THE MAGNA CHARTA OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY Paul's Epistle to the Galatians
by Dr Surya Kumar Daimari
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
The Author is Paul the apostle as identified by himself. The authorship has not been much questioned throughout the centuries. The reason for this is , because, it is based on clarity of evidences, both internal and external.
(a) INTERNAL EVIDENCES:
(I) The author of the letter calls himself Paul both in the salutation ( 1 : 1 ) and in the body (5 : 2 )
“Paul an apostle …………………………………. ” 1 : 1
“ Behold, I Paul say unto you ……………………….. ” 5 : 2
(II) Most of the chapters 1 and 2 are autobiographical. There is a close harmony with the events of Paul recorded in the book of Acts.
(III) The doctrine he presents in the book of Galatians is the same with that of Romans, i.e. the justification by faith apart from the works of the law. This is the reason why very often this book has been called ‘a short Romans’.
(b) EXTERNAL EVIDENCES :
(I) The authorship was attributed to Paul by almost all the Church fathers including Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus in their respective writings.
(II) Even the heretics of that time, including Marcion assumed that the letter was written by Paul.
2. THE DESTINATION AND THE READERS.
The letter was originally written “unto the churches of Galatia”. But the word ‘Galatia’ may refer to two provinces.
(I) The Geographical Province in the Northern Asia Minor.
Where the Gauls had settled down after migrating from western Europe through Italy and Greece. The principal cities in this geographical area are Aneyra, Passinus and Tavium.
(II) It also refers to the New Political Roman Province of Galatia which includes the territory of Southern region. The main cities in this region are Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Darbe. Now the question often arises is “who were the Galatians ?” There is a debate in it raging throughout the centuries whether Paul wrote it to the Christians living in the North Galatia or the South.
The Two hypothesis -------------------
(1) The Northern Galatian Theory :
According to this theory Paul had visited the geographical areas of Galatia in the north and established churches there during his second missionary journey. Paul wrote this letter to these churches.
(2) The South Galatian Theory :
This theory was presented by Sir William Ramsay. According to his view, the Churches addressed in the epistle were those of Darbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch (Pisidian) cities in the South. Paul had visited those places in his missionary journey as recorded in Acts (Ch. 13,14) and established Churches in the north Galatia even in his second missionary journey. Many of the modern New Testament scholars are now in the favor of the view that Paul actually wrote this letter to the Galatians in the cities of the South. This theory is more dependable than the previous one as because it agrees with the records found in the book of Acts.
3. DATE AND PLACE :
The date and place of writing this letter also varies according to the advocacy of the Galatians Hypothesis. Those who uphold the Northern Galatians theory and say that Paul had established churches in the Northern region in his second missionary journey, they try to fix the date to be 52 AD and say that the letter was written from Ephesus or Macedonia. But those who advocate the Southern Galatians theory, they consider that the letter was written from Antioch of Syria in about 48 AD just prior to the Jerusalem apostolic council.
The Northern Galatians theory is somewhat doubtful. Because there is no record of establishing the church in this region in Paul’s second missionary journey. If 52 AD is supposed to be the date, Paul must have mentioned about the Jerusalem Council in the book. The South Galatian theory is more preferable in this respect according to the historical records found in the book of Acts. Paul had established churches in the South Galatia specially in the cities of Darbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antiochi (Pisidian) in his first missionary journey (Acts. 14). After his first missionary journey he returned to Antioch in Syria. Meanwhile the Judaizers had crept into the churches of Galatia denying Paul’s authorship as an apostle and began to teach that circumcision and keeping of the law is necessary for salvation. This sad news from the Galatian churches had made Paul marveled. Understanding the urgency of correcting their views, he wrote this letter with a strong appeal.
