Galatians & Ephesians
As I explained in my December 7, 2019 post, I am reading the entire Bible out loud over a one year period and proclaiming it over the land. I'm also writing down summaries of the chapters and books as I read. Here are the summaries for Galatians and Ephesians.
Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians from Antioch in 53 A.D. He rebukes them for listening to those who distort the gospel of Christ. He tells of his call to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. He tells of when he went to Jerusalem and spoke with those who said circumcision was necessary. They agreed that he was called to the Gentiles and they to the circumcision, giving him the right hand of fellowship. But then in Antioch Peter wouldn't eat with the Gentiles, fearing the Jews, so Paul confronted him in front of everyone, saying we are crucified with Christ and dead to the Law. He asks the Galatians, will they be made perfect by the flesh after receiving the Spirit by faith, not Law?
He goes on to explain that Abraham was made righteous by faith, by believing the promise which was given to him 430 years before the Law came. God knew He was going to justify the Gentiles by faith, that's why Abraham is called the father of many nations. The promise was given to Abraham's seed--singular--Jesus Christ. So all in Christ receive the promise.
Anyone seeking righteousness by the Law is obligated to keep the whole Law and is cursed if they don't. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us so the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentile. So, we receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. The Law was a tutor to lead us to Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, all are one in Christ and Abraham's descendants and heirs of the promise.
Paul explains that an heir, while a child, is like a slave. He's under tutors and guardians until the father says its time. When it was time, God sent His Son Jesus, and the Spirit of His Son crying into our hearts, Abba! Father! He says you are no longer a slave, but a son, so why would you turn back to that which enslaved you? Abraham had two sons. One of a slave and one of promise. You are children of promise in Christ. but just as the son of the slave persecuted the son of promise, so it is now. The Scripture said to cast out the son of the slave. He will not be heir with the son of promise.
If you are circumcised, Christ is of no benefit to you. If you try to be justified by the Law, you are severed from Christ. You're called to freedom, but don't use it for the flesh, use it to serve one another in love. The sum of the Law is "love your neighbor as yourself." The spirit and flesh oppose each other. Walk in the Spirit and you won't carry out the desire of the flesh. If you walk in the Spirit, you're not under the Law. There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit, but those who practice the deeds of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul exhorts them to restore those caught in any sin with a spirit of gentleness. Examine your own work. Whatever you sow, you'll reap. To the flesh--corruption, or to the spirit--eternal life. Do good to all, especially to those of the faith. Those trying to circumcise you are just trying to make a show in the flesh. They are not persecuted for Christ. They don't even keep the whole Law themselves.
- Look at the whole picture, the whole plan. Look at the spirit and intent of God's plan of salvation. Look at the timeline. Look at the history. Look at the whole counsel of God's Word and see His heart, His love, for all mankind.
- The turning point was Jesus Christ--crucified for the failures of man--their inability to keep God's Laws.
- The turning point was Jesus Christ--resurrected--justified in the sight of God. Allowing mankind to receive the same justification by faith in Him.
- The turning point was sending the Holy Spirit--believers receiving Him within, empowering them to live righteously and instinctively keeping the Law of God in their heart.
- The flesh persecutes the spirit. Don't listen to it. It failed in its attempt to please God. It will not bring you into righteousness so don't follow it.
- Be led by the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, live in the Spirit.
- The fruit of the Spirit is free from the Law, the failed law of the flesh.
- The Spirit of God's Son was sent crying into your heart--Abba! Father! because of your faith in the Son--Jesus Christ.
- He has freed you.
- He was cursed for you, for your failure in keeping the Law of God.
- You are free. Free to love and free to live by His Spirit.
Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians around 61-63 A.D. while in prison in Rome. He speaks of all God has blessed them with and of being chosen as holy, blameless, adopted, redeemed, and forgiven. To make known the mystery of God's will so they who first hoped in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. He tells them that they who've believed have been sealed with the Holy Spirit who was given as a pledge of their inheritance.
Hearing of their faith and love, he continually prays for them--for wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The Gentiles, formerly excluded from Israel, dead in sin, have now been brought near in Christ. God has made both Jew and Gentile into one body--one new man built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone--growing into a holy temple.
The mystery of Christ which he, and other apostles and prophets, received by revelation in the Spirit, not made known to other generations, is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and partakers of the promise in Christ. Paul was made a minister to preach to the Gentiles and reveal this mystery. So the manifold wisdom of God might be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. So, don't lose heart at his tribulations. He prays for them to be strengthened, filled with the fullness of God.
He implores them to walk worthy of their calling and be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit. There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all. We all have grace according to our gift. He gave the ministry gifts to equip the saints and build up the body until we are mature in the unity of the faith--no longer children tossed around with every wind of doctrine.
Don't walk as the Gentiles in darkness. Put off evil and don't give the devil any place. Don't grieve the Spirit. Walk in the light. Imitate God and walk in love. Learn what pleases the Lord. Be wise. Make the most of your time. Understand the Lord's will. Be filled with the Spirit. Be subject to one another. Wives to husbands, husbands loving wives as Christ loved the church. Children to parents, fathers to children, slaves to master, masters to slaves.
Be strong in the Lord. Put on the armor of God. We don't struggle against flesh and blood but against world forces of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies. So resist in full armor and stand with truth, righteousness, gospel preparation, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. Pray always, be alert for all saints, and pray for him to have utterance.
- God has revealed this mystery now that the Gentiles and Jew form one new man in Christ.
- Jesus abolished the Law of commandments in ordinances and made the two into one, establishing peace.
- Jesus is the chief cornerstone with the foundation of the apostles and prophets so we grow into a holy temple, a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
- Whatever your background, your roots, your traditions, we are called into one body in Christ.
- Learn the way of truth and righteousness.
- Prepare yourself with the gospel.
- Arm yourself with faith, salvation, and the Word of God.
- Know and learn from those set in place to teach and build so you're not tossed around by deceitful teaching.
- Walk out of darkness and in the light, filled with the Spirit, always giving thanks, subjecting yourselves to one another in the Lord in your homes and workplaces.
- Resist the dark forces in the full armour of God.