Paul condemns racism in the Ekklesia and teaches the difference between physical and spiritual circumcision.
Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received you the Spirit, [Did the Holy Spirit come] by the works of the law, [Does keeping the commandments in future, atone for PAST sin?] or by the hearing of faith?
Did you receive the Holy Spirit, by now starting to keep the commandments; or did the penalty for sin have to be paid first, so that you could be reconciled to God?
It is our repentance and faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, which reconciles us to God the Father, which then brings us into a relationship with God the Father, so that he may then give us his Spirit.
3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the acts of the flesh? 3:4 Have you suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. 3:5 He, theretofore, [or he, therefore,] that ministers to you the Spirit, and works miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and [obeyed God] it was accounted to him for righteousness. 3:7 Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
The subject of the book of Galatians was the problem that some Jewish converts had with associating with some Gentile converts who had been circumcised in spirit having sincerely repented of sin; but had not been circumcised in the flesh, which was the sign of the Mosaic Covenant, and were not following certain Pharisaic traditions.
That is the subject, and Paul starts talking about being saved by faith, and being forgiven through the atoning sacrifice of Christ and living by faith in Christ, and then keeping the commandments through the indwelling of Christ, to show the difference between physical circumcision and circumcision of the heart.
In fact Paul is explaining the difference between keeping God’s Word in future and the need for an atonement for PAST sin.
People who do what Abraham did, being full of faith and marrying that faith to the actions of obedience to the whole Word of God; are Abraham’s children. Galatians 3:7 Know you not therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”
Paul is teaching us that it is not just physical Israel who are the children of Abraham, but it is everyone who has sincerely repented and had the atoning sacrifice of Christ applied to them.
Everyone who commits to obey God the Father in all things and who is then filled with God’s Spirit, everyone who is filled with faith in God, all of them, both Jew and Gentile including ALL races, are people of faith and are therefore the children of Abraham.
It is not those who are the physical descendants of Abraham; but those who do what Christ teaches and what Abraham did as our example; those who are like Abraham in faith, words and deeds; are truly Abraham’s children. Physical descent means nothing in the New Covenant: Believing and living by every Word of God is all in all!
In Hebrews 12:8 Paul explains that those who will not endure correction are not truly son’s at all but bastards. Why does any father correct his children? Why, to mold their behavior into what HE wants it to be; to cause the child to act as the father would have him act.
Therefore if we will not do what Abraham did for our example, he is not truly our father in a spiritual sense; and if we do not obey our Father in heaven; then he is NOT our Father in the spiritual sense; and if we will not keep the whole Word of God our Father in heaven; then we are rebellious children in need of severe correction.
Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
If we become the children of God our Father in heaven and are reconciled to him in faith; and turn away from all sin to live by every Word of God; we also become reconciled to Abraham and become heirs of the promises made to him.
Paul is trying to heal the rift between certain Jews and certain Gentiles in saying that; if we have faith in God and in Christ and keep all of God’s Word as Abraham did; then we are circumcised in heart: Regardless of our race we are grafted into a spiritual Israel of the New Covenant and we ARE the children of Abraham.
Circumcision of the flesh has a fault, which is that those circumcised in the flesh still could not obey their father Abraham nor their Father in heaven; therefore circumcision of the flesh was replaced by a much better circumcision: A circumcision of the heart through the sacrifice of Christ which atoned for sin, removing the barrier of sin [foreskin of our heart] which comes between us and God the Father.
The foreskin of our hearts [which is our sins] that must be removed!
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
As it is written:
Those sins are removed by our sincere repentance and our baptismal commitment to go and sin no more; through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God; which then reconciles us to God the Father and makes us the seed of Abraham in a spiritual sense.
It is the circumcision of the heart [the removal of sin by the application of the sacrifice of Christ] which makes us Abraham’s seed,: not the circumcision of the flesh; which does not remove sin, nor does it make us truly spiritual sons of Abraham, or sons of God our Father in heaven.
Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 3:9 So, then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Those who repent and turn away from rebellion against God the Father; who STOP sinning: Will then have the sacrifice of the Lamb of God applied to them!
