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The Epistles of Paul - Galatians Part 7: The Family of the Faith
The concept of antinomianism has meant different things to different theologians. However to accuse Paul of Tarsus of being an antinomian in the sense of one who would set aside or negate or diminish the Laws of God, or to have derived a doctrine which includes those things and claim for it the authority of Paul of Tarsus, is to be a liar. In both Galatians and Romans, and also in his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul has explained how and why the “works of the law”, which are the ordinances such as the sacrificial rituals and ceremonies conducted by the priests, are done away with in Christ. However in all of these epistles Paul also fully demonstrates that the moral laws of Yahweh which are found in the commandments of the law are to be upheld in Christ. Apparently, all of the theological confusion in regard to antinomianism as opposed to the equally wrong concept of salvation by works has resulted because Christians have failed to perceive between the “works of the law” and the commandments which even Christ has admonished them to keep.
In Galatians chapter 5, Paul had said in verse 18 that “if you are led by the Spirit, you are under no law.” The denominational sects often use that phrase by itself to give approbation to whatever it is that they may desire. But Paul had already said earlier in verse 13 that the freedom in which Christians are called is “not that freedom for occasion in the flesh”, and insisted in verse 14 that “all the law is fulfilled in one statement, to wit: 'You shall love him near to you as yourself.'” With that, we must discern that Paul had indeed remained concerned with the keeping of the commandments of the law.
However Paul's own lengthy explanation of what he means by being “led by the Spirit” is found in his later epistle to the Romans. He must have taught the Galatians many of these same things, even if they are not repeated in this epistle. Paul explained in Romans chapter 7 that “14 Indeed we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, being ruined by sin.” Then following his elaboration upon the distinction between the will of the flesh and the will of the spirit he concluded, in part, by saying in Romans chapter 8 that: “3 The law is powerless, in that it has been weak over the flesh, Yahweh sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and amidst sin, condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the judgment of the law should be fulfilled among us, who walk not in accordance with the flesh, but in accordance with the Spirit. [Ostensibly, because the mere existence of a law does not keep men from sinning.] 5 For they who are in accordance with the flesh, strive after the things of the flesh; and they who are in accordance with the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 Indeed the purpose of the flesh is death, but the purpose of the Spirit, life and peace. 7 Because the purpose of the flesh is hostile to Yahweh, then to the law of Yahweh it is not obedient; neither is it able to be; 8 and they that are in the flesh are not able to satisfy Yahweh. 9 However you are not in the flesh, but in Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in you; and if one has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him: 10 but if Christ is in you, indeed the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit alive because of righteousness.”
Likewise, Christ had explained in John chapter 14 that the manner in which a Christian may have Christ dwell in him is by keeping His commandments.
If we pay close attention to what Paul had said in Romans 8:4, that “the judgment of the law should be fulfilled among us, who walk not in accordance with the flesh, but in accordance with the Spirit”, it is manifest that the judgment of the law still awaits those who continue to walk in accordance with the flesh.
Therefore we find that living in the sins of the flesh, we are not being led by the Spirit of Yahweh our God. Paul is not giving us license to sin. Rather, he is telling us that if we live the spiritual life, seeking the things of the Spirit of God, that we should not sin. So those who would participate in the deeds of the flesh and then claim to be “spiritual”, are deceiving themselves, attempting to justify themselves by lying to both themselves and to others. This is the major fault of the denominational sects: they disregard the law of God and then claim to be “spiritual”, and they frequently claim to get their license from the teachings of Paul. Yet Paul had actually taught that if you purposely sin, then you are fleshly, you are still liable to judgment, you are not spiritual, and “they that are fleshly are not able to satisfy God”. But if one is truly spiritual, he strives to keep the commandments of the law apart from the rituals and sacrifices, and even when he does fail, he understands that Christ is his only propitiation.
Here in Galatians chapter 5 Paul continues by describing some of the deeds of the flesh which Christians, living in the spirit, are expected to have put away, and he says that:
19 Manifest are the deeds of the flesh, such things are [here D and the MT interpolate “adultery”; the text follows א, A, B, and C] fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, use of drugs, hostilities, contention, rivalry, wrath, intrigues, dissensions, sects, 21 envyings, [here A, C, D, and the MT interpolate “murders,” where the text follows P 46, א, and B] drunkenness, revelries, and things like these; which I have announced to you beforehand, just as I have said before, that they who practice such things shall not inherit Yahweh’s kingdom.
