CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

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NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CHURCHES

CHAPTER SIX (Lesson CXLI)

Ramsey Aiyer contextualizes these verses this way: “Don’t deceive yourselves into thinking that you can try to keep God’s Law and yet be righteous; You cannot outwit God by sowing one kind of crop and reaping another kind; you cannot, by trying to obey God’s Law conscientiously, be able to live a godly life; a person will always reap just the kind of crop they sow!  If they try to be good in their human strength, living conscientiously by moral principles and standards, which is an exercise of their own human will and effort, they will only become absorbed in a selfish way of life that will lead to sin and corruption. But if they surrender their will to God’s powerful spirit and let it rule and order their life, they will truly be enabled to live a life of holiness, and thus gain life. Yes, what you sow, you will reap.” [1]

6:9-10 One more thing, don’t lose your motivation for doing what’s right. If you don’t get discouraged and give up, you will reap great blessings at harvest time. Take every opportunity to be useful, especially to your fellow believers.

 EXPOSITION

But Paul knew that by the Galatians keeping their minds on God’s will and following the teachings of Jesus the Anointed One, and continually listening to the urging of the Holy Spirit is not a casual thing to do. It takes time and effort. So, he wants them to concentrate on the goal and not just on the race. The prophet Malachi addressed a similar problem in his day. And the Lord spoke to him with a message for all the people of God.

Here’s what the Lord said: “My people all around the world respect My Name. From all around the earth, they bring good gifts to Me and burn offerings as a gift to Me because My Name is essential to all of them.” This is what the Lord All-Powerful said to me, says Malachi. “But you people show that you don’t respect My Name. You say that the Lord’s altar is unclean. And you don’t like the food from that altar. You smell the food and refuse to eat it. You say it is terrible. Then you bring sick, crippled, and hurt animals to Me. You try to give sick animals to Me as sacrifices, but I will not accept them.” These words, says Malachi, is what the Lord All-Powerful said to me. “Some people have good animals that they could give as sacrifices, but they don’t. Some people bring good animals and promise to provide those healthy animals to Me. But then they secretly exchange those good animals and give me sick animals instead. Bad things will happen to those people. I am the Great King, and people all around the world respect Me!” Listen to what the Lord All-Powerful said to me, says Malachi.” [2]

When we put this into today’s language and church culture, oh my, how this should resonate with the church today. Some people go to church looking for the best praise and worship team, want the most beautiful solos, want the most powerful, and yet least assertive sermons to make them comfortable. However, when asked to take time to pray, study God’s Word, to be involved in ministry, and give to the needs of the neediest members, they don’t have the time or interest. It seems that Paul faced the same dilemma in Corinth. That’s why he wrote telling them my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and steadfast. Don’t let other interests change you. Always offer yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. You never waste your time working for the Lord.[3]

Paul also mentioned to the Romans that some people conduct their lives for God’s glory, for honor, and indestructible future life. They live for those things by continuing to do what’s right at all times. God will give them eternal life.[4] This is the best way for God’s children to stop uninformed people, says Peter, from saying foolish things about them. It is what God wants His children to do by following His will.[5] It is far better to suffer for doing what’s right than for doing what’s wrong. It is better to have a desire for what God wants than what we want.[6] Because, if God lets you go through hardships, you should trust your lives to Him. He is the One who made you, and you can trust Him. So, continue doing what’s right.[7]

You may not see this come to pass all at once or even in a short time. Moses had the same advice for the children of Israel when he told them that if they remain faithful to doing things God’s way, He will give them rains at the right time. Then the fields will grow crops, and the trees in the grove will grow and bear their fruit.[8] That’s why the orchard caretaker doesn’t become discouraged because apples do not start developing the next day after the tree’s blossoms bloomed. The Apostle James uses this same illustration to make an identical point.[9]

However, warns Paul, the end can only be reached if they don’t get tired and quit. Isaiah put it this way. Sometimes even young men get tired and need to rest. Even young boys will stumble and fall. But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weary. They will walk and not get tired.[10] But Jesus added another factor for believers to consider. He tells us that the day will come when there will be so much spiritual indifference to sin in the world that the love of most believers will grow cold. But the one who remains faithful to the end will be saved.[11] When you start feeling discouraged and weary, said Jesus, pray for strength, and never give up.[12]