4. OCCASION AND PURPOSE OF WRITING :
(I) To defend the gospel and his apostleship :
The letter was specially written to call the early Christians back from the law of Moses to the abounding grace of God, from the legalism to faith. Already the Judaizers had crept into the church of Galatia and preached a false gospel which was quite contradictory to what Paul had taught them. This had brought a discredit to Paul’s apostleship. The term ‘Judiazer’ is a Latin derivation from the word “Ludaizo” #1 meaning “to live like a Jew”. This Judaizers were the Jewish Teachers who professed to be Christians, acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah but taught that circumcision and obedience to the law of Moses must be added to the Gospel for justification thus changing the simplicity and purity of the Gospel of free grace through faith in Christ alone. It was therefore, a time Paul that he must vindicate his apostleship and the gospel of truth, i.e. justification by faith alone.
(II) Practical Exhortation :
Paul also wrote this letter to establish the fact that Christians are called for liberty and not for bondage (5:1). However, Christian liberty does not mean license to sin but living in the Spirit bearing the fruits of the Spirit in life.
#1 Tenney,The zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible.
Vol 2 (P 630) D-G:
Zondervan Publishing House,
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
5. THE MAIN THEME :
“THE MAGNA CHARTA OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY OR THE SPIRITUAL EMANCIPATION”
A Brief Explanation of the Theme:
The epistle has been called “The magna Charta of Christian Liberty or the Spiritual emancipation” by some writers because of the fact that it is in favor of Christian liberty in opposition to the teachings of the Judaizers. Paul proves that justification is by faith alone apart from the works of the law. Christians are called for liberty and not for bondage in sin. A life of liberty is a life walking in the spirit which bears as mentioned
In Gal 5:22, “Love, joy, peace, peace …..” And this is what liberty means. The book also has been called, “The Christian Declaration of Independence” #2
6. The Significance of the Theme :
The theme is very significant because it appeals to every Christian even today. The theme of the book is based on three basic truths.
(1) The gospel of grace : The gospel, the Galatians received was a gospel of grace, i.e., the gospel of Salvation by grace alone. But the Galatians turned to another gospel, i.e. the law, the Jewish legalism. The law only condemns. It cannot justify. No man can be justified but by grace alone on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross.
(2) Justification by faith :
It is by faith alone on man’s part and by grace alone on God’s part that man be justified in Christ. The famous dictum goes this way..
“Sola gratia, sola fidei” (By grace alone, by faith alone). Justification is solely the work of God and no man can merit it by himself without faith.
(3) The fruits of grace and faith :
The freedom or the Christian liberty means freedom from the bondage of sin and the works of the flesh (Gal 5 : 19-20). A life of freedom in Christ means a life filled with Spirit bearing the fruits of the Spirit such as love, joy, longsuffering ……………… (5:22,23) against which there is no law. Thus emphasis is on a new life in Christ Jesus and a victorious Christian walk in the Spirit. This is “the Magna Charta of Christian Liberty” Paul is emphasizing about. Paul has developed these three basic truths in his arguments in his letter to the Galatians.
THE KEY TEXT 2: 10
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ live the 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.”
This verse summarizes the whole book. Herein lies the doctrinal and practical side of a Christian life, i.e., Christian living is Christ living in us.
#2 Robert G. Gromacki
New Testament Survey, (P 227)
Baker Book House,
Grand Rapids, Michigan
B. THE ARGUMENT
1. Introduction :
The main argument Paul had made in this epistle is “the Christian liberty in terms of salvation by faith apart from the works of the law. “The epistle has been called by some writers as” the Magna Charta of Christian Liberty or Spiritual Emancipation.” I would rather call it”, a Victorious Christian walk in the Spirit.”
2. The Gospel and Paul’s Apostleship. Ch I
Paul starts his argument by affirming his own apostleship in his introduction of the letter. Paul claims that his apostleship is appointed by Jesus Christ Himself and God the Father who raised Him from the dead. Next he goes on to say that the basis of man’s salvation lies solely in the redemption work of Christ. Paul was compelled to affirm this doctrine because the Galatian believers were in the process of turning away from the truth unto another gospel that perverted the gospel of Christ, i.e. the gospel of the Jewish legalism. It was a severe departure for them not only from a system of theology but from God Himself. He wrote this letter to emphasize the fact that the gospel of Christ can never be changed. Even if an angel from heaven come down and preach another gospel, he will be eternally condemned. The Greek word here is “anathema” ………….. which means to be eternally condemned.
