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SABBATH BIBLE STUDY
ReNEWed COVENANT Ministry
Compiled by JS LOWTHER
Why We Keep the Feasts
Inheritance Graced By Promise, Not By Any Work of the Law
(Exposition on Galatians 2-3)
Let’s start with a back drop from Paul the author of the Galatians epistle we are to focus on today. Romans, since the beginning of this message has been the back drop of understanding the differences between Jews of Judah and Gentiles of Israel, as is evidently seen from a reading of Romans 1 and 2 and then further explained in the remainder of the book, the conclusion being in chapters 3&4, there after showing the path to be followed by either party of the New Covenant of whom after Gospel of Grace had come in the redemption purchase of Jesus Christ there is no difference between the Jew or the Gentile Israelite, because after that Paul shows how both are in the same unclean and filthy situation as taught by the Law and the prophets with the history as the recorded testimony , a handwriting of debt which has written all through its pages our demand as a people for payment, we desire payment for our works, either by the law or without the law (it doesn’t matter), when we demand payment for our good works we are offering filthy natural uncleanness which we can’t even help no matter how hard we try and asking for payment as if it were Righteousness/Justification; So, YHWH, obliges us and offers payment, payment he has offered to our face ‘DEATH’, that is the payment due, not eternal life, and this is all witnessed by the law and the prophets.
Rom_3:19 Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
This element of Grace had been forgotten by the Galatians of our Epistle of Focus.
Call special attention to the statement Paul makes here: “3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; ”
That is circular in reasoning: without the law…being witnessed by the law. Yet it is not a negation of the law it is an establishment of the law, Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? not so: yea, we establish the law. To many this sounds contradictory, and therefore they create unbiblical eisegetical application to help explain a concept which is misunderstood even in the ‘times of the old covenant’, but YHWH God is Eternal, his standards did not change, regardless of which side of the Word’s manifestation we are on ‘The Just live by Faith’.
And we know Paul had faith in all things which are written in the law and in the prophets… (Act_24:14).
This reasoning, purely out of Romans establishes the word of God as found in the holy scriptures, the Law is established upon Faith in Jesus Christ; The Law, all the law, the little jots and tittles of the law are all founded there and not a bit of those laws have any bearing on your Judgment in the last day until you are first established, and rooted in the only just one seed who has righteousness sufficient to justify us by forgiveness of all our sin, that Faith brings us to true life, abounding, life more abundant than life condemned, that is a life lived in death. The Son of God said in Joh_3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The moment Trust in Jesus Christ impacts your life your eyes are opened to see a kingdom you must enter, but you’ve got to come up out of that grave to live…to exit death which you are born into and enter the kingdom of his dear son, the scripture teaches it’s first action of the walking dead is water baptism into to Christ to wash away that unclean filth you’ve been calling righteousness in your enemy mind. Baptism is a work of lawYHWH has chosen to be first, simple obedience, that shows your condemnation status and belief, is it then any wonder Isaiah equates all our self righteousness as menstrual cloths and the law of God says in Lev_15:27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. Yet even in observance of Baptism for the remission of sin, if it is done with our true Faith it’s a dip into cesspool.
The point is that when we trust in our own righteousness it’s filth, when we trust in Christ’s it’s true Righteousness… no matter the work, there is no regeneration except it come by operating through Grace.
So let’s begin our exposition, remembering the Galatians had fallen from the Grace of the Gospel, Grace again because it is the recognition before God that you are owed wrath and death for your filthy state and it is by Grace he will offer you eternal life.
All of this conflict being here spoken of was akin to a situation Peter and Paul had conflict over which was related to Circumcision (which if one would consider the context of Romans 2&3, you will see that circumcision is on the table as well.).
Gal 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I (Paul) withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
Gal 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
Gal 2:13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
Gal 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Gal_2:15-16 We Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Gal 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Gal 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
Gal 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the Grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
So let’s discuss Circumcision as it is mentioned, this was a dividing line in fellowship between Peters folk and Paul, yet it was not so until some other circumcised fellows came to Antioch (or perhaps another Gentile occupied area) that Peter’s ministry became compromised, in that he removed himself and put a wall, as it were, between him self as a Circumcised Judean and the un-circumcised Gentiles, and that Paul’s reprimand is not of the belief in Circumcision but in ‘walking not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel’, a perversion of truth, and the truth of the Gospel is that we need Grace through Faith and Faith through Grace as a symbiosis Rom_4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace and we have access by faith into grace wherein we stand Rom_5:2. That’s the truth of the Gospel, a truth which in like is definable in Psa_119:142: Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth…this is a biblical definition of truth a second definition of Paul’s biblical truth is Psa_119:151: …all thy commandments are truth. (Try fitting that into a a-nomian doctrine and watch it disappear!)
