Galatians (9 of 13) Paul’s Allegory Of Two Covenants

4:21-31 Paul’s Allegory Of Two Covenants

Memory Verse: Galatians 4:28

4:21-23 A Question And A Story

  • 4:21 Paul asks the Galatians believers, especially those who desire to be under the law—meaning those who have believed the false teachers and have added obedience to the law as necessary for their salvation—a question that points them back to the real meaning of the law. The law refers to the Old Testament, and as with any false teaching, the false teachers have misused it to trick the Galatians believers into believing they have to rely on it for their salvation. Paul’s wants them to humbly look at what the law really says for themselves and not just listen to the misinterpretation of the false teachers.
  • 4:22a Paul tells a story recorded in the Old Testament about Abraham. Paul has already mentioned Abraham at least eight times since he started this letter. He exemplified Abrahams faith showing that he believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. He then shows how the gospel was made by promise to Abraham and his seed (a certain descendant)—this descendant is Jesus, who fulfilled this promise and anyone can partake of it through faith. Finally, he showed that those who belong to Christ are Abraham’s seed—meaning God’s people are those of faith, not of earthly descent. Therefore Paul is pointing back to Abraham—the father of the Jews—to show the real truth as recorded in the Bible and exemplified by Abraham. He does it again here.
    Galatians 3:6-9, 14-18, 29; Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7
  • 4:22b-23 The Story: God promised to give Abraham a son. But Abraham and his wife Sarah grew old and his wife, Sarah, was barren. So his wife told him to sleep with their maidservant, Hagar, so that they could have a son. He agreed and she had a son named Ishmael. Several years later, God fulfilled his promise to give Abraham a son through his wife Sarah. They named him Isaac. Therefore, Abraham had two sons. The first son was born by a bondmaid (his maidservant Hagar). The second son was born by a freewoman (his wife Sarah). Ishmael who was of the maidservant Hagar was born after the flesh—meaning that Abraham didn’t wait for God’s promise to be fulfilled and tried to obtain a son on his own outside of the will of God. Isaac who was of the freewoman Sarah was born by promise—meaning that God performed a miracle to cause Sarah to be bear a child—keeping His promise. (Jesus would come through the line of the promised child.)
    Genesis 12:1-4; 15:4-5; 16:1-15; 21:1-3

4:24-27 The Story Is An Allegory For Two Covenants

  • 4:24a Paul says this story is an allegory—meaning that is has a deeper meaning. He says that this meaning is represented in two covenants. He goes on to explain:
  • 4:24b-25 The covenant of bondage: Paul tells the Galatians that Hagar (who represents trusting in your own works) is: (1) The one from the Mount Sinai—pointing to the law and the Jewish people—that bears children for bondage—meaning obedience to the law can only produce slavery. (2) Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is—meaning all the Jews that are trusting in the law for salvation at that time were in bondage with her children—everyone who trusts in the law, then or now, are slaves to the law (or their own religious ways).
  • 4:26a The covenant of freedom: Sarah (who represents trusting in God’s promise) on the other hand is: (1) Freed instead of in bondage; (2) The Jerusalem which is above—representing the opposite of the earthly Jerusalem and means heaven—the place where real believers will reside. It is the mother of all true believers—meaning she represent everyone who trust in God’s promise by faith not the works of the law.
    Hebrews 12:18, 22
  • 4:26b Beware: There is a false teaching by the cult “World Missions Society Church of God” that originated in Korea that teach Abraham represents God the Father who they believe is “Ahn Sahng-hong,” a Korean pastor they claim as their founder. Then the “Jerusalem” and “mother” referred to in this verse is the “Jerusalem Mother” or “God the Mother” who they believe is “Zahng Gil-jah,” a Korean woman who believed that she was God. These are all false teachings. The true teaching of the verse is as follows: “mother” is a figure of speech Paul is using to explain the allegory. There are two mothers, each represents a place, which represents a people and their way of salvation: works or grace. Therefore, to say Jerusalem or Sarah is our mother means that we are saved by grace through faith in God’s promise and that not of ourselves.
    Ephesians 2:8-10
  • 4:27 Paul quotes another scripture from the Old Testament. The verse tells the “barren woman” to rejoice, break forth and cry because she will have many more children than the woman that has a husband. This was a prophecy for Israel to encourage them in their exile, knowing that God was still going to do something supernatural in their future. Paul, now applies it to the gospel. The barren woman most likely represent the Gentiles who were spiritually barren or those who were spiritually hopeless in saving themselves. The woman with the husband most likely represents Jews who had the Old Testament and law or those who religiously worked to try and save themselves. The reason for rejoicing was that God was going to cause the barren women to be blessed greater than the other. The gentiles were going to be given the gospel. The hopeless were going to be given hope. Grace was going to be offered to those who those who couldn’t do it on their own.
    Isaiah 54:1

4:28-31 The Application Of The Allegory

  • 4:28, 30-31 Believers (brethren) are the children of promise just like Isaac was. He was born of the freewoman. True salvation only comes by trusting in the promise of God by faith. Unbelievers (shall not be heir) are the children of bondage just like Ishmael was. He was born of the bondwoman. True slavery only comes by trusting in the ability of your own righteousness. They will be cast out of the presence of God for all eternity. Only the legitimate children (by faith) will be heirs—inherit eternal life.
  • 4:29 Just like that Arabs (the physical descendants of Ishmael) were persecuting the Jews (the physical descendants of Isaac) in the days of Paul, so will unbelievers (born after the flesh) persecuted believers (born after the Spirit). This means the religiously insecure feel threatened by the gospel, because it says the efforts of their religion aren’t good enough and they respond with hate, hostility and persecution.
    Genesis 21:8-9

Review Questions

  • Why did Paul ask them a question?
  • What was the story Paul told?
  • What was the meaning of the allegory?
  • What is the application of the allegory?
  • Who persecutes who? Why?

