Paul tells the Galatians that through faith in Jesus Christ we are ALL equal. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul goes on to tell them that we are no longer slaves to the law but adopted as sons and daughters; an heir of God through Christ.
Paul warns the Galatians of the fake religious crowd who form their own little clicks to manipulate the people. Paul says not to cave into that immature nonsense but keep focused on the Lord at all times. “They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always.”
Paul goes on to explain the freedom that is found in Christ by saying that Abraham had 2 sons; Ishmael born through flesh by Abraham’s bondservant, Hagar, and Issac born through the promise by the freewoman, Abraham’s wife, Sarah. These 2 sons are symbolic of the 2 covenants; one (Ishmael) under the bondage of the law and the other (Issac) under the freedom found in the promised Son, Jesus Christ. So Paul exhorts them to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Paul addresses circumcision and how it was a symbolic act of the old covenant God made with Abraham. He tells the Galatians that they are no longer bound to circumcision under the new covenant “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails to anything, but faith working through love.” “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Through Christ we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells the Galatians to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh which is opposed to the Spirit. Paul goes on to list the works of the flesh compared to the works of the Spirit. Then he tells them, ”for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
We end the reading with the dispute about circumcision continuing. Paul and Barnabas go before the council in Jerusalem “declaring how many miracles and wonders God has worked through them among the Gentiles.” Then James says, “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.”
Tomorrow we hear the ruling of the council and tension arises between Paul and Barnabas. Keep reading to see what happens.
(Galatians 3:24-6:18, Acts 15:1-21)