Friday, March 4, 2011

Galatians gazed upon

Round two, let’s see if Galatians tells us we’re “free” from the law of Yah.  As I mentioned in my take on James, Shaul was called to minister to formerly Gentile converts; and we read him state this himself in 1:15-16.  This is also seen in 2:2-9, with Barnabas ministering to them in addition to Shaul.  Now although there appears to be some difference between Jews and Gentiles as far as who ministered to whom, there is absolutely none in regards to fellowship within the body of Yahushua.  Peter (Kepha) segregated himself from the Gentiles when fellow Jews arrived with Yakov, and Shaul was so dismayed that he publically called him out on it to his face.  We find this incident over in 2:11-14.  In the remainder of the chapter, 2:15-21; very interesting verses are appearing that some misinterpret to justify their disregard for Torah obedience.  Shaul proclaims how we’re not under the law and it seems that’s where many stop reading without taking the context into account.  I’ll submit to you that he’s clearly saying we’re not under the law FOR SALVATION, not that it’s done away with or for Jews only (dispensationalism).  When he says he’s dead to the law he means he’s dead to faith in it for salvation, such faith is not living; non-existent.  This is so clear, because as many times as he mentions the Torah in this passage he also contrasts it to the salvation of our beloved Yahushua.  Apparently certain brethren were embracing/spreading a new doctrine that following the Torah saves, this of course was never true as Yahuah’s plan of salvation has always been to come by grace through faith in His Son; so Shaul rebukes the heresy.  And he does so by quoting the law, in case anyone still thinks he had hated it.

He continues to do so entering the third chapter and I don’t have any trouble with it, as long as his words aren’t twisted to teach how grace/faith is some recent discovery which negates the Torah.  Sadly though that seems to be the message preached over the last decade, and I think Shaul would be heartbroken to see this trend transpire.  Perhaps all of us should seek to be balanced as believers, to just ask if it’s possible that the same Father who gave the grace of Yahushua also gave us His law and both are good to the point of being followed.  As a mentor of mine says, being able to unlearn false things is just as important as being able to learn new truths.  Most know cursed are those who fail to do all of the Torah (everyone), and the good news of how Yahushua came to take away the curse if our faith is in Him.  What curse?  Well it can’t be the law, not according to 3:12: “Now the law was not from faith, but whoever is a doer of those things that are written in it will live (temporally) by them”.  I still don’t know everything, but I know that if by Torah obedience I’ll be blessed with life then I’m not about to dare call the Torah a curse.  He’s redeemed us from the curse of the law, NOT the curse which is the law.  Given the context, my opinion is that “curse of the Torah” simply refers to the fact that all who violate it are cursed in that we’re guilty of death; without the Messiah of course.  Likewise, the law does not negate the promise Yahuah made in sending us the Savior to free us from eternal death so I don’t have a problem with the end of this chapter either.  That’s what we’re freed from, yes the Torah is a tutor pointing to everyone’s need for a Redeemer; including those who previously may have mistakenly done it for redemption.  

Shaul carries this theme into the fourth chapter to those desiring to be under law for salvation, but I feel as if getting into it in depth would be terribly repetitive.  I will just say that verse 10 is another one where reason seems to get left at the door: “Days and months and times of year you observe”.  This is said in a negative context, so a lot of people seem to think this means the Sabbath is now done away with despite the fact that it’s not even mentioned here.  I’ll admit that there isn’t anything to go by to logically determine what days exactly he means, but I can take an educated guess based on what he said in Romans.  That’s where he rebuked the assembly in Rome for observing special days of fasting that they either made up or adopted from those around them, ones not found in Torah.  Maybe those in Galatia did the exact same thing, it’s entirely possible.  Our dear misunderstood brother gets more specific in the fifth and sixth chapters, saying that the portion of Torah dealing with circumcision doesn’t save.  We see this same subject dealt with in Acts and Romans.  Bear with me here, but my dispensationalist friends who believe Yahushua’s death did away with the law are partially right.  It obviously did away with the sacrificial/ceremonial part of the Torah, as He is our sacrificial Lamb of Yah.  It also succeeded in doing away with the circumcision part (in adult converts), which Yahuah had promised to do in Jeremiah by circumcising His law on our hearts.  Therefore we should now have a love for it, so that we can call it good and practice it.  In conclusion, I personally don’t come away from reading Galatians with any desire to stop attempting to follow the law as my general pattern of loving; I just don’t.

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