Friday, February 10, 2012

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday February 12, 2012

(Pay close attention to what you put your faith in)
(Galatians 3:1-14)

In Galatians 3:1, the word Paul uses for “foolish” in the original Greek is “anoetos” (an-o-ay-tos), and it simply means “unintelligent”, or “unwise”. Here it is used to describe how he saw the people of the Church at Galatia when he first heard how they were falling away from the Gospel, and being duped by smooth-talking preachers with anti-CHRIST agendas. It is a word that challenged the Galatians’ power of perception and discernment, as they were obviously missing the true essence of the Good News about CHRIST JESUS.
Since Paul had last spoken with them they had taken on a direction that was contrary to what they had been taught earlier, and were actually violating their initial experience with GOD. After beginning their Christian lives in the SPIRIT, they were now trying to become perfect by their own human effort. Did they now believe that they were saved by their good works, and by keeping the law, instead of by faith? Who had duped them, Paul was now wondering. Seemingly for the Galatians, they believed faith was good enough to “save”, but not good enough to live their everyday lives by (Vs. 1-5).
The false teachers that had infiltrated the early Church had come to the people saying that Paul was not really an Apostle because he was not a member of the original twelve. They also pointed to Paul’s years of persecuting the Christian Church, up unto the death of Stephen in Jerusalem (Acts 7:57-60). Plus, Paul also had no official appointment from the head Church at Jerusalem.
Paul’s answer to these claims was not in the form of an argument, but rather, he simply issued a statement concerning his Damascus Road experience that was witnessed to, by many who were with him on his journey. Besides, no man can make another man into a minister for GOD anyway, for only GOD can do that. The real test of a true man of GOD is not that he has gone through certain rituals or ceremonies, and taken certain vows, but rather, it is that he has seen CHRIST for himself in his heart, and has received his orders from GOD to do HIS bidding.
Abraham is the human example to whom the Jews, and the Gentiles, look to, as a sort of prototype of one who had a personal relationship with GOD that was based solely on faith. Faith has to have a critical role in anyone’s relationship with GOD, be they Jew or Gentile. The scriptures always pointed to a time when GOD would accept the Gentile believer into HIS family, based on faith. GOD’s promise to Abraham stated that all nations would be blessed through him. Therefore, everyone who puts their faith in CHRIST JESUS, automatically shares the same blessings that Abraham received, because of his faith (Vs. 6-9).
Paul preached the gospel of the free grace of GOD. He believed with all of his heart, that, there was nothing that a man could do to merit the love of GOD. We, as sinners, can only throw ourselves at the foot of GOD in an act of faith, hoping that HE will show mercy on us when we do. It is only through faith that a righteous person is saved, or can have an eternal life in Heaven with GOD.
In the biblical Greek the word Paul uses in verse 13 for “redeemed” is “exagorazo” (ex-ag-or-ad-zo). It is one of only two times in scripture that this particular word appears. The other is in Galatians 4:5, and, in both places it means “to purchase out of slavery”, or “to rescue from loss, and thereby, improve the opportunity of”.
JESUS has rescued us from the curse of the law. When HE hung on the cross, HE took the curse of the Law upon HIMSELF and exhausted it. HE redeemed mankind when we couldn’t redeem ourselves. Through JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice, GOD has blessed all those who believe with the same blessing that HE promised to Abraham. And we can all receive the HOLY SPIRIT through faith, which has nothing to do, with how well we obey the Law (Vs 10-14). To be in CHRIST, is to be in the place of ultimate trust.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


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