Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary On

(Galatians chapters 4 through 6)

written by
Kraig J. Rice


 4) A Look At Chapter Four
 5) A Look At Chapter Five
 6) A Look At Chapter Six

"If the Son therefore shall make you free,
you shall be free indeed" - (John 8:36)

Taking A Look At Chapter Four

"Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles were- free from the law"
(Galatians 4:12).

Paul pleads with the Galatian Christians to be free from the bondage (slavery) of Jewish ritualism and ordinances for the purpose of salvation.

"Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News of Christ. But even though my sickness was revolting to you, you did not reject me and turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. Where is that joyful spirit we felt together then? In those days, I know you would gladly have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible"
(Galatians 4:13-15).

The Apostle Paul had trouble with his eyesight. Not much is known about this problem. God probably healed the Apostle Paul's eyes at the beginning of his ministry to show him that he was looking and heading in the right direction spiritually in following Christ:
"So Ananias went and found Saul (Paul). He laid his hands on him and said, "Brother Saul (Paul), the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you may get your sight back and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Instantly something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and was strengthened"
(Acts 9:17-19). NLT

I suppose it is possible that Paul's physical ailment- his thorn in the flesh- was his problem with his eyes:
"I have plenty to boast about and would be no fool in doing it, because I would be telling the truth. But I will not do it. I do not want anyone to think more highly of me than what they can actually see in my life and my message, even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said: "My grace is sufficient for you. (My gracious favor is all you need). My strength is made perfect in weakness. (My power works best in your weakness)" So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong"
(2 Corinthians 12:6-10).

Can you briefly explain the allegory between law and grace? I will try.

"Listen to me, you who want to live under the law. Do you know what the law really says? The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave-wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave-wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God's promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God's own fulfillment of His promise. Now these two women serve as an illustration (allegory) of God's two covenants. Hagar, the slave-wife, represents Mount Sinai where people first became enslaved to the law. And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery. But Sarah, the free woman, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. And she is our mother. That is what Isaiah meant when he prophesied:
"Rejoice, O childless woman! Break forth into loud and joyful song, even though you never gave birth to a child. For the woman who could bear no children now has more than all the other women!," says the Lord
(Isaiah 54:1).
And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. And we who are born of the Holy Spirit are persecuted by those who want us to keep the law, just as Isaac, the child of promise, was persecuted by Ishmael, the son of the slave-wife. But what do the Scriptures say about that? "Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the family inheritance with the free woman's son." So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, obligated to the law. We are children of the free woman, acceptable to God because of our faith"
(Galatians 4:21-31).

The patriarch, Abraham, had two sons- one by Hagar and one by Sarah. Hagar was a slave but Sarah was a freewoman. The slave represents the Mosaic law but the freewoman represents Christ's grace. Paul's teaching is that the incident of the two women who bore Abraham sons contains an allegory. What is an allegory? According to the dictionary an allegory is the expression through symbolism of truths or generalizations about human experience. What was the rule of culture in those days? According to the Code of Hammurabi, any son of a slave was also a slave. So Ishmael was also a slave. But Isaac was given by God to Abraham as a promise from God. Abraham and Sarah were very old when God gave them this promise of a son. For Sarah to have any child, since she was past the age of childbearing, would be a miracle. Why did God do it this way? Sometimes God teaches us through circumstances and events that He allows to take place in our lives. The womb of Sarah was like a tomb, and out of death there, God brought forth life- and the fulfillment of His promise. Likewise, Christ was dead in a tomb and out of that tomb of death came forth life when He resurrected from the dead and is alive forevermore
(Genesis chapter 21).

The question naturally arises: Why didn't Abraham set Hagar and Ishmael free? Sarah and Hagar did not get along, just as law and grace do not get along with each other. God told Abraham to eventually set them free which he did- but only after the rightful inheritance was established for Isaac.

Paul refers to two early covenants between God and mankind. One is the covenant given to Abraham (the Abrahamic Covenant). This one was given first before God's law was given. Since Abraham was a spiritual believer in Christ by grace through faith, then all true believers in Christ today are Abraham's spiritual children by grace through faith.