His Autobiography :
Paul’s authority of an apostle was questioned by the Judaizers. In order to defend his apostleship and the gospel he preached, he declared that it did not originate with man, rather it was the Revelation of Jesus Christ Himself. This was the highest authority of Paul. Before his conversion, while in Jewish religion, he persecuted the Church of God beyond measure. He was a devout Jew and was more exceedingly Zealous of the traditions of his father’s. But God had separated him from his mother’s womb called him by his grace and revealed His Son to him on his way to Jerusalem to persecute the Christians. The purpose of his calling was that he might preach the gospel among the heathen (gentiles) Refs. Acts 22:3-5;26:4-11;22:14,15;
After Conversion :-
After his conversion he did not go to Jerusalem for a seminary purpose with the apostles. Rather, he went to Arabia. He might have pondered the meaning of his conversion and meditated on the things concerning Christ in the O.T. Then he came down to Damascus. After three years of his stay in Arabia and Damascus, he went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and abode with him fifteen days. Of the rest of the apostles, Paul met there only James, the Lord’s brother (cf Acts 12:17). After his visit to Jerusalem Paul worked for an extended time of 14 years in Tarsus of Cilicia and in Syria. The Churches of God in Judea, Knowing that Paul who persecuted the church, now preached the faith, also glorified God. From the events of conversion, Paul is trying to show the doctrine of justification by faith alone apart from circumcision and works. The reference here can be made to I Cor 15:9,10 where he says that he is not meant to be called an apostle because he persecuted the Church. It is only by grace of God that he is saved and called to be an apostle.
His Second visit to Jerusalem, Ch 2:1-15
After fourteen years later he again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus. And there his apostleship was recognized by other apostles. Even his apostleship preceded other apostles when he began to rebuke for his instability in terms of circumcision and uncircumcision.
3. THE DOCTRINAL SECTION : Ch 2:16-21;3,4
Paul has firmly declared that a man is justified by faith in Christ Jesus only and not by the works of he law. The Greek work for “justify” is “dikaioo” and for “justification” the word is “dikaiosis” while the adjective is “dikaios”. The verb “dikaioo” means to put into a right relationship (with God) or to declare righteous or innocent. Herein lies the unique characteristic of God. We are not at all worthy to be called righteous or innocent for Rom 3:23 declares, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
But the mystery is that in Christ, God declares all righteous whoever believes in Him. This is the unmerited favor of God which cannot be attained by doing the works of the law. Paul is exposing here the true nature of Christian living through his life. The true Christian living is Christ living in us. If the Galatian Christians frustrate the grace of God again and turn back to the old legalism, then, Christ’s dead would be meaningless. Paul challenges the Galatians with four straight forward questions regarding their conversions.
(i) Whether they received the Spirit by doing what the law commands or by believing the gospel. 3:2
(ii) Whether they are made perfect (sanctified) by the flesh. 3:3
(iii) Whether they suffered so many things in vain. 3:4
(iv) Whether God did miracles because of what they did according to law or because they believed the gospel message. 3:5
All of these four questions deal with Galatians’ own experiences. In all these questions, the answer would be “because they believed in the gospel”. The Church of Galatia had undergone a severe persecution after their conversion only because they believed. The miracles were performed among them by diving powers. It was clear that these supernatural works were not the result of the works of the law but of their faith.
