Part 32 – How Were The Gentiles Told To Live The Christian Life? – The Galatians
So, the original Jewish disciples were told to live the Christian Life, the exact same way that Jesus lived the Christian Life, by partaking of God’s divine nature, and living by that Life, the Life of God Himself within them.
But what about the Gentiles? They were not “God’s chosen people”. They had never seen the Lord. They had never met the twelve apostles. They did not understand the concept of prayer to one Holy God. They had no concept of going into a building to worship God. Only five percent of them could read. How would they live the Christian Life?
Let’s look at Paul’s letters in the order they were written, and see how he communicated the secret of the Christian Life to gentiles.
And remember, the word “in” was central in their vocabulary. It meant “in union with, in oneness with, in Christ”.
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:3, NIV).
“… to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man. (Galatians 1:16, NIV).
“… know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16, NIV).
(14) When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? … (19) For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. (Galatians 2:14,19, NIV).
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NIV).
(2) I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? (3) Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (Galatians 3:2-3, NIV).
“Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11, NIV).
“Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have came by the law. (Galatians 3:21, NIV).
(26) You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, (27) for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27, NIV).
“… to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” (Galatians 4:5, NIV).
“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6, NIV).
“But now that you know God — or rather are known by 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 4:9, NIV).
“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19, NIV).
(31) Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. (1) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (13) You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. (16) So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 4:31; 5:1,13,16,18, NIV).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, … (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV).
(24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (8) The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 5:24; 6:8, NIV).
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” (Galatians 6:18, NIV).
Grace and peace … from God our Father … His Son in me … by faith in Jesus Christ … I died to the law … I no longer live but Christ lives in me … receive the Spirit … beginning with the Spirit … righteous will live by faith … impart life … sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus … clothed yourselves with Christ … the full rights of sons … Spirit of His Son into our hearts … know God … Christ is formed in you … Christ has set us free … live by the Spirit … led by the Spirit … fruit of the Spirit … sows to please the Spirit … from the Spirit … reap eternal life … with your spirit …
How were the Galatians told to live the Christian Life? By partaking of God’s divine nature, and living by that Life, the Life of God Himself within them.
(Note: I am indebted to Gene Edwards for many of the concepts in this series.)
… Next time …. Part 33 – How Were The Gentiles Told To Live The Christian Life? – The Thessalonians & Corinthians