Galatians (8 of 13) The Gospel Of Grace Changes Everything

4:8-20 The Gospel Of Grace Changes Everything

Memory Verse: Galatians 4:9a

4:8-11 The Enslavement Of False Hope Or A Relationship With God

  • 4:8 Paul just finished explaining to the Galatians that they are sons of God, but now he contrast that point with reminding them of their past—the time before they knew God. Before hearing and believing in the gospel of grace, they served and worshipped false gods and idols. All false gods and idols are not really gods. They are just creations of men or the evil spirits. They have no real existence. The Bibles clearly tells us that there is only one God. Anyone who chooses to worship anyone or anything else besides the one real God is really worshipping devils. This was the Galatian’s life before the gospel.
    Deuteronomy 32:16-17; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 10:19-20; Isaiah 44:9-20
  • 4:9a But everything is different now because they know the one true God—they have a relationship with Him. Now they are known by the true God—He has a relationship with them. God knows them and if you are a believer God knows you. God knows your name. As believers, we have a personal relationship with God. All the problems of a broken relationship have been reconciled through Jesus. Remember, we are children of God. The security of our salvation is in the fact the we have a restored relationship with God.
    1 Corinthians 8:3
  • 4:9b If all of this is true, then Paul asks why they are turning back to false teachings. We have known from the beginning of the letter that the problem in the Galatian churches was that they started to believe a false gospel. This false gospel required obedience to the law with faith in Christ in order to be saved. Just like the false gods and idols could never save them, neither could obedience to the law save them. They were turning back to “weak and beggarly elements” that only can cause them to be in bondage again—means that everything, apart from faith in Jesus, can only enslaved you because it holds the position of “master” in your life. Anything from believing a moral life can save you to worshipping Buddha are all equally enslaving and damning.
    Galatians 1:6-7; 2:14-16
  • 4:10 Apparently, the Galatian churches started observing days, months, times and years that was not customary to them. This is probably indicating the influence of the false teachers to get them to start following the law of the Old Testament. The false teachers would have emphasized it as a required part of their faith—thus creating an idol. Keeping the law has become an idol to the Galatian churches. We are in the same danger of creating idols if we add requirements to salvation apart from faith in Jesus alone.
  • 4:11 Paul was afraid that his work was in vain because they created this “idol of law keeping.” He was afraid that they really left “faith in Christ” and started trusting in the “works of the law” for salvation. As believers, everything should have changed for them and if it didn’t then his work among them is in vain. This should caution us to check our lives and see if there is anything that we believe we have to do for God to accept us. Have we created idols in our lives? Or are we confident in the fact that we are saved through faith in Jesus alone and are known of God?

4:12-20 Paul’s Ministry Exemplifies True Gospel Service

  • 4:12 Paul reminds the Galatians that he became like them when he ministered to them at the beginning of his time there—meaning he most likely adapted to their culture so that he could give them the gospel. (As believers, we should be willing to adapt to the culture of others so that we can teach them about Jesus.) But now he is calling them to become like him, they have done nothing to hurt him—meaning he is inviting them into his life to imitate him so they could grow in the faith. (As believers, we should live holy and transparent lives that can be imitated by others.)
  • 4:13a, 15b Paul reminds them that he first preached the gospel to them because of an “infirmity of the flesh” or a “bodily ailment.” Paul was sick. He had health problems. But he didn’t use this as an excuse to not serve God, but saw it as an opportunity to serve God where he was. He preached the gospel to those who were around him. He seized the opportunity instead of complaining about his condition or feeling bad for himself. He didn’t loose hope. Paul doesn’t say what his health probably is exactly, but it caused him to stop traveling. It probably was a problem with his eyes because verse fifteen refers to the Galatians being willing to give Paul their own eyes, meaning his had problems. (Note: God uses suffering to carry out his will in our lives. He might use our suffering as a way to minister to other people or he may use it to work on our character and make us more and more like Jesus. God doesn’t always answer our prayers to take away our suffering. Instead, we need to learn like Paul did to depend on the sufficient grace of God and to gladly glory in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon us.)
    Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 12:7-11
  • 4:14-15a, 16 The Galatians didn’t treat Paul bad because of his condition when they first met him, but they received him and treated him like an angel or even like Jesus Christ. But now their attitude and actions toward Paul has changed. He is preaching to them the same truth as he did in the beginning, but now they are treating him like an enemy for it because they have believed false teaching. He wants them to see their change, not his. The message they originally received with joy is now being rejected with hostility.
  • 4:17-18 The false teachers used great energy and enthusiasm in their pursuit to persuade the Galatians churches to obey the law, but their motivation wasn’t pure. They wanted the Galatians in response to using great energy and enthusiasm to pursue them. They wanted to exclude them from the truth so they could create their own sect that was focused on glorifying man instead of God. (Note: Using zeal—great energy and enthusiasm—in our pursuit to preach the gospel is not wrong. Paul even used zeal to preach the gospel to the Galatians. But zeal doesn’t make something correct. It is the purpose and truth behind the zeal that dictates if it is good or bad.)
  • 4:19-20 Paul is in anguish over the situation and says that he will “travail in birth again”—meaning he is willing to go through much heartache to help them understand the gospel and it’s implications again. Just as a mother goes through pain in giving birth so the child can live independently of her, so it will take pain to cause new churches and believers to be born-again and live spiritually independent—until Christ be formed in them. Paul truly cares for them, he calls them his little children and he desires to be with them. He wants to change his tone of voice, but right not he is doubting them (because of what the false teachers taught and how they chose to follow them).

Review Questions

  • What was the Galatians life like before knowing God?
  • What did the false teachers cause the Galatians to believe in?
  • What can be an idol in our lives?
  • Did health problems cause Paul to give up hope?
  • What do we learn about gospel service from Paul’s example?

October 2016 Prayer Letter

September was another exciting month to be serving in the ministry here in China. Since late spring God has really been blessing our outreach efforts and building His church. We are just blessed to be able to be a part of it.

Fruitful Ministry: The school year is back in session so everyone is back to a normal pattern of life. After a fruitful summer, we were hopeful looking into the next season. The church has continued to grow and we even tore down two more walls in our building to expand the auditorium. Also, we saw another man saved. He had been coming to our different events but never had come to church. He decided to believed in God and wanted to become a Christian. He didn’t really know what it meant, but He knew he wanted to know God. He came to my house and I shared the gospel with Him. He didn’t know much about Jesus, but He knew that if Jesus was the way to know God then he was willing to trust in Him. He got saved that day and has been doing weekly discipleship with me since then. Praise the Lord. We are planning another baptism service this month for him and others. Finally, we had another young man (who is married) show interest in full-time ministry. Please pray for him as he makes the necessary steps for his training.

