The Law in Galatians


-by Robert L. Rael

                                                                        Paul dictating letter to the Galatians   

“In the decade or so surrounding the year A.D. 50, the infant church was drifting by degrees and at times almost unoticeably toward its first great doctrinal crises, when the gospel was being preached primarily to the Jews by Jews, the development of the church progressed smoothly.  But as the ambassadors of Christ pushed out into largely Gentile communities and the gospel began to take root there, questions arose regarding A Christian’s relationship to the Law of Moses and to Judaism as a system.  Was the church to open her doors wide to all comers, regardless of their relationship to the particularized traditions of Judaism?  Were her boundaries to be as wide as the human race?  Or was she to be only an extension of Judaism to the Gentiles?

“In more particular terms, was it necessary for a Gentile believer to observe the Law of Moses in order to become a Christian?  Should a Gentile be circumcised?  Questions like these must have been raised with increasing force throughout the Roman Empire, wherever the Church of Christ camped on Gentile soil.  (Read John 7:21-24 & Acts 15.)

“The Apostle Paul’s defense of the truth, and his contention against this propaganda forms the main subject of the Galatians epistle.”  REFERENCE:  “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary,” Frank E. Gaebelein, pg. 409, section “Galatians”

Occasion of the Writing.  The Galatian churches had come into being when he learned Jewish Christians had circulated among these Gentile converts seeking to impose circumcision and the Mosaic Law upon them as necessary for salvation (Galatians 1:7, Galatians 4:17, Galatians 5:10).  Writing under great stress, he met the issue squarely, and thus, in the epistle to the Galatians, gave to the Church a might polemic against the Judaizing error.”  REFERENCE:  “The King James Study Bible Commentary,”  section “Galatians”

                                                                        The reading of Paul's letter to the Galatians

“While he was with the Galatians, they had expressed the greatest respect and affection for both his person and his ministry, but some Judaizing teachers got in among them.  The main aim of these false teachers was to draw the Galatians away from the truth as it is in Jesus (Ephesians 4:21), especially in the great teaching of justification, asserting the necessity of adding the observance of the Law of Moses to faith in Christ.”  
REFERENCE:  “The New Matthew Henry Commentary,” Martin H. Manser, Editor, pg. 2106, section “Galatians”

“They (the Judaizers) had infiltrated into the visible Christian Church, and were attempting to set up a perverted legalism built around the Mosaic economy…  They taught that acceptance with God was to be had by means of personal merit obtained through the individual’s good works and that the saved individual was sanctified by observance of the legal precepts of the Mosaic Law.”  REFERENCE: “Wuest’s Word Studies From the Greek New Testament,” Kenneth S. Wuest, volume  I, section “Galatians,” pg. 21

“Because the Jews claimed righteousness by having the Laws of God, and the Gentiles did not, the Jews viewed themselves as having a superior relationship with God.  But this led the prideful Jews to base their relationship with God upon the works they performed under the Law of Moses and not on faith, thus seeking legal righteousness versus faith-based righteousness.

"They (the Judaizers) demanded that the Gentile Christians should be incorporated by circumcision with the community of Israel, and should observe the leading requirements of the Mosaic Law (v. 2, 11; vi. 12).  …they recommended circumcision as an easy way of attaining salvation through mere formal incorporation with the true people of God, and also as a protection against persecution (vi. 12; comp. v. 11).”  REFERENCE:  “Word Studies in the New Testament,” Marvin R. Vincent, D.D., vol. IV, pg. 77

“Conservative preachers were persuading the Galatians that faith was not enough to make sure of God’s kingdom.  Besides believing that Jesus was the Messiah, on must join the Jewish nation, observe the laws and customs of Moses, and refuse to eat with the Gentiles (Galatians 2:11-14, Galatians 4:10).  One must have Christ and Moses, faith and circumcision, grace and law.  Paul insisted that it must be either Moses or Christ (Galatians 5:2-6).  REFERENCE:  “The Interpreter’s Bible,” George Arthur Buttrick, Commentary Editor, vol. X, pg. 430

Romans 4:3 & Romans 4:9-11:  “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness  (v. 3).  Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?  We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.  Under what circumstances was it credited?  It was not after but before!  And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.  So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them” (vs. 9-11).  Acts 13:39:  “Paul here is saying that both Jew and Gentile… through Christ, have now been freed from the Law of Moses.”

