace, or go it ourselves in spiritual death. Are you quick or are you dead? Paul writes at the end after the whole letter… “Henceforth let no man trouble me” I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to hear otherwise to the truth of God’s word. Paul got persecuted for what he preached, he got persecuted for truth, he had been tried in the fire and he’d come through, because guess what, God’s grace had taken him through. These weren’t just words and academia for Paul, this was his life, he’d lived by the grace of God that he wrote of… and it had been sufficient for him as it will be for you. As his letter starts with grace and finishes with grace… that’s what we all need, the grace of God, which he gives abundantly to those who by take him at his word and trust in his Son Jesus Christ. May God bless you abundantly with the grace of God in your life, I know it will transform you and bear you on his shoulders and take you on life’s journey all the way home.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)