Bible 1 Yr – Day 110 – No Longer Under the Mosaic Law

Paul really gets to the heart of the matter in today’s reading. Recall that Paul is writing this letter to the Galatians because some converts from Judaism are advocating that conversion to Christianity still requires adherence to the Jewish law and practices (“Judizers”). Paul is leaving no stone unturned in his case against that position.

First, Paul describes that he, having been sent as the Apostles to the Gentiles, went up to Jerusalem and confirmed his teaching with the Apostles – who of course had at first been Jewish. Thus Paul is making the point that the leaders of the Church who are themselves Jewish converts and who are the superiors to the Judizers that have come to Galatia have previously confirmed Paul’s teaching that adherence to the Jewish law is no longer necessary.

Paul then makes the point that on this journey to Jerusalem when he met with the Apostles he had brought with him Titus, a gentile convert. The Apostles in Jerusalem did not require Titus to be circumcised. Thus Paul is demonstrating that both in word and in action the Apostles did not require the gentiles to be circumcised to become Christians.

What Paul describes next is interesting but a little hard to follow because he seems to be describing three groups of people. Here is the verse from Young’s literal translation:

4 and [that] because of the false brethren brought in unawares, who did come in privily to spy out our liberty that we have in Christ Jesus, that us they might bring under bondage,
5 to whom not even for an hour we gave place by subjection, that the truth of the good news might remain to you.
6 And from those who were esteemed to be something – WHATEVER THEY WERE THEN, it maketh no difference to me — the face of man God accepteth not, for — to me THOSE ESTEEMED DID ADD NOTHING,
7 but, on the contrary, having seen that I have been entrusted with the good news of the uncircumcision, as Peter with [that] of the circumcision,
8 for He who did work with Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, did work also in me in regard to the nations,
9 and having known the grace that was given to me, James, and Cephas, and John, who were esteemed to be pillars, a right hand of fellowship they did give to me, and to Barnabas, that we to the nations, and they to the circumcision [may go]..

Paul is taking here about 3 groups of people. Himself and Barnabas, the apostles and a group of “false brethren”. These false brethren were likely Jewish Temple Priests who had converted to Christianity. We can make this inference because they were “esteemed to be something” but Paul indicates that this esteem comes from their past position. Also, we know from the book of Acts that on a previous trip to Jerusalem, Paul was influenced to go to the Temple and help those taking the Nazzerite vow. We know that Paul was made to do this in part to keep the piece with the Jewish element in the Church. So Paul is saying that on his subsequent trip to Jerusalem the influence of this group has waned (because they were no longer listen ted to).

This explains the next evidence that Paul presents in his case against the Judizers. He relates the story of them coming to Antioch while Paul was there with Peter. Paul describes that while he was there Jewish converts sent from Jerusalem by James had arrived. Paul refers to them as “the circumcision party” thus they are of the same mindset as the Judizers. James likely sent them to Antioch because they were causing trouble in Jerusalem. James likely expected that when they arrived in Antioch they would get rebuked by Peter. But upon the arrival of the Judizers in Antioch, Peter in deference to the new arrivals, stops sharing table fellowship with the gentiles. Paul must have thought he was taking crazy pills. Didn’t they deal with this group at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15)? So he rebukes Peter. Paul is making the point, in the most dramatic fashion that he can, that even Peter, the highest member of the Church, cannot divide the Church between Jew and Gentile converts.

Up to this point Paul has repeatedly established the evidence that there is no separation between Jew and gentile in the Church and no requirement to follow the Jewish law. With the evidence established, Paul now states that conclusion.

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by WORKS OF THE LAW but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by WORKS OF THE LAW, because by WORKS OF THE LAW no one will be justified.

Works of the Law is an idiom for works, ceremonies and practices required by the Mosaic law. Paul is making it crystal clear to the Galatians that Christians are no longer subject to these requirements. In fact, Paul says that it is worse. If they go back and make themselves subject to the law that no longer applies then they are “transgressors”. Paul then delivers one of his most famous and important passages:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Christians should take this passage literally. Through faith we are united to Christ. On the Cross he felt our sufferings and thus we “have been crucified with Christ”. As he died, we must die to self so that it “is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” and become his workers in this world.