In order to prove his argument, Paul quotes the example of Abraham from the book of the Old Testament. Abraham was justified by believing in God. We can become the children of Abraham by faith in Christ. The promise of blessing made to Abraham is also a promise available to all who believe in Him. No man in the earth can be justified by the law. It is evident. That is why Christ came and had redeemed us from the curse of the law. Paul also explains the purpose of the law. Law was a school master to bring us unto Christ. In Greek, the word is ‘Paidagogos’ which means simply ‘a child custodian’ or ‘a child attendant’.
“The pedagogos was a slave employed by wealthy Greeks or Roman to have responsibility for one of the children of the family. By this verse, Paul had simply meant ‘until we came of age at the time of the revelation of our full sonship through Christ’s coming, the law served as pedagogos”. Says Gaebelein ----- #3
We are now adopted sons of God growing into adulthood an heir of God through Christ. Paul therefore appeals the Galatians not to go back to the old legalism. In order to vindicate the doctrine well, Paul again brings illustration from the OT. Abraham had two sons. One son, Isaac was born of Sarah the free woman; the other, Ishmael was born of Hagar, the slave woman. According to the ancient law, inheritance was not inheritated to the son born of the slave woman. Ismael was in the ordinary way. But Isaac was born as the result of a promise made by God Himself. In spite of the fact that Abraham and Sarah were beyond the age of child bearing, God had miraculously fulfilled His promise. This is an illustration in order to explain the contrast between the law and the grace. Paul points two covenants. One Mosaic Covenant originated at Mount Sainai. Those under this legal covenant were slaves as figuratively represented by Hagar and her son. The other is the
#3 Francke E. Gaebelein,
The Expositor’s Bible Commentry (P 467, V 24)
Zondervan Publishing House,
Grand Repids, Michigan
Abrahamic covenant a gracious covenant made by promise of God as represented by Sarah. Hagar also represents the city of Jerusalem, a city enslaved to
Rome, Sarah, on the other hand, stands for Jerusalem above (the New Jerusalem), the mother of all the children of grace on the city of the living God. Paul goes on to explain that the Christians are not born slave, As the children of promise, Christians are born free and therefore “heirs of God and co-heirs with God.” (Rom 8:17).
4. PRACTICAL EXHORTATION :
Ch. 5 - 6
In this section Paul is more concerned about the practical side of Christian life. Liberty does not mean bondage in sin, because Christ has made us free. Paul has made a strong appeal not to go back to the old legalism to be entangled with. Christ will be of no effect if they turn back to the law. Turning to law for salvation means falling from the abounding grace of God. Again turning to law means to become a debtor to the whole law. Paul’s emphasis is that a true Christian living is living in the Spirit waiting for the hope of righteousness by faith. But this faith must be reflected in our love for one another. Paul quotes Leviticus 19:18,
“Love thy neighbors as thyself”
And states that the entire law is fulfilled in it. Jesus also affirmed the same truth (Ref Mt 22:39 ; Lk 10:25-28). Paul has given a greater emphasis in the working power of love also in Rom 13:8-10 and I Cor 13, because in it lies the purity of all Christian living. The second principle is that the Christians should reckon themselves their old men to be crucified with Jesus Christ no more to live in the lust of the flesh (Ref Rom 6:11-12). The verb for crucified is “estaurosan”. This shows that crucifixion is a past experience, a historical reality in the lives of the Galatians no more to repeat again. The third principle is that Christians are to live in the Spirit and also walk in the Spirit, i.e., in the power of the Holy Spirit. Only a life according to the spirit can have the promise of victory over sin. Walking in the Spirit produces fruits of the Spirit as mentioned in 5:22,23- love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, And this is the victorious Christian living.
The Christian Service :
In the second part of this section, Paul speaks about the Christian responsibility and service towards one another. Paul is mainly concerned about -----
i) The Christian who has committed a sin
ii) The Christian who is burdened
iii) The Pastor and Teacher
iv) All men.
The main thought and principle is that Christian life is a life of service in love towards one another. It is a life in the Spirit reflected in believers practical workshop.