Ezekiel 33:12-13:  “The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression… neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth (v. 12).   …if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered, but for the iniquity that he that committed, he shall die for it (v. 13).”


In this study we will examine The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians within the context of the ceremonial ordinances required under the Law of Moses.

The Law of Moses contained civil laws and ceremonial laws, or symbolic “ordinances” imposed by God through Moses, that represented the ministry of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.  (Read John 1:45.)  These acts were concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings and “fleshly” ordinances (Romans 2:28).  These acts and rituals (or “works”), included the earthly temple services and all the special “annual Sabbaths.”  They also included blood sacrifices to atone for sin (II Chronicles 23:18, Leviticus 1:5 & Leviticus 16:33) festivals, “new moons’ (Numbers 10:10) and other ceremonial ordinances that were a “shadow” of pointing to Jesus as the substance (Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 9:9-10 & Hebrews 10:1, Galatians 3:22-26 and Romans 3:24-26).

Inherent in the Law of Moses was a recognition that at times, because of the weakness of human nature, they would fail (Deuteronomy 30:20).  In order to remove the guilt of sin and to reconcile the people to Himself, God provided the sacrificial system in general and the annual Day of Atonement in Particular.   The people would confess their sins, offer various sacrifices, and so become reconciled to their Lord.

Through God’s covenant with the Israelites, He intended that the people of other nations, by observing Israel’s faithfulness and the accompanying blessings, would want to draw near to the Lord and become a part of the community of God.                             (Read Galatians 3:14)

Exodus 24:3-7:  The Law of Moses was dictated by God Himself (v. 3) and handwritten by Moses (v. 4).  Moses “told the people all the words of the Lord.”  The Law of God, in contrast was written by God Himself “upon two tablets of stone”                         (Deuteronomy 4:13) and spoken by God Himself “with a great voice” directly to the host of Israel while they were stationed at Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:22).  All the requirements written in the Law of Moses were “nailed to the cross”              (Colossians 2:13-14).

Hebrews 10:1:  “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come… can never with those sacrifices… make the comers thereunto perfect.”  (Also read Hebrews 9:13-14, Hebrews 8:13 & Luke 24:44.)

When Paul uses the term “sacrifices” in this context it connotes the sacrificial system required under the old Law of Moses. 

In the King James Bible Moses’ Law is referenced by various terms:

  • The “handwriting of ordinances” (Colossians 2:14)
  • The “book of Moses” (Ezekiel 6:18)
  • The “book of the law” (Galatians 3:10)
  • The “book of the Covenant” (Exodus 24:7)
  • The “book of the Law of Moses” (II Kings 14:6)
  • The “Law of Moses” (Luke 24:44)
  • The Apostle Paul, in II Corinthians 3:15 referred to Moses’ Law in this manner:  “But even unto this day when ‘Moses is read…’”

Ezra read from the “book of the Law of Moses” in Nehemiah 8:1.  In verse 8 he then reads from the “book of the Law of God.”

Deuteronomy 4:13-14:  Here Moses compares and contrasts both laws.

I Corinthians 7:19:  “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the Commandment of God.”  (Also read Galatians 6:11-15)  Here Paul is saying that the “works” required under the Law of Moses are “nothing,” but what is important is the “keeping of the Commandments of God.”

Colossians 2:13-14:  Here Paul is saying “…having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.”

Luke 24:44:  The resurrected Christ told His disciples, “These are the words which I spake unto you while I was still yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and in the Psalms, concerning me.”

Romans 10:4-5:  Here Paul, almost word for word, quotes what the Lord had spoken to Moses regarding the Book of the Law (of Moses):  “…that the man who does these things shall live by them” (Leviticus 18:5).  Paul is clearly saying here that Christ was the end – the aim or the goal – of the Law of Moses, the Old Covenant that expressed God’s commitment to rescue the world from sin.

