Galatians, lesson 9

Lesson 9

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 

Galatians 3: 10-18, the just shall live by his faith 

 

VV 10-12, 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

 

The law justifies no one. To be under the law is to be under the curse of the law. Law is legalism, and faith is grace. Those who obeyed the law will live by the law, but those  who breaks the law will die by the law. The law cannot save sinners. Paul quoted Habakkuk 2: 4. The just shall live by his faith, in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

 

Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. 

 

Habakkuk 2:4, “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him, but the just shall live by his faith”.

 

VV 13-14, 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

Paul quoted Deut. 21:23. Christ died on the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sin. He redeemed us from the curse of the law. He was cursed so that we can be blessed.  He paid the ransom for sin and saved us from the law. The promise of the Abrahamic covenant comes to the Gentiles through faith in Christ. 

 

Deut. 21:23, “his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, for he who is hanged is accursed of God”.

 

2 Cor 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

 

VV 15-16, 15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. 

 

The Abrahamic covenant is an unconditional covenant between God and Abraham which no one can nullify. Abraham was a blessing to all the people on earth through his Seed, who is Christ. 

 

VV 17-18, 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

 

The Mosaic law cannot nullify the Abrahamic covenant because the covenant preceded the Mosaic law by 430 years. The covenant was a promise, but the law was not.  

 

Application:

The law is not a channel for salvation. The law is a mirror that reflects sin. Without the law, you will not see your sin. Once you saw our sin and are convicted of sin, you come to Christ by faith. Christ paid the punishment for sin that you could not pay. All you need to do is believe in Him. It is by grace that you are saved through faith. 

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we believed that You died on the cross to pay the punishment of our sin for us. We claim the promise that just shall live by his faith in the finished work of the cross, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Galatians, lesson 8

Lesson 8

Galatians 3: 1-9, Abraham

VV 1-5, 1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain, if indeed it was in vain? 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?,

Greek for foolish is “moros” which means stupid or mentally deficient. Greek for bewitched is “baiskaino” which means to cast a spell on someone. Paul rebuked the Galatians Christians for being silly to be so easily influenced by the Judaizer’s false teachings and for not obeying the truth. Paul asked them five rhetorical questions. Did they receive the Holy Spirit by faith or by the law? Are they so stupid? After receiving the Holy Spirit, are they going to be enslaved by the flesh all over again? Are they going to allow persecutions to go to waste? Are miracles of the Holy Spirit the result of faith in Christ or works of the law?

V 6, just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Paul alluded to Abraham, the father of faith, to illustrate justification by faith. Paul quoted Genesis 15:6. The Abrahamic covenant was unconditional. God promised him a great nation, a great name, posterity, and blessing to all the families of the earth, Genesis 12:2-3, Genesis 15:5, Genesis 15:18, and Genesis 17: 4. Abraham believed, and God justified him based on faith. Abraham did not do anything.

Romans 4:3, For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Gen. 12:2-3, “I will make you a great nation, I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Gen. 15:5, He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Gen. 15:18, “On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:

“To your descendants, I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates”.

Gen. 17:4, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations”.

VV 7-9, 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

True spiritual descendants of Abraham are those who believed in Christ as their Saviour. He foreknew that the Gentiles will be justified by faith with the coming of Christ when he preached the gospel to Abraham.

Galatians 3:7, “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham”.

Galatians 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.

Romans 4:16, “For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all”.

Application:

We are again reminded that justification is by faith. Justification by faith is the mantra, the battle cry of the Protestant Reformation movement. Justification is God declaring us just as though we have not sinned. Justification, the forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation with God gives us peace with God, peace from God and peace of God.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the assurance that we are justified by faith and not by works. Please help us to walk by faith and not by sight, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Galatians, Lesson 7

Lesson 7

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that You are the divine author of the living Bible. We pray that You will speak to us afresh from the Bible today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Galatians 2: 11- 21, For by grace you have been saved

VV 11-13, 11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

When Peter visited Antioch, Paul rebuked him for hypocrisy when he refused to fellowship with the Gentile Christians when the Judaizers from Jerusalem came. Even Barnabas followed Peter in his hypocrisy and refused to fellowship with the Gentile Christians.

V 14, But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

Paul rebuked Peter for compelling the Gentiles to live as the Jews by insisting on circumcision, observing the Mosaic laws, and going back to legalism.

