Chapter 2: 20
2:20 "For 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.
When John 3:16 says "for God so loved the world.." do not believe that God viewed a large
forest without considering the individual trees. Don't believe that God saw a sea of generic and
faceless souls that he could save in globo without considering each one by name and address.
Jesus died for the world as a whole but we are more accurate if we say that he died for each
individual that makes up the world.
God is a personal God. Not only does he know our name and our address but the scriptures
teach us that the very hairs on our head our numbers. The Psalmists in the 139 Psalm reminds us
that God knows us as individuals when he says "Oh Lord, thou hast searched me and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off". God
knows us personally.
No wonder Paul writes in our text verse to the Galatians that Christ love me, died for me, and
lives in me!
Chapter 5: 1
5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled
again with the yoke of bondage."
This text focuses on a one verse passage in which Paul encourages the Christians at Galatia to be
firm in their new freedom in Christ.
The Galatian Christians were much like other new Christians of the time. They had formerly
been followers of the Jewish faith. They were students of the Mosaic law and worked hard to
observe its hundreds of rules. Many had difficulty understanding that as Christians they were no
longer bound by the lengthy requirements of the Mosaic law.
In discussing the issue Paul used the words "liberty", "Freedom" and "bondage" which were
strong ways to indicate the nature of their relationship to the Mosaic law. How could a religious
association be described as bondage? Paul called it bondage because of the hundreds of
meaningless rules it required the people to follow.
Under the law they were required to bring animals for sacrifice, if they wanted to be forgiven
of sin. Then they had to be careful to bring the right one: lambs, goats, pigeons, rams, all had
different purposes. Then none of them could have a spot a blemish. Religious feasts had to be
observed on certain days and food prepared in a certain way. Relationships were governed by the
Mosaic law. Clothing, food and even what kind of work could be performed on certain days was
all dictated by the law. It was an all consuming law that left little room for individuality.
The Mosaic law became a part of the life of the people. It became so dominant that many
people began to worship the law rather than God himself. Their goal in life was to reach in point
when they could say they kept every rule in the law. Then they could boast that they were
righteous and could point fingers at others who were not so well disciplined.
However, when some of the people became Christians they soon found that they were freed
from the ceremonies and rituals of the law. When they met on Sundays to worship they noticed
they did not need to bring an animal sacrifice. Their were no rules dictating every small detail of
their lives, but instead they were being urged to live by direction of the Holy Spirit in all matters.
That was like coming out of a dark cave and stepping into the light. It was a big difference.
One of the parts of the law that Christians had the most problems dealing with was circumcision.
The Mosaic law required it! When Gentiles were brought into the faith they did not demand it. In
Galatians 2:4 Paul refers to spys or nonbelievers who mixed in with Christians and raised
criticisms about their practices. Trying to break their faith and make them return to the
circumcision rules of the Mosaic law. Their purpose, said Paul was to set a trap for them and
return them to religious bondage.
Paul reminded them that when they were "children" in matters of religion they thought the law
could save save them (Galatians 4:3). But in the "fulness of time" God sent his son to save them
from their boxed in situation and adopt them into the family of God. In 4:9 however, he
questions how some them seemed to have crawled back in the box of religious tradition. He
asked "How turn ye again to weak and beggearly elements" trying to find salvation. They had
once again trying to be saved by observing feasts and ceremonial days. They were once again
resorting to the rituals of the Mosaic law to save them. They were crawling back into the
lifestyle that had boxed them in the first place.
Despite the new freedoms, there were some who were stuck in their old ways. They were easily
enticed to go back to some of the rituals and traditions they had observed from childhood. What
made it even more enticing is that most of their neighbors and friends observed the old rules too.
Paul constantly urged new Christians to "standfast" in their new faith.
That's why, in this text, he reminds them what they have been freed from and uses words like
bondage and freedom to give them a sharp, comparative difference between what they once were
and what they had become. They were once slaves to the ritual and ceremonies of the law. Now,
following Christ, they are free to explore the faith fully.
The law boxed them in and restrained them, but Christ set them free! Paul urged them repeatedly
not to be overtaken again and returned to bondage but to live freely in their new spirit of
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