New School: We have a new opportunity for schooling our children this year. All three of our daughters are attending a newly formed bilingual school where all the teachers of the school are Christian. My wife is also working at the school this year to help teach and direct the kindergarten. Our two youngest daughters are in her class. (She even has a government official’s son in her class.) I have the opportunity to teach chapel there several times a semester. Pray for wisdom with this opportunity to influence these children.

Visas: Renewing visas is always a stressful time of the year. You never know what is going to happen. This year we had do something a little different from last year to get our visas, but the Lord blessed and our whole family was granted visas for another year. Praise the Lord. While on our visa run, we were able to take the kids to the new Disney Resort in China for a one-day vacation. We had a great time as a family.

New Outreach: We started a new Bible study outreach on Wednesday evenings. We have a meal, sing a song and then break into small groups for about an hour Bible study where we use a mix of Chinese and English. So far the response has been great and there are several unbelievers studying the Bible because of it. Pray that we will see fruit from this new outreach.

Visitors: We were blessed to be able to assist Ed and Beth de los Reyes on their survey trip last month. They are currently on deputation and have raised over 50% of their support. They are a great couple and we are looking forward to them getting their ministry started in China. If you are interested in more information about them or would like to have them visit your church, please contact us. Also, we hosted some Chinese friends (who pastor a church in Harbin) over a recent Chinese holiday. We enjoyed our time with them and are thankful for the friendships God has given us here.

Support and Offerings: As the ministry grows and the opportunities to invest more of our funds into the ministry here are growing, we could use more monthly support. Please pray that we could raise additional support to meet the growing needs. Also, we are looking to raise some one-time gifts to help us purchase more Chinese Bibles ($500), books we use for outreach ($150) and Christians books and material to stock our church library ($500).

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our team, Project China.


Galatians (7 of 13) The Gospel Of Grace Makes Us Children Of God

3:26-4:7 The Gospel Of Grace Makes Us Children Of God

Memory Verse: Galatians 3:26,4:4-5

3:26 The Apex Of The Gospel: Children Of God

  • 3:26a From the beginning of Galatians until now, Paul has been defending the true gospel showing we are justified by faith and not by obedience to the law. He has used several illustration or examples to make his case. He just finished explaining that our salvation is by promise of God and the law was never meant to change that promise. The law existed to point out our sin and point us to our need of grace. We accept this grace by faith in Christ Jesus. This results not only in freedom from the law, but it completely changes our identity, for God now see us as His children. This is the apex of the true gospel applied to the life of a sinner. We are no longer enemies of God but are part of his family.
  • 3:26b Sinners becoming God’s children is a new reality and was part of God’s plan since the beginning. Every person in a sense is considered to be the offspring of God because we are made in His image, but the “father-son-relationship” is only given to those who have faith in Jesus. Every person is not automatically given this new relationship, but it is offered to everyone to accept through faith. We are given a chance to have a close and personal relationship with the God of heaven. God wants to adopt you.
    Acts 17:28-29

3:27 The Application Of The Gospel: Jesus Clothes

  • 3:27a Paul continues to explain how the gospel of grace through faith has changed our lives. He uses baptism as a metaphor—baptized into Christ—meaning those who are spiritually “immersed into Christ” through His death and resurrection are those who have “put on Christ”—meaning they are now positionally righteous to live out this new reality. Because of Christ we wear the clothing of salvation and righteousness. Again, clothes here are a metaphor that points out our new identity—as we “wear” Jesus: he covers our nakedness (sin); He becomes our uniform (identity); he becomes part of our daily lives and we start to act like Him; He is always with us.
    Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:3-11; 13:12; Isaiah 61:10; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:12
  • 3:27b Please note: Baptism here clearly does not point to water baptism as a condition for “putting on Christ” or for being “in Christ,” because that would void the whole letter Paul is writing. We should understand it as those who have “faith in Christ” have “spiritually identified with Christ” therefore, they have “put on Christ.”

3:28 The Equality Of The Gospel: We Are All One

  • 3:28a The next great truth the gospel of grace has brought is that in Christ we are all one. In Christ we are free from racial, society and gender inequality. In Christ it doesn’t matter what nationality you are, what part of society you are born into or end up in, nor does it matter if you are male or female, because as believers we all wear the same righteous clothing and have the same value as children of God. (The law divided the Jews and the Gentiles but now that division is gone.)
  • 3:28b “All one”—this is referring to “value” in the in the eyes of God and not to destroying all “distinction.” The Bible still promotes the distinction between men and women, the differing roles in the church and the cultures of people, but it does mean that God does not value you any different based on those distinctions. Everyone becomes a child of God through the same way—faith. Practically, it also means that we are believers first—therefore, we are not separated over gender, class or culture. We are to love in the same way that God loves—without distinction.
    Ephesians 5:21-6:9; Colossians 3:18-4:1

3:29-4:7 The Ancestry Of The Gospel: Sons of God

  • 3:29 Another great truth the gospel of grace brings is we become part of the ancestry of God—part of Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. This verse has a few implications: (1) We belong to Christ—if you have believed in Him. (2) We are Abraham’s seed—meaning God’s people are those of faith; not by earthly descent—it doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile by physical birth. (3) We are heirs of the promise God made with Abraham. God adopted us as His sons, thus we will get the inheritance—eternal life.
  • 4:1-3 Paul continues using the example of an heir to help us understand our new position in Christ. He says that an heir doesn’t differ much from a servant when he is a child. The child is the owner of everything because he is the son of the father, and when he is old he will inherit everything, but he is currently under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. This means as a child he is not much different from a servant. Here are the implications of this illustration: (1) Even though God made the promise to Abraham, they were under the law until Jesus came, so they didn’t get to fully experience the freedom that the gospel of grace brings. The time before Jesus came they were like the child. (2) Before salvation, we are in bondage under the elements of the world (and the law) until we heard and believed the gospel of grace.
  • 4:4-5 Then when the fullness of time came according to God’s plan, He sent Jesus to redeem those who were under the law (mankind) so that they might receive adoption as sons. The waiting period was over and God revealed the gospel of grace through Jesus. God is now offering to adopt us as grown sons who will be given the inheritance—eternal life. This is possible because of Jesus. We learn a few things about Jesus from these verses: (1) He is God’s Son—100% God. (2) He is made of a women—100% man. (3) He is made under the law—tempted in the same manner as we are but without every sinning. (4) He came to redeem mankind—His mission was our freedom.
  • 4:6-7 If we believe in Jesus, we become sons. God will adopt us. We are part of His family. He loves us like He loves Jesus. The implications are as follows, because we are sons: (1) God sent the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of His Son) into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. This means we can address God in personal terms—like daddy—just as Jesus did. It signifies the close relationship God wants with us. When we pray, we can come to God just like a child comes to their parents—not in a mechanical impersonal way repeating the same words each time. We can pray anytime, anywhere. (2) We are no longer servants—we get all the privileges of a son. (3) We have the right to obtain the inheritance—abundant and eternal life. It is a gift from the Father to His sons.
    John 17:21-24