Our faith in Christ; which must be a living faith of sincere repentance from evil works, to become obedient to the whole Word of God the Father, as Christ was obedient to God the Father: will result in the application of Christ’s atoning sacrifice to us. And being justified by that sacrifice we will be reconciled to God the Father in heaven.
Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
We are only justified by the application of Christ’s sacrifice! The unrepentant sinner will NOT have the sacrifice of Christ applied to him or her and will NOT be justified before God!
The true circumcision of the New Covenant is spiritual, of the heart and spirit, and not of the flesh.
Circumcision of the flesh profits nothing spiritually, even baptism and ordination, or attending some corporate church organization profits nothing at all; UNLESS we are circumcised of the heart; through sincere repentance from all sin and compromising with any part of the whole Word of God followed by a commitment to diligently believe and live by every Word of God; and the application of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
If we are baptized, ordained, or attend corporate church services, or are physically circumcised: It means absolutely NOTHING unless we do the deeds of Abraham and have his faith to trust and obey Almighty God!
Circumcision of the flesh was a sign of the Mosaic Covenant and when that Covenant passed away because of its weakness: It was replaced with a New and better Covenant, a spiritual Covenant.
The sign of the New Covenant is the circumcision of the heart: Which is repentance from rebellion and sin, a commitment to obey God the Father and the application of the atoning sacrifice of Christ! This circumcises our hearts by removing all PAST sins and reconciles us to God the Father by removing that barrier of sin hat existed between us and God the Father; which barrier is our rebellion and sin!
This message about circumcision is an explanation of the process of salvation!
Yes, the truly converted Gentiles are grafted into a New Covenant spiritual Israel, being filled with faith in God. They are obedient in faith and are the seed of Abraham, for Abraham believed God and coupled that belief with obedience!
Abraham believed God. Abraham acted on that belief and obeyed God showing forth the works of his faith. That is faith.
Faith is not just belief, it is action based on belief. We can believe all we want to and if we do nothing about it, it has done us absolutely no good. We must believe God, and we must act on that belief by doing what God says.
If we believe in the sacrifice of Christ, then we must act to stop sinning so that his sacrifice may then be applied to us! This is called “SINCERE REPENTANCE”!
3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
If we do not have faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, his perfect sinless life and resurrection, and if we justify breaking the law in even the smallest point, we are cursed [facing death] and we must pay the penalty for having broken the Word of God.
There is no remission of PAST sin without sincere repentance from all past sin, a commitment to sin no more in future and the application of the sacrifice of Christ!
The penalty for transgressing the law or any part of the Word of God is death; Adam died for his rebellion against God! And the only way to be saved from being forced to pay the penalty we have earned; is to sincerely repent of all PAST sins, resolve to STOP sinning in future, be baptized, and have faith in the promises and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, the man that does them shall live in them. 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, [If we sincerely repent and STOP sinning, Christ will redeem us from the penalty for having broken the law,] being made a curse for us, having died for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
The law itself is not a curse. It is a great blessing. But there is a curse of the law, and the curse of the law is the penalty that must be paid when the law is broken. And when the law is broken, the penalty to be exacted is death.
We can only be saved from that penalty through sincere repentance for not obeying God and then to dedicate ourselves to live by every Word of God from henceforth and forever more.
Then the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be applied to us; at which point we will be given God’s Spirit; and the Spirit of Christ and of God the Father will dwell in us, empowering us to live by every Word of God the Father and of Jesus Christ.
And if we should slip now and then, or here and there unintentionally; we have faith that Christ’s sacrifice will atone for us if we sincerely repent. That does not justify continuing in sin. It does not justify habitual sin. But it is there to save us, when and if we do unintentionally slip.
3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come also on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The Spirit of God, which empowers us to keep God’s Word, which imparts us with the very nature of God; that Holy Spirit is given through our sincere repentance and faith in the sacrifice of Christ and our willingness to obey Christ and God the Father, to turn from our sins and to diligently live by every Word of God the Father in future (Mat 4:4).
3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s agreement or covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannuls, or adds to it.
When you have a firm covenant or a contract with somebody, nobody can break it, or disannul it, or change it; without a penalty. It is a commitment made between two people.