The other covenant is the one God gave to Moses (the Mosaic Covenant). This covenant, given on Mount Sinai, is associated in this allegory with bondage or slavery (condemnation). As Abraham put away Hagar and Ishmael so each believer today must put away the law of God for salvation. The law of God is good for sanctification but not for salvation. This is the point that the Apostle Paul makes very clear. Why? Because salvation is strictly by the grace of Jesus Christ alone.

Paul refers to old Jerusalem as an example of the law but he refers to new Jerusalem as an example of grace. What is Paul's point of logic here? The born again believer in this age of grace (freedom) has no connection for salvation with the legalism of the law
(John 3:16; 1 Peter 1:23).

God would not allow Abraham to keep two sons. Abraham had to make a choice. Paul is teaching you and I that the believer today cannot be saved by the law and by grace at the same time. If you believe that, then you are not saved- you have fallen from grace
(Galatians 5:4). Like Abraham did, each believer today has to make a choice. Abraham made the right choice. God encourages you and I today to choose Jesus Christ and His grace alone for our salvation.

Jesus said: "You didn't choose Me. I chose you.
I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last,
so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name"
(John 15:16) (NLT)

Taking A Look At Chapter Five

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love"
(Galatians 5:6).

Circumcision was given as a sign of the Abrahamic Covenant
(Genesis 17:9-14; also see Romans 4:11) and was made also a part of the Mosaic Covenant
(Leviticus 12:3). God instituted circumcision as a sign in the flesh of separation between ones who loved the Lord and those who did not love the Lord. Circumcision was God's will in Old Testament (Old Covenant) days, but was done away with in New Testament (New Covenant) days. Why? Because the old testament rules and regulations have been replaced with a new testament that is faith based and spiritual. Jesus said:
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled"
(Matthew 5:17-18).
The law remains to judge and condemn but now grace reigns to give each of us freedom to fully love God with all of our heart.

"And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased"
(Galatians 5:11).

Paul did not run from persecution but embraced it. When we are persecuted today we can cling to the
Genesis 50:20 rule:
"As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil."
In other words, your persecutors and mine may persecute us due to their evil hearts but God is so great and so powerful that He can turn our circumstances around and use our lives, dedicated to Him, for good. God did that with Joseph when he was living in Egypt. He can do that with our lives today as well.

Let us live a life of holiness:

"So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another
(Galatians 5:16-26).

In theology, these actions fall under the general classifications of sanctification and salvation as either holy or unholy actions and are incorporated by many church denominations as rules of conduct for members.

Sometimes, some church members may wonder about a person they know who acts contrary to their church rules- if the saved person acts in an unsaved way. In that case the members should not gossip or slander but pray for that person. Let God be the One who judges.

The fruit of the Spirit comes as a result from one who loves the Lord. A person has to choose to act this way- it is the result of one's willful commitment to Christ. These actions spring forth from one's converted nature in Christ. What is that? When one accepts Christ, Christ comes to live in that person's heart. At that time, he or she receives a new nature from Christ- there is a literal spiritual change that takes place inside of a person. This experience is referred to by many as the "born again experience" or "new nature" or "converted to Christ experience". Christ sets up residency on the throne of a person's heart and rules a person's life as long as the person allows Him to do so. In other words, good actions come from a converted heart. Evil actions come from an unconverted heart. Jesus said:
"A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. A tree is identified by the kind of fruit it produces. Figs never grow on thornbushes or grapes on bramble bushes. A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say. So why do you call Me "Lord," when you will not obey Me? I will show you what it is like when someone comes to Me, listens to My teaching, and then obeys Me. It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who listens and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins"
(Luke 6:43-49). NLT

Jesus also said:
"But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you"
(Luke 6:35-38).

But how does one prove that he or she has true spirituality in Christ? Each must live a sanctified life- a lifestyle of holiness. How does that happen? Each true Christian believer has to fight against the world (the evil world system), the flesh, and the devil- but cannot be successful in his or her own strength without the help of God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit has to be asked to help you and I- and He will. Then we walk in His strength "walk in the spirit"
(Galatians 5:16a). We walk through life on our knees in prayer continually asking God for His help. This is what is humorously called "knee-ology."

But what happens when we sin and fail?
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"
(1 John 1:9).