Review Questions

  • What is the apex of the gospel?
  • What is the application of the gospel?
  • What is the equality of the gospel?
  • What is the ancestry of the gospel?
  • Has God adopted you? If so, what does this mean?

Galatians (6 of 13) The Gospel Of Grace Is By Promise Of God

3:15-25 The Gospel Of Grace Is By Promise Of God

Memory Verse: Galatians 3:22

3:15-18 The Covenant: The Power Of God’s Promise

  • 3:15 Paul uses the illustration of a human covenant to help us better understand the promise of the gospel between God and man. He says that a man’s covenant—which is an agreement between two people—cannot be changed once it is established. It cannot be rejected or declare invalid, nor can it be added to. Even if the circumstances change, the covenant is to be carried out in the manner that was agreed on by both parties when the covenant was established.
  • 3:16 Then he comes back to Abraham and shows how this covenant illustration is useful and applicable to us through him. Paul already exemplified Abraham’s faith earlier in the chapter to show us that the gospel of grace is received by faith, but now he shows us that the gospel was made by promise to Abraham and his seed (a certain descendant)—this descendant is Jesus, who fulfilled this promise and anyone can partake of it through faith.
    Galatians 3:6-9; Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7
  • 3:17 Next, Paul shows us the power of this promise or covenant. God made a covenant with Abraham—He promised that He would do certain things—ultimately bless all nations through Christ. This was God making a promise to mankind. No matter what would happen, we can rest assured that God would keep His promise. Then the law came 430 years after God made this promise to Abraham and people got confused. They acted as if God change the terms of the agreement, but that was never the purpose of the law—it was never meant to change the covenant or declare it invalid.
  • 3:18 Paul reasons that if we received the “inheritance” (eternal life) because of the law, it is no more of promise. Law and promise are opposites. They both can’t be true. It is much like how Paul tells the Romans that grace and works are opposites. If you add works to grace then it is no longer grace. Therefore, we have to choose one as the object of our faith (promise or law). God gave it to Abraham by promise. Therefore we can conclude that the “inheritance” (eternal life) is by promise (grace) and not by law (works).

3:19-22 The Law: Purpose And Limitations

  • 3:19a, 22a Paul asked the next logical question that he knew the readers of his letter would ask: “What is the purpose of the law?” If we can only be saved by promise which is by faith then what is the purpose of the law which is by works? Paul gives two main reasons for the purpose of the law. The first he states in this verse: “because of transgressions.” The law informs us about and exposes sin. Sin is a transgression—a violation of the law. The result of sin is death. Therefore, the law was given as a temporary standard of holiness (until Jesus came to fulfill the promise) that showed us our failure to keep it and the punishment for our disobedience. The scripture of the Old Testament and the Law concluded every single person is under sin.
    Romans 3:20; 4:15; 5:12-21; 1 John 3:4; 1 Corinthians 15:56; James 2:8-12
  • 3:19b-20 The law was given by God, ordained by angels in the hands of a mediator (probably Moses). These verses are a little hard to understand but going along with the flow of the argument it seems that Paul’s point is that God alone ratified the covenant with Abraham—thus it is based on God and not multiple parties—which is indicated by the use of a mediator. Simply stated, the promise is superior to the law because it depends on one party, God, and not many parties, us and God.
    Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Acts 7:53; Hebrews 2:2; Leviticus 26:46; John 1:17
  • 3:21 Another question arises, “Since the law exist because of transgressions does that mean it is against the promises of God?” This question comes from trying to fully grasp the relationship of the law and the promise. Paul’s answer is an emphatic “No”—they do no contradict each other. Both of them come from God but they have different purposes. These purposes don’t contradict each other but they work together. Paul will explain more in the next verse be here he wants us to know one major limitation of the law (which he has stated before): righteousness cannot come by the law, it cannot give life.
    Galatians 2:21; Romans 7:7; 2 Corinthians 3:6
  • 3:22 Paul explains the second purpose of the law: “because of grace.” The law was also given to cause us to recognize our need of grace—a need that can only be fulfilled through the promise by faith in Jesus Christ. It shows us that our works cannot make us righteous but that righteousness is given—to them that believe. Thus, rightly understood, there is no contradiction between the law and the promise. The law shows a person he is not righteous and he can do nothing to make himself righteous through it. It shows the only option is grace. The promise offers this grace. It’s only condition is faith. The promise is reliable because it is based on the Promise Giver—God Himself.
    Deuteronomy 27:26; Romans 3:9; 11:32

3:23-25 The Law: Before Faith And After Faith

  • 3:23 Paul wants us to understand our position “before faith came.” We were kept under the law. We were captive under the law. We were “shut up” or imprisoned. Then “faith came” and it changed everything.
  • 3:24 The law acted as a temporary “schoolmaster.” This schoolmaster is believed to be a slave that took care of school-aged children of his owner. They were the “active authority”. They were in control of teaching them what was right and disciplining them when they were wrong. The law had this same function, telling us what is right but disciplining our disobedience. As you can image, a child isn’t too fond of the person who is in charge of their discipline, especially if they are strict. Thus, being under the law prepared us for the appearance of Christ, that in Him we can be justified by faith (not works).
  • 3:25 After “faith came” we no longer are under a “schoolmaster”—we are no longer under the law. We are no longer characterized by being a prisoner or a school-aged child who needs a tutor, but we are freed from the prison cell and have come to age—that we no longer need a disciplinarian. Once a person exercises faith in Jesus (belief) they are made free from the captivity and imprisonment of the law. They no longer have to obey the law out of fear or as a way of salvation. They remember the lessons the law taught them and are freed to joyfully obey God out of their gratefulness for all He has done to save them. We are no longer under the law but we are under grace.
    Romans 6:14

Review Questions

  • Is salvation by promise or by law?
  • Who did God make the promise to?
  • Did the law make the promise void?
  • What is the purpose of the law? Does it contradict the promise?
  • What happens to the law after faith?

