Paul, Jerusalem Council, Jerusalem discussed on The Bible Recap

The Bible Recap


Who are the galatians? In short, there are a group of people from the gentile region Paul and Barnabas visited on their first missionary journey. We read about this in acts 13 through 14. As we know, what's been going on with this influx of gentile believers is that some of the Jewish believers have been trying to force their culture on them. The laws of circumcision and whatnot. Paul has already addressed this at least twice, and they attempted to resolve things that the Jerusalem council. But some of the Jews didn't get the memo. Either that or their intentionally rebelling against the spirit led decision from the Jerusalem council. They started going around to all the places Paul preaches and undermining his teaching by telling the people they have to convert to Judaism first. The general term for people who do this is Judaism. People who combine God's grace with human effort. We'll link to an article with more info on the Judaism in the show notes. This general idea is still alive and well in religion today, but it's not usually called by that name. We usually refer to it as legalism or moralism. Paul is furious with these undermines, and at some points he even seems to be furious with the church for believing them. But he opens his letter with grace and peace to the galatian churches before making a quick segue into his rebuke. By the way, Paul's intros are not fluff. They're dense with theology. Try not to rush over them. Paul points out that this distortion of the gospel that they're believing is a false, gospel, and he pronounces God's judgment on anyone who preaches it. Then Paul launches into his own story to give him some credibility for making this argument. He was a zealous Jew, eager to live out the traditions of his fathers even to the point of violently persecuting those who disagreed. But he said God chose him before he was born and at the right time God graciously called him and revealed Christ and Paul Smith three years being taught the scriptures. Apparently by the spirit and the word, before he ever consulted with the apostles in Jerusalem. Then God directed his steps to preach the gospel to the gentiles. He went to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus to submit his doctrine in his efforts to the church to make sure he was aligned with them and the truth. He mentions tied us here because Titus was a Greek gentile with no Jewish ties and he wasn't circumcised. So if the Jews in Jerusalem didn't insist on circumcising Titus at that point, then Jerusalem obviously wasn't requiring it. But even then, Paul said, some people were suspicious that his message was too easy, and they tried to undermine it. They didn't like all the freedom in it, it needed more laws. the apostles of the early church were happy to direct Paul and a ministry to the gentiles and Peter in a ministry to the Jews. They only asked Paul not to forget the poor, and they were probably referring specifically to the persecuted Jews in Jerusalem, even though his ministry was to the gentiles. Paul tells the galatians about a time when he had to call Peter out. Peter had been pretty great about eating with just any believer, Jews, and gentiles alike. But when James sent some people to visit him, Peter suddenly started eating only with the Jews because of his fear of man, and then other people started following Peter's lead. Because Peter was misleading people, leading them poorly, leading them away from the truth, Paul had to publicly correct him so that they would all be corrected in their thinking too. Paul says, look, I'm a Jew, not a gentile, and even I know that your actions don't save you. Only faith in Christ saves a person. Furthermore, if I were to even attempt to earn my own righteousness, I'd be vetoing his death on the cross. Because why would he even need to die if I could just do this on my own? I could just get circumcised and avoid a few foods and rest on Saturdays. If I could earn my own righteousness, he died for nothing. In chapter three, he goes on to say, you have the spirit too, so let's talk about this. How did that happen? How did you get the spirit? Did you do some kind of action and that summoned him to come to you? Or did he just come to you through the faith God granted you? And now that you've got the spirit, you're trying to start doing some kind of work to gain God's approval, as though the spirit himself isn't God's very seal on you. Stop it. That's not how this goes. Salvation is by faith and sanctification is by faith. They're both gods doing. Then pulses something revolutionary in a very succinct way twice. This message shows up throughout scripture, but here's where it's distilled and neatly packaged for us. In three 7, he says, no, then, that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. He repeats this idea again later in three 29, which says, if you are Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs, according to the promise. And remember, he's riding this letter to the galatians who are gentiles. Do you know what all this means? It means that even though God has a unique, irreplaceable relationship with ethnic Israel that gentiles can still be counted among the descendants of Abraham. That relationship isn't contingent on ethnicity or circumcision. It's contingent on faith in Christ, available to anyone of any ethnicity Jew or gentile. God made that promise to Abraham 430 years before God gave the law to Moses. Promising Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. If abiding by the law is how we obtain Salvation, then what happened to all those people who lived in the 430 years between Abraham and Moses before the law was given. Salvation has always been about faith in yahweh, and as always been available to anyone who has that. Paul has been hammering this one point home for three chapters. He's approaching it from every angle trying to dismantle any potential counter arguments before they even come up. He's pointing to his own story, the story of Abraham, the guidance of scripture and the spirit, along with the decisions of the apostles, all to drive home one point. Salvation is the gift of God by grace alone, who faith alone in Christ alone. What was your God shot today? Something we don't discuss much in all this circumcision talk is that if that's the way they had to enter the kingdom and only men were circumcised, then what about women? How would women enter the kingdom? I bet these new female gentile converts may have wondered the same thing and maybe even felt hopeless or overlooked. Paul leans into that question in three 28. He says, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female for you are all one in Christ. This has to be so encouraging for his audience. If the only people who could do what it took to know God were male Jews, that would be tragic. It would eliminate so many people. But because of Christ, the door is open to everyone, and in God's family, we're united even across our differences and distinctions because of the spirit. He's where the joy is. When I talk about D group, maybe you're like, I've tried Bible studies before Terri and they are not for me. That's why I listen to a podcast. Maybe your experiences have mostly centered around gossip or complaining or showing off, or maybe it's just all been self help studies about how awesome and powerful you are, and you're like, I don't have time for this. I want to learn about the lord, not about myself. That's exactly why I started de group. We study the Bible, and we have a structure in place to help eradicate and prevent the problems that are the biggest complaint of Bible study expats. Some of our groups are connected to a local church and others are made up of people from different churches. We start new studies every 6 weeks and we'd love to have you join us when we launch our next session. Check the link in today's show notes for more info or visit my D group dot org.

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