“Are You So Foolish?” ( Galatians 1: 6, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Paul bemoans what is happening in the Galatian church, writing: “I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who calls you by the grace of God and are turning to a different gospel –”

 

The “turning away from [Christ]” happens in error due to the influence of Judaizers who call for men in the church to be circumcised. (Who knows to what Law these Judaizers might subject women!) At any rate, Paul is bewildered and disturbed that the Galatians are falling prey to people who demand full obedience to the “old covenant.”

 

In Paul’s mind, there’s no doubt these men (and women) of Galatia are called “by the grace of God.” They’re now deceived. Paul is distressed that they’ve been deceived “so quickly.”

 

Paul defends the gospel. He calls the gospel what it is — “the good news about the Messiah.” (Galatians 1: 7) He curses anyone who “preaches to [us] a different gospel contrary to what [we] receive.” (Galatians 1: 9)

 

He tells us that he is “advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among [his] people.” (Galatians 1: 14) He understands more than anyone what it means to obey the “old covenant” in order to please God. He fully comprehends the futility of human effort. He asks the Galatians (and us), “You foolish Galatians! Who has hypnotized you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ is vividly portrayed as crucified? I only what to learn this from you: Do you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?” (Galatians 3: 1-3)

“Untraceable” (Romans 11: 33, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Remember dot-to-dot puzzles? Remember tracing a line from one numbered dot to the next numbered dot in an effort to complete a picture, usually a picture of a puppy or a clown or an umbrella?

God is not a dot-to-dot puzzle who is revealed as you trace a line from one dot to the next. God is untraceable. “For who knows the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid?” (Romans 11: 34 – 35)

Job thinks he knows God, but he is surprised by God. He realizes that he does not know God, that what he believes about God is only a shadow, a rumor of the reality of God.

Today many people appear to know God, claiming they hear His voice, they know His thoughts, they state His truths. But, “how unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways” writes Paul — a man who encounters the Christ on the road to Damascus.

Remember, “God imprisons all in disobedience, so that He may have mercy on all.” (Romans 11: 32) Who fully comprehends this? Who is able to say they have have “the wisdom and the knowledge of God?” Who understands that God punishes all wickedness, yet forgives the wicked? Who understands that God does not abide sin, yet welcomes home the sinner? Who understands how it is that “mercy triumphs over judgment?” (James 2: 13) For God says, “For whoever keeps the entire law, but falls in one point, is ‘guilty of breaking it all’.” (James 2: 10)

God is not a dot-to-dot puzzle to be revealed by tracing over a predetermined yet unseen line. God is a great mystery. He is the good news. He is our savior, healer, sanctifier, and king. Let us rejoice in our salvation — let us be glad Jesus loves us.

“Believe And Confess” (Romans 10: 9 – 10, HCSB) by Carley Evans


A zeal for God which ignores “the righteousness from God” and “attempts to establish [its] own righteousness” is not a saving zeal, writes Paul. The Jews of his day are relying upon their obedience to the law and the prophets for their salvation; while Paul is exhorting, “The righteousness that comes from God” is your salvation.

He writes, “The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” (Romans 10: 8)

He promises, “Everyone who believes on Him is not put to shame.” (Romans 10: 11) “For everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord is saved.” (Romans 10: 13)

“This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raises Him from the dead, you are saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.”

Submit yourself to God’s righteousness. His method of snatching you from death may seem counterproductive or too easy; but if you know you have need of God’s gift, then accept it. He does not deny us. He says, “Allow the little children to come to Me, for of such is the Kingdom of God.”

Our faith is close to us; in our hearts and in our mouths. We believe; we confess. God forgives.

“No Longer Under Management” (Galatians 5: 22 – 23, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Against such things, there is no law.”

I think the Christian walk is a walk of a positive life — a life of love, gentleness, patience, goodness, self-control, joy, calm, peace, forgiveness, understanding. As Paul says, “against such things, there is no law.”

Law is a negative. Law tells us what we must not do. Law condemns. Law separates.

Jesus came to fulfill the demands of the Law, living to serve and reflect only His Father, dying to free us from sin and death.

“We are enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time comes, God sends forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who are under the law, so that we may receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4: 3 – 5)

In the Christian walk, we are “sons of God, through faith.” (Galatians 3: 26) “The law is our guardian until Christ comes…But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” (Galatians 3: 25)

Therefore, let us walk in freedom.

“A Zeal For God” (Romans 9: 32, ESV) by Carley Evans


Righteousness pursued “as if it is based on works” does not result in the attainment of that righteousness, says Paul.

A zeal for God is not enough. The cornerstone, who is Jesus Christ, makes those who seek God under their own power, stumble.

“For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they do not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10: 3 – 4)

We do not bring Jesus down nor do we rise up to Him; instead His “Word is near [us], in [our] mouths and in [our] hearts.” (Romans 10: 8)

Our righteousness is based on faith alone.

“The Royal Law Of Liberty” (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 5, ESV) by Carley Evans


Love does not insist on its own way, but is kind and patient. Love has no envy, jealousy, arrogance. Love is never rude. Love is humble, giving, considerate.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5: 7) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5: 9)

James writes, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (James 2: 8 – 10)

We are accountable for all of the law for we each fail at one point or another. God is merciful. He forgives us our trespasses as we forgive others.

“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2: 12 – 13)

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13: 13)

“The Children Of Sarah” (Galatians 4: 4 – 5, ESV) by Carley Evans


Are we under law?

“Before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.” (Galatians 3: 23) Being under the law, we “were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.” (Galatians 4: 3)

But,”now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian;” (Galatians 3: 25) we are no longer under the law because “God sent His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4: 4 – 5) As adopted children of God, we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, His only begotten Son.

Therefore, we are not the children of Hagar, but are the children of Sarah.

As such, we are not under law. We live by faith alone.

“The Promise Rests On The Gift of Faith” (John 3: 17, ESV) by Carley Evans


“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

God’s intention is not to condemn the world, but to save it. God saves the world not through adherence to the law but through faith in His Son.

“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring.” (Romans 4: 13 – 16)

God’s promise to save the world is guaranteed by grace and depends on faith in His Son. While wrath comes through the law; righteousness comes through faith.

“If a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3: 21 – 22)

How are we to believe? We believe in Jesus Christ by the power of God in the gospel.

“The gospel…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ (Romans 1: 16 – 17)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2: 8)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16)

“Open My Eyes, O Lord” (Psalm 119: 18, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.”

Unless You open my eyes, my ears, my heart, my mind; I will not understand Your law, O Lord. I will hide from Your ways, O Lord unless You draw me to You. Unless You grant me Your help, I will not know and understand Your truth.

“Yes,” Solomon writes, “if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2: 3 – 6)

Unless You give me wisdom, O Lord; I will own no knowledge and gain no understanding. Unless You teach me to search for truth as for silver, I will remain in ignorance, darkness, and foolishness.

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16: 2 – 3)

Unless You plant Your Word in my heart, in my mind; I will not follow you with my whole heart, O Lord.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes!” (Psalm 119: 9 – 12)

“Let Your Love Outdo” (Galatians 6: 2, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Bear [carry, NIV] one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” writes Paul to the church in Galatia. The law of Christ is simply put to us by Jesus Himself when He says to His disciples, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I love you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 12 – 13)

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them… But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6: 31 – 33, 35 – 36)

“Let love be genuine…Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12: 9, 10) In other words, acclaim, esteem, applaud, admire, celebrate, commend, praise, respect, revere, value, and give credit to others.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13: 9 – 10)

Many of us enjoy competition. Let us, therefore, compete in this arena. Let us outdo one another in showing love!