Galatians (5 of 13) The Gospel Of Grace Is Received By Faith

3:1-14 The Gospel Of Grace Is Received By Faith

Memory Verse: Galatians 3:6

3:1-5 Paul’s Examines Faith And Works

  • 3:1 Paul comes back to the problem of the Galatian churches. Their problem is that they are not obeying the truth of the gospel. They left the truth that was first delivered to them and started to believe in a false gospel—a message that can only bring condemnation. Paul calls them foolish because they have made foolish conclusions even though when they heard the gospel, Jesus was evidently set forth and crucified before their eyes—they heard a clear, passionate and powerful presentation of the truth.
    Galatians 1:6-7; 2:4
  • 3:2-3 Paul ask them several rhetorical questions to help them better understand the problem. He asked them: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by works or faith? The answer to the question is obviously “faith” and so he continues saying that he wonders if they are so foolish to believe they can begin in the Holy Spirit by faith and then be made perfect by the works of the flesh. It seems that the Galatians were humble enough to know they were saved because of faith but fearful enough to think that they must keep the law to stay saved and be sanctified. Paul is trying to combat this thinking. He wants them to know we are saved by faith and we are sanctified by faith—not by human effort.
  • 3:4 Paul then causes them to remember all the things they have already suffered for the sake of the gospel of grace. If they are now leaving this gospel then they suffered all those things in vain. He wants them to remember their commitment to the truth and the price they paid for it.
  • 3:5 Finally, Paul brings God into the argument. Does God ministers to you the Holy Spirit by works or faith? Are the miracles done by works or faith? Does God work among us because of our obedience to the law or because of our faith? The Galatians are not Jews, so they didn’t have the same connection to the law as a Jews did. They didn’t know it as well as the Jews. Therefore, Paul is using all of these arguments to cause them to realize that they became Christians by faith and they should continue living for God by faith—not letting the false teachers confuse them and think they must also keep the law.

3:6-9 Paul Exemplifies Abraham’s Faith

  • 3:6-8 Paul uses the Old Testament example of Abraham—the father of the Jews—to show that He even agrees with this truth. Abraham believed God’s promise and it was counted to him for righteousness. Abraham was justified by faith. Then Paul says that those who are “of faith” are the children of Abraham. What he means is those who are justified by faith are those who are partakers of the promise of the gospel of grace first preached to Abraham—not those of physical birth. This is pivotal in understanding God’s plan of salvation. God knew that He was going to justify man through faith (because of the death and resurrection of Jesus), therefore, He preached the gospel to Abraham saying, “In thee shall all nations be blessed”. So the condition for salvation has always been faith and never works.
    Genesis 12:1-3; 15:6
  • 3:9 He concludes that anyone who is “of faith” are the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham. They “are blessed with faithful Abraham”. This is important to remember and a point that Paul will return to later in this letter to the Galatian believers.

3:10-12 Paul Exposes The Law’s Curse

  • 3:10 The law has a major curse that is often overlooked when people are trusting in it as their way of salvation. It requires that your obey everything written in it. That means you have to be perfect. The law demands perfection. If you don’t obey all the things that are written in the book of the law then you are cursed. If you keep all of the law, but you are disobedient in just one point, then you are guilty of all the law. The law is strict. The law offers no mercy. The law says you are 100% obedient or 100% disobedient.
    Deuteronomy 27:26; James 2:10; Romans 3:23
  • 3:11 Paul makes himself extremely clear: “The law cannot justify you.” It doesn’t matter how hard you try the law will condemn you. If you have already failed once, you are under the curse of the law. You are marked as disobedient—a sinner. But there is hope. It is called “faith”. From the Old Testament through the New Testament “the just shall live by faith.” God has provided a way that can redeem us.
    Habakkuk 2:4
  • 3:12 The “law” or “faith” as a means of salvation are opposites. Therefore, you have to choose one or the other. You cannot choose both. The law is not of faith and faith is not of the law. “Law” stands for trusting in any human effort to be made righteous. “Faith” stands for trusting in Jesus’ effort to be made righteous. We cannot trust in Jesus and our own works at the same time. You can only trust in one. If you trust in the law you must live by the law and this can only bring condemnation. On the contrary, salvation if a gift given to us by God and received by faith. We don’t receive salvation by merit or because we earned it. If it is because we earned it then it is of works and not of grace. That is the whole purpose of the law, to show us that we can’t earn salvation and we fall short of the standard of perfect. It points us to grace and grace says, “By faith”.
    Romans 11:6; Leviticus 18:5

3:13-14 Paul Elevates Christ’s Redemption

  • 3:13 Paul finally gets to the main point: “We couldn’t but Jesus could”. Jesus did everything that we couldn’t do. It was Jesus who redeemed us from the curse of the law. After studying the law, you will come to the conclusion that you are cursed. You are doomed to die and to be separated from God for all eternity. But Jesus was willing to pay the price to purchase you. Your price was death. So He died in your place. Jesus was perfect, completely obeying law, but he was made a curse for us by dyeing on the cross, thus redeeming us from the curse of the law. Now we are made prefect in Christ.
    Romans 5:8; 6:23; Deuteronomy 21:23
  • 3:14 Why did Christ do this? First, that through Him we (Gentiles) could receive the blessings of Abraham: salvation by grace through faith. He knew we couldn’t be saved by the law (we didn’t even know the law) and this was His plan all along. Second, He did this so that we could receive the Holy Spirit through faith. The Holy Spirit is making us holy by faith. We are saved and sanctified by faith. Today, we can live for God by faith.