What Paul had meant by “things like these” may also be discerned in the laws of Yahweh in the Old Testament. In a similar discussion in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, and once again in 1 Timothy chapter 1, Paul had given examples of several other such things in addition to these. If all three passages are taken from Paul's epistles and a list of evils is compiled from them, we can see that Paul is rather consistently teaching Christians to abstain from all of the evils which were all already forbidden of Israel in the Old Testament commandments of Yahweh their God in one place or another.
Paul's list includes idolatry, and therefore we see the first commandment maintained, where Christ Himself when he was asked "What is the first of all commandments?" is recorded as having answered in Mark chapter 12: “29… First is: 'Hear, O Israel, Yahweh is our God; there is only one Yahweh!” But then Christ had said “31 Second is this: 'You shall love him near to you as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than this!” Therefore Paul had said here earlier in this chapter “For all the law is fulfilled in one statement, to wit: 'You shall love him near to you as yourself.'” As we have also already elucidated here in our presentations of the earlier portions of this epistle, that second great commandment is not found in the list of ten commandments in Exodus chapter 20 or in whatever other place they are given, but it is found in Leviticus chapter 19.
Paul's list of evils includes patricide and matricide, as he also admonished certain Romans whom he had described in chapter 1 of that epistle as being “disobedient to parents”, and that is something which he mentions again in 1 Timothy chapter 3. Of course, the commandments of Yahweh admonish men to honor their parents. Others of the ten commandments are upheld in Paul's teachings as well where in these same passages he includes admonishments against thieves, the covetous, the rapacious, envyings, murderers and kidnappers. Where he admonishes against “falsely swearing men” he upholds the commandment against false witness as well.
Paul's list also includes fornication, adultery and homosexuality, to which, in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, he also adds effeminates. These things, listed separately, must be sins which are distinct from idolatry and from one another. In the several places where Paul lists these things, they are also at the beginning of his lists and therefore they are of great importance. Here we see that forbidden to Christians are all of the sexual sins which were also forbidden in the Old Testament. With this we also see that Paul's admonishments bring all ten commandments under consideration, as well as other Old Testament laws which may also be considered commandments.
But concerning fornication, adultery and homosexuality there is more to be said here than what is taught by the denominational sects. The Catholic church, in my own experience, has taught that fornication is sexual intercourse outside of church marriage, and that adultery is a sexual relationship with one who was already married. But in Old Testament Scripture there was no church marriage: men married their women in a bed, so as we use these terms today, only the definition for adultery is nearly accurate (i.e. Jeremiah 29:23), but that is only partly accurate as there are other sins which may be considered as adultery (i.e. Ezekiel 23:37, Hosea 4:2).
There are at least three signal and explicit examples of what constitutes the act of marriage in Scripture, which are found in the marriage of Jacob to Leah which occurred in a bed, and the marriage of Isaac to Rachel when he took her to the tent, where there was certainly a bed and not an altar, and even in the illicit marriage of David to Bathsheba, where after they sinned in a bed, the woman was nevertheless considered to be his wife. The Roman Catholic form of marriage at an altar is taken from the practices of the temples of Baal, and not from the laws of Yahweh.
Since the act of marriage happens in a bed, and not at an altar, then there is really no such thing as sexual intercourse outside of marriage in the laws of God, unless it is a sin of some other sort, such as adultery. Therefore fornication must really mean something other than what the Roman Catholic Church teaches. In the laws of Yahweh, even when a man rapes a virgin, he is commanded to pay her father a sum and to keep her as his wife (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). But if a man takes a woman who is not a virgin, if she has a husband or even if she is betrothed to one, then it is a sin punishable by death. And while the Greek word translated as fornication can refer to prostitution, that is only one form of illicit sex which is generally forbidden by the laws of God. Both Paul and Jude used the term for fornication to refer to race-mixing: Jude where he defined fornication as the pursuit of different flesh, and Paul where he both referred to the race-mixing Esau as a fornicator in Hebrews chapter 12, and again where he described the events of Numbers chapter 25, where the men of Israel had joined themselves to the daughters of Moab as fornication in 1 Corinthians chapter 10. This true meaning of fornication, which includes race-mixing, is obfuscated in the false teachings of the denominational churches which concern what constitutes a marriage. Only by understanding what marriage is can one then understand what it is which is called fornication.
