Galatians Relations—Dismiss the Bris: Abraham’s Real Descendants (Part 2)
Paul continues here in Chapters 4-6 of Galatians explaining sonship. It is especially gratifying that the Lord Jesus chose a man of Paul’s stature—a spiritual giant though most likely standing under five feet tall—to explain and teach this topic, since he was not only up to the task but brilliant in his knowledge and approach.
There is still much of this subject that flies over our heads but it is not due to Paul’s teaching; rather, it is due to the overlaid and muddled teachings of subsequent imposters very unclear on the concept—those who have shrouded the simplicity of such a deep subject as expressed here. Others have discounted Paul’s teachings completely. As in so many other areas within the Lord’s pure curriculum that express pure truth, a teaching on this subject cannot possibly please everyone, though some make the attempt and seriously muddy the waters in the process.
The Lord shines a light on darkness and reveals truth, which puts darkness and untruth in a very uncomfortable place. The Gospel is offensive. Some will run to the Light, others will insist on darkness and remained unmoved. As mentioned in a recent post The Fix Is In: Delusion Illusion (Part 2), the heart of non-disciples is described as being “fat,” and an uncircumcised heart is precisely that.
A spiritual circumcision of the heart removes the hardened, callous fatty tissue (representing the sinful flesh), and the heart becomes lean, healthy, honest, upright, and without guile. Just as those who undergo corrective heart surgery may feel new life and energy afterwards, so does a new disciple feel the removal of an enormous weight, becoming light on his feet and filled with joy.
This illustration of salvation through the application of the death of the Sacrifice Lamb explains well the before and after heart condition of new disciples. The Lord Jesus offered a perfect sacrifice. He lived a sinless life. He obviously also kept the Law of Moses, fulfilling it completely, something no one had ever done. But His focus was not necessarily on keeping an external law or properly completing a religious checklist. However, His focus was certainly on the spirit of the two great commandments. As the Son of God, He loved the Father with all of His heart, mind, soul, and strength, and He loved His neighbor as Himself.
This proper focus was what Paul explained in Galatians. As shown by the following verses from two other epistles, it is the difference between the spirit and letter of the law:
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. [Romans 2:28-29]
For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. [Romans 7:5-6]
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. [2 Corinthians 3:1-9]
Please read these verses in context and become fully familiar with Paul’s teachings on this subject.
Now, regarding the keeping of the Law of Moses according to the letter, if the Pharisees represented the best at doing this, one can see what happens when people with unrepentant, uncircumcised hearts trust in their religious works and commandment-keeping as their saving grace. It’s not a pretty picture. One can never be saved from sin through these things because such efforts never address the heart of the matter and never remove the underlying cause.
It is the attempt to treat a disease that has no cure, since the actual cure has been rejected, and then believing in and exalting the faux treatment of the disease, and deceiving oneself and others as to the treatment’s effectiveness, which only makes the disease worse. The Pharisees were actually violating the Torah by lying about its effectiveness as a cure for sin, when the Law expressly states it is a violation of the Law to lie and deceive!
Prior to the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, throughout “Old Testament times,” salvation was gained through an acknowledgement of one’s sin, followed by great repentance, and then followed by pure faith and trust in God and obedience toward Him. This resulted in an actual relationship with God, and the fruit of that relationship showed up through the outflow of one’s heart. It is what Abraham did, and an excellent example of this took place in the life of King David.
Therefore, those who had such faith were made righteous (characterized as the faith of Abraham), in that a sacrifice would be made for them at a future date, a sacrifice they believed in and looked forward to. This is why the sacrifice of the pure and sinless Lamb of God applied to the furthest points of both the past and the future, and is why Abraham could be saved from the power of sin almost 2,000 years prior to Calvary and why we in the present can be saved as well 2,000 years since.
Regarding sonship, Paul also explains in Galatians what it takes to be a real child of God and defines the actual “Sons of Abraham.” Recall that John the Immerser told members of the nation of Israel that they could not make the claim to be sons of God simply by being descendants of Abraham:
“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father;’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.” [Matthew 3:8-9]
The apostle further explains that our Lord Jesus was born under the Law in order to redeem those under the Law to receive the adoption as sons who become sons through God and heirs along with Abraham, who was made righteous by faith, not by keeping the Law, which did not even exist at that time.
Read on as Paul explains to the Galatian Gentiles about Abraham’s two sons and what each represents, and even what the city of Jerusalem represents. And always remember—our Lord Jesus died to give us freedom, to make us free, and to remain forever free. Beware of the ever-bewitching yoke of religious bondage and slavery.
Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong; but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.
Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you.
My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.
But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.
For it is written, “REJOICE, BARREN WOMAN WHO DOES NOT BEAR; BREAK FORTH AND SHOUT, YOU WHO ARE NOT IN LABOR; FOR MORE NUMEROUS ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND.”
And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.
But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? “CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON, FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.”
So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.
The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. 
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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Posted on July 25, 2014, in Current Events and tagged Apostle Paul, Book of Galatians, Circumcision of the Heart, Judaizers, Justified by Faith in Christ, Law of Moses, Lord Jesus, New Covenant, Real Christianity, Real Sons of Abraham, Unreal Christianity. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.