Review Questions

  • What was the answer to Paul’s rhetorical questions?
  • Why did Paul use Abraham as an example?
  • What is the curse of the law?
  • How did Jesus redeem us?
  • We are saved and sanctified by what?

Survey Trip Info (All In One Place)

This post puts all the links to the info about “survey trips” on this blog into one place for your convenience.


Survey Trip Basics (1 of 4) Objective & Goals

Survey Trip Basics (2 of 4) Implementation & To Do’s

Survey Trip Basics (3 of 4) Research

Survey Trip Basics (4 of 4) Questions

Survey Trip (1 of 3) Pre-trip Survey & Transportation

Survey Trip (2 of 3) Places to Visit

Survey Trip (3 of 3) Chinese Cities


Questions: Survey Trip – The following are questions that I sent in to Austin Gardner to be answered on his “Leadership with Vision” podcast. He answers these questions in the podcast.


CATEGORY ARCHIVES: SURVEY – My “survey” thoughts on different places I have been that I jotted down.


Galatians (4 of 13) Paul Confronts Peter’s Hypocrisy

2:11-21 Paul Confronts Peter’s Hypocrisy

Memory Verse: Galatians 2:16, 20

2:11-13 Peter’s Hypocrisy

  • 2:11 Paul, Peter and the other apostles realized they were teaching the same true gospel, were unified because of it and agreed on their different missions from God to reach the Gentiles and Jews. But when Peter came to Antioch, Paul withstood Peter to the face—meaning that he called him out for doing something wrong. Paul was claiming that Peter was to be blamed for doing something wrong. What was this apostle’s wrong-doing?
  • 2:12a Peter ate with the Gentiles. To us this doesn’t seem like a big deal. But at that time it was a big deal because Peter was a Jew. The Old Testament had several “ceremonial” and “clean” laws that a Jew was supposed to follow, including their eating habits. This also resulted in many traditions that Jews made up over the years. There was a separation between the Jews and the Gentiles, because the Gentiles didn’t follow their laws or traditions and were “unclean”. Then something happened. Jesus came and broke down this wall of separation and everything changed. No longer would the Jews have to follow these “ceremonial” and “clean” laws and no longer was their a difference between the Jews and the Gentiles. Thus, a practical application of this new reality for Peter was that he started eating with the Gentiles. This was good. But the problem, as Pauls notes, is not that he started to eat with the Gentiles, it is that he stopped. When certain Jewish men came from James he withdrew and separated himself from the Gentiles.
    Mark 7:14-23; Acts 117-9; 10:34-35
  • 2:12b Peter separated himself from the Gentiles because he feared the criticism of the false teachers (them which were of the circumcision). As we have studied, not everyone believed in Jesus and many Jews thought that you had to add keeping the ceremonial and clean laws to faith in Jesus for salvation. Peter obviously didn’t believe this false gospel, but instead of standing in the truth, he cowardly withdrew. Peter believed the true gospel, but was acting like he didn’t. Peter was a hypocrite—he claimed to believe the real gospel but his own behavior did not conform to it.
  • 2:13 The second problem was that Peter’s influence caused the other Jews to follow his hypocrisy. Even Barnabas, who worked with Paul and Titus—(a Gentile), also followed his hypocrisy. Remember: Our actions effect other people’s actions.

2:14-16a Paul’s Confrontation

  • 2:14a Paul understood one important truth: the gospel changes our worldview—meaning that according to the truth of the gospel we are to walk uprightly or in accordance to it. At salvation, every believer already has a previous world-view (based on culture, upraising, school, etc.) in which they interpret the world and the things around them. But also at salvation, the truth of the gospel should become our new world-view and we start to interpret everything according to it. This will have drastic changes in our lives. Paul realized Peter was using his Jewish-world-view instead of his gospel-world-view.
  • 2:14b-16a Paul ask Peter a question that points out his hypocrisy: If you are a Jew and live like a Gentile, then why are you asking the Gentiles to live like the Jews? Then Paul points Peter back to the truth of the gospel that he seems to have forgotten. Both of them are Jews by nature, but even their nationality and obedience to the law couldn’t save them. Their own salvation had nothing to do with their race, culture, laws or customs, but it was only through believing in Jesus that they were saved. Thus, why is Peter basing who he can eat with, associate with or have a relationship with based on race, culture, laws and customs when his own salvation is not based on those things. He is reminding Peter that their own relationship with God had nothing to do with what they did, but in whom they believed. It wasn’t about works, it was about grace. It wasn’t about keeping the laws anymore, it was about living out the freedom that Jesus gave. Peter doesn’t have to fear because of other people’s criticism or approval because he is already justified—he is already righteous before God and accepted by Him. He has God’s approval.

2:16b-21 Truth Explained

  • 2:16b Justification By Faith: As Paul is reminding Peter of the gospel, he boldly and clearly declares what the true gospel is: justification by faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot be justified by the works of the law. No person will ever be justified by the works of the law.
  • 2:17-18 Implications: Paul explains that if being “justified by Christ” wasn’t true then they are all sinners because they aren’t living by the law and Christ would be the minister of sin since they are following His teachings. On the other-hand, if they rebuild this false system of salvation by the law that they destroyed by preaching the gospel of grace, they would be found as transgressor—sinners, lawbreakers.
  • 2:19a The Law Kills: Paul says that through the law he is dead to the law. Several were trusting in the law for their salvation. They believed their works could justify them. But what Paul is saying is that the more he tried to obey the law, one truth became clear: the law could not justify—it died to him as a way of redemption. All of the “cleanings” and the “ceremonies” were not enough to take away his sins and make him righteous.
  • 2:19b God Saves: Since Paul was no longer trusting in his own works of keeping the law for his salvation, he could believe in Jesus for redemption and really start to live for God.
  • 2:20 New Identity: Believers are dead to the law (or any works we do to try to earn God’s acceptance and salvation) because we were crucified with Christ. The penalty was paid in full by Christ and applied to our account by faith. Nevertheless, we live, not us but Christ lives inside of us—meaning we have a new identity in Christ. We live out this new identity in our current bodies by the faith of the Son of God, not by the works of the law (new worldview). We are justified by faith and we live by faith. It was Jesus’ love and personal sacrifice that changed everything, and it is what motivates us to serve Him.
  • 2:21 Only Grace: This whole system of salvation is based on the wonderful grace of God. Paul says he doesn’t want to frustrate the grace of God and clearly says if righteousness came by the law, then Christ died in vain. He is reminding Peter that he can’t mix law and grace, therefore, he needs to walk uprightly according to the truth of the gospel.