Just as we were compelled by Christ to look beyond the ten commandments given in Exodus chapter 20, to find elsewhere in the law that second great commandment, which is to “love thy neighbor as thyself”, we are compelled to look beyond the ten commandments of Exodus to find in the law how such fornication, which is the “pursuit of different flesh” as Jude calls it, is forbidden in the law. Yet God Himself, through the example given of Adam, has outlined the bounds of the permissible marriage in Genesis chapter 2: “20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” So marriage is between a man and a woman, because “male and female He made them”, and if a woman is not flesh of a man's flesh and bone of a man's bone, then they are fornicating, even if they themselves think they are married. In ancient Israel, those sorts of marriages happened in Baal temples, just as the denominational churches readily conduct such mixed-race so-called “marriages” today. Now they shall also conduct same-sex so-called “marriages” as well, proving that they are indeed Baal temples set up to serve the government, rather than serving Yahweh God.
For the same reasons that we are compelled by Christ to look beyond the ten commandments for that second great commandment to love thy neighbor, we must look beyond the ten commandments to see what Paul had referred to where he admonishes against homosexuality and effeminates, not here in Galatians, but in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 and 1 Timothy chapter 1. Doing so, we see in the laws of Yahweh in Leviticus chapter 20 that “13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” There is contention by certain sexual deviants today over what Paul had meant by his use of the term ἀρσενοκοῖται, yet by using the plural masculine form of the term ἀρσενοκοίτης, which describes the act of coitus with men, Paul can only be referring to men who perform the act of sexual union with other men. Therefore the sin punishable by death in the Old Testament is still a sin in the New Testament. Only a Sodomite would protest that assessment, but Jesus still hates Sodomites.
Paul's list also includes other things which are not found enumerated in the ten commandments, but which are nevertheless seen as evils in other ways in the books of the law. Among these are uncleanness, licentiousness, the use of drugs, drunkenness, and revelries. The putting away of all these things would indicate the Christian's willingness to keep the food laws, and also indicate the Christian's understanding of the failure of Noah when he and his family had drank too much wine, and the understanding of sin in the abandonment of Christian deportment by the children of Israel and the evils which had resulted from it where it is written that “the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” This passage from Exodus chapter 32 described behavior which Paul had later characterized as idolatry in 1 Corinthians chapter 10: “7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” No matter how you may attempt to justify it, experience proves over and again that lewd and immodest behavior always leads men and women to sin.
Paul's lists even go beyond the explicit letter of the commandments of the law where he describes other things which Christians should consider sinful, and mentions the lawless, the unruly, the impious, the wrongful, the unholy, the profane, or those who are railers or who create hostilities, contention, rivalry, wrath, intrigues, dissensions and sects. All of this behavior, things which lead men to commit even greater sins, is portrayed in the same negative manner in the Proverbs, in the Psalms, and in the historical examples in Scripture. For instance, the adult Moses is introduced to us when he attempts to settle a quarrel between two Israelite men.
There should be no doubt whatsoever that Paul of Tarsus had desired all Christians to abide by all of the commandments of Yahweh God which are found in the Old Testament. Anyone who asserts otherwise is a liar, and perhaps a devil as well. It is the immoral people in our society who have been the leading voices contending that these laws were done away with. As we had explained in earlier chapters of this presentation of Galatians, and as we believe that Paul has illustrated, Yahweh God through the Christian gospel has called Israel to repentance, and seeks a people of Abraham's offspring who would do as Abraham did, voluntarily keeping His laws in sincerity, and not by compulsion.
Therefore after explaining what Christians should not be doing, Paul admonishes them to do well:
22 Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control [D interpolates “chastity” here]: there is no law against such things.
For this same cause, speaking of tyrannical governments, Paul had said in Romans chapter 13: “3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” The call to Christ is a call to obedience, and once a man has self-control, which in the King James Version is translated as temperance, only then does he have license to judge the sins of the world, as Paul also said in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 that Christians must endeavor “5… taking captive every thought into the obedience of the Anointed; 6 also being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, whenever you shall have fulfilled your obedience.” Being obedient to Christ, we honor His command that we love our brethren as ourselves, so we act towards one another in the manner in which Paul has described here. Therefore he concludes:
24 But they of the Anointed crucify the flesh along with those affections and those desires.
As Paul had said further along in Romans chapter 8: “11 Moreover, if the Spirit of He who raised Yahshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raises the Anointed from the dead will also produce alive your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwells in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are obligated not to the flesh, to live in accordance with the flesh; 13 for if in accordance with the flesh you live, you are about to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” When Christ crucified the flesh, His brethren were granted life. Therefore when Christians crucify the flesh, they put the interests of their brethren ahead of their own interests, and their own fleshly desires. Putting the interests of their brethren before their own interests, men are naturally compelled to keep the commandments of God in spirit, and not in letter.
