Since we have been studying in the book of Galatians, we have learned that the works of the Law should not be equated with the Ten Commandments; but rather the Mosaic Law, which was the outworking or the edicts that came down from the judgment seat of Moses, as he heard legal cases and then rendered his verdicts. So let us start in Galatians chapter 3:
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? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
The people of Galatia had come into Christianity believing that the Lord Jesus Christ had purchased their righteousness with His death and resurrection, but because of those Jews who were seeking to turn the new Christians into Jewish proselytes first, the Apostle Paul vehemently asks them, “who has bewitched you…?” Paul then wanted to know why these Galatians had obviously believed that they had received the Holy Spirit, but were now trying to make themselves righteous through the keeping of the Mosaic laws.
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 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. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Paul was telling them that they were already in the family of God…through faithful Abraham who had received his righteousness because he chose to believe what God had told him regarding the promise of a son being born to him and Sarah even when they were too old to have any children. Yet he believed and so received righteousness.
The Galatians had believed what the Apostle Paul had taught them and so had believed that the Lord Jesus Christ had purchased their salvation through His holy blood, which He shed at the cross at Calvary, and they too like all other new converts to Christianity are given the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But they had been led astray to believe that they had to establish their own righteousness through the keeping of the Mosaic laws.
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. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
This author has heard many interpretations of this next passage: blatant misinterpretations; deliberate eisegetical attempts and then there are those who have been taught that because of this passage, we are no longer under ANY laws (cough, cough). Okay…readers are you ready?
1) Being under God’s law is a curse!
2) The laws of God ARE a curse!
3) Jesus Christ redeemed us from that cursed law.
4) Jesus tried to keep them and He became cursed.
But are these last four views really true? No. The problem lies in the fact that a lot of people skim read and they do not reflect on that which they have just read, thereby making the text totally open to their own personal interpretation. Or, they try to pigeon-hole what they just read with other teachings that they have heard and then arrive at a totally new mixture.
Here is a brief correction to the four views listed above:
1) Being under God’s laws is a blessing
2) The laws of God are HOLY
3) Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, not the cursed law.
4) Jesus didn’t TRY to keep God’s laws; He KEPT all of them, yet still chose to bear our curse, thus becoming a cursed one for us by bearing our punishment and being put to death in our place.
In a nutshell, the curse of the Law was that if you broke these laws, you were worthy to be put to death; it was that serious. But God’s laws are Holy. So what is the problem? If you choose to reject God’s Holy One, the Lord Jesus Christ, you end up trying to establish your OWN righteousness rather than receiving the free gift which is ‘the righteousness of Christ.’ From this starting point, we are now able to keep God’s laws, His Ten Commandments, when and as we submit to the leading of His Holy Spirit.
Stay Tuned for Part 14!
There are endless articles in books, magazines and internet stories of how to find love, how to ditch your date and to create your own therapy and express your hate. Please forgive the rhyme of the first line, but it is February and poets abound with lyrical lines and sonnets of love (author is laughing even as she writes these lines.) Okay. So the topic of this article is “how to keep your husband or wife as the love of your life” (more rhyming.) Biblically speaking…
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity can be translated as LOVE, so yes…
LOVE suffers or puts up with a lot of things for a long time and sometimes this is what we have to do, because none of us are perfect.
LOVE is kind. Sometimes you might want to say what your really think, but if you truly love your spouse, sometimes it’s wiser to just not say anything.
LOVE doesn’t envy. Especially, when your spouse gets that promotion and you wonder when yours is going to come to pass.
LOVE doesn’t know what a BIG EGO is all about. So when you get that promotion, remember that your spouse is probably waiting for one too. So treat them to something they really want and draw them into the limelight with you.
LOVE doesn’t act like a jerk. No explanations are really needed here, we’ve all seen them.
LOVE doesn’t seek applause.
LOVE is not easily provoked, so husbands and wives should not allow themselves to get angry and blow up with every little thing that happens on a daily basis.
LOVE does not think evil things about their spouse. Hmmm…how can I get even with him/her.
LOVE does not rejoice in iniquity or sin, whether you or your spouse commits the infraction, repent as soon as possible if you have transgressed against the Lord your God.
LOVE rejoices in TRUTH. So what is truth? Truth is not a what but a WHO. Truth is the Lord Jesus Christ and truth is His WORD. So to be able to rejoice in TRUTH is to read God’s Word, and apply it to your life and to your marriage.
LOVE bears all things. When your spouse is not doing the above prescriptions, but this also does not mean that you have to be a door mat either.
LOVE believes all things. This does not mean that when your husband/wife comes in late at night with that ‘deer-in-the-headlight-look’ that you believe every story they tell. You reprove in love and get your spouse back on track.
LOVE hopes all things. You hope for the best in your marriage and you are willing to work at it for a life time, never giving up even if your spouse wants to give up on your love. Daily prayer together forges a union that is hard to break.
LOVE endures all things. So when things are not going the way that you think they should, you endure…even as the Lord Jesus Christ did as He forged out our salvation to form a relationship with us for an eternity.
