Galatians Ch 4- We are God’s Children!
Paul is broken hearted and discouraged. He deeply loves the people of Galatia and was afraid that his work among them amounted to nothing and would end up being in vain. He wished he could be there with them, instead of writing this harsh letter.
The Galatians used to love Paul, respected and honored him, like a father. Now he feels betrayed and like an enemy to them. He knew that his work with the Galatians was not complete until they stayed in a place of trusting Jesus.
Abba (Daddy) vs 6
Jesus addressed God the Father as Daddy. We have the same privilege!
We can go to our heavenly father with the same boldness and adoration.
Step 1- set free from slavery
Step 2- adopted into God’s family
Step 3- made heirs of God
Cults (vs 17-18)
Many cults use a technique informally known as “love bombing.” They overwhelm a prospective member with attention, support, and affection. Yet it isn’t really a sincere love for the prospect; it is really just a technique to gain another member. Christians can use the same technique in some way or another. See 2 Cor 11:13-14
Examples: Branch Davidians, The Manson Family, Heaven’s Gate, Peoples Temple, Scientology, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
John Newton wrote the most popular and famous hymn in America, Amazing Grace. He was an only child whose mother died when he was only seven years old. He became a sailor and went out to sea at eleven years old. As he grew up, he became the captain of a slave ship and had an active hand in the horrible degradation and inhumanity of the slave trade.
But when he was twenty-three, on March 10, 1748, when his ship was in imminent danger of sinking off the coast of Newfoundland, he cried to God for mercy, and he found it. He never forgot how amazing it was that God had received him, as bad as he was. To keep it fresh in his memory, he fastened across the wall over the fireplace mantel of his study the words of Deuteronomy 15:15: You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you.
If we keep fresh in our mind what we once were, and what we are now in Jesus Christ, we will do well.
Galatians Ch 5 Live in Freedom
Verse 7- “You ran well”
Paul remembered their good start in the faith, but he also knows that it isn’t enough to start well. We must finish our race strong and keep our focus and faith on Jesus Christ.
Paul has made the point over and over again – the Christian life is a life of liberty/freedom. We should use our freedom wisely though. We shouldn’t use freedom as an excuse to do selfish things of the flesh. Paul recognized the danger of this attitude, so he warned against it here. We are to serve each other in love. This is exactly the pattern set by Jesus. He had more liberty than anyone who ever walked this earth did. Yet, He used His liberty to love and serve one another.
Verse 14- The greatest commandment
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
“If you want to know how you ought to love your neighbor, ask yourself how much you love yourself. If you were to get into trouble or danger, you would be glad to have the love and help of all men. You do not need any book of instructions to teach you how to love your neighbor. All you have to do is to look into your own heart, and it will tell you how you ought to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luther)
Walk in the Spirit-
To walk in the Spirit first means that the Holy Spirit lives in you. Second, it means to be open and sensitive to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Third, it means to pattern your life after the influence of the Holy Spirit. We can tell if someone walks in the Spirit because they will look a lot like Jesus. When someone walks in the Spirit, they listen to what the Holy Spirit says as He guides us in the path and nature of Jesus.
Flesh (sinful self) vs the Holy Spirit-
Let the Spirit lead you- have self control. Paul has just written about the battle between the flesh and the Spirit in every believer. Though it is an interior, invisible battle, the results are outwardly evident. Paul knew that those who are saved by God’s grace have a high moral obligation to fulfill – not to earn salvation, but in gratitude for salvation, and in simple consistency with who we are in Jesus.
The works of the flesh seem overwhelming – both in us and around us. In Jesus Christ, you can live above the passions and desires of your flesh. The resources are there in Jesus. Look to Him. See your life in Him. If you are one of those who are Christ’s, then you belong to Him – not to this world, not to yourself, and not to your passions and desires. God is good enough and big enough to change everything with the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit can always conquer the works of the flesh.
This whole chapter lends itself to an examination of ourselves. We often think that our problems and difficulties are all outside of ourselves. We think that we would be fine if everyone just treated us right and if circumstances just got better. But that ignores the tenor of this chapter: the problems are in us, and need to be dealt with by the Spirit of God. Augustine used to often pray, “Lord, deliver me from that evil man, myself.” With that kind of reality check, we can see a new world, and a new life – and not one other person or one other circumstance has to change. All we must do is yield to the Spirit of God, and begin to truly walk in the Spirit.
FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT
LOVE- This is above and beyond natural affection, or the loyalty to blood or family. This is loving people who aren’t easy to love; loving people you don’t like. It is fitting that love be the first mentioned, because it encompasses all of the following. It may even be said that the following eight terms are just describing what love in action looks like.
JOY- “Believers are not dependent upon circumstances. Their joy comes not from what they have, but from what they are; not from where they are, but from whose they are.”
PEACE- This peace is peace with God, peace with people, and it is a positive peace, filled with blessing and goodness.
LONGSUFFERING- Longsuffering means that one can have love, joy, and peace even over a period of time when people and events annoy them. God is not quickly irritated with us, so we should not be quickly irritated with others.
KINDNESS AND GOODNESS- These two words are closely connected. About the only difference is that goodness also has with it the idea of generosity.
FAITHFULNESS- “It is the characteristic of the man who is reliable.”
GENTLENESS- The word has the idea of being teachable, not having a superior attitude, not demanding one’s rights. It isn’t timidity or passiveness; “It is the quality of the man who is always angry at the right time and never at the wrong time.” (Barclay)
SELF CONTROL- Discipline/not selfish/think of others
Galatians Ch 6 Final Instructions
One overtaken (sinner) needs to be restored- not ignored, excused or destroyed. Do it in a gentle spirit, lift him up and gently restore his faith.
Verse 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens
A simple command to obey- not complicated. It’s not always easy, but we must help others with their burdens. Be humble, look for others that need us. Care about others and what they are going through. There are enough selfish people in the world, be a light instead! We don’t have to look very far to find someone in need.
Be careful of pride- allow others to help you when needed.
Reaping and Sowing- What we get out of life is often what we put in. Paul relates the principle of sowing and reaping to the way we manage our resources before the Lord. (money, time, talents, etc) We must have patience- the harvest does not come immediately. But don’t give up, don’t lose heart. God will bring the harvest, at just the right time!
As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith: Not losing heart, we seek to do good with our resources, and to do good to all – but especially to those who are of God’s family.
But, we must do these things with good intentions/good motives.
Those who walk in God’s truth will be blessed. (vs 16)
After the stress and intensity of the letter, Paul ends it with a message of GRACE. And for him that is the only word that really mattered.
Note: Paul’s custom, typical in the ancient world, was to dictate his letters to a secretary. But he would often personally write a short portion at the end, both to authenticate the letter and to add a personal touch.
See vs 11-18