When a man breaks the commandments of Yahweh, he harms his brethren in one way or another. For instance, in the fulfillment of sexual lusts a man destroys his own community by encouraging the sexual corruption of others. By watching pornography, one encourages the destruction of chastity, modesty, and approves of fornication and adultery. By being a lesbian, some man somewhere is deprived of a wife. By being a Sodomite, one deprives his ancestors as well as his kinsmen of posterity. By teaching sodomy to young boys, one deprives his brother of posterity, forever corrupting the minds of those boys. In the taking of usury, one seeks to profit from his brethren so that he can repay the usurer. In the breaking of the food laws, one destroys one's own body, and in the resulting illness becomes a burden to one's brethren. In the age of modernism we despise our ancestors for being prudish, yet if we are the children of God, then by our very existence it is proven that our ancestors had the blessings of God and we should be just as prudish. If in the end we have no posterity of our own, that is because as a nation we have abandoned God, and He has withheld those blessings. Therefore there is no excuse for abandoning the laws of Yahweh.
The Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), and Ephraemi Syri (C) have the first clause of verse 24 to read “But they of Christ Yahshua crucify the flesh”; the text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46, the Codex Bezae (D) and the Majority Text.
25 If we live in the Spirit, in the Spirit we also should walk.
Paul is referring to those who have the spirit of God through which life and resurrection are possible, as he had written of the Adamic man in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, that “if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual,” and as he said in Romans chapter 8, “you are not in the flesh, but in Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in you”. Since the law is spiritual, only those who have the spirit of God can keep the law, which are the children of Israel of whom Yahweh had promised to write His law in their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33).
The children of Israel having that promise of life by the spirit of Yahweh which dwells in them, then by the words “if we live in the Spirit” Paul is referring to those who are indeed children of God, and for that reason, they should walk in the spirit because they live in, or have life by, that same spirit. So the clause may be understood in this manner: “if we have life by the Spirit, in the Spirit we also should walk.” Therefore we should keep the spiritual law, which the flesh by itself cannot keep.
26 We should not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
The Greek adjective κενόδοξος (Strong's # 2755) appears only here in the New Testament, where we render it as conceited. Joseph Thayer in his Greek-English Lexicon defines it as “glorying without reason, conceited, vain-glorious, eager for empty glory”. The related noun κενοδοξία is vainglory in the King James Version at Philippians 2:3, where the Christogenea New Testament has “empty pride”.
The Greek word προκαλέω (Strong's # 4292) is to call forth, but in a bad sense it is to provoke or irritate. It only appears elsewhere in Scripture in apocryphal literature in 2 Maccabees 8:11 in its primary sense, of a proclamation.
The Greek word φθονέω (Strong's # 5354) is generally to envy. It too only appears in apocryphal literature in Tobit chapter 4, both times with the same meaning, where it says in verse 7, and very similarly in verse 16, “when thou givest alms, let not thine eye be envious”.
The provocation and the envying of one another are not sins which are explicitly prohibited in the law, however they are certainly contrary to the spirit of the law, by which one should not cause his brother to stumble. However Paul makes these admonitions hand-in-hand with the earlier admonitions to serve one another with love, and not to bite at and devour one another. The conceit of men causes men to envy, provokes others to jealousy, and is contrary to Christian humility. While these things are not found in the law as explicit commandments, the children of Israel are nevertheless admonished by the law in other ways to refrain from such things.
The Greek words which Paul uses here do not appear in the Greek versions of the books of the canonical Old Testament, but there are certain synonyms which appear often. For instance, the Hebrew word marar (Strong's # 4843) which is often rendered as provoke in the King James Version where it describes the provocation of the children of Israel towards Yahweh, is also often translated as vex where it is used of men provoking men. For instance, in Numbers chapters 25 and 33 it is used of the vexing of the children of Israel to sin by the Canaanites, where it may have been better translated as provoke in each instance. In this same respect we also see Hebrew forms of both of these words which Paul uses here, in Isaiah chapter 11: “12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” Therefore the children of Israel certainly should not vex, or provoke, or envy one another, or even make one another envious. When they do, they make themselves partners in the resulting sin.
With this we shall commence with Galatians chapter 6:
1 Brethren, even if a man should already be caught up in some transgression, you, those of the Spirit, restore such a man in a spirit of meekness, watching yourself lest also you may be tested.
