I don’t ask much of you…but… I am asking for ONE FAVOR. Find a place you can read these 3 chapters out loud. Read it to your child, dog, spouse, or sit in your car by yourself. If you do that the book will completely come to life as you pretend to be Paul. I am telling you!!
The book starts off with a sweet little greeting and then by verse 6 all Paul’s frustration comes out in an explosion!
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all.
Oh, my stars!
Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! (Yikes!)
We have this issue between Paul and Peter. (If you were as confused as me: Peter is also called Cephas: his Aramaic translated name for “the Rock”)
Chapter 2:7 says “On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.”
So Paul: to the Jewish beliefs. Peter to the Gentile believers.
So the man Jesus called ROCK was more like a PEBBLE! (Don’t judge: we have all acted one way in front of some people and a different person in front of others). That is what Peter did. Is it a big deal?? YES. It’s called Hypocrisy. Do you remember when Jesus used that word: it was a greek word for Actor/Actress. Ouch!
11 When Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles (he acted one way) But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. (he acted another way) 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
Paul’s comments after this confused me at first. He is NOT putting down Gentiles, actually, he is lifting them up. Gentiles did not have a history of knowing God’s Law as proof that salvation was unattainable through the Law. The Jews did! Salvation should have been easier for the Jews and harder for the Gentiles who did not read the unattainable law. But it was the opposite! I often wonder if this is why it is hard for us to believe someone is truly saved when we know ‘their sinful past’ compared to some who grew up in the church. Hmm.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Paul acknowledges that BECAUSE the Law is unattainable… he is dead. BUT that dead person was crucified when Christ gave up His life to give life!
Life in Christ is NOT our identity. Christ is our source of Life. 20: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”
Preach it twisted sista!! (sorry, I try to stay in context but I just couldn’t help to say all that!!)
Chapter 3- I just read it aloud to my dog again. This time with even more emotion. (she just looked at me like I was crazy).
So here is the BIG question: Has the “ticket” to Heaven changed in the Old Testament and the New Testament? Was it EVER by following the Law? Was it ever the ‘act’ of the Temple Sacrifice? NO. Paul so BOLDLY smacks them in the face when he talks about the Father of the Jewish nation and the Abrahamic Covenant:
8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Then to undo what the Judiazers claimed (the whole purpose of Paul’s emotional letter) he quotes from the Torah. The Book OF the Law. In Galatians 3:10 he is quoting Deuteronomy 27:26
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (meaning if you break just ONE Law, you are cursed=a sinner).
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Marinate on that for a minute. On that Cross, He felt the weight and pain of every sin. He took it all from us. That is why it went dark that day. God could not be with Jesus when that happened. God is Holy and cannot be in community with sin, He left Him for that time. That is why Jesus said, “why have you forsaken me?” God had to leave while Jesus took all that sin on Him. (Sorry, I am getting off track). It just proves what a big deal this letter states about adding to Jesus’ sacrifice in any form.
Ready: If you did not read it aloud (caught many of you) THEN you have to answer verse 19 in your own words in the comments. Verse 19 says: “Why, then, was the law given at all?”
Want to read something cool?? So in this book, Paul is correcting Peter’s leadership and his hypocrisy of “going along with the crowd”. Does it leave an impact on Peter? Well, what do you think? Peter later writes: (1 Peter 3)
14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.