5. CONCLUSION :
In the concluding part Paul re-affirms his autograph. This shows his deepest concern towards the Galatians and how he sought to bring a final emphatic thrust towards the gospel he preached i.e., justification by faith alone apart from the works of the law. He concludes his message by exposing the Principle that is, a Christian is a new creature in Christ through the experience of the new birth. Paul says the benediction.
C. COMMENTS :
The message that was brought to the Galatians is the same message that is brought to the Churches today. The message is relevant to us in respect to our practical life style in Christ. This is why this letter to the Galatians has been called, “The Magna Charta of the Church.”
The Churches in Galatia were comprised of mixed groups of people both the Jews and the gentiles, i.e., the Greeks. The large number of the Jewish converts specially those Judaizers were a dominating factor. The problem of mixing of the law with grace somehow disgraced the church. They seemed to be religiously orthodox so far as the law was concerned but spiritually barren and immature. They did not yet recognize the very heart of the gospel. They were still ignorant of the fact that Christ came to redeem us from the curse of the law. He made it possible by the power of His blood on the cross and by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus showing that salvation is the free gift of God. It is only through faith and only through the grace of God that we can deserve it . Salvation is eternal, lasting and spiritual. It is a life walking in the power of the Holy Spirit free from the entanglement of the works of the law of sin. The life in the Spirit is a life in Christ who makes us one in the Spirit. There can be no Jews and gentiles. This Spiritual entity must not differ on the grounds of customs and practices as the Judaizers thought of.
Many modern Galatian Churches are emerging today yet looking for another gospel forgetting the reason why Christ had already made the supreme sacrifice on the cross. Many false teachers are entering into the Churches to bring apostasy within the church. We also see the differences in many levels such as the doctrinal, practices, caste and color. But we need to remember the fact that the message of salvation will never change. In this juncture God has spoken to us again through Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
“Galatians has been called ‘The Megna charta of the church’ God has used its message to stir world revivals in former generation. The great spiritual awakening of Martin Luther and of the Reformation was stirred as Luther studied its message. John Wesley received peace of heart – peace for which he had so long searched --- when he heard he heard a sermon preached from Galatians.
“ The message of Galatians will
Pierce the heart of any generation
And stir it to action --- if that
generation will just hear and heed
its message.” #4
#4The Teacher’s out line Study Bible, (P 14)
Leadership Ministries Worldwide
A SUPPLIMENTERY TOPIC
GOD’S METHOD OF JUSTIFICATION
(Gal 2:11-21; 3:1-29)
Paul has made it clear that
i) A believer is justified by faith alone. 3:11
ii) A believer receives the Spirit by faith alone. 3:2
iii) A believer is sanctified, by faith a lone, 3:3
iv) A believer grows by faith alone . 3:3
v) A believer suffers by faith alone. 3:4
vi) A believer experiences God’s miraculous working
by faith alone. 3:5
vii) A believer becomes the child of God by faith alone. 3:26
This is the method of God’s justification for His children.
What is Justification ?
The word for “Justification” is “dikaiosis” which refers to a judicial judgment. The verb is “dikaioo” which does not mean to make upright or holy but to announce or declare to be righteous or innocence. It also means to count, to reckon, to credit or to take into account (Gal 2:15,16,17; 3:6,8,24) as righteous or right with God. So, what Paul does mean by using the word “righteousness” is that it is an unmerited favor of God which we do not actually deserve. It is God Himself who calls us or declares us righteous despite of our unrighteousness on the basis of what Christ has done on the cross. God’s method of justification is therefore totally different from man’s point of view. God’s ways are different but His ways are perfect and holy without any defect. God’s method of justification is also perfect because He is a perfect judge.
Paul develops the concept of righteousness by putting forward his arguments like an intelligent lawyer before a judge. He puts some strong negative points stating why a men cannot be right with God by the works of the law.