By “those of the spirit” Paul refers to those who are walking in the spirit. Conceit comes from pride, and neither should Christians be proud. Any one of us may fall into the trap which we should seek to pull our brother out of, so we are reminded to be humble when we correct our brethren. As it says in Proverbs chapter 11: “2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom”, and again in Proverbs chapter 16: “18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
The apostle James had written in chapter 5 of his epistle: “20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Christians have a duty to correct their brethren when they sin, but they must do so with humility. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter 13: “Love has patience, is beneficial, love is not jealous, love does not vaunt itself, [love] is not inflated”.
2 Should you bear one anothers’ burdens, and in that manner fulfill the law of the Anointed?
And here, where he has just mentioned conceit, or vainglory, and the spirit of meekness, Paul refers to the burden of the ego, that we should not burden our brethren with our self-righteousness or boasting, as his next sentence further reveals:
3 For if anyone supposes to be something, being nothing, he deceives his own mind;
The chapter number may have changed, but the subject has not changed from Galatians 5:26 where Paul had said that “We should not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” This is also what is meant in the many places where Christians are warned that Yahweh is not a “respecter of persons”, meaning that He does not judge men according to their stature, or status. As Christians we cannot rest on our laurels, so to speak, or claim some special authority merely because of our own accomplishments. As Paul warned in Colossians chapter 3: “25 But he doing wrong is provided for that which he has done wrong, and there is not respect of the stature of persons.”
We do not want to be caught boasting of ourselves when we correct our brethren, so we do so with humility. Some time after this epistle was written, when there was the problem in Corinth with the fornicator, Paul had chastised certain of the Corinthians because of their response to that situation, where he said in chapter 5 of 1 Corinthians “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned”, and “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” Likewise Paul says here:
4 so each [P46 and B have “one”] must scrutinize his own work, and then he has a boast to himself only, and not to another.
As an example of such boasting, we may read from Luke chapter 18: “9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Men should therefore not boast in their own deeds. From Proverbs chapter 29: “23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Therefore Paul concludes in verse 5:
5 For each will bear his own load.
There are many apologists who attempt to assign different esoteric meanings to the words translated respectively as burden (βάρος, Strong's # 922) and load in (φορτίον, Strong's # 5413) in verses 2 and 5 here. In the King James Version both words are translated as burden, and in that version Galatians 6:2 is not understood to be a rhetorical question. In fact, no other version of the New Testament that we know of translates Galatians 6:2 as a rhetorical question. In the King James Version, one verse says “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ”, and the other says “For every man shall bear his own burden.” So the mainstream commentators struggle to somehow explain away the obvious conflict that these two verses present as they were read by the King James Version translators.
In verse 2 of this chapter the verb for bear is a Present Indicative, and in some of the older manuscripts, the verb for fulfill is a Future Indicative, as the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codex Vaticanus (B) each have it, which is a tense that is also often used for the Aorist Subjunctive (MacDonald, Greek Enchiridion, p. 46, where he says “the aorist subjunctive and future indicative are used interchangeably”). The Indicative often being used in interrogation (Ibid, p. 43), and reading the second verb as a Subjunctive, this verse is very naturally read as a question, in which case there is no conflict with Paul's statement here in verse 5 of this chapter.
But that second verb in verse 2, which is fulfill, in the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Bezae (D) appears in the Aorist Imperative tense, the difference being only a single letter: ἀναπληρώσατε (with an 'α' as the penultimate vowel) rather than ἀναπληρώσετε (with an 'ε' as the penultimate vowel). The modern translations all follow that reading, and therefore they all have verse 2 as a statement rather than as a rhetorical question. If we accepted that reading we too would have to translate verse 2 as a statement, and very likely the conflict with verse 5 would be left unresolved. Only by reading verse 2 as a rhetorical question as we have done here, are both of Paul's statements properly reconciled.
In the context of both verses, Paul is referring to the burden of the ego, which we must not impose on our brethren, therefore the answer to the rhetorical question is no. Christians should not burden their brethren with their own egos, and in that manner fulfill the law of Christ, because the law of Christ cannot be fulfilled by braggarts. Therefore Paul concludes here in verse 5 that concerning the ego, “each will bear his own load”, not provoking their brethren to envy by boasting.