Sanctification (our separation to God and separation from evil practices) takes place by faith, not works, and is accomplished with the help of God the Holy Spirit who helps us. This is why the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
(Acts 2:4) is so important. God gives us additional power to help us live the Christian life and share His word with others. It is easier to travel up the hills of a road in a car that has 8 cylinders (the Baptism in the Holy Spirit) rather than one that has only 3 cylinders (resurrection power) in it's engine. Additional power makes a difference.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith in to this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God"
(Romans 5:1-2).

Taking A Look At Chapter Six

Here is one of God's spiritual principles, for all humans on planet earth- a principle that can never be done away with:

"...whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap"
(Galatians 6:7).

"Say to the righteous that it is well; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! For the evil doing of his hand will be done to him"
(Isaiah 3:10-11).

"For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head"
(Obadiah verse 15).

What does this principle mean?
Every person will reap what he or she has sown. This spiritual principle holds true for Christians and non-Christians alike. If you show love, kindness, and generosity to others, then these will return to you in full measure. This principle holds true for encouragement- if you encourage someone when they need it, someone will encourage you when you need it. This principle holds true for money- if you give money to the Lord, He will give you more in return. God will never be a debtor to any man. This principle also holds true for every nation on this earth- every nation will reap what it has sown.

I will give you a personal example: one time when I was working, I helped a man I hardly knew get a job- I talked to the man who did the hiring and put in a good word for him- and he got the job. Four years later, I was looking for work and a man I hardly knew offered me a job- he talked to his boss on my behalf and I was hired. I reaped for good what I had sowed.

This principle also holds true in negative actions. If you cheat someone then some day you will be cheated. If you lie to someone then some day you will be lied to. If you give a disapproving look of disgust and hatred to a person, then you will receive it back in full measure. If you falsely judge another and talk evil about a person behind their back, then someday that will happen to you. If you persecute a Christian believer then some day you will be persecuted. If you slander and falsely accuse a person to law enforcement officials (without proof), then someday, that will come back to you.

If you go to church officials or church security personnel and tell them that a suspected criminal is attending their services (and you have no proof), then you have just slandered that person's good name and reputation. Some day, your name and reputation will be slandered in return.

If you belong to Satan, Satan is not powerful enough to keep this principle from God from affecting your life. Since you deserve it, then you are going to get it.

If you work for the government or in law enforcement and you harass an innocent person who you think is guilty (when you have no proof), treat him or her with cruelty or violence, and/or run him or her out of town by your actions, then, some day, you will receive back what you have sown. Oh, it may not happen right away, but it is as sure as a loaded train rolling down the track right at you that nothing can stop.

And there are many more such examples that are not mentioned here.

If they do it with you
They will do it to you

"Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters"
(Galatians 6:8-10).

Always do what is right. Show love and kindness to others. Be a blessing to other Christians.

Bonus Material


Sermon Title: Are You Working Your Way to Heaven?
(text= Matthew 19:16-22)

"Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good master (instructor), what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"
So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me Good? No one is Good but One, that is, God"
(Matthew 19:16-17a).

The Greek word here for master is didaskalos meaning instructor or teacher. The Greek word here for good is agathos meaning better, fair, or good in any sense. So, what does all of this mean?

The problem with saying "Good instructor" is a problem of mixing titles- such as "sweet vinegar" or "light darkness". The man applied the word "Good" as unto God but the word "instructor" as unto mankind. Generally speaking, this is just not done. But when the man said it, it revealed what was in his heart. The man confused Christ's deity with Christ's humanity. He did not recognize Christ's deity as he should have. He offered no worship to Christ. Christ asked him, in other words: "why do you call Me Good if you don't recognize My deity?"

The man asked Jesus a question: "what shall I do to possess eternal life?" Christ answered his immediate question: "...if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments"
(Matthew 19:17b).

Many a person wants to work his or her way to Heaven. Some want to work away their sins, some want to work their way to Heaven one way or another, and some want to balance their evil deeds against their good deeds so their sins are canceled out. You and I cannot work our way to Heaven. Eternal life is a free gift to you and I from God and all we have to do is accept it. Christ shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. His death, burial, and resurrection was done by Him as a substitute in my place and your place. His motive was love for you and for me- and it still is.