1. Man is not justified by the works of the law………………….Gal 2:16; 3:11 cf Rom 3:20
2. Man cannot receive the Holy Spirit by the works of the law. Gal 3:2
3. Man is not sanctified by the works of the law.
4. As many as are of the works of he law are under curse Gal 3:10
5. The law is not of faith Gal 3:12
5. The law cannot give life 3:21
Inheritance is not of the law 3:18 cf Rom 4:14
6. If righteousness came by the law,
Then Christ is dead in vain 2:21
7. If justified by law …………….
We are fallen from grace 5:4
The way man tries to make himself right with God or approach God from his own is called self-righteousness. A man may try the following …..
1) He may try his best to secure righteousness.
2) He can do all what he can to keep all the law to please God.
But can he do this all ?
He can achieve righteousness only if he can do the following …..
1) Keep all the law perfectly without breaking it once. Gal 3:12
2) Make sure that every single thing he does is perfectly good and right with God.
3) Please God in all things never displeasing.
Why Justification is necessary ?
1) Justificationis necessary because of sin. It is because of sin that man is alienated from God and man has become unrighteous. “There is none righteous, no, not one “Rom 3:10
2) No man is able to achieve righteousness from his own by the works
Of the law. Gal 2:16 ; 3:11
3) Law cannot give us life 3:21
4) Law cannot make us perfect. 3:3
How is a man justified ?
God’s method of justification is based on three things.
1) God’s love for man, that is, Christ’s death on the cross.
2) God’s grace for man and
3) Man’s faith in God.
1) God’s love for man, that is, Christ’s dead on the cross.
God showed His historic love towards man when Christ died on the cross on behalf of the sinful man. And this is the basis of God’s method of justification. It means that God has set Christ forth for the propitiation of our sins. The word here is “Hilasterion” which also means the “mercy seat”. Now the cross itself has become the “mercy seat”. It means that the cross where Christ sanctified Himself is the place of our propitiation and we are sancified by His blood to be right with God. Paul says in 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.”
2. God’s grace for man Gal 2:21 ; 5:4
Grace is the unmerited favor of God to the sinful man. Grace took its fullest meaning only when Christ came and sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world. The death of Christ Himself is a grace because He died on our behalf. And only because of Christ’s death God has counted us righteous. Paul has conveyed the fullest meaning of Grace in Christ in the book of Galatian and also in Romans.
“ Grace in its fullest definition is God’s unmerited favor in the gift of His son, who offers salvation to all and who gives to those who receive him as their personal Saviour added grace for this life and hope for he future, “ #5 Says Ryrie
Paul has used the word “ Hupereperisseusen” in Rom 5:21 to speak abut the bounty of grace which is a superlative superlative degree --- abounded over and above.
3. Man’s faith in God .
This is the most vital part on man’s part without which justification is impossible. Without faith justification has no meaning at all. A man has to believe that
i) God loves him.
ii) Christ died on the cross on his behalf and rose again from the death.
iii) Salvation is in Christ Jesus only.
iv) Salvation is the free gift of God.
Let us observe how Paul has put forwarded his arguments on faith.
1. A man is justified by ----- the faith of Jesus Christ.
Gal 2:16;3:24:24 cf Rom 3:28
2. God would justify the heathen through faith. Gal 3:8 cf Rom 9:9
#5 Charles C. Ryrie
Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia (P 726)
3. The just shall live by faith. Gal 3:11 cf Rom 3:28
4. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law because of faith. Gal 3:13
5. We receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Gal 3:14
6. We are sanctified in Christ Jesus by faith. Gal 3:2 cf I Cor 1:2; Rom 15:16
7. Inheritance is by promise . Gal 3:18
8. The promise by faith of Jesus Christ ----- be given to them that believe. Gal 3:22
9. The blessing of Abraham through Christ ---- the promise ----- through faith. Gal 3:14
10. We are the children of God by faith in Christ. Gal
11. We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Gal 5:4
The Prove that a Man is Justified by Faith.