So Christians do not burden their brethren with their own egos, but rather, they should help their weaker brethren by bearing whatever they can of their weakness. As Paul had said in Romans chapter 15: “1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
6 He who is being instructed in the word must share in all good things with he who is teaching.
Christians should provide for their teachers, as Paul had also said in 1 Corinthians chapter 9: “13 Do you not know that those who in sacred things are laboring, from of the temple they eat? Those who are attending at the altar take a share with the altar? 14 Also in that manner has the Prince appointed those announcing the good message, from of the good message to live.”
7 Do not be deceived, Yahweh is not mocked; “Indeed whatever a man should sow, that he also shall reap.”
As Christ said in Matthew chapter 10, “the workman is worthy of his meat”, but in this case the work and the reward are related to the objectives of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven. The same Yahshua Christ said in Revelation chapter 22: “12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” If we walk in the spirit, and we believe that we should have life by that spirit, then it is foolish to strive for fleshly things that are temporary, rather than, as Paul is about to explain, spiritual rewards which are eternal:
8 Because he who is sowing for his own flesh, from the flesh shall he reap destruction; but he who is sowing for the Spirit, from the Spirit he shall reap life eternal.
Since Paul's statement cannot conflict with what things he has already said about the children of Israel in Romans chapter 5 and elsewhere in relation to the promises of salvation, which explain that all of the children of Israel shall be saved, it may have been better to interpret the second half of this verse “but he who is sowing for the Spirit, from the Spirit he shall reap for life eternal”, the preposition being interpreted from the grammatical case of the noun after the manner in which MacDonald describes the “Accusative of general reference” in his Greek Enchiridion, page 90, where in certain cases it is evident that such prepositions must be supplied in English, and in most translations for many passages they frequently are supplied.
However in any case, the destruction of which Paul speaks is destruction of the flesh, and not of the spirit, as he also said of a fornicator in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, having instructed the assembly “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Likewise, Paul said in chapter 3 of that same epistle “11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Ostensibly, the spiritual rewards which Christians seek for their earthly labors are permanent, while those who seek only the things of the flesh in their earthly labors have no reward, and that is also permanent. This would accord with the words of the prophet Daniel, where it says in chapter 12 that: “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
9 Now we should not waver from doing well, for in due time we shall reap without failing. 10 So then while we have occasion we should work at good towards all, but especially towards those of the family of the faith.
The word for family here is the Greek word οἰκεῖος (Strong's # 3609), where the King James Version has household. According to Liddell & Scott, the word οἰκεῖος means “in or of the house” and, ostensibly for that very reason they add that, “of persons, [it means] of the same family or kin, related” and also “belonging to one's house or family”. The faith being according to the promises to Abraham, the family of the faith can only be the seed of Abraham through Jacob, which had become many nations according to that same promise, as Paul has described in Romans chapter 4 and in Galatians chapter 3, and which were also at one time subject to the Levitical ordinances and to the laws of God, as Paul has described here Galatians chapters 3, 4 and 5.
With the intent to reference this same thing, Paul used the similar Greek word οἰκονομία, which according to Liddell & Scott is “the management of a household or family”, in his epistles twice in Ephesians chapter 3 (vv. 2 and 9), in 1 Timothy chapter 1 (v. 4) in 1 Corinthians 9:17 where Paul said that he “had been entrusted with the management of a family”. Yet on every occasion the King James translation absolutely ignores the primary meaning of the word, οἰκονομία.
The promise of the New Covenant in the Old Testament says this, which Paul also quotes in his epistle to the Hebrews: “31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 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.”
In the Septuagint version of Jeremiah, the word for house in that passage is οἶκος, which is literally a house, but also a household, or family, the sense in which the equivalent Hebrew word appears in this passage from Jeremiah chapter 31. From that word οἶκος the words οἰκεῖος and οἰκονομία are derived, for family and management of a family. We see in the Septuagint the same word οἶκος used repeatedly, of the ancient people of Israel taken captive, in Ezekiel chapter 39, where the history of the people of Israel ever since the captivity is summarized in a prophecy: “23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. 25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the nations: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” As Yahweh also said in Amos chapter 3, of that same house of Israel going into captivity: “1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family [that same Greek word οἶκος in the Septuagint version] which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, 2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. 3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
So where Paul refers to the children of Israel, he refers to Israel according to the flesh, because as he says in Galatians chapter 3, “even a validated covenant of man no one sets aside, or makes additions to for himself.” Therefore Israel cannot be redefined by some supposed “church” authority. So Paul accounts Israel by tribes in Acts chapter 26 where he says “6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come….” In Acts chapter 28 Paul attests that “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” and then in Romans chapter 9, it is evident that he reckons Israel according to the flesh, where he says “3 for I have prayed that I myself would be accursed from the Anointed for the brethren, my kinsmen in regards to the flesh; 4 those who are Israelites, whose is the position of sons, and the honor, and the covenants, and the legislation, and the service, and the promises; 5 whose are the fathers; and of whom are the Anointed in regards to the flesh, being over all blessed of Yahweh for the ages.”
