Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gal 2 and Acts 15

If we are looking at Galations 2 through the eyes of the entire Scripture we cannot find Paul teaching against circumcision or even the Law of Elohim.  Paul is trying to teach Galatians about false doctrine and the false gospel that has crept into the church.  Let us head back to Antioch or the church in Galatia for a moment
Act 14:26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been committed to the favour of Elohim for the work which they had completed.
Act 14:27 And having arrived, and having gathered together the assembly, they related all that Elohim had done with them, and that He had opened the door of belief to the gentiles.
Act 14:28 And they remained there a long time with the taught ones.
While they were here teaching some men from Judea came with a different gospel for the people of Galatia
Act 15:1 And certain men came down from Yehuḏah and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised, according to the practice of Mosheh, you are unable to be saved."

We find the problem here is not "should the Law be observed in the life of the believer" but is that of using the Law as an aid to our salvation.  If we use the Law as an aid to salvation, salvation is no longer by faith but through works or legalism.  What a big difference here in observing the Law because of our faith and wanting to be obedient to demonstrate love for Messiah over using the law as a means of grace.

Paul and Barnabus head to Jerusalem to bring the matter to the council there.  While going to Jerusalem they meet another group who are believers and they understand the true gospel.  The true Gospel being that of salvation through faith by grace alone.  However, they still hold to the fact that a believer should also be observing the law out of obedience.
Act 15:5 And some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Torah of Mosheh.

It is after the above two positions are given that Peter offers his view on the matter. 
Act 15:7 And when there had been much dispute, Kĕpha rose up and said to them, "Men, brothers, you know that a good while ago Elohim chose among us, that by my mouth the gentiles should hear the word of the Good News and believe.
Act 15:8 "And Elohim, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Set-apart Spirit, as also to us,
Act 15:9 and made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by belief.
Act 15:10 "Now then, why do you try Elohim by putting a yoke on the neck of the taught ones which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Act 15:11 "But through the favour of the Master יהושע Messiah we trust to be saved, in the same way as they."
Peter is establishing the fact of salvation by faith and there is no difference here between the Jew or the Gentile as relating to salvation.  Paul is teaching the same thing in Galations chapter 2 and 3.  Peter's argument is no one can bear the heavy burden of keeping the law of Moses in order to be saved.  That is what the Jews had been trying to do since Sanai and have failed miserably.  All have fallen short and because of this there is the need for Elohim's favor or grace through our faith.  The council agrees the Gentiles have been given the Spirit through their faith and they will begin to learn and practice Yahweh's law after faith has been established as that is the work of the Spirit.
Eze 36:26 "And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh,

Eze 36:27 and put My Spirit within you1. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them. Footnote: 1See 11:19-20, 37:6-14, 39:29.

Joh 14:16 "And I shall ask the Father, and He shall give you another Helper, to stay with you forever –

Joh 14:17
the Spirit of the Truth, whom the world is unable to receive, because it does not see Him or know Him. But you know Him, for He stays with you and shall be in you.
Joh 14:26
"But the Helper, the Set-apart Spirit, whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you all, and remind you of all that I said to you.   (16:13; 17:17)
Psa 119:142
Your righteousness is righteousness forever, And Your Torah is truth.
Jer 31:31 "See, the days are coming," declares יהוה, "when I shall make a new covenant with the house of Yisra’ĕl and with the house of Yehuḏah1, Footnote: 1See Heb. 8:8-12, Heb. 10:16-17.
Jer 31:32 not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Mitsrayim, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them," declares יהוה.

Jer 31:33 "For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, declares יהוה: I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.  

This leaves us then with v.5 of Acts 15
Act 15:5 And some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Torah of Mosheh."

These believing Pharisees were trying to make the point that Gentile converts should still be told "following the Law of Elohim was still a part of being a believer in Messiah.  Most believers today would also agree with following the 10 or perhaps 9 commandments (most don't hold to the 7th day Sabbath).  These Pharisees were not legalizers.  They were true believers and had true faith.  So James then addresses their concerns.  He states it is clear that peoples of all nations would come to Messiah in faith.  He also makes it clear that heavy expectations should not be placed upon these new believers. 
Act 15:19 "Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the gentiles who are turning to Elohim,
Act 15:20 but that we write to them to abstain from the defilements of idols, and from whoring, and from what is strangled, and from blood.1 Footnote: 1See v.29.

Act 15:21 "For from ancient generations Mosheh has, in every city, those proclaiming him – being read in the congregations every Sabbath."
James finds it extremely important to set the new believers on a straight path away from cultic temple and sun worship.  They are told to leave all of their previous life of idolatry behind them.  The two ways of life are incompatable.
Deu 6:13 "Fear יהוה your Elohim and serve Him, and swear by His Name.
Deu 6:14 "Do not go after other mighty ones, the mighty ones of the peoples who are all around you,

Deu 6:15 for יהוה your Elohim is a jealous Ěl in your midst, lest the displeasure of יהוה your Elohim burn against you, then He shall destroy you from the face of the earth. 

After salvation the Gentiles can then attend their local synagogue and learn the law every Sabbath.  Paul addresses the same problem in Galatians 4
Gal 4:8 But then, indeed, not knowing Elohim, you served those which by nature are not mighty ones.
Gal 4:9 But now after you have known Elohim, or rather are known by Elohim, how do you turn again to the weak and poor elementary matters,1 to which you wish to be enslaved again? Footnote: 1See v.3, Col. 2:8 & 20. 

James makes it very clear to instruct the Gentiles to recognize there are no other gods.  There is only one true God and it is to Him we are to yield our entire lives, heart, soul and mind.  We cannot be divided in our loyalties.  We cannot hold to our past gods and Elohim at the same time.  We must leave forsake our past to follow Messiah through faith in his atoning sacrifice and press on to good works through faith
Eph 2:8 For by favour you have been saved, through belief, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim,
Eph 2:9 it is not by works, so that no one should boast.

Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah יהושע unto good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.



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