We are in the Church Stream and reading from the New American Standard Bible this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Thank you Lord for settling issues and removing the haze of what it means to walk in your will and plan. You want us to know you straight out and clearly. Discipleship is not meant to be a confusing puzzle. Thank you for what we learn as you simply tell us. Amen.”
1 – Paul opens with his trademark glorious, triumphant, and encouraging greeting that had to warm hearts wherever this is read. And Paul quickly jumps in on the matter that is bedraggling the region of these churches that he had mentored and planted on his first missionary journey. Judaizers were traveling and teaching that circumcision and adherence to Moses’ Law was required to be truly saved. And numerous gullible young believers were submitting themselves to this procedure. In other words, people were being earnestly taught that they needed to find Christ via Judaism – not through God’s grace in Jesus. Jesus was fine to Judaizers, yes, but the Old Law was still required to be followed.
Paul offers a polemic that smacks that idea back into 1300 B.C.! Some may have thought, well well well Paul. Who do you think you are to go around- … Paul cuts to the quick and goes right into the legitimacy and credibility of his calling. It’s a true rendition of his vocation and record and how he got to where he is. Paul was on a unique track – you couldn’t fake his resume~ if y’tried. Point being made, Paul is for real and what he is bringing forth in this letter has proven to be Scripture that is God- breathed loaded with timeless advice. Paul was mentored by Christ Jesus Himself, so he is not sharing advice from an advisor who heard from a … no. He got this straight from Jesus.
2 – Paul talks of his 2nd visit to Jerusalem where he shamelessly, yet discreetly, met with and explained the new covenant to men of prominence and how circumcision was not required anymore. Paul is preaching a bold topic in a hot spot that could get him in some serious trouble but Paul must do what he must. He talked further of sternly confronting Peter for waffling on the topic and allowing himself to be intimidated and to actually pull away from Gentile believers when Judaizers showed up to threaten and press the issue of circumcision. His explanation of justification by faith and not works is a pivotal point here for understanding the gospel.
3 – Paul shares his exasperation with the Galatians who were allowing themselves to cower and revert to religion rooted in tasks and duty and rituals that had never saved anyone – only prepared them [in a peculiar way] to be saved once Christ rose and Pentecost arrived. Abraham is the figure that Paul hearkens back to here. Abraham was a giant to Jewish Believers and to people of faith in general. The issue Paul brings up is a zinger: “Abraham was declared righteous because he believed God.” That is the end of the matter. Abraham was dubbed righteous by God and he is labeled so ~->roughly 600 years before Moses arrives and writes the Law. Come on Galatians, you are not seeing the giant truth right in front of you. Will you plug your ears AND insist that you cannot hear? Come back to the faith you were taught and know to be true. The Law of Moses was added to deal with transgressions, but that is only a “solution” for a time period. Christ is the Promise (the seed as Paul explains it) that will bring salvation. We are then heirs of salvation. Heirs need not earn this relationship. It IS before we are mindful of it. We need merely to adhere to God’s plan and embrace His Son.
4 – His explanation of what a son is and what a son owns and what a son comes to realize and be, is putting the concept into terms that all the world can understand. We know what children mean and the destiny that they are enveloped in provided they keep in the fatherly relationship as God planned it. Paul hopes that this illustration will teach them how God is at heart for His own.
The thread that reoccurred this week is: “the right way is simple.” People can complicate matters and do so for no good reason. Following God is simpler than we often make it to be.
-In Leviticus the cleansing of a leper is simply spelled out. This was a problem that bedeviled the known world. So God just told them what to do about it.
-In II Kings, it was an era; a generation that needed to listen to Elisha. No mystery here. Just call Elisha over. He had God upon Him and in Him and there was not a problem let unsolved by Elisha.
-Moses in Psalms brings a combination of things that get us and keep us on the right path in God’s World: assess your life and get wisdom, praise Him, trust Him, worship Him. That’s not too hard, is it?
-In Jeremiah restoration is promised in the future but for this era, they needed to allow themselves to be subjected to Babylonian invasion and exile. Not easy, but it’s better than being butchered.
– Amos shows that they simply needed to plead with God for pardon . . . [they wouldn’t however]
-Luke makes it pretty clear that getting to Jesus remedied anything. Get Him to come to you or go to Him. Do what you must. Interesting that it is nearly identical to how Elisha is presented in II Kings.
-Paul is rather spirited in insisting that this gospel is as simple as it was for Abraham. Just believe and follow. Don’t complicate it. Let all the laws go, bro. 🙂