Galatians 2:15-3:12. Works of the law are ceremonials; Works of Faith is obeying God from heart.

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Are we righteous, does God Justify us; is it by works of the law, or by works of faith?

 

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Justifies is not that God accepts us as Just and Right; but it is that God converts us to be Just and Right.

1. Works of the law is by flesh; Works of Faith is by Abraham, it is obeying by Heart.

First, let us study a few words that are prominent in our study portion. The first two are, works of the law and works of faith or just faith. In Genesis chapter 17, we see that God visited Abraham, and gave him and his descendants circumcision. It was for a token or a sign for them in the flesh body, as well for a change in their heart to live a perfect life. It is in Deuteronomy 10:16, Jeremiah 4:4, Romans 2:28&29 and in many other verses. Their circumcision, the outside sign to be Jews, requires them to do ceremonies, rituals, traditions, sabbath days, feasts days, and such. In the new testament, we go to church, do song services, worship meetings, give tithe and offerings, attend prayer meetings, and such. They are referred as works of the law. In our study portion it is in 2:16, 3:2, 5, & 10. Circumcision of the heart refers to the nature of obeying God; it is work of Faith, or faith of Abraham, or simply faith. In the old testament, the works of the law are by the law of Moses. Jesus Christ revoked them and made the mosaic law void and obsolete, for new testament believers. Faith of Abraham can be seen by the obedience of Abraham. "Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son." His faith can be seen in his action. When God asked Abraham to give Isaac as a sacrifice, he did not hesitate, but offered him up as a sacrifice right away. This obedience is called faith. "18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; ..." Look, his faith was based on the promise that God gave him before; that is, his generation will come from Isaac. So, he understood that even if he kills Isaac, God will bring him back to life, because his generation must come from Isaac. So, his faith is exhibited by immediate obedience, even to kill his son. So, we have two key points to study here. God gave his people commands to do ceremonies, as well as, to do life application. Ceremonies are the works of the law, and our life application is our obedience to God, which is works of faith, or just faith. And, God says that he will not count the works of the law as righteousness, for eternal life. But they are not void as sins. Sins are eternally punishable; God will punish the sinning people. But works of the law is not punishable, but it will not be considered for eternal life. But we must do the work of faith, which is the obedience to God, that is, we must have faith in God, since it is required for us to inherit the kingdom of God, and without faith we cannot go to heaven. One more clarification is that the ceremonial works are done by the outside person, which is the flesh body, so, anybody can do them. But the obedience is done by the inside person, which is the soul. Flesh and blood will not inherit heaven, but the soul will either go to heaven or to hell. So, God will not count the works of the flesh, which is the works of the law for heaven, but God will count the works of souls, which is either obedience or disobedience, as righteousness or unrighteousness, either as works of faith or as works of unbelief, for eternal life or for eternal damnation. So, we must have the works of faith, or faith in God, and it will be counted for eternal life, and without it we cannot go to heaven.

2. God Justifies righteous life; but not ceremonies, or traditions, or rituals, of the law.

Now let us see this from our study portion in Galatians. "2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles," That is, since Jews circumcise and do all ceremonies, rituals, and other things connected therewith, they consider themselves as godly. But, since gentiles will not do the ceremonies of Jews, they think that the gentiles are sinners. It is their mindset. So, their righteousness and godliness are based on ceremonies and rituals, which are the works of the flesh body. "16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Now, the Jews, who came to the faith in Jesus Christ, accept that they are not justified by the works of the law, which are circumcision and such, and God will justify them only by faith, that is, only if they obey God. "17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid." That is, while we are seeking to be justified, if we commit sin, we will be considered sinners. Even if we are in the process of conversion, we will not be counted as righteous. Christ will not be responsible for our slow progress. Jesus Christ says in John 8:34, if we commit sin, we are servant to sin, and we are not righteous. It is that simple. "18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." Paul acknowledges that he is dead to the law, which means he is dead to ordinances, ceremonies, rituals, traditions, and such things; and now he is living for God, meaning that he is obeying God. "20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." This verse looks very complex, but it can be understood. Paul says that he was crucified with Christ. So, both are crucified together. It is not literal, but hypothetic. So, let us compare this crucifying as a transplant surgery. They are crucified together; so, they are side by side in the same operating table. Christ and Paul, both have flesh body and inside body. Let their inside body be heart, nature, and character. Now the surgery begins; they are cut open; the inside of Paul is taken out and discarded; and the inside of Jesus is transplanted into Paul. This transplant happens not by the works of the law, but by the work of faith. And Christ loved Paul and gave himself to him, and so, now Paul lives. But actually, Jesus Christ lives inside Paul, and Paul lives on the outside body. This is great. Now, let us see what happens in churches. Such a transplant does not happen, but Christians are taught to say that Jesus lives in them. Most of them say "Jesus lives in my heart," but it is an empty slogan, vocabulary, or cliché, and their lives have no change. It is because they do not go to the surgery but go to ceremonies. "21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." If this righteousness can come by law, which are ceremonies and rituals, Jesus Christ did not have to die; and if he dies, he could have died in vain, because they do not come to Jesus Christ and gives themselves for the transplant surgery. Apostle Paul says that it is by the grace of God. So, Jesus comes in us and lives or even rule our lives, is called grace. "Romans 5:17 ... they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." That is, not everybody has grace. But those who have received grace from God, they have received the gift of righteousness, and Jesus Christ rules their life from the inside of them. If this does not happen, they do not have grace. "... 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Again, if we have grace, Jesus Christ rules us from inside, the proof is that we will live by righteousness. Then we will inherit the kingdom of God in eternal life. So, if the transplant surgery does not happen with Jesus Christ, we will have no grace. But preachers tell every church going Christians that they are saved by the grace of God. But, attending churches is works of the law, and it will not give the grace of God.