VV 15-16, 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

The self-righteousness Jews considered themselves as righteous and considered all Gentiles to be sinners. A man is not justified by law but by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone. It is all by grace, Ephesians 2:8-9.

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast”.

VV 17-19, 17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

Paul asked a rhetorical question. If Christ justified sinners, is He a minister of sin? Paul answered no. God can destroy what he had built and rebuild it again. God is both the just and justifier of the unjust. We can only live for God when we have died to the law. The law brings death. Grace gives life.

Romans 3:26, “he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus”.

VV 20- 21, 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

When you crucify our flesh with Christ, you died to the flesh. If you died to the flesh, the Holy Spirit regenerates your spiritual life and lives in you. Do not refuse grace by going back to the law. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life on earth to fulfill the law that no one could not ever keep. Put your trust in the finished work of Christ on Calvary. If the law can justify, Christ’s death on the cross would be in vain.

Application:

You are justified by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone. Nothing more is needed, and nothing less will suffice. Are you crucified with Christ? Have you died to the flesh and born again in the Spirit? Have you put your trust in the finished work of Christ?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding us that we are justified by grace through faith in Christ and not by the works of the law. We confess that we are sinners saved by grace. Thank You for all that You have done in our lives, Jesus’ name, Amen.

Galatians, Lesson 6

Lesson 6

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, open our spiritual eyes in the reading of Your word. Reveal, unlock, speak, teach, train, correct, convict, and instruct us in righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Galatian 2: 1-10, the Jerusalem council

V 1, Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.

Paul preached, taught, and ministered in his home town Tarsus in Cilicia for 14 years before Barnabas called him to minister in Antioch of Syria. Because the Christians in Jerusalem under persecution, they were scattered all over the place as far as Antioch of Syria. The Christian leaders in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to check out the situation. When Barnabas arrived and saw the revival of the Antioch church, he went to Tarsus and brought Paul to Antioch. Paul and Barnabas preached, taught, and discipled the Christians in Antioch for one whole year, Acts 11.

Judaizers from Jerusalem came to Antioch and taught the Gentile Christians to undergo circumcised and observe the Mosaic law as a prerequisite for salvation in addition to faith in Christ. Over this issue, Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to present their arguments at the Jerusalem Council, taking Titus with them, Acts 15:1-2.

Acts 11: 26, “Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”.

Acts 15:1-2, “Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question”.

VV 2-3, V 2 And I went up by revelation and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.

Paul presented his case privately to Christian leaders of reputation at the Jerusalem council. Paul emphasized that the Christian leaders in Jerusalem did not compel Titus, who was a Greek to undergo circumcision.

VV 4-6, 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

All this occurred because of the Judaizers, who came in secretly to spy on the freedom of Gentile Christians. They wanted to impose the yoke of Judaism on the Gentiles Christians. Paul was not afraid of these arrogant Judaizers who thought they were special even though they were not.

VV 7-10, 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

James, Peter, John, and other Christian leaders in Jerusalem realized that Barnabas and Paul were committed to evangelization to the Gentiles, just as Peter was committed to the Jews. They gave them their blessings and right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and Paul, insisting only that they remember to help the poor.

Application:

Salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone. Nothing more is required and nothing less will suffice. Christ alone is sufficient. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”, Ephesians 2:8.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for salvation by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone. Help us to apply this truth into our life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Seventy weeks of Daniel 9

The seventy weeks of Daniel 9

To help us understand the rapture, let us review the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel 9.

Daniel 9: 24-27, 24 Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.

Seventy-seven speaks of seventy weeks of years, seventy times seven years, that is 490 years. Your people speak of the people of Daniel, the Jews. Your holy city speaks of Jerusalem. This prophecy is about the Jews and Jerusalem. The entire scope of this prophecy span 490 years. At the end of 490 years, transgression, sin, and wickedness will be put to an end. There will be everlasting righteousness, the vision will be sealed up, and the Holy of Holies in the temple will be anointed. The entire scope of this prophecy is still not yet fulfilled because there is still transgression, sin, wickedness, there is no everlasting righteousness, and the third temple had not been rebuilt.

V 25 Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.

