There has been a question raised while talking with the brethren:
“What’s the use of talking about being lead by the Spirit of God when it is already stated in the law what we need to do.”
The first thing we have to understand is that the law is of spirit:
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Rom.7:14)
The flesh is going against the spirit, it always stays under the power of sin, this is why we can not keep the law out of human strength or will. There is only one way: to be born again by the faith of Jesus Christ.
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.” (Rom.8:3-4)
I am unable to search or understand God, nor can I do His will without the Spirit. However, there is no need for a new revelation again and again, or for individual and personal messages. God’s work within us is revealing the same truth (the law) which was given from the beginning. He is leading us (or rather leading us back) to the things already extant.
“Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” (1John2:7)
And so the Spirit is the one by which I receive the calling for conversion, for renewing my mind, and it adds the will and completion to me, then it gradually discloses the fullness of the law.
What is the main point of the NEW TESTAMENT?
We read the promise of God to His people in the prophets:
“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: 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: 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. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know YAHWEH: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer.31:31-34)
We know that the chosen people of Israel have been temporary broken off the olive tree, and we from the gentiles have been engrafted. (They were broken off because of unbelief, but neither can we remain if we do not abide in godliness. Rom.11:19-22)) That is to say that God – glory to His name! – has made a covenant with us, made us as part of His people and, according to the above promise, He has written His law in our hearts.
Let us examine the thread of the epistle to the Galatian now, as it usually raises many questions regarding the law.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth NOT in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Gal.3:10)
We can see that the problem is not the law itself, for in the next lines we find that whoever is doing them shall live in them, which means the keeping of the law is for one’s benefit, for life. However man by himself can never keep the law perfectly because of the fallen nature in him. And so he can not deliver nor meet the demands of God even if he really whishes to because “no flesh is justified by the works of the law” that is as saying that there is no man ever who would be able to do this.
“No man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith„ (Gal.3:11)
And so without God everyone, be either Jew or Gentile is under the law, which means to be under curse, since the fruitage of breaking the law is a sentence of death – this is the curse itself. The Jew know the law and still can not keep it, so the law will be his judge. The Gentile doesn’t know the law, so he will perish without it (Rom.2:12). EVERYONE is under the law: not only those who try and justify themselves by doing it, but all of those too, who do not accept and acknowledge the order given by God.
If we read on we see that the law and the promise are not contradictory to each other, nor substitutive options. The purpose of the law is not that which is of the promise: namely to bring on justification before God. The purpose of the law is to conclude all mankind under the curse:
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that EVERY MOUTH may be stopped, and ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God.” (Rom.3:19)
The same is written to the Galatians (3:22):
“The scripture hath concluded all under sin,
that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
This means that the law is leading us to Christ in order to be saved by him, who has been promised afore by God according to His mercy!
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephes.2:8)
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal.3:24)
By knowing the law and failing to obey it by human will and strength we realize that we need God’s grace, because in spite of all our good intentions and efforts we are simply unable to improve or become just. Despite our strivings all we can apprehend is that we are weak and deserve death. THIS IS THE PURPUSE OF THE LAW! It was given to point out sin, and the death of the Christ resulted mercy.
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal.2:21)
If knowing the law and making human efforts to fulfill it was enough then our Lord would not have to die. On the other hand it is also true that that Christ has died in vain for those who do not acknowledge the law.
In Galatians 4:1-3 Paul is talking about being under the “elements of the world” when we were children. What are these elements?
We learn from the above verses that Israel too, although new the law, was serving to the “elements of the world” because their spirit has not been reborn and so evil was effecting them, not to mention their own fallen nature. But the law is not equal to the elements of the world! The “elements of the world” means the ‘usual’ operation, the social contexture of the world without God, which is evil. In other words, to be “under the elements of the world” is equivalent to be subjected under the reign of the “god of this world”. Whoever is in this state is necessarily braking the law constantly thus he is under the curse of the law, in short: under the law.
Scripture is confirming it several times that everyone, the whole creation is in this state:
“the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1John5:19)
“For the whole creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected” (Rom.8:20)
“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Rom.11:32)
“For the earnest expectation of the whole creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom.8:19)
“he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God ABIDETH on him.” (John3:36)
Therefore a man is under the elements of this world until he is reborn by Spirit. This rebirth is only possible through the sacrifice and resurrection of the Anointed Jesus,
“who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Gal.1:4)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John3:16)
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal.4:4-5)
Christ has been given by God for the whole world: the offer of everlasting life is available for everyone, Jesus came to redeem everyone, and this ‘everyone’ is equal to those “under the law”. In other words: EVERYONE is under the law (under the curse of the law), because everyone is serving to the elements of this world, until he comes to know God, even becomes known of God.
Jesus Christ himself was under the law, that is he needed to be born again too by the Spirit of God, which he received when he was baptized and a voice came from the Everlasting One saying: “Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” (Luke 2:22 according to the testimony of Codex Bezae and of the 2-3. century church fathers such as Justinus, Clement of Alexandria, Ireneus, Origenes, Methodios, and the Gospel of the Jews, the Ebionites, and the Didascalia). The same notion is found in the epistle to the Hebrews, where the words of this voice are correlated with the anointing of the Christ to his high priest service (since the submersion in water has been a cleansing washing of priesthood for Jesus who started his earthly service by the Spirit right after this event.)
There is something we need to know about the epistle to the Galatians: it was not written to a single assembly in one particular city. It was addressed to the many congregations living within the province of Galatia in many different cities and settlements. This fact makes it easier to comprehend the reason for Paul speaking about different false teachings and practices at the same time in one single letter.
We can identify two distinct problems:
- The galatians themselves were intended to return to the practices of their own earlier, pagan cults.
“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye AGAIN to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire AGAIN to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” (Gal.4:9-10)
The people living in the province of Galatia were heathen nations initially with pagan customs and faith. After coming to know God there was only one way they could go back AGAIN: their earlier pagan practices. The things listed here in verse 10. are written with such wording that are never used to describe the sanctified days of God in the greek Scriptures. The days belonging to the Everlasting Father’s order are mentioned as “sabbath”, “feast”, “new moon”, “holy days” all through the gospels and the apostolic writings. Opposed to those, here we see such phrases that are perfectly fit to the names of the highlighted periods of the Hellenistic and other surrounding beliefs of those times, such as the horoscope predictions, lucky days, month and years dedicated to certain deities or even emperors. Those who wish to celebrate these AGAIN are going back to serve the elements of the world, and thereby under the curse of the law.
- The other problem was the false teaching of those of the circumcision.
Some of the brethren who were of Jewish roots have forced the others to circumcise themselves and keep the mosaic law by the letter or else they will loose salvation. This of course is going under the curse of the law, too.
Both of the problems mentioned in this epistle are make for going under the law, the curse that is. Either one has the same essence: to stand all demands of the spiritual powers by ones own strength for the sake of ones own benefit!
EVERY DEED THAT SOMEONE MAKES TO BE JUSTIFIED BY HIS OWN STRENGTH IS BRINGING HIM UNDER THE CURSE.
„Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal.5:4)
„But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (Gal.5:18)
IF GOD HAS CIRCUMCISED MY HEART AND WRITTEN HIS LAW IN MY HEART THEN I AM OBLIGATED TO GIVE ALL MY GRATITUDE AND OBEDIENCE TO HIM.
And so we can join apostle Paul and say: I am not under the law, whilst am not without the law of God!
Glory and blessing for ever and ever to our savior God by Jesus Christ! Amen.