This does not preclude that both husband and wife should rejoice in doing those small things for the love of their life:
1. Taking your spouse on a date night
2. Putting chocolate kisses on their pillow
3. Putting ‘I LOVE YOU’ notes in their lunchbox or briefcase
4. Calling them at lunch time just to hear their voice
5. Candle-light dinners for two
The list could go on and on, so come up with your own special delights to treat your spouse with love from your heart. This next is especially for the husbands…when your wife asks you the DREADED question….”Does this dress look good on me?”
Even if the answer is “NO!” Take your wife in your arms and look directly into her eyes and tell her,
“YOU look beautiful my love!”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
February is the month for Valentine’s Day and since it is believed according to history that,
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” (History.com).
It can be assumed that this is also where we get the new term “scrap-booking” in which people put lace around their pictures, etc. As the old saying goes, “There’s nothing new under the sun” which is quoted from the book of Ecclesiastes 1:9.
This is also the time when bakeries will be selling tons of pink and red cakes and cupcakes and those who love to bake at home will be trying their hand at making heart shaped cakes and cookies. School children will be buying Valentine’s day cards to exchange at their school parties. Husbands and wives will be sending their heart felt thoughts to each other and florists are stocking up on American Beauty Red Roses. Let’s not forget those delicious C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E-S either!
So what are you going to send?
Better yet…to whom?
There is absolutely nothing more delicious to hear in your ears than love words spoken by the person you love. As a Christian, there is nothing more delicious to hear than love words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ to His Bride. As a Christian, there is nothing more that compares to speaking love words back to the Lord Jesus in confirmation of our shared love for one another.
This writer also writes poetry and here is one that I wrote as a love poem back to the Lord Jesus:
An Intimate Friend of Mine
He’s been the best friend any woman
could ever hope to find. A friend in
the truest sense of the Word. When all
others threw up their hands in despair,
He was there to comfort and encourage.
A friendship, (I laugh now at our tentative beginning)
with our hearts united, knit together in a common purpose. I had to unlearn
my distrust of men, taught in a school
where there was no mercy. He was so patient!
I’m sure He must have wanted to shake me by
the shoulders every time that I displayed
my ignorance. My heart filled with rage at
some injustice that I’d seen. Oh, how slow
I was to learn the lessons He was teaching.
A close friend, to be sure, for the rest of
my life. A shared intimacy, of hearts and minds
exposed to the light of knowledge. A knowledge
of the other person’s goals and desires.
Indeed, a very close, intimate friend of mine.
So speak those words of love, for you may never get another chance to tell that special someone that you love them and need them as well. As Christians, we love and need the Lord Jesus Christ to the very core of our beings. So tell the Lord Jesus how much you love Him today.
Just like a great romance novel about a man and woman deeply in love with each other, so the Holy Bible likens the Lord Jesus Christ to a Bridegroom who longs with ardent passion to see his Bride, his chosen one. While Christians do not celebrate Valentine’s day necessarily, yet we can use this day to remind us of our Blessed and Holy Bridegroom as we continue to prepare ourselves to be without spot or wrinkle. We find this romantic account in
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
In this pericope, the Kingdom of Heaven is likened to 10 virgins who all started out very well. They all had their lamps, and this is being used as an analogy that each of them had the Holy Spirit; and we may be pretty sure that the wicks were trimmed and they had oil in their lamps. However, the account goes on to say that 5 of them were very wise and alas, 5 of them were foolish. The wise ones not only had oil in their lamps, but they took vessels of extra oil with them in case the Bridegroom should be late in his arrival. But the 5 that were foolish only had the oil that was in their lamps, not concerned that their Bridegroom might be late and they might run out of oil.
As this love story continues we read that the Bridegroom has tarried and all 10 of these virgins became tired and all laid down to sleep.
But at midnight…there was heard loud shouting that the Bridegroom was indeed coming…and like any modern-day Bride who is full of joy and happiness to be with her soon-to-be husband, these 10 virgins rose up and went out to meet their Bridegroom. They trimmed their lamps, and the 5 foolish ones realized that they did not have enough oil left to keep their lamps burning. So they asked the 5 wise ones if they would give them some of their extra oil, because their lamps had used all of the oil while they were sleeping.
Now the 5 wise virgins realized that even though they had brought extra oil with them, if they were to split the oil with the other 5 foolish virgins, then all of them would have no lamps. So they promptly told them to go and buy some more oil at the market. True as true can be….while they left to go and buy themselves some more oil….
The Bridegroom came…and those that were ready went in with the love of their lives to the marriage and the door was promptly shut.
When the 5 foolish virgins came back with their oil for their lamps, they shouted for their Bridegroom to open the door and let them in as well. But the Lord answered…Truly, I know you not.
So we have the moral of this love story; Watch because you do not know when he will actually arrive and rejoicing take the love of his life and marry her.
Perhaps we even get this particular anecdote, “You snooze…you lose…” from this romantic story of the Lord Jesus Christ who has already cautioned us to be ready because
…at midnight, the Bridegroom comes.