3. We are religious, following a church; instead of having relationship with Jesus Christ.

"Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" The apostle calls Galatians foolish, because they did not obey the truth, although they have evidently seen the crucified Jesus Christ among them. How did they see the crucified Jesus walking around among them? Remember the transplant surgery? Jesus was inside apostle Paul; and Paul walked as Jesus Christ walked, in Spirit, love, righteousness, and power. They were manifested in apostle Paul. So, they have seen crucified Jesus in apostle Paul. It is a figure of speech. Let me bring another example: "John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" Here, God the Father was living in Jesus, Jesus was speaking the words of the Father, and doing the works of the Father, and so on. So also, in this context, Jesus Christ is living in Paul, and so, the crucified Jesus was present among Galatians through Paul. Then Paul left Galatia for a short time and went to other places. Galatians backslid and strayed away from the truth. So, the apostle calls Galatians foolish and asked, who bewitched them. Bewitched is to be possessed by evil spirits. Those who do not obey God, may be bewitched, that is, they may be under the influence of another Jesus, the devil. It would apply to anybody, even to us also if we backslid; that is, we are also as foolish as Galatians. "2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Paul was asking them; how did they receive the holy Spirit? Was it by doing circumcision and rituals, or by obeying God? It is obvious, that it is by obeying God. "3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Paul asks that that they have begun in the Spirit, but now how could they become mature and perfect by doing ceremonies and rituals? "4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain." That is, they were doing so well, now they backslid and wasted every spiritual gain they have made. "5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Paul asks the same question to those who were already operating in the gifts of the Spirit, will they continue to do the same manifestations by ceremonies and rituals, or it must be by faith in God? We all know that such things will not happen by doing rituals. Present days ceremonies and rituals are, going to church, listen to sermons, singing songs, following prayers, give tithes and offerings, see our friends, and have a good time. But this will not give us spiritual gifts and manifestations. Paul, and even God calls us foolish and asks us "who hath bewitched you?" The emphasis is this. We have two things before us. One is the works of the law, and the other is hearing the faith. The first is by rituals, that is by playing church. The other is by obeying God of the Bible. A great number of people will go to hell because they are counting on their religiosity of the church, instead of their relationship with Jesus Christ to get them to heaven. Even though the works of the law is not sin, it will not be counted by God for righteousness for heaven, and for eternal life. But works of faith, which is our righteousness, is needed for eternal life and to inherit the kingdom of God in heaven.

4. Compare the belief of Abraham, with the belief of the preachers of faith in our churches.

Abraham believed God and we also believe God. Preachers are telling us that Abraham's belief made him righteous, and so, our belief will also make us righteous. Let us see if it is true. "6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." It says that the belief of Abraham is counted for his righteousness. "7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." So, if we have belief or faith; we are sure that we have believe, and so; we are children of Abraham and have the blessings of God. Preachers read these verses and confirm that Abraham and Christians have the same faith and we both have the same blessing. However, please, look at the truth and see it one more time. We believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world and God the Father raised from his death. It is our belief, but we will not do what Jesus Christ tells us to do. But Abraham believed God and laid his son Isaac on the altar as soon as God asked him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Is our belief the same as the belief of Abraham? Let us see the next verse. "10 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." And the belief of Christians makes us to be a part of the church, and it will not make Jesus Christ as a part of us, that is inside us and so, our belief is the works of the law. We do ceremonial things by the flesh, and so, they are cursed, and it is not the blessing of Abraham. Preachers call it as blessing, and it is deception. Belief of Christians and belief of Abraham are different; one is ceremonial, and the other is life. "11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." So, it is evident that God will not justify anybody by the works of the law, which are ceremonies, and worship services. But the second portion says, "The just shall live by faith" that is, those who live by faith in God are righteous, that is Just, and God accepts them. Then, "12 says, And the law is not of faith:" We know that the law is to do ceremonies, attending church, and such; they are tradition; but faith is to obey God. So, law is not faith. The verse continues to say, "but, The man that doeth them shall live in them." So, those who do the law will live in the law. Doing the law is doing the traditions of the church. In Christian tradition, they are, doing worship services, song services, prayer meetings, preach sermons, receive tithes and offerings, and such things. The verse says that they "live in them" which may very well be referring to their salaries, income, glorious life in churches and in the world, but not eternal life; and it does not say anything more. As we have seen it before, works of the law is rejected by God for eternal life. But the works of faith is to obey God in faith. It is our righteousness, and it is needed for our salvation, and for us to inherit the kingdom of God in heaven.

If any point needs explanation, OR, if you find an error according to scripture,
Please write to me in the 'Mail Box' below. I will reply promptly.
Thanks.

I am a retired pastor of the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India
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