Saturday, December 15, 2007

You ran well...

Gal 5: 1-12
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

How had the Galatians formerly been running well? What truth were they not "obeying?" Who and what did hinder them from obeying that truth? Who was troubling them? Considering the context, what was needed for them to "run well" again? (There is, of course, more context than the few verses that I shared).


  1. Joel,
    I spent the whole morning reading Galatians, then the commentary on Galatians, considering to post soon on it -!
    I love it when the Spirit is moving across the country!
    Be encouraged!!

  2. Lydia... that's great! I look forward to reading more on your blog.

    So many times we take phrases such as "fallen from grace," "obey the truth," "yoke of bondage," etc, right out of context, and I always hope to encourage people to look at these phrases in context.

  3. Joel and Lydia,

    As I mentioned on my blog recently, we are beginning a study of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians in our Sunday school class. It starts next Sunday and I am pretty excited about it. I have considered blogging about it each week as we go through it.

  4. Gary, that would be cool if you were to do that! Have you found some good study materials? I remember a little while ago you were looking for some materials. I'm praying these upcoming studies go well!

  5. I've also been reading Galatians the past week or so. I'm trying to get a better understanding of the sanctification process.

    Also...When I get back from our home group this morning, I would like to discuss Romans chapter 8 with you. Maybe on here or in an e-mail. I'm confused about what Paul means by setting the mind on the Spirit and things like that.

    God bless you and your family, Joel. ;)

  6. Galatians is one of my favorite books of the Bible and I read it frequently so I would be interested in what you have to share, Gary.

    I just read Romans 8 this morning so I would also be interested in what you all have to share so I hope you'll discuss it here so we can all read and receive.


  7. Ok, so here are the questions I wanted to throw out. Hopefully we could get a discussion going. What does it mean to, "walk according the Spirit"? Also, what does it mean to "set the mind on the Spirit"?

    Thanks for any replies,


  8. Hey all,

    I'm in the middle of rearranging my office but I thought I'd just pop on here for a minute. I'm not sure what I'll have for time in the next day or two... it all depends upon how long this rearranging takes... but I'll at least get something started as far as thoughts concerning Daelon's questions. Everyone else is more than welcome to pipe in.

    I generally equate these three phrases: "walking according to the Spirit," "walking by faith," "abiding in Christ."

    We are in the Spirit, we are in the faith, we are in Christ and He is in us.

    These things, to me, essentially all mean basically the same thing, and what it boils down to is trust in the Spirit and not trusting in the flesh.

    The flesh can be "good" and/or "evil." Am I trusting in my "good" fleshly efforts to please God? Am I 'trusting' that my "evil" sin is keeping me from Him? Either way, I'm walking according to the flesh and not the Spirit.

    So walking in the Spirit, to me, is the opposite of walking according to the flesh. It's trusting solely in the Spirit and not in my own good deeds or lack thereof. It's submitting my "self" to God, and trusting in His perfect life in me.

    This is just a starting point, and if anyone has anything to add to it or if you disagree with it, I'd love for you to join in.

  9. I think Galatians is one of those books which legalists wish was not there in the Bible :)
    It clearly teaches the danger of mixing even a little law with Grace. This book was so instrumental in my own Grace walk.

  10. Amen to that Bino! My ears do perk up when I hear the word "Galatians." :) There is so much freedom, so much grace to be found in this epistle.

  11. Very enlightening, Joel. Sorry for taking so long to respond.

    It had sounded to me, I guess because of the way it's worded that we fulfill the law by walking according the Spirit. "In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

    I was also confused as to what it meant by walking according to the flesh and what Paul meant by saying that walking according to the flesh causes us to set our mind on the things of the flesh.

    I guess walking according to the flesh is simply trying any other way other than resting in God to achieve victory over the "deeds of the body". Those who do this are worried about nothing but what they're doing. And in so doing are not allowed to set their minds on the things of the Spirit. They're so consumed with striving, all they think about is sin.

    But what do you think Paul means when he says that "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God". Is he talking about Christians who are trying to be good according to the flesh? Because he turns right around and says "You however are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit."

    Maybe he's simply talking about spiritual people trying to LIVE according to the flesh? In other words, they're trying to have good fruit by their efforts.

    I think that Paul, in a nutshell is talking about people striving to be good by their own efforts instead of resting in the Spirit.

    "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God".

    To live by the flesh (self-effort) is death and slavery. We didn't receive the spirit of slavery.

  12. Hi Matthew,

    I think the key in Romans 8:4 is the phrase "righteous requirement," as well as the surrounding context. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (There is a contrast of "laws" here. What the Old Covenant Law could not do for us (fulfill it's own righteous requirement), God did for us through the "law" of the Spirit of life. He made it possible that the law's requirement of righteousness was fulfilled in us. This is something that has already happened in us. The law's righteous requirements are met in us. God did this by sending His Son. I believe that to "walk" according to the Spirit of life means to live by faith. In this context, when Paul says "those who live by..." or "those who walk by..." I believe he is not talking about what we do. He's talking about what we believe. He's talking about faith in Christ vs. faith in the flesh.

    And as Paul says, before we came to faith, we were "in the flesh," but now we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. He says, "you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you."

    It gets confusing talking about phrases such as "in the flesh" because the word flesh means several different things.

    But in this case I think it's safe to say that he's differentiating between those who are saved and those who are not saved, rather than differentiating between two groups of saved people... those who are either walking 'according to the Spirit' or those who are walking 'according to the flesh.'

    So when Paul says "those who are in the flesh cannot please God," I believe he's talking about unsaved people. Since we are not "in the flesh" but rather "in the Spirit," we are pleasing to God, not because of what we do or don't do, but because we are in the Spirit. :) All of this is God's gift that we've received by faith.

    All of that said, I do believe that when it comes to what Christians "do," there is definitely a contrast in the ways people go about this, and those who are trying to produce their own good fruit through rules or laws are definitely not doing these works through the power of Life that is in them, but through the power of their own bodies and minds and wills, apart from Christ. I do believe that if these people have trusted God for salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, then they are saved, but their works are dead works. In other words, I believe a person can trust Christ for salvation but yet miss out on the power of His life which dwells in them. This would be a different use of the phrase "walking according to the flesh," because while they would not die (which is what Romans 8 says about those who live according to the flesh), they certainly have not set their minds on the Spirit when it comes to daily living.

    And so when it comes to Christians living their daily lives, we are in the Spirit and we are pleasing to God (which isn't determined by our behavior, but rather by the gift of God), and we have a choice as to who to trust as our source for our actions... ourselves (flesh) or God (Spirit).

    I know this is long, and it probably brings up more questions than it does answers, but if anyone has anything to add to it, you're welcome to comment as always.