It is once again evident that Paul reckoned Israel according to the flesh in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, where he says “18 Behold Israel down through the flesh: are not those who are eating the sacrifices partners of the altar? 19 What then do I say? That that which is sacrificed to an idol is anything? Or that an idol is anything? 20 Rather, that whatever the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to Yahweh. Now I do not wish for you to be partners with demons.” But this Israel whom he refers to in this passage are not the remnant of Israel in Palestine. Rather, they are the Israelites of the ancient dispersions who were cast off because they had followed that paganism which Paul in that place describes, among whom were the Dorian Greek Corinthians, as Paul said to them in that same chapter “1 Now I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all had passed through the sea. 2 And all up to Moses had immersed themselves in the cloud and in the sea,” These Israelites are the Romans chapter 4 Israelites of the nations of Abraham's seed, in which Abraham believed that “he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, "Thus your offspring will be”, as Paul wrote in Romans 4:18.
These nations descended from Abraham are the “family of the faith” to whom Paul had brought the Gospel of Reconciliation in Christ. This is the truth for which Paul declared that he was persecuted, in Acts chapter 26: “6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come….” This is the message that the Jews, the eternal enemies of Yahweh God, hate above all messages, and they persecute it to this very day.
[This is why I have often said that Paul-bashers are whores for the Jews, because by diminishing Paul of Tarsus, they actually assist the Jews in obscuring the truth of the Gospel as it was originally taught by Paul of Tarsus. I repeat once again: all Paul-bashers are indeed whores for the Jews, shiksas for Satan who do not know the Scripture, and who do their best in preventing others from knowing it.]
It is evident in many places in his epistles, that Paul had dictated his letters and others transcribed them. However it was also evidently customary that he made a salutation himself, as we see in this next verse:
11 Do you see, in how large letters I have written to you in my own hand?
Paul once again refers to the “thorn in the flesh” which he described in Galatians chapter 4, which is his poor eyesight. Poor eyesight would force him to write in larger-than-normal letters. Most versions do not read this verse as a question, however in this case, either way is acceptable.
12 As many as desire to look good in body, these compel you to be circumcised only in order that they would not be persecuted for the cross of the Christ.
When Christians are all circumcised, the Jews can infiltrate and hide among them, which is why in recent history through their control of the medical profession they seek to circumcise all Christians. When they can hide and infiltrate among Christians, they are not persecuted for being Jews because they are more difficult to detect when Christians are also circumcised.
The phrase ἐν σαρκί (from σάρξ, Strong's # 4561) is literally in flesh, but here and in the plural in verse 13 it is in body. The Greeks put a strong emphasis on physical perfection, and especially in connection with their pagan gods, which is evidenced throughout their literature.
From an article entitled Sculpting the Body of a Greek God, which is actually from a website for people with that pursuit in mind, we read the following: “We all want to look good naked. Few phrases conjure up the idea of pure physical perfection better than hearing someone described as “having the body of a Greek God”. And that’s for good reason. The ancient Greeks were obsessed with physical and natural beauty and the math and proportions behind it all. They were some of the first civilizations to codify the elements of what makes something beautiful and in a word it all comes down to proportions; specifically the Golden Ratio.”
In response to the Greek pursuit of the physical ideal, Paul had said in his first epistle to Timothy that “bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things”. Yet Paul had commended the Galatians, who in Anatolia had become imbibed in great degree with Greek culture and values, for having accepted him with his poor eyesight contrary to the prevailing Greek attitudes relating godliness and physical perfection.
13 For not even they who are being circumcised themselves keep the law, but they wish you to be circumcised, in order that they may boast in your bodies.
And Christ had upbraided the Pharisees many times for giving the appearance of piety, yet neglecting to keep all of the important matters of the law. As Christ had said in part, where it is recorded in Matthew chapter 23: “27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”
The circumcision is a sign, and those who bear it are thereafter subservient to those men whom they submitted themselves to, who performed the ritual upon them. Those who administer the ritual may boast in the bodies of those whom they manage to circumcise. The same psychology lies behind any ritual, including baptism. Any actual need for such things according to the law of God was done away with in Christ.