Review Questions

  • What was Peter’s wrong-doing?
  • Peter’s influence caused what?
  • The truth of the gospel should become our new what?
  • What are we justified by?
  • Can we mix law and grace? Why?

Galatians (3 of 13) The Gospel Of Grace Results In Liberty

2:1-10 The Gospel Of Grace Results In Liberty

Memory Verse: Galatians 2:4-5

2:1-5 Paul Defends The Liberty Of The Gospel Of Grace

  • 2:1 After Paul tells us about his early years in 1:16-14 he picks up here in chapter 2 starting 14 years later. At this time he went to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus.
  • 2:2 Paul, by revelation of God, goes to Jerusalem to meet with the leaders of the church there. He was going to discuss the gospel that he was preaching among the gentiles and to report all that God was doing. Paul knew the gospel he was preaching was the true gospel, but there were false teachers entering the church and teaching false things. The gospel radically changed how things worked in the Jewish system, mainly that of including gentiles, but also not requiring believers to keep the law. The gospel freed people from the law, it didn’t bind them to it. Paul didn’t want there to be conflict that would cause a divide in the church because people didn’t understand the full application of the gospel. He didn’t want his ministry to be ruined because of this lack of understanding, so he met with leaders to discuss all of this.
  • 2:3-4a Paul uses Titus as an example. He is a Greek not a Jew. Therefore, he didn’t get circumcised as a child like the Jewish children did. Paul says Titus wasn’t compelled or forced by anyone in Jerusalem to get circumcised after believing the gospel of grace to be seen as a real Christian. The message was clear: faith in Jesus alone for salvation. There are no external behaviors that we can add to our faith in Jesus that are required to be saved. This is where the false teachers were wrong: they believed that the new gentile Christians had to become Jewish—that is, they had to adhere to certain external cultural behaviors now that they believed in Jesus or they weren’t really Christians (legalism). Therefore, since Titus didn’t get circumcised, he warns us that we cannot add on anything to faith in Jesus for salvation (such as baptism, speaking in tongues, standards).
  • The Misunderstanding: Many Jews didn’t understand the purpose of the law. They thought they could be made holy through trying to keep the law. But the law was given to show them that they couldn’t be made holy on their own. The parts of the law that dealt with offering gifts and sacrifices or deal with meats, drinks, divers washings, and carnal ordinances were imposed on them until the time of reformation—the time of Jesus. Jesus fulfilled what the law couldn’t do, make us holy and thus we don’t need the law anymore—it has been fulfilled.
    Hebrews 9:9-10
  • The Liberty: Through the death and resurrection of Jesus we have been made holy, not through the things that we do or by keeping special ceremonial laws in the Old Testament. They were given to point us to Jesus, not to do to make us holy. Now, we are in Christ, and in Him we have liberty. We are no longer a slave to the law, because Jesus has freed us from it. Therefore, we have no obligation to keep any of the ceremonials laws of the Old Testament or any Jewish traditions or cultural mandates.
    Colossians 1:22, 2:16
  • 2:4b-5 Paul also shows us the attitude we are to have towards false teachers. In the first chapter he tells us they should be accursed—that is because they preached a damning message they themselves should be damned. Here he says the false believers came into the church to spy on their liberty in Jesus and try to bring them back into bondage—to take away the liberty that Jesus brought and make them slaves again to the law. To these type of false brethren Paul said that he didn’t give them any of his time. Instead he guarded the gospel truth so that it would continue on unto the Galatian churches. He spent his time teaching and preserving the gospel. We should do the same. We are not to entertain those who preach a false gospel, spend time arguing with them or even give them consideration about teaching another gospel. The gospel is not up for debate and we are not to waste time debating it with those who don’t believe it. If you know someone is part of a cult or teaches heresy, then you should not give them any time (not in church, your house, small group, etc) but only declare the truth to them (if they want to listen). In this circumstance, this is a one-way conversation that only tolerates one message: faith in Jesus alone for salvation.
    Galatians 1:8-9

2:6-10 Paul’s Message And Calling Are Confirmed

  • 2:6 Because Paul received the gospel by revelation, he was assured that it and the liberty that resulted from it was true. After his meeting with the apostles in Jerusalem, Paul’s message didn’t change. They didn’t add anything to the message that Paul was preaching. The message was confirmed by apostles: faith in Jesus alone for salvation. But Paul didn’t go to Jerusalem to get their conformation of the message he was preaching. He was already sure of the message and position. (You can see his confidence in his tone when he talks about the other apostles. Whatever they were made no difference to Paul. He knew God shows no partiality or is a respecter of persons.)
  • 2:7-9 Instead of adding to the message Paul was preaching, because he was preaching the same message that they had preached, they gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship. They realized that the same God that worked in Peter to become an apostle to the Jews (entrusted with the gospel of the circumcision—Jews) worked in Paul to become an apostle to the Gentiles (entrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision—Gentiles). Both sides realized that there was only one gospel: faith in Jesus alone for salvation, but that they had different callings and agreed for Paul (and those with him) to take the gospel to the Gentiles while they (James, Peter, John, and whoever else was with them) took the gospel to the Jews. We learn a few things from their interaction: (1) There is only one true gospel: faith in Jesus alone for salvation. (2) Unity is based on the true gospel. We need to be united and divided over the gospel. If someone preaches a false gospel we need to separate from them. If someone preaches a true gospel we should work to be united. (3) We accept everyone who believes in the true gospel, who is in Christ. There should be no racial attitudes or prejudice in the church. (4) Even in our unity we have different callings. God gives different abilities and gifts to believers to reach different peoples. We fulfill these callings and are in different locations, but we teach the same gospel, we never change it for a certain people group.
  • 2:10 After they agreed to separate and each go their way preaching the gospel, the leaders of the church in Jerusalem asked one thing of Paul: to remember the poor. Paul was already willing to do this. We should also remember the poor and show mercy.