The Case of Abraham:
Paul has set the example of Abraham as a proof of God’s justification by faith. God made a covenant with Abraham and his seed (Gal 3:16) which was more than just a legal documented will. It was God’s promise to Abraham, a guarantee of justification.
“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted
To him for righteousness.” 3:6
“For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise : but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
The ‘seed’ promised to Abraham in 3:16 points to one single person, that is, Jesus Christ. It means that the promise made to Abraham was also promised to Jesus Christ. The promised land, the land of Canaan, a geographical land was a type of an ever lasting possession, the heaven. The promise made to Jesus Christ was also a promise to all the believers in Christ. It means that the believers in Christ will also inherit the heaven and reign with Christ for eternity. The following points make it clear.
i) We become children of Abraham by faith. 3:7
ii) We receive the blessing of Abraham through
Jesus Christ. 3:14
Iii) We receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
1v) We become the seed of Abraham and heirs
according to the promise by being in Christ. 3:29
So the point is clear now, no man is justified by the law but by the grace of God through His promise to Abraham and His seed and to all that believe in Jesus Christ. William Barclay sums up the whole passage in a very comprehensive way in the following lines.
“at God’s covenant with Abraham was made. And nothing that came in later can change that covenant any more than anything can alter a will that has already been ratified and Again and again Paul comes back to the same point. The whole problem of human life is to get into a right relationship with God. So long as we are afraid of God, so long as God is a grim stranger, there can be no peace in life. How can we achieve this right relationship ? Shall we try to achieve it by a meticulous and the law, by performing endless deeds, by observing every smallest regulation the law lays down ? If we take that way we are forever in default, for man’s imperfection can never fully satisfy the perfecting of God; we are forever frustrated, forever climbing up a hill in which the peak never comes in sight, forever under condemnation ; but if we simply abandon this hopeless struggle and bring ourselves and our sin to God, then the grace of God opens its to us and we are at peace with a God who is no longer judge but father. Paul’s whole argument is that is what happened to Abraham ; it was that basis that God’s covenant with Abraham was made. And nothing that came in later can change that covenant any more than anything can alter a will that has already been ratified and signed.” #6
#6 William Barclay,
The letters to the Galatians and Ephesians
“The Daily Study Bible” (P 30)
Philadelphia, P.A. : West minister Press, 1954.
D.AN ANALYTICAL OUT LINE OF GALATIANS
I NTRODUCTION : 1 : 1 – 9
1. Salutation : Vs. 1 – 5
(I) Paul’s affirmation of his own apostleship V. 1
(II) Paul’s greetings unto the churches of Galatia V. 2,3
(III) Paul’s declaration__ the basis of man’s
Salvation lies solely in the work of Christ V. 4
(IV) Special solitude of Paul V. 5
2. Occasion :
(I) The turning away of Galatians into another gospel Vs 6-7
(II) Paul’s imprecations upon false teaching Vs 8,9
II DEFENCE OF PAUL’S GOSPEL : 1 : 10-24 2:1-21
A. Paul’s Gospel, a special Revelation
1. A Divine Revelation 1 : 10-24
(i) His gospel not after man Vs 10-12
(ii) His gospel, a revelation of Jesus Christ V 10,11
2. Events before Paul’s conversion Vs 13,14
(i) His persecution to the church V 13
(ii) His exceeding jealousy in Jewish religion V 14
3. His divine call V 15
4. Purpose of his call V 16
5. Events after his conversion 1:166-22
(i) His precedence to Arabia V 176
(ii) His return to Damascus V 176
(iii) His precedence to Jerusalem, his abode
with Peter V 18