Galatians 5:3-4:  In these verses Paul teaches that if either Jewish or Gentile Christians seek God by the ceremonial Law of Moses they put themselves under the “whole law.”  “For I testify again that every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor, to do the whole law (v. 3).  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

Ezekiel 20:11, Ezekiel 20:25-26:  Here God makes reference to the Law of Moses when He says through His prophet Ezekiel:  “I gave them statutes by which they could not have life; and I defiled them through their very gifts.”

Deuteronomy 5:22:  “These words the Lord spoke unto all you assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more.  And He wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”  
People today are still terribly confused about these two separate and distinct laws.  Most everybody calls the law that God gave – The Ten Commandments – Moses’ Law.  What a satanic lie that is!  This has nothing to do with a man!  God Himself spoke on Mount Sinai and gave those commandments.  God gave a complete law there!  He wrote the commandments with His own finger, and He "added no more." (Ritualistic and ceremonial laws, as well as sacrifices, were later added because of the transgression of this covenant, until the time of Christ.  But all of those were removed when Christ came, and none of them changed this law.)  The Law of God is complete!  It’s the final word!  It came from God Himself!  It’s not the Law of Moses or any other man.  Don’t get confused!  This is the law from the Great Lawgiver who personally came down to Sinai, the mountain of God.

Exodus 32:16:  "And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables."

                                                                                       The Law of God, written in stone! 

The following comments are taken from “Word Studies in the New Testament,” Marvin R. Vincent, D.D., the chapter on the epistle to the Galatians, pg. 75.:

Galatians 2:12:  “For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles…”

Comment:  “…and by his (the Apostle Peter) eating with the Gentiles had declared that the Mosaic Law was no longer binding upon him.”

Galatians 4:21:  “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”

Comment:  “Under the law.  Here, unquestionably of the Mosaic Law.”

Galatians 5:18:  “But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

Comment:  “Under the Law.  The Mosaic Law.  We might have expected, from what precedes, ‘under the flesh.’  But the law and the flesh are in the same category.  Circumcision was a requirement of the law, and was a work of the flesh.

“The ordinances of the law were ordinances of the flesh (Hebrews ix. 10,13);  The law was weak through the flesh (Romans viii. 3).  See especially Galatians iii, 2-6.  In Philip iii. 3ff. Paul explains his grounds for confidence in the flesh as his legal righteousness.  The whole legal economy of the flesh as distinguished from the Spirit.”

Galatians 6:13:  “For neither they themselves who are circumcised, keep the law;  but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”

Comment:  “‘That they may glory in your flesh, may boast, not of you fulfilling the law, but in your ceremonial conformity; your becoming legal zealots like themselves…’  By contrast, in the Law of God, Jesus exalts this law to its original purpose, which is to lead us to love God and our neighbor.  While the Law of Moses dealt with the exterior, the Law of God deals with the interior.”

Galatians 3:10-19:  Here in verse 19 when Paul states “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law to do them,” he is quoting directly and verbatim from Deuteronomy 27:26.  This “book of the law” includes the 640 handwritten ordinances under the Law of Moses.  (Read also Deuteronomy 29:21 and 27:9-26.)

Galatians 3:13:  “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.”  By examining the context of this passage, we can clearly distinguish which law Paul was referring to and the exact intent of this writing. 

The Apostle Paul in this chapter gives further evidence that all who rely exclusively on the “works” required under the Law of Moses are therefore under a “curse” (v. 10), from which Christ, through His death on the cross, has freed us (v. 13).

When Paul says “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” he is clearly quoting from the Old Mosaic Law (in Deuteronomy 21:23).  In verse 17, Paul quotes from Exodus 12:40 when he writes that this law came “430 years after Abraham” and “…cannot annul the Covenant that was confirmed before God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.   …what purpose does the law serve?  It was added because of the transgressions (of God’s Law) till the seed (of Abraham) should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels, by the hand of a mediator (v. 17-19).”

As one reads within the contextual message of Galatians 3, it becomes clear that its reference is to the Law of Moses exclusively and furthermore tells us that the Law of Moses was the only law that was done away with.  Not the Ten Commandment Law of God.  (Read Colossians 2: 13-14.)