Review Questions

  • Why did Paul go to Jerusalem?
  • Why was Titus a strong example?
  • What attitude does Paul have towards false teachers?
  • What is the true gospel?
  • What are some things we learn from Paul’s interaction with the other apostles?

Galatians (2 of 13) Paul’s Life Changing Testimony

1:10-24 Paul’s Life Changing Testimony

Memory Verse: Galatians 1:15-16a

1:10-12, 16b-17a Paul’s Motivation: Man Or God Pleasing?

  • 1:10 Paul is challenging the Galatian churches because they have left the true gospel. He continues by sharing his testimony about how he became a believer, but first he addresses his motive. He asks a rhetorical question: “For do I now persuade men, or God?” The answer is obvious, Paul is seeking the approval of God. Paul’s tone in writing this letter shows us that Paul is not trying to get man’s approval. He has been freed by the gospel and now he lives a life that tries to win God’s approval. He ask the question another way and says, “Do I seek to please men?” Again, the answer is an obvious “No.” Paul then continues to tell them that anyone who lives to please men instead of God cannot be the servant of Christ. Believers cannot live for the approval of men. Our joy, happiness, satisfaction and salvation are all found in God alone. Our desire to live for God comes out of our gratitude for salvation. Thus Paul’s motivation was to please God and to win His approval, therefore He wouldn’t change the truth to unite and please men, but stands against false teaching to please God
    Jeremiah 17:5-8
  • 1:11-13a, 16c-17a Paul confirms to the Galatian churches that the gospel of grace that he is preaching was received directly by the revelation of Jesus Christ—meaning it came directly from the source itself. This is important because Paul is claiming to be an apostle and this establishes his authority. Paul emphasizes: (1) He didn’t receive the gospel from any person. He wasn’t taught the gospel by any person. This gospel is not man’s gospel. (2) He didn’t come to the realization of the gospel on his own. He hated the church of God before his conversion. (3) He didn’t receive the gospel from the other apostles or believers. After his conversion he didn’t talk with anyone or go to Jerusalem to discuss it.
    Acts 9:19

1:13-16 Paul’s Conversion And Calling: God’s Amazing Grace

  • 1:13-14 Before Paul was converted he was an extremely religious man in the Jew’s religion. He was very zealous. He was better at keeping the rules, traditions and morals than those who were his equals. He violently persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. He was filled with a passion to serve God but without the knowledge of the truth. He was so self-righteous and prideful through his moral righteousness that He was blinded to his need for God; and at the same time, so evil and violent that his hands were bloodied with evil works. Paul was the perfect candidate for grace.
  • 1:15-16a There is only one person who could have saved Paul and that was God. God showed His grace to Paul and called him to salvation. Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God that makes a way for our sins to be forgiven. Paul was completely undeserving of God’s salvation, but that is what makes it by grace. God chose to save Paul, not because he tried to keep all the rules and God didn’t reject Paul because he murdered Christians, but God called Paul by His grace because it pleased God to do so. Paul responded to the gospel call, repented and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. This means there is hope for you. It doesn’t matter what you have been trusting in or wether you are the worst of sinners, by God’s grace, you too can be saved. Repent of your religion, rule keeping and sin—turn from everything else and trust solely in the grace of God. He invites you to a personal relationship with Him—no religion, just Jesus.
    Deuteronomy 7:7-8
  • 1:15b Paul says that God separated him from his mother’s womb. This means that ever since Paul was conceived that God had an awesome plan for Paul’s life and everything in Paul’s life has been working towards the fulfillment of that plan. God not only has a plan for Paul’s life but also for your life. God has an amazing plan for your life. God through His grace can use you to do great things, not because you are great, but because He is.
  • 1:16b Not only did God call Paul to salvation, but also called him to service. The gospel of grace completely changed Paul’s life and God wanted him to now use his life to preach Jesus among the heathen. God also wants to use your life to preach Jesus to the world.

1:16-14 Paul’s Growth: The Early Years

  • 1:16c-17 Paul knew what God wanted him to do. He did not consult about his conversion or calling with any of the other Apostles because he had direct revelation from God. Instead Paul had a time of growth for at least three years before he met with the others. We are not sure what Paul did, but we know that He was ready for ministry after spending time there. God used that time to grow Paul’s relationship with Him. Even though He was religious before, he never had a personal relationship with God. God wants you to do great things for Him and He wants to do great things through you, but we have to put the importance on our personal relationship with Him. We need to spend time developing this relationship more than just focusing on the works we can do for Him.
  • 1:17-19 He went to Arabia and Damascus. After three years Paul went to Jerusalem to meet with Peter and abode with him for fifteen days. He didn’t meet any of the other Apostles except for James, Jesus’ brother. Paul’s message would be confirmed by them because what He was preaching was the same as what they were preaching.
    Luke 24:45-49
  • 1:20 Paul’s testimony before he became a believer was so radical that it would be hard for other believers to believe He really converted. Therefore, he goes so far to say, “Before God, I lie not.” He wants those he is writing to, to understand how serious he is being. He isn’t trying to deceive them and infiltrate their churches to persecuted them more. He wants them to know that the glorious gospel of grace really changed his life.
  • 1:21-24 Afterwards he went to the region of Syria and Cilicia. The christian churches in Judaea didn’t know Paul by face—meaning they didn’t know him personally nor what he looked like; but they did hear of Paul’s life changing testimony. They heard that the one who persecuted the christian churches in the past was now preaching the faith he once destroyed. Because of this the churches responded by glorifying God. If you are a true believer then you also have an amazing testimony. Our stories might be different but the gospel is the same. We all can say we were undeserving sinners called by the grace of God through His Son’s (Jesus) death and resurrection and today by faith we live to serve Him. Every testimony we hear of God’s grace should cause us to glorify Him.

Review Questions

  • What was Paul’s motivation?
  • What is grace?
  • What is Paul’s conversion story?
  • What did God call Paul to do?
  • What happened when others heard Paul’s testimony?