(iv) His precedence to Syria and Cilicia V 21
(v) Paul’s apostleship recognized
by the Judian Church. Vs 22-24
B. Paul’s apostleship approved by other apostles 2:1-10
(i) His presence with the church leaders 2:1-2
(ii) Contest over Titus Vs 3-5
(iii) Approved by the apostles Vs 6-10
C. Paul’s apostleship demonstrated -- 2:11-21
1. Peter and Barnaba’s instablility Vs 11-13
2. Paul’s rebuking Vs 14-21
(i) Law as for the Jews Vs 14-15
(ii) Method of justification explained
by faith in Christ. Vs 16
(iii) Condemnation Vs 166-19
(iv) Paul’s testimony -the fact of Christian
Living , Christ living in us. Vs 20-21
III THE DOCTRINAL EXPOSITION, DEFINITION OF THE GOSPEL
A. Vindication of the doctrine Ch. 3
1. By the experience of Galatians 3:1-5
2. By the example of Abraham’s faith Vs 6-9
3. By showing the consequence of he law Vs 10-12
4. By Christ’s work of redemption Vs 13
5. By the inviolability of Promise of God by faith Vs 4-18
(i) The blessing of Abraham through Christ
(ii) The promise of the Spirit through faith
6. By the purpose of the law. V 1—25
7. By showing believers present position Vs 26-29
(i) Son-ship by faith in Christ V 26
(ii) Identification with Christ though Baptism V 27
(iii) Oneness in Christ V 28
(iv) Seed of Abraham V 29
8. By Illustration of the doctrine Ch. 4
1. A legal illustration Vs 1-7
(i) Infancy under the law Vs 1-3
(ii) Son-ship through His son Vs 4-7
2. A personal plea
(i) Not to return to legalism Vs 8-20
(ii) to remember Paul’s close
Relationship and attitude to them Vs 12-20
3. A Biblical illustration from O.T. Vs 21-31
(i) The historical reality of Abraham’s two sons Vs 21-23
(ii)The allegorical interpretation of the free woman and bond woman Vs 24-27
(III)The personal application Vs 28-31
We are the children of the free woman.
IV PRACTICAL EXHORTATION : Ch. 5-6:10
PAUL’S GOSPEL PRACTICED
A. Apart from the law 5:1-2
(i) A life in Christ free from bondage, Vs 1-3
(ii) A life in the law -fallen from grace, V 4
(iii) A life in the Spirit – a hope of righteousness V 5
(iv) A life turning to law –a hindrance to believers Vs 7-10
(v) A life turning to law remove the offence of the
Cross - - Vs 11-12
B. A life apart from license to sin Vs 13-15
C. A life according to Spirit 5:16-26
(i) Walking in the Spirit gives victory Vs 16-18
(ii) A victorious life over the works
of the flesh Vs 19-21
(iii) A life of Spirit bears fruits Vs 22-23
(iv) A life crucified with Christ V24
(v) Two principles of Christian living V25
(a)Live in the Spirit V25a
(b)Walk in the Spirit V25b
(vi)Our attitude towards one another V26
D. A life of Service and Responsibility 6:1-10
(i) Service towards a fellow Christians fallen in sin. 6:1
(ii) Service towards a fellow Christian burdened. V2-5
(iii) Service towards the teachers of the word. V6
(iv) Service towards all men. V10
V CONCLUSION Vs11-18
(i) A letter written with his own hand. V11
(ii) A reminder of their adversaries who teach Jewish
(iii) Paul’s glory in the cross. V15
(v) The life in Christ explained – anew creature.V15
(vi) Paul’s benediction. V16-18
1. Barclay William
The letters to the Galatians and Ephesians
“The Daily Study Bible” P 30
Westminister Press, 1954
2. Gromacki G. Robert
New Testament Survey, P 227
Baker Book House,
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
3. Gromaki Robert
Stand fast in Liberty, P 175
Baker Book House,
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
4. Gaebelein, E Frank
Vol. 10 p 448
Zondervan Publishing House,
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
5. Walvoord, F John
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT ed.
Victor Books, a division of SP Publications
6. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible.
Vol. 2 D-G p 627
Zondervan Publishing House.
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
7. The Teacher’s Outline Study Bible
Leadership Ministries Worldwide
P.O. Box 21310
Chattanooga, TN 37424-0310
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