“The Book of the Law” came from God to man, indirectly through Moses and was a temporary law.  In contrast, there was no “hand of a mediator” when God spoke His Ten Commandment Law directly to the entire assembly of Israel at Horeb.

Deuteronomy 4:13-14:  In verse 13, Moses refers to the “Ten Commandments” (of God).  In verse 14 he makes reference to the “statutes and judgments” required under the Law of Moses.

II Corinthians 3:14-16:  Here Paul makes reference to Moses’ “Book of the Law.”

Further references comparing and contrasting the two laws:

Isaiah 5:24:  Law of God called “The law of the Lord”

I Corinthians 9:9:  Law of Moses called “The Law of Moses” (also see Luke 2:22)

Exodus 31:18 & Exodus 32:16:  Law of God written by God in stone

Deuteronomy 31:24:  Law of Moses written by Moses “in a book” (also see II Chronicles 35:12 & Exodus 24:4)

Exodus 40:20:  Law of God placed under the Mercy Seat inside the Ark of the Covenant

Deuteronomy 31:26:  Law of Moses placed by the side of the Ark of the Covenant

Romans 7:7 & Romans 3:20:  Law of God points out sin

Galatians 3:19:  Law of Moses added because of sin

I John 5:3:  Law of God is not grievous

Colossians 2:14:  Law of Moses was “contrary to us”

James 2:8:  Law of God judges all men

Colossians 2:14-16:  Law of Moses judges no man

Romans 7:16:  Law of God is spiritual

Hebrews 7:16:  Law of Moses was carnal

Proverbs 29:18:  Law of God brings blessings and peace (also see Psalms 119:165)

Deuteronomy 29:20-21:  Law of Moses contained curses (also see Galatians 3:10)

The historic Methodist understanding on the Ten Commandment Law of God was set forth by John Wesley:  “This handwriting of ordinances our Lord did blot out, take away, and nail to the cross (Colossians 2:14).  But the moral law containing the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He did not take away…  The moral law stands on an entirely different foundation from the ceremonial or ritual law…  Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages. ”REFERENCE:  “Sermons on Several Occasions” (2-Vol. Edition), Vol. 1, pg. 221

When Paul, in his letter to the Galatians refers to “works of the law,” he is making reference to the Jewish Ceremonial Law of Moses.

Galatians 2:16:  In Galatians Paul makes several references to “the flesh,” e.g., …for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.  …the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God (v. 20).”

Galatians 3:3:  “…are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

Galatians 5:13:  “…only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh.”

Galatians 6:12:  “As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh they constrain (“compel” - NIV) you to be circumcised.”

Galatians 6:13:  “For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law (God’s Law):  but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”  (Also read Romans 2:28.)

Ephesians 2:11:  “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called circumcision in the flesh made by hands.”

Circumcision was one of the most prominent examples of the Law of Moses.  Often, when Paul uses the terms “circumcision” or “the flesh” he is making a metaphorical reference to the Law of Moses.  All the ceremonial laws contained in the Book of Moses pointed to Jesus.  It was only temporary – a law to serve until Jesus (the “Seed of God” through Abraham) came to bring a time of reformation.  (Refer to Hebrews 9:7-15.)

Psalms 19:7:  “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul…”  The “handwriting of ordinances” in Moses’ Law cannot convert the soul!

Galatians 4:8-9:  Here Paul is referring to the Law of Moses when he appeals to the Galatians:  “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.  But now that you know God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles?  Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”

Galatians 5:2-12:  Here Paul gives further evidence that his writings in the Book of Galatians are primarily in reference to the written code of Moses as represented by the ordinance of circumcision.  Paul is categorically condemning this practice for the Galatians.  He reiterates this point in this statement: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (v. 4).  Furthermore, in verse 6, Paul acknowledges that “neither circumcision … nor uncircumcision…”  in themselves count for anything.  The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.  (See also I Corinthians 7:19.)

Matthew 27:50-51:  “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.  For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.”