3:16 Now, to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
The promise of God to Abraham was that through your seed Isaac, who was a type of Jesus Christ, God shall bless all people; which includes ALL races.
3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot disannul that covenant or that promise that God made to Abraham, that it should make the promise of no effect.
That is, Jesus Christ was God before he was made flesh, and he promised Abraham in Ur: “in your seed shall all flesh be blessed.” And the law coming 430 years [after the promise was made in Ur] later at Sinai cannot dissannul the promise that God made to Abraham.
As a slight aside here, that is why the descendants of Abraham, that is, the tribes of Israel and Judah are being blessed in this latter day; to fulfill all the promises made by God to the ancients. The Mosaic Covenant ended with the death of the Husband Jesus Christ. However, God’s promises have not ended. And he is keeping the promises he made to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Joseph and to Moses, that he would bless their descendants. And God is keeping his promise and Abraham’s descendants are being blessed at this time.
Because of the overspreading of our abominations, the blessing [Christ’s application of the Daily Sacrifice in heaven, representing the nation under God’s blessings and protection , which restrains the false abomination of iniquity] will be stopped and we will be corrected.
Until our correction we are now receiving the latter day blessings that were promised to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to Joseph.
Back to Galatians and Paul who is writing about the blessing of the coming of Christ, of the coming of Messiah and of his atoning sacrifice; for not just Jews but for all people of faith.
The New Covenant of spiritual Israel is for all who would respond to God the Father’s call, all who would believe and sincerely repent and turn from sin, dedicating themselves to diligently keep and live by the whole Word of God.
This promise made to Abraham, that all flesh shall be blessed through his seed; one of his descendant’s; is firm and cannot be altered or changed by subsequent covenants or laws.
Therefore, the Mosaic Covenant cannot alter the promise of the spiritual New Covenant, that God made to Abraham concerning the blessing of atonement through his seed; Jesus Christ.
3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of a promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
God’s promise to Abraham was a promise; and was not part of the Mosaic Covenant and the various laws. It was a personal promise of God to Abraham.
3:19 Wherefore, then, serveth the law? The law was added because of transgressions [or wickedness,] till the seed, [that is, the one seed] should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 3:20 Now, a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
That is, a mediator mediates between two parties. A mediator does not deal with just one party. And there is one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus Christ. He came as our mediator, and our deliverer, and our sacrifice. And he mediates between us and God the Father.
No, Mary is not a mediatrix and the saints do not mediate for people, here is no other mediator between God and man, than Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? . . .
Are God’s commandments and the Covenants, somehow contrary to or against the promises of God? Of course not.
As Paul says, . . . God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness should have been by the law.
But keeping the law does not provide payment for past sin. What provides atonement and forgiveness is our repentance coupled with the application of the actual sacrifice of the Creator.
3:22 But the scripture hath concluded that all are under sin, that the promise of faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them who believe. 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under [the penalty of having broken the law] law and shut up [faith in Christ was hidden] unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Paul says, until faith came in, and until the sacrifice of Jesus Christ came into the picture, until Christ actually fulfilled his mission; we were all under the curse [that the penalty of breaking the law must be paid] of the law. We all face the penalty for having broken the law. We were all facing death for having broken the commandments until Christ’s sacrifice and faith entered.
Christ’s sacrifice was made and he was resurrected to spirit, and we can have faith in that sacrifice and resurrection; faith that Christ lived a sinless life and his sacrifice atoned for our sincerely repented sin and that we, if Christ lives in us keeping the whole Word of God in us, can also be resurrected to spirit as he was. Faith then enters into the picture and the concept of having to die for our PAST sin fades away, as we are justified by our sincere repentance and faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, that he paid the penalty in our place.
3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 3:25 For after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
We needed to learn not to sin and therefore we faced a penalty for our sin, to teach us not to sin.
When we learn not to sin any more and to REPENT of our PAST sin; then FAITH in the atoning sacrifice of Christ enters the picture and delivers the REPENTANT from the need to pay the penalty for PAST sin. This DOES NOT JUSTIFY continuing in sin!
