🗓 21/02/2019, THURSDAY [Galatians: Intro 7/7. 加拉太书引言 7/7]
Gal 1-2: Paul defends his apostleship.
Gal 3-4: Paul defends justification by faith.
Gal 5-6: Paul defends living in the Spirit’s guidance.
加 1-2: 保罗卫护使徒身份。
加 3-4: 保罗卫护因信称义。
加 5-6: 保罗卫护圣灵带领的生活。
Please read through Galatians (using an unmarked Bible) if possible within 1 sitting and mark out verses that impacted you. Write down new insights that you have about the book through this reading.
*TURN TO JESUS QUICKLY: TURN AWAY FROM HIM, NEVER*
🗓 20/02/2019, WEDNESDAY [Galatians: Intro 6 of 7]
📘 QT VERSES:
Acts 16:6 - And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Acts 18:23 - After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
1 Corinthians 16:1 - Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do.
Galatians 1:2 - and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
2 Timothy 4:10 - For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
1 Peter 1:1 - Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
*THE PEOPLE*: The epistle was written to "the churches of Galatia" (Galatian 1:2). Note that "churches" is plural, i.e., the recipients were at least a group of churches within a particular region. Paul had ministered to them before (Acts 16:6, 18:23). Paul also commanded them to contribution to the collection meant for the Jerusalem brothers (1Cor 16:1).
*THE PLACE*: The location of these churches are most probably located in the southern region of Turkey today, i.e. in or around the cities Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe then.
*THE PROBLEM*: The region was huge--it might take you 6-8 hours by fast coach to travel just across the region. Paul took longer. The region was open--land travellers to and from Europe to Egypt and Mesopotamia (Babylon) would probably pass through it.
The core problem was not that it was huge nor open. The problem was that the churches there could not handle the consequences of their vast distances from one another, and the challenges and ideas (especially the bad ones) that come with openness--being misled, being tricked astray.
*REFLECTION*: Use the openness in society to Win One. Use the oneness in the church community to Protect Everyone, from false teachers and false teachings.
*COUNTERING OPPONENTS OF THE GOSPEL OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH (RATHER THAN "WORKS OF THE LAW" IN ROMANS)*
🗓 19/02/2019, TUESDAY [Galatians: Intro 5 of 7]
📘 QT VERSES:
Romans 3:20 _For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin._
Romans 3:28 _For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law._
For Paul, being a guardian of the gospel of Jesus Christ was not easy. By way of background reading in this introductory week to the Galatians, the above verses reveal that Paul was countering the opponents of the gospel of justification by faith in more than one location.
Other than the churches of Galatia, Paul had to write to the church in Rome too.
Paul stated in unwavering terms that "works of the law" will never get a person to be "justified in his sight" (Romans 3:20), i.e, the sight of God. Arriving at a position where "one is justified" is "by faith", and this is "apart from works of the law" (Romans 3:28).
*REFLECTION*: The fact that this theme occurs in more than one epistle alerts us that there is a very present danger that believers might be mistaken as to what is the pure gospel. Let us review how we came to Jesus Christ. Was it purely "justification by faith" or did we knowingly or unknowingly attached other things to it?
*WORKS OF THE LAW: PAUL DID NOT CONTRADICT HIMSELF*
🗓 18/02/2019, MONDAY [Galatians: Intro 4 of 7]
📘 QT VERSES:
Romans 7:12 _So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good._
Romans 7:16 _Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good._
1 Timothy 1:8 _Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,_ (ESV)
A danger to avoid is to ignore the laws of the Old Testament. For the Jews, much of the law is set out in the Law of Moses (Genesis to Deuteronomy). Today, we look at the Old Testament scriptures (and its laws) through the lenses of Jesus Christ and His death, resurrection and ascension.
Paul had very positive things to say about the law (see above verses). It is unlikely that he would condemn this same law in Galatians, thus contradicting himself.
After our introductory week for Galatians, we would examine in detail what Paul was dead against-- "works of the law". For now, the above verses highlight a possible misuse of the law. Paul said that "the law is good, *if one uses it lawfully*". There is always danger in the misuse of a good thing, isn't it?
*APPLICATION*: Be thankful to God for His laws that were given through Moses and the OT. His laws are good, not only for the individual who follows it, but also for the society or nations that loves and follow them. How much effort am I putting in to learn and love God's laws?