Paul wants the Galatians to know what he told the Corinthians, that God never chooses anyone to do the work He desires for them to do, without equipping them with the spiritual secrets they need to know on how to survive.[13] Paul went through many hardships to preach the Gospel throughout Asia Minor, and the good saints at Ephesus were worried about him, but he told them that all that he went through was for their benefit.[14] There was no reason for Paul to wish he could do it all over with fewer adversities, but there was no reason to do so. The writer of Hebrews declared that the Anointed One is faithful in overseeing God’s house as the Son. And we are God’s house if we remain confident of the great hope, we are glad to say we have. It gives us the honor of sharing in all that the Anointed One has if we continue until the end, having the same faith we had in the beginning.[15]

The writer of Hebrews encouraged his readers not to lose the courage they had in the past. You will receive a rich reward for your bravery. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you.[16] He then uses Jesus as an example of someone who did not lose courage and quit because what He came to do looked impossible.[17] And in his Revelation, the Apostle John heard this said by Jesus the Anointed One to the Ephesians: You never stop trying. You have endured troubles for my name and have not given up. So, let everyone who hears this should listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches. To those who win the victory, I will give the right to eat the fruit from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.[18]

And then to the Church at Smyrna, the Anointed One had this to say: Don’t ever be afraid of what may happen to you. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison. He will do this to test you. You will suffer, but be faithful, even if you end up dying. But if you remain committed, I will give you the reward of eternal life. The second death will not touch those who win the victory.[19] And to the Church in Pergamum, He says that He will give the hidden manna to everyone who wins the victory. He will also give each one a white stone that has a new name written on it. And no one will know this name except the one who gets the stone.[20]

But the Angel of the Lord is not finished. To the Church in Thyatira, He said that He would give power over the nations to all those who win the victory and continue until the end to do what I want. They will rule the nations with an iron rod. They will break them to pieces like clay pots. They will have the same power He received from His Father, and He will give them the morning star.[21] And to the Church in Sardis, the Angel said that all would wear white who is victorious. He will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but He will announce before His Father and His angels that they are mine.[22]

The Angel of the Lord goes on with His message to the Church in Philadelphia. Those who win the victory will be pillars in the Temple of My God. I will make that happen for them. They will never again have to leave God’s Temple. I will write on them the name of My God and the name of the city of My God. That city is the new Jerusalem. It is coming down out of heaven from My God. I will also write My new name on them.[23] And finally, to the Church in Laodicea, He says, I will let everyone who wins the victory sit with Me on My throne. It was the same with Me. I won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. Everyone who hears this should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.[24]

Reading these messages from the Anointed One to all assemblies of believers leaves no doubt what Paul told the Philippians is true. We can be confident that the good work God began in us will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus the Anointed One comes again.[25] It’s not just our battle, but God’s battle as well. But we cannot sit on our hands and do nothing and expect the Holy Spirit to fight all our battles for us. Soldiers don’t sit in the barracks while the commander goes out and fights the enemy. We are under the command of the Lord Jesus the Anointed One. We must listen to His commandments and do them with all our heart and soul.

[1] Ramsey Aiyer, The Contextual Bible Galatians, loc. cit.

[2] Malachi 1:11-14

[3] 1 Corinthians 15:58; cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 12:3

[4] Romans 2:7

[5] 1 Peter 2:15

[6] Ibid. 3:17

[7] Ibid. 4:19

[8] Leviticus 26:4; Deuteronomy 11:14

[9] James 5:7

[10] Isaiah 40:30-31

[11] Matthew 24:12-13

[12] Luke 18:1

[13] 1 Corinthians 4:1

[14] Ephesians 3:13

[15] Hebrews 3:6, 14

[16] Ibid. 10:35-36

[17] Ibid. 12:3-5

[18] Revelation 2:3, 7

[19] Ibid. 2:10-11

[20] Ibid. 2:17

[21] Ibid. 2:26-29

[22] Ibid. 3:5-6

[23] Ibid. 3:12

[24] Ibid. 3:21-22

[25] Philippians 1:6

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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