Here the reader can clearly see what the Apostle Paul was saying.  Christ was “the end” – the aim or the goal – of the Law of Moses, the Old Covenant that expressed God’s commitment to rescue the world from sin. 

Isaiah 42:6-7:  Christ is our New Covenant!  Just as the Old Covenant expressed God’s commitment to rescue the world from sin through ceremonies and symbols in the days of Israel, so the New Covenant expressed God’s same commitment through Christ – the fulfillment of these symbols.  “And by Him (Christ) everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”  Acts 13:39

The Ten Commandment Law of God remains at the heart of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:8-10 & Jeremiah 31:31-33).  They are really ten wonderful promises of how the life of Christ in us will empower us to demonstrate our love for God and for humanity.  God will work in us to cause us to desire His ways and to act according to His good purposes (Philippians 2:13).

Romans 6:1-2:  Does grace fulfill the Law of God in such a way that keeping His law is no longer necessary?                       (Also read James 2:18, Romans 3:31, Romans 7:12, Romans 7:22 & Romans 7:25, II John 6, John 14:15,
John 15:9-10 & Galatians 3:19.)

True Christians do not keep God’s Commandments in order to be saved.  We know that salvation is a gift – by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8).  True Christians keep God’s Commandments because we are saved, and love for the Lord motivates us to please Him by walking in obedience to His perfect laws!

Obedience is the key factor here.  One of the lies Satan has been spreading for hundreds of years is that God’s Ten Commandment Law was “nailed to the cross.”  This could not be further from God’s truth!  The great deceiver who seeks to change God’s set times and laws (Daniel 7:25)  has caused many to believe Christ sacrificed His life so that we would no longer have to walk in obedience to God’s “perfect Law of Liberty.”  (James 1:25)

Romans 3:30-31:  In the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans he shares these words of counsel:  “Seeing it is one god, which shall justify the circumcision through faith (v. 30).  Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law (v. 31).

Romans 4:15:  Paul here explains the purpose of God’s “Law of Liberty.”  “If there is no law, there is no transgression…,” i.e., the Law of God defines sin for all mankind and throughout all generations!

I John 3:4:  “Whosoever committeth sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”

Without God’s Ten Commandment Law there would be no sin!  God’s law defines sin.

James 2:8-12:  The Apostle James speaks of the “Law of Liberty.”  This “Law of Liberty” is simply this – Christ sets us free from sin and the clutches of Satan and empowers us to walk in obedience to God.  He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, causing us to be all that He has called us to be.

God’s Ten Commandments are really ten wonderful promises of what He will do on our lives.  Christ came to destroy the works of the devil.  He sends His Holy Spirit to give us power over sin.

Psalms 40:7-8:  “Behold, I came; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.  I delight to do your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.”  (Also read Hebrews 10:7.)

Deuteronomy 30: 16 & 20:  The obedience God expects from His people is not of perfection but a sincere and earnest desire to obey.  Inherent in the Covenant was a recognition that at times - because of the weakness of human nature - man would fail.

Matthew 5:21-28:  Jesus Christ plainly and emphatically stated that Christians are to endeavor to keep God’s law with their whole beings and with His spiritual help through the Holy Spirit, trusting in Him to mercifully apply His supreme sacrifice on their behalf when and where they fall short, and as they repent.  (Also read I John 1:7-9.)


The following are commentary quotes on Galatians taken from “The New Matthew Commentary:”  Martin H. Manser, editor, pp. 2108-2110:

Galatians 2:19:  “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”

Comment:  “He is dead to the law, through the law itself.  He sees that justification is not to be expected by the works it produces and that there is now no further need for its sacrifices, since they were abolished in Christ by His offering Himself as a sacrifice for us.  But although he is dead to the law in this way, he does not look at himself as without law… The teaching of the Gospel, rather than weakening the bond that ties him to obedience, serves to strengthen and confirm it even more…”

Galatians 3:14:  “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ’ that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Comment:  “…so that all who believed in Christ could become heirs of Abraham’s blessing, especially of the great promise of the Spirit.”