Does keeping God's commandments in God's law save you and I? Of course not. Why? Because one cannot keep His commandments without having God living in his or her heart by grace through faith. Jesus wanted to teach this truth to this man.

I believe that the man came to Jesus testing Him. He asked Jesus another question he already knew the answer to. So, Jesus let the man continue. Which of the commandments the man asked? Jesus gave him 5 of God's ten commandments and then added an extra one: "you shall love your neighbor as you do yourself"
(Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18).
But Jesus did not list God's first commandment in the commandments that He spoke to this man.

The man told Him that he had observed these particular commandments. That was probably true. But then the man asked Jesus: What still do I lack? If you and I ask God what sins we are guilty of, I am sure He will show us.

Jesus knew this man was guilty of breaking God's first commandment- you shall have no other gods before Me. The man's money was his god- he worshipped his money and loved it more than he did God. Christ revealed this to him by telling him: "...go and sell what you have and give it to the poor." In other words, he should invite Christ into his heart and be converted and have self-sacrificing love that only comes from God. The man could prove his conversion by his actions. Then the man could be a disciple of the Lord and follow Him. The man was not willing to make this choice.

No. The man could not work his way to Heaven. And you and I cannot work our way to Heaven. All we have to do is accept Christ's free gifts of eternal life and Heaven. The man did not want God in his heart- he loved money more. Christ brought him face to face with his sin. The man went away sad and Jesus stated to His disciples: "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God"
(Matthew 19:23-24).

Let us Stand:

What foundation are we to stand on when we face false teachers and false doctrine today? We need to stand on God's word, the Holy Bible. In this respect, let's take a look at what God through His word teaches us in Galatians. The message then is the same message for us today:

1) Paul tells us that he was a true apostle.
2) Paul tells us that his teaching was from God.
3) Paul teaches that one is saved by grace through faith alone (justification by faith)- nothing else can be added to grace for salvation.
4) Christian living is on the basis of freedom in Christ.
5) We receive from Christ His blessings by our faith in Him.
6) We need to practice in our lifestyle what we believe.

So, what does all of this mean? It simply means that we must believe God, God's word (the Bible), and believe that the Apostle Paul was God's man- and that what the Apostle Paul taught is the gospel truth.

What Does God Say About His Law (in Galatians)?

God uses His Apostle Paul to give us three main passages of scripture:

" the works of the law shall no flesh be justified..."
(Galatians 2:16).

" man is justified by the law in the sight of God..."
(Galatians 3:11).

"...Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace"
(Galatians 5:4).

When Were The 3 missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul?

The first missionary journey (Acts chapters 13-14) approximately 48-49 A.D.
The second missionary journey (Acts 16:6) approximately 53 A.D.
The third missionary journey (Acts 18:23) approximately 57 A.D.

What Does the Bible Book of Romans Teach About the Law of God?

Let us take a look at a few scriptures from Romans:

"If you are a Hebrew, you are relying on God's law for your special relationship with Him? You boast that all is well between yourself and God. Yes, you know what He wants; you know right from wrong because you have been taught His law. You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a beacon light for people who are lost in darkness without God. You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that in God's law you have complete knowledge and truth."

"Well then, if you teach others, why don't you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you do it? You condemn idolatry, but do you steal from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say: "The world blasphemes the name of God because of you."

"The Hebrew ceremony of circumcision is worth something only if you obey God's law. But if you don't obey God's law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. And if the Gentiles obey God's law, won't God give them all the rights and honors of being his own people? In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God's law will be much better off than you Jews who are circumcised and know so much about God's law but don't obey it."

"For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the Jewish ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God's Spirit. Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people"
(Romans 2:17-29). NLT

When a person is justified by faith in Christ, the law has no more claim on that person. That person is "dead to the law" but enabled to "live unto God." We observe this in the bible:

"So this is the point: The law no longer holds you in its power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross. And now you are united with the One who was raised from the dead. As a result, you can produce good fruit, that is, good deeds for God"
(Romans 7:4).

Romans chapter 6 reveals the position of faith. The imputed righteousness of Christ by faith does not come by law or human works. If it did then Christ's death would have been in vain.

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