So what is the Truth of the Gospel and of God’s Law concerning Circumcision?
Circumcision was the act of citizenship it could be said of a person into the first stages of national Covenant and according to Gen 17:9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
Gen 17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. Gen 17:11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
Also YHWH extends the Covenant of Circumcision: …every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
and the final punishment for sin against this law is in Gen_17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
And this is the state of the Galatians when they were strangers from the Covenants, primarily they as most other Gentiles of the tribes of Israel as well as some of the Gentiles of Judah forsook circumcision and did not circumcise their son’s therefore they were not in this covenant relationship with YHWH, and one who will not even follow circumcision to be member of the Nation of Israel is of course not going to follow the the other laws of God which come after wards. So when we read about circumcision, we read about a 2 party covenant in circumcision, and thus as YHWH says Gen 17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee… , this is a bilateral agreement which extends to Abrahams seed after him and it important to notice the ‘therefore’ in verse 9 as it qualifies circumcision be there for a memorial or sign of the everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee… with all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
In other words Circumcision is exactly what Paul calls it in Rom_4:11 …the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith…
So as a sign and seal it’s so named covenant is therefore there for because of the Promises or covenants made by God prior to Abraham.
Now a point needs made here in Genesis that far before circumcision YHWH God was making promises with Abraham, YHWH was making Covenants with Abram.
And so as Abram’s story proceeds, YHWH promises to Abram to bless him and give him an inheritance of children who will be a great nation, as well as to give that great nation (explained in Deu_4:6) Gen_12:1-8, and so this is a bilateral covenant made with Abram, that ‘if’ Abram gets out of his country, and from his kindred and father’s house unto the land he will show him’ then YHWH will ‘make of him a great nation, and bless him, and make his name great’ and Abram will be a blessing’, So after this initial promise made to Abram contingent upon his ‘doing’ (however all of these dealings with Abram are operating upon prior promises as that made with Adam & Eve and Noah and so on, thus rendering all things to be working after YHWH’s own pleasure.)But, as God requiered this action of Faith to ‘leave’, GOD Covenants or promises by himself to guarantee Abram and the great nation to come from him blessings and to bless with them. In law this is called a unilateral action, and by the nature of God’s ability to perform forever and always, this means God will do what he says regardless of another parties actions, YHWH can and will do all he has said to Abram according to His own good pleasure to do it.
Among the greatest of promises and most hair raising events of the Biblical narrative is the unilateral covenant made when we read of that pre-manifestation of Christ appearing to Abram, the WORD in a vision, that’s right a seen WORD, but not yet a WORD made flesh, Gen 15:1 …the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
So the WORD of YHWH promises to Abram here that He , the WORD, is Abram’s shield and great reward, this Word is of course seen in the duel nature of God’s Word the Scriptures which we identify as ‘GOD’s WORD’ and the person of the Son of God found in man Jesus Christ and the reward which will be reckoned and paid by him in full 100% pure Grace, the reward is identified through out scripture as Christ, and in the Epistles Paul pulls no punches in saying Christ is the Justifier who gives the reward of his Grace, a gift of his redemption and that reward, that payment being made to Abram is not of work but of Faith, thus the quote of what is said following in Gen_15:6 in:
Gal_3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
And so we begin the exposition of Galatians 3, upon the focal point Paul lays of they being removed from the Grace preached in the Gospel or the gift given in this context concerning circumcision as in some way connected to an attempt to pay the debt owed.
Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
Gal 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Gal 3:4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
Gal 3:5 He therefore that ministereth / supplies to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles/operates power among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
In context the problem was not that the Galatians had not obeyed the commandments or the law strict enough, as Psa_119:142, Psa_119:151 in fact define the commandments and law as YHWH’s the truth for us, but on the truth which we have been focusing on, the truth of Grace through faith which is the absolute truth as we have prior seen and will see again, simply God’s Law shows us our sin definitionally as we comparison our righteousness to God’s righteousness and how near we are to YHWH when we compare beside his law. This is the foolishness Paul seems to be referencing, that of losing the sight of the truth that we are totally dependent upon a gift, and that total dependence is only known by Faith. Notice that the two options seemingly in oppositions in verse 5 are the works of the law or the hearing by Faith, and no debt what is being heard is from Scripture, the Word of God, and if the law of God is the word of God in fact then the problem is in the lack of faith and a fall from Grace.
