Monday, November 19, 2018

Background On Galatians

I'm back! Again. For the past couple of years the class I teach has been in the New Testament. We went through the Gospel of Mark, the Sermon on the Mount, and John 13-17. After that, we looked at various subjects. In early September, we began a study of Galatians. The first three classes dealt with background information. Here are the notes:

Gal. is the only letter Paul addressed to a group of Churches, not to a particular Church. Galatia was a province in Asia Minor since the 3rd century B.C. with migrants from Gaul. The province included cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystre, and Derbe. Acts contains the historical account of Paul's evangelism in this province.

Antioch- Acts 11:18-30, 13:1-3, 42-52.
Iconium- Acts 14:1-7 (see v.3 on grace, wonders through Paul and Barnabas).
Lystra- Acts 14: 8-18.
Derbe- Acts 14: 19-20.
Back to Antioch- Acts 14:21-28.

Date of Letter- correlates to Paul's visit to Jerusalem, some say correlated with events of Acts 15, the Jerusalem council. Written sometime between 55 and 57 A.D. Probably on his 3rd missionary journey, written from Macedonia or Corinth.

Paul's Opponents- referred to as Judaizers. Say faith in Christ necessary, but not enough. Say Old Testament promises of salvation for Jews only, not Gentiles.Gentiles must be circumcised, add to faith the observance of the Law. Claim Paul is a compromiser, making the Gospel attractive to Gentiles by removing legal demands, say Paul contradicts Peter, James.

Any form of legalism, for the purpose of justification or sanctification, depends on one's personal effort, denies the sufficiency of the Cross. Legalism is the most persistent enemy of the Gospel of grace, contends that certain rules, regulations, religious rites in addition to faith as necessary conditions of Christian maturity.

Paul's Teaching In Galatians- Jesus puts those who have faith in Him (2:16, 3:26) in position of liberty (2:4, 5:1), freeing them from bondage to legalism and license. Main emphasis, crucifixion of Christ as basis for believers deliverance from the curse of sin (1:4, 6:14), self (2:20, see 5:24), and Law (3:12, 4:5). We have a faith union with Christ (2:20), visibly portrayed in baptism (3:27) which relates all believers together as brothers and sisters (3:28). Paul declares Jesus' deity (1:1, 3, 16), humanity (3:16, 4:4). Jesus is the substance of the Gospel (1:7) which He Himself revealed to Paul (1:12).

The Holy Spirit in Galatians- Judaizers wrong about means of justification and sanctification. Key passage- 3:2-3. Galatians would admit they began in the Spirit, so why are they seeking maturity through the Law? 3:5 indicates work of the Holy Spirit beyond initial reception of Spirit. Verb "supplies" indicates a continual supplying in bountiful measure. "Works" indicates that God was continuing to perform miracles in their midst through Holy Spirit filled believers. The word "miracles" refers to charismatic manifestations of Holy Spirit as evidenced by outward signs , see 1Cor. 12-14. The phrase "promise of the Spirit" in 3:14 is used by Peter to explain outpouring of Spirit at Pentecost, Acts 2:33. We receive the Holy Spirit by faith, Holy Spirit manifests His power in us as we walk in faith.
There is a fierce battle between flesh (our lower nature prone to sin) and the indwelling Holy Spirit- 5: 16-25. Submit to control of, and walk with the Holy Spirit will enable us to die to the flesh- 5:16-18, delivers us from the tyranny of the Law- 5:18, and causes the fruit of holiness to grow in our lives- 5: 22-23. 5:16-25 concerns the proper use of Christian liberty. Apart from the controlling, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, liberty will degenerate into license.

Compiled from background notes from the NIV Study Bible and the Spirit Filled Life Bible.

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