3:26 For you are all the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
If we have been called by God and have sincerely repented of all past sins, then Jesus Christ will dwell in us through the power of God’s Spirit; empowering us to live as Christ lived, living by every Word of God (Mat 4:4).
3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if you be in Christ, then are ye all Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Paul comes back to the issue of Jew / Gentle, conversion and circumcision here.
The converted of the New Covenant spiritual Israel are not Mosaic Jews and they are not Gentiles, they are all heirs together of the promise of God. Those who are faithful, are all the children of Abraham and the children of God, because they are sincerely repentant and filled with Abraham’s faith and obedience to live by every Word of God in future.
The sign of the New Covenant is not circumcision in the flesh, it is circumcision of the heart [which is heartfelt REPENTANCE from sin and going forward to faithfully live by every Word of God as Christ did!].
The sign of the New Covenant is REPENTANCE, FAITH and the diligent keeping of every Word of God! It is FAITH in Christ, married to the works of REPENTANT OBEDIENCE that saves! Faith in Jesus Christ, faith in God the Father, faith in the sacrifice that was applied to blot out our REPENTED sins.
Faith that the Spirit of God is given to us and dwells in us and empowers us to live by every Word of God, and empowers us to please God; and fills us with the love of God, which is to live by every Word of God.
We must now live by faith; because before, we were dead in sin having broken the law and under the penalty of death; and sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).
Sin is the transgression of the law. We have all broken the law at some point in our lives. Therefore, we are all under the penalty of having broken the law which is death.
It is a stopping of sinning [REPENTANCE] and faith in Jesus Christ and the application of his sacrifice to atone for our past sins; that brings into a proper relationship with God and circumcises our hearts; removing the BARRIER of sin which separates us from Almighty God.
And it is through sincere repentance, faith and the application of the sacrifice of Christ reconciling us to God; that the Holy Spirit can be given to us; and that Spirit then empowers us to live by every Word of God in the future.
Once a penalty for breaking a law has been paid, that does not in any way justify continuing to break the law.
If you have a habit of going through red lights, and you go and pay a fine, and the next time you are caught, you tell the judge, “Well, I paid the fine last time, I have a right to do it from now on.” He is going to laugh at you, and probably take away your license, and maybe give you a few days to cool off in a cell.
The fact is, when we pay a fine, it only pays for PAST law breaking. It does not pay for any future law breaking. And that is true with God as well. The sacrifice of Christ applied to us, only atones for sincerely repented PAST law breaking. It does not permit us to indulge ourselves in future law breaking.
If we inadvertently break the law in future, we must repent, and have the sacrifice applied again, or we will face the penalty for that particular act of law breaking.
And there will come a time, if we willfully break the law and justify ourselves in doing so; that Christ is going to run out of patience with us.
If we are not sincere; we are not honest; we don’t really want to live by God’s Word; we are not really trying to please God then God’s patience will end with serious correction. His sacrifice is not going to be applied to us anymore; until we straighten up, and wake up, and start really genuinely repenting, and start really genuinely trying to please God.
Sincere repentance, faith and the works of faith save us from the penalty of sin, which is death. It is faith and the sacrifice of Christ which saves us.
That faith does not entitle us to then go out and incur the penalty a second time, and a third, and a fourth, and on and on, and on.
No, Faith in the sacrifice, must be married to the works of faith, married to sincere repentance and a dedicated commitment to STOP sinning brings atonement for PAST sin, PAST law breaking; and allows us to be reconciled with God the Father.
Which atonement for sin places us into a proper relationship with God; and through faith, we are given God’s Holy Spirit which will then empower us to live by every Word of God from then on.
Paul continues with his guidance and instruction to the people, trying to reconcile the Jews and the Gentile converts with each other, and to make them realize that they are all part of the same body, and through faith, they are all the children of Abraham.
Physical circumcision, baptism and even ordination are absolutely NOTHING if we are not zealous to live by every Word of God!
Spiritual circumcision is the removal of the sin that separates us from God and the writing of the whole Word of God on our hearts and in our minds through the Holy Spirit enabling us to live by every Word of God.
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Those who compromise or reject any part of the Word of God, as is commonly done in today’s spiritual Ekklesia, will have no part in the New Covenant resurrection to spirit.