Gal 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
(So for man faith in GOD Word or having believed Him has always been legitimate righteousness as YHWH reckons righteousness to men… But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He Is, and that He Is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb_11:6 )
Gal 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
So, then YHWH’s establishment of Faith precedes law in all regards, in as much as the law is the word of God which we hear regardless of our state the Spirit of faith first ministers to us the operating power by faith not by a simple or complex work (yet beside true operating Trust in God’s Word which comes from the heart every work which could be required seems simple.
Gal_3:8-9 but the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify (make righteous) the nations through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
And Now Paul delivers the punch, and satisfies it with grace through faith…the only way it can be:
Gal 3:10 for as many (nations or the children of Abraham) as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Gal 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
No man can trust in the law to save or make righteous, because the Law works wrath, because we are flesh and we are cursed by our sin it shuts our mouth, is shows all our righteousness as filthy rags; but Christ the seed of Abraham’s promise of great reward has come to aid us by his righteousness that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
(Now listen carefully to Paul and remember our discussion concerning covenants, regarding Abraham and circumcision and the promises of God to him. Paul has not changed subjects, he is emphasizing Grace through Faith as primary in receiving the Spirit of Promise as opposed to doing a work of the Law to receive the spirit of the Law, a spirit which will lead to death, NO MATTER where you draw the line in observation or how you define it without faith it leads to death. So let us read it through then go back and review :) I’m reading from a modernized version for these verses, that I believe are accurate and are the same as the KJV and ABP which are direct translations but a bit easier to understand:
Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men: In men’s covenants when they are confirmed, no man can take away or add to it. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He says not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, The covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, The law made four hundred and thirty years afterward, cannot take away the promise that it should make the covenant ineffective. For if this inheritance be of the law, it is no more by that promise: but Abraham through promise was graced this of God.
Gal_3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant / promise, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal_3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ (Gen_ 15:1), the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after (No, exception for any part of the law is mentioned here , it is referring to the whole law as given to Moses (the national code so to speak) after YHWH spoke to Abraham in Gen15:1, seen in Exo_12:40-41, all the law given exactly after Israel left Egypt, which we only have in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy…all that is recorded at that time including the moral law or the 10 commandments which starts with the enactment I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt an enactment that only applies after the 430 years. Even his law) cannot disannul, that it should make the promise /covenant of none effect.
Simply put, God made a promise to Abraham of a future reward of inheritance we may be part of in Christ: The great nation, A blessing to all the families of the earth its all contingent upon a promise that was given by grace, a gift we do not deserve, because if the receiving of the spirit by grace was contingent upon our Works we would not have Grace by definition! A gift is not a gift if it is payment for a work!
YHWH gives his spirit of Grace by a promise of blessing which he made you your ancestors and it has always been that way. If you want a full Pauline exposition on this grace read Exo_33:1, and Exo_34:1 and pay attention to the word Grace
Exo_33:16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
Exo 33:17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
Deu_7:6-10 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number … But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you … Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
Therefore this inheritance of Grace was a promise, not made on the 10 commandments or any other law YHWH WORD commanded! Nothing you do in payed in grace, and the Law could never do that because even in the so called ‘old testament / old covenant’ the law has always reckoned our righteousness as filth, a measure of our distance from GOD; but Faith in the Grace of God’s promise revealed in Christ is reckoned as righteousness… Thou shalt therefore (Deu 7:11 says, therefore /because of this Grace, love, and faithfulness to his promise, this is why we ) keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which YHWH command that day, to do them.
And very simply and succinctly, Paul says:
Gal_3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
This portion of Galatians has nothing to do which what laws we follow and do not follow, it is not establishing a time line for what laws we think are relevant under the new covenant, this portion of Galatians 3 is teaching Gentile Israelites who have perverted the Gospel of Grace into a Gospel of Works which is an impossibility! We are Given Grace through Faith because if it were not that way NO ONE would be Saved! The Spirit is a spirit of Grace given by promise a covenant that YHWH says he will perform, he WILL BLESS Abraham’s seed, and that seed is JESUS CHRIST and this is singular because we must be in him by faith the object of God’s perfect Grace, those whose life is hid in Christ, and we bring forth fruit through him, with our roots coming from that seed, it’s not the right seed and we are not the Great nation, the great Gentiles of Abraham’s promise.