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8 Responses to Bible 1 Yr – Day 110 – No Longer Under the Mosaic Law

  1. Jon musso says:

    I agree with much of what you said, but with all Paul writings he also talking about morale law as it pertains to getting to heaven. He’s not just writing this passage to argue against mosaic law he saying Christ death fulfills the law and we now are justified by the death and resurrection of Christ alone. We see this with the writing of Hebrews also they want to back to law, because it’s human nature to want to earn your way to heaven. He’s saying we are justified. So let look at justified I use the word so much let my define it as I believe Paul defines it.

    Martin Luther wrote ” if this doctrine stands in purity, Christianity will remain pure and good,” Martin Luther once noted ” But if this one doctrine stumbles, it is impossible not to fall into error.” So what is this one doctrine” by which the church stands or falls? It’s justification by faith alone. And what does it mean to say we are justified by faith alone?

    1 justification is a legal verdict that declares believers righteous.
    Justification makes us right with God- but not by making us perfectly righteous in this life! Justification is divine decision that declares us righteous even though we aren’t righteous yet. ” justification is God verdict that in Christ and on the basis of Christ life, death, and resurrection our sins are forgiven and we are counted as those who are perfectly obedient in his sight”.

    2 justification is a verdict from the end of time that God declares hear and now. This divine verdict is, however, no mere friction in which God acts like we are righteous even though we aren’t and never will be! God will make every believer righteous at the end of time. Our future justification is so certain that God declares his end time verdict of justification now, in the very moment that we first rest in the finished work of Jesus. ” when we come to faith in Christ, our justification in the present is the same justification that will be declared publicly in the future at the resurrection and judgement. Our justification is already our possession and, at the same time,not yet fulfilled.

  2. That is all very interesting but none of that can be found in today’s reading. Perhaps we will discover it if we keep searching.

    I find it ironic that you who have counseled me against legalism is talking about justification as a divine verdict.

    • Jon musso says:

      Of course it’s divine! It’s a God act! That the point! Galatians is moving in that direction Galatians 3

  3. I was speaking more of it being a verdict. “Legalism” v. “verdict”.

    • Jon musso says:

      Verdict that was decide in the beginning. Who he foreknew he predestined. This is the language Paul uses for justification.

  4. Certainly predestination is in the bible but I don’t recall justification being analogized to a legal verdict. I willing to be corrected.

    • Paul says:

      David and Jon you both make reasonable and I believe correct assertions.
      Predestination is in the Bible, but only God knows who. Both of you need to research it…
      Check out Ligonier ministries for a perspective….
      Also, if you can, please get other perspectives from those broadcasting from WAVA 105.1 FM.
      Our job is to live through faith out of incredibly deep gratitude of God s First love for us.
      The rituals and traditions of our common Christian faith are all mostly good but when they become heartless and mind unconnected motions, they are meaningless and as false as the Pharisee s.
      Remember how Jesus rebuked the unconnected heartlessness of the Pharisees.
      Churches and church doctrines can become pharisaical.
      The heart and the mind are not willing servants to the loving and eternally wise direction of the Holy Spirit.
      Let us all pray that we stay willing servants.
      To God be the glory.
      To the church be our concerted, ardent but discerning support.
      Thank you Jesus for these men in my life.
      Thank you Jesus that all of us are finally deeply immersed in your word.

      • Jon musso says:

        I agree spurgean said if people had a stamp on there back that said elected he would just evangelize to those people, but since there is no such stamp I will just preach to every creator and let god sort it out. I think divine sovereign must be understand in the light of the gospel. I thank god for other perspectives, such as free will what will always drives me and must drive the church is the life, death and resurrection of the greatest king in history Jesus Christ! When I see that as secondary importances is when I speak out!

        God bless

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