14 But to me it may not happen to boast, except in the cross of our Prince, Yahshua Christ, through whom the society has been crucified to me, and I to the society.
As Paul had said in the closing words of 1 Corinthians chapter 1, “just as it is written, 'He who is boasting, in Yahweh he must boast.'”
The phrase μὴ γένοιτο (the negative particle with the verb γίγνομαι, to be, Strong's # 1096) is always “God forbid” in the King James Version, where I usually translate the interjection as “certainly not!” Literally the phrase is “may it not be”, and here in this context “it may not happen”, is also quite literal.
15 Indeed neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new foundation.
Rather than the word translated here as indeed, the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), Bezae (D) and the Majority Text have “With Christ Yahshua”. Here again the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codex Vaticanus (B). Of all of those manuscripts, the Majority Text alone has “of any influence”, rather than “anything” later in the verse.
The word for foundation is the Greek word κτίσις (Strong's # 2937), which is often creature or creation in the King James Version. Paul's use of the term here in this content is exemplary of the fact that the word does not necessarily refer to the Creation, in its totality, as the Genesis 1 account is described, but often refers only to the foundation of a particular thing, such as of a practice as we see here, or a law, or a custom, etc. As Paul uses the term in the later part of Romans 8, it is clear that the term was used to describe only certain elements of God's creation, as opposed to other elements of that creation.
16 And as many as shall be in line with this standard, peace upon them, and mercy, even upon the Israel of Yahweh.
The words “even upon” indicate that Paul means to make a parallelism, that the Israel of Yahweh should accept the standard, and therefore it is of them that Paul hoped that “as many as” would consist. The Family of the Faith is the “Israel of Yahweh”, opposed to those Edomite pretenders calling themselves Israel. We have seen that Paul has been addressing the Judaizers throughout this epistle, as he still is here, and that from Acts chapter 15 it is apparent that these Judaizers had been originating in Jerusalem and Judaea.
Citing Romans chapter 9 in our discussion of Paul's use of the phrase “family of the faith” in verse 10 of this chapter, we had seen that Paul was concerned for those in Judaea who were his “kinsmen in regards to the flesh; those who are Israelites”. Picking up from that very point, Paul had then told the Romans “6 Not, however, that the word of Yahweh has failed; since not all those who are from Israel are those of Israel”. If all of those in Judaea were not Paul's “kinsmen according to the flesh”, then not all of those in Israel were actually Israelites, and those who were calling themselves Israelites were not the “Israel of God”, because all of the Israel of God are indeed Paul's “kinsmen according to the flesh; those who are Israelites”! As Paul described in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and in Romans chapter 4, the “Israel of God” which is “Israel according to the flesh” are those pagan nations which had descended from the ancient Israelites who were dispersed from as early as the time in Egypt and up to the Assyrian captivities of Israel and Judah, up to about 700 years before Paul had written this epistle. The “Israel of Yahweh” are the “twelve tribes scattered abroad” of James chapter 1, the “elect race”, “holy nation” and “peculiar people” of 1 Peter chapter 2, and the “twelve tribes” of the promise that Paul describes in Acts chapter 26, and none of them were ever Jews. As Paul himself states, the Jews are not of Israel at all.
Rather, Paul describes the Edomite Jews as “vessels of destruction” in Romans chapter 9, and in his second epistle to the Thessalonians he describes them again where he says: “3 You should not be deceived by anyone, in any way, because if apostasy had not come first, and the man of lawlessness been revealed; the son of destruction, 4 he who is opposing and exalting himself above everything said to be a god or an object of worship, and so he is seated in the temple of Yahweh, representing himself that he is a god.”
If Christians understood that all of these Jews are devils, and were to forever be rejected, then they would have the peace which Paul describes in his conclusion here:
17 Henceforth, no one must cause me troubles, for I bear the marks of [here the MT interpolates “Prince”, א and D “our Prince”] Yahshua in my body. 18 The favor of our [א wants “our”] Prince Yahshua Christ is with your Spirit, brethren. Truly.
Paul does not literally bear the scars of Christ in his body, but figuratively, because as he had written in Romans chapter 6: “3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection”.
As Paul therefore said in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, Christians should “10 at all times [bear] about the death of Yahshua in the body, in order that also the life of Yahshua in our body may be manifested.”
Here we conclude our presentation of Paul's epistle to the Galatians.