Galatians 3:13-14, Galatians 3:22 & Galatians 3:29:  “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…” (v. 13).  “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ’ that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith” (v. 14).  “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe (v. 22).”  “…and if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to his promise (v. 29).”

Comment:  “The Apostle… tells us that a way is open for us to escape the curse (of the law), namely, through faith in Christ (v. 13).  God folLawed a strange method to redeem us from the curse of the law;  it was by being Himself made a ‘a curse for us.’  The purpose of this was ‘That the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ’ so that all who believe in Christ could become heirs of Abraham’s blessings, especially of the great ‘promise of the Spirit.’”

Galatians 3:19:  “Wherefore then serveth the law?  It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made…”

Comment:  “The Israelites were sinners as much as others and so the law was given both to convict them of their sin and to restrain them from committing sin, till the fullness of time came (4:4).  But when a fuller revelation was made of the divine grace contained in the promise, then the law, as given by Moses, was to come to an end…  We are no longer enslaved to it and under the terror of that legal covenant.”

Galatians 3:21-22:  “Is the law then against the promise of God?  God forbid; for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law (v. 21).  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given them that believe (v. 22).”

Comment:  “The law was given to convince people of their absolute need of a Savior (v. 21).  The Law is in no way inconsistent with the promise.  Its purpose is to reveal human sin and show people how much they need a better righteousness that the Law.  ‘The scripture hath concluded all under sin (v. 22).’  The Law revealed their wounds but could not give them a remedy.  The great purpose of the Law, therefore, was that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those that believe, so that being convicted of the insufficiency  of the Law to bring about a righteousness for them, they might be persuaded to believe in Christ and so obtain the benefit of the promise.”

Galatians 4:9:  “But now, after ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye away to the weak and beggardly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

Comment:  “He (Paul) infers from this unreasonableness of their allowing themselves to be brought again into a state of slavery.  ‘How turn you away,’ he says (v. 9).  How is it that you, who have been taught to worship God in the Gospel way, could now be persuaded to submit to the ceremonial way of worship?  …what they have allowed themselves to be enslaved to are only ‘weak and miserable principles,’ things that have no power in them to purify the soul.  Both a comparison with the Jews and the consideration of the weakness of these principles, then, aggravate the Galatians’ weakness and foolishness in submitting to the ceremonial law…”

Galatians 5:1-4:  “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (v. 1).”  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing (v. 2).”  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, he is a debtor to the whole law (v. 3).”  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (v. 4).”

Comment:  “The Galatians submitting to circumcision and depending on the works of the law for righteousness are a forfeiture of all the advantages they have gained by Jesus Christ… they will neither gain anything nor be helped in any way by Christ…”

Galatians 5: 18:  “But if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law.”

Comment:  “If, in the prevailing course and tenor of you lives, you are led by the Spirit, it will be clear that you are not under the law, not under its condemning power, although you are still under its commanding power.”

Galatians 6:12-13 (NIV):  “Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised.  The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ (v. 12).”  Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about you flesh (v. 13).”

Comment:  “False teachers were those who ‘desired to make a fair show in the flesh’ (make a good impression outwardly) they were very zealous for the externals of religion.  Though they had little or no regard for real Godliness, because ‘neither do they themselves keep the law.’”

Other references used in the research for this study:

  1. “Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible,” James Strong, LL.D., S.T.D.
  2. “The Collegeville Bible Commentary”
  3. “The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan,” Ellen G. White
  4.  “The Ten Commandments Twice Removed,” Danny Shelton/Shelly Guinn
  5. “The Story of Christianity,” Justo L. Gonzales
  6. “Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament,” Martin R. Vincent, D.D.

I have many wonderful Catholic friends who are dedicated Christians.  I also have many sincere Christian friends who are Sunday-keeping Protestants.  I do not agree with either group about the Sabbath issue, but neither God, nor any carnal authority appointed me to pass judgment on any of them.

This document was written not with the intent to judge, offend or condemn.  But rather it was written with the sole and sincere purpose of extending the challenge to all who would, with the divine blessing of the Holy Spirit be diligent in seeking God's will for mankind, through the study of His Holy Scriptures.  May God bless you in the reading of His Word.

-Robert L. Rael

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