Angel Gabriel gave Daniel a specific timeline. From the time a decree was given to rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah will be 7 X 7 plus 62 x 7 years. This adds up to 69 weeks of years, that is 483 years. This part of the prophecy had been fulfilled. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given by King Artaxerxes Longimanus to Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:8-9 on 14th March 445 BC. Based on the Jewish lunar calendar of 360 days per year, 483 years worked out to 173,880 days. Jesus presented Himself as the Messiah in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, 6th April 32 AD, Zechariah 9:9. According to Sir Robert Anderson in his book ‘’The Coming Prince”, the number of days from 14th March 445 BC to 6th April 32 AD worked out to be exactly 173,880 days, taking into account, leap years and other considerations. Jerusalem was rebuilt in times of trouble amidst opposition from the Samaritans.

Nehemiah 2: 8-9, “And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests”.

Zechariah 9:9, ‘’Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”.

V 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

Sixty-two seven of years is 434 years. 434 plus 49 years is 683 years. After 683 years, the Anointed One, meaning the Messiah will be killed. This was fulfilled on Good Friday. The people of the ruler came to destroy the city and the sanctuary. This was fulfilled in 70 AD, when the Romans under General Titus Vespasian came and destroyed Jerusalem, the temple, and killed more than 1 million Jews. Wars will continue in the world and had continued ever since. The prophetic time clock was temporally switched off after 483 years. The last 7 years of world history between 483 to 490 have not started yet. This prophetic time clock will restart again when the last person on earth is saved and trigger off the rapture. The rapture is described by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever”.

V 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

He, speaks of the antichrist who will show up on the world scene in the last 7 years of world history known as the tribulation. The antichrist will successfully negotiate and brokered a peace treaty between the Jews and the Arabs for 7 years. The third temple will be rebuilt and the temple sacrifice will be restored. There will be peace in for 3 1/2 years. After 3 1/2 years, right into the middle of the 7-year tribulation, the antichrist will set up His image in the Holy of Holies and forced the Jews to worship his image. This image is called the abomination of desolation. The Lord Jesus alluded to this event in Mathew 24:15. Trouble will break out when the Jews refused to worship the image of the antichrist. This will trigger off the great tribulation, the last three and a half years of world history. The antichrist is foreshadowed in history by Antiochus Epiphany IV, who conquered Jerusalem between 175-164 BC. He set up a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies, splashed swine blood on the altar, and forced the Jews to worship him as God. The future antichrist during the tribulation will desecrate the third temple in the same way. Paul described this antichrist as the ‘’man of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians 2.

Matthew 24:15, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel, let the reader understand”.

2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4, ‘’Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God”.

Galatians, Lesson 5

Lesson 5

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we claim the promise that Your word will not return back to You without first achieving the purpose that it was meant to achieve, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Galatians 1: 18-24, Paul met Peter and James

VV 18-20, 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)

Paul spent the next 3 years in the desert of Arabia alone all by himself and waited on the Lord. After that Paul went up to Jerusalem to meet up with Peter and James, the Lord’s half brother. He stayed with Peter for 15 days. Paul did not meet up with any of the other apostles. Paul testified before God that he told the truth.

VV 21-24, 21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me.

After returning from Arabia, Paul went to Syria and Cilicia. Paul’s home town was Tarsus in Cilicia. The Christians in Judea had never met Paul but they knew that he was once a persecutor of the Christians. On hearing Paul’s testimony, they gave glory to God. Paul spent the next 14 years in his home town of Tarsus and waited on the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”.

Application:

Paul waited on the Lord for a long time. He waited in the desert of Arabia for 3 years. He waited in Tarsus for 14 years. Paul had to wait on the Lord for 17 years before he could start his ministry in the Church at Antioch. Waiting on the Lord is an important component of discipleship. This is a time of preparation, training in righteousness, growing in maturity, and learning humility, solitude, patience, and perseverance. Even Moses had to wait 40 years as a shepherd before he could be a leader of the Israelites. Joseph waited 15 years, from the time he was sold into slavery until he became the Prime Minister of Egypt. Abraham waited 25 years, from the time he was called by God in Haran until Isaac was born. Do not worry if you are waiting. Waiting is part and parcel of the Christian walk. Those who wait on the Lord will be strengthened in faith to encounter spiritual breakthroughs.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we claim the promise that those who wait on You will renew their strength and soar like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, run and not faint, in Jesus’ name, Amen.