In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul is talking to the New Covenant churches that lived in the Roman province called Galatia. It’s important to keep in mind that these Galatians were new Gentile converts, they were born again believers and members of the Body of Christ and they had received the Holy Spirit. Paul was their leader and teacher because he was sent to instruct them in the things that Jesus by revelation had shown him concerning the gospel.
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Paul is explaining to them that there is a problem. He begins by telling them that he is surprised that they’ve so quickly removed themselves from “Him that called you”. Who is the One that called them? That would be God the Father who is the only one who calls us to come to Him through His precious Son Jesus Christ who paid our death penalty so we could be forgiven and inherit eternal life.
John 6:44 & 65
“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” “And He said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.”
If the Galatians have removed themselves from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; then this proves that they were once IN Christ and were joined together to God the Father by His Son and His Holy Spirit. Later on Paul will also tell them that they had “fallen from grace”; which also proves that they had to have had that grace before they lost it.
So basically, Paul is telling them that they have separated themselves from God the Father and Jesus Christ and he goes into detail telling them how that happened; he also gives them the solution to their problem and hope of reconciliation.
Here is a clue:
” … unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7
This is one of those times we scratch our heads and say, “Paul, what are you talking about? What do you mean another gospel that’s not another?”
But when we back up and study the whole Bible and not just a piece of it; we can understand what he is saying. Here’s what was going on:
The children of Israel (the Jews) lived under the Old Covenant for hundreds of years. God told those folks that if they didn’t keep His Old Covenant which included outward circumcision in the flesh, He warned them that they would be “cut off” from their people. To us that may not sound so bad particularly, however, what God was really saying is that they would not inherit salvation. The covenant of salvation came through a spiritual inheritance to all those who “by faith” kept God’s holy covenant; and at that time under the Old Covenant, it included the animal sacrificial system and outward circumcision. If anyone refused to keep God’s covenant they way He had instructed, they would be disinherited or “cut off” from their people.
At the time of Jesus’ resurrection and during the time He sent out His twelve disciples; there was a MAJOR transition occurring. It was the change of going from the Old Covenant into the New Covenant; Jesus told us about it in a parable of the wine skins. This parable also describes the reason why the Lord took the 12 “unlearned men” as His disciples the “new bottles” and taught them the operation of the New Covenant, “the new wine”.
“No man putteth a piece of NEW cloth unto an OLD garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put NEW wine into OLD bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”
“And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk OLD wine straightway desireth NEW: for he saith, The old is better.”
So going back to these Jews who had been operating under the Old Covenant for hundreds of years; they were insisting that the new Gentile converts keep all the laws of Moses including outward circumcision in the flesh. But Paul explained to the Galatians that if they were seeking justification through that system “another gospel”; that wasn’t really another gospel – just a different administration of the same gospel of Jesus, that it would not do them any good but just the opposite – they had fallen from grace. Paul explained to them that they would also have to do “ALL the law” which would have included the animal sacrifices, which would have been to reject Christ’s blood; which would have been a “perverted gospel” because that first system was stopped – they couldn’t perform both covenants at the same time.
Now you have to remember that the blood of animals could never erase any sins – even under the Old Covenant. So Paul was beside himself that the Galatians, who started out well and through faith were keeping the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, and having received the Holy Spirit, turned back to what he called “bondage”. He wasn’t calling all of God’s laws bondage, only the ones from the Old Covenant that were ended. When he says “the works of the law” in Galatians 3:2 and “under the law” in 4:21-24, he is specifically referring to those carnal ordinances that some of the unbelieving Jews or un-taught Jews were trying to get them to perform for their justification. We know for certain Paul wasn’t meaning all the laws because He said that he was not without law to God but under the law to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21). We know this is true because he also made the distinction by clearly saying this is an allegory describing the two covenants.
“This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are THE TWO COVENANTS; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”
Paul was teaching them and explaining that they would be rejecting the blood of Jesus Christ by doing those Old Covenant “carnal ordinances” that had been ended and stopped by God. But the unbelievers continued to do them either because they didn’t believe or they didn’t understand the ramifications. The very thing that those symbolic animal sacrifices were pointing towards was their Messiah. The outward circumcision in the flesh was a part of that system too; it pointed toward the spiritual circumcision of the heart.
The Galatians didn’t understand what was going on so Paul was explaining the operation of the Old Covenant and the operation of the New Covenant throughout the New Testament so that this MAJOR transition was made perfectly clear. But in order for us to understand what Paul is saying; we too need to go back and look at the whole picture and ALL of scripture until it no longer appears to contradict itself.
Not every law under the Old Covenant was nailed to the cross of Christ.
The Bible tells us which laws were stopped and which ones continue to be valid and binding today. Most Christians will still recognize that the laws of Leviticus 18 are still very valid and binding today; after all, God destroyed heathen nations who were not Jews, or part of Israel, because they didn’t keep His righteous laws listed in that chapter. God said they defiled the land by their abominations.
In Hebrews 9:8-10 and 7:12 there are examples of laws that were discontinued and we’re told why they were stopped. These scriptures are describing the differences in the administration of the Old Covenant “the first tabernacle” which means the earthly sanctuary which utilized animal’s blood and the Levitical priesthood; versus the administration and operation of the New Covenant, the heavenly sanctuary “the true tabernacle” which “the LORD pitched and not man” (Hebrews 8:2) and “the blood of sprinkling” (Hebrews 12:24) also called “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20); the blood of Jesus Christ.
Those Old Covenant carnal ordinances / commandments were imposed on them UNTIL the time of reformation. The time of reformation is described as being when the earthly sanctuary ceases to stand; meaning is no longer valid to God.
The time of the reformation would have been at the death of Jesus and it was signaled to us by the tearing of the veil from top to bottom which separated the Holy from the Most Holy within the earthly sanctuary.
“And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all” Hebrews 9:3
“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent” Matthew 27:51 (Mark15:38, Luke 23:45)
The time of reformation also included the resurrection of Christ, and the beginning of the New Covenant, and the new priesthood and the heavenly sanctuary called “the throne”. Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 8:1 “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens”
“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”
“For the priesthood being changed,
there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
Remember this? “…that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience…” the only thing that could/can make us perfect in conscience is the perfect blood of Jesus Christ, because only His blood could/can erase sins completely off of our heavenly record and from off of our hearts, making us guiltless (no guilt – 100% forgiven).
“Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, PURGE your CONSCIENCE from dead works to serve the living God?”
—> Those dead works means sin which causes the death penalty; He purges our conscience from sin so we can serve God by “the new and living way”.
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The Opposite of Having A Purged Conscience:
“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
We have been conditioned and taught that all the laws of God are a bad thing, that they are all bondage, and that they are no longer binding on us today. We are taught to hate God’s laws. Those righteous laws which are still in effect today are a reflection of God’s character. He calls them His righteous judgments. King David who was a man after God’s own heart called them a light and those who kept those laws trusted in God who was then a shield and defense because we trust in Him, in His character and His right judgment. God’s laws are a protection to us; just look at what a lawless society will do to each other.
The Everlasting Covenant was from the beginning at creation, it also contains blessings and the curses. Isaiah chapter 24 which is a New Covenant prophesy expresses this too. We are still experiencing both the blessings and the curses of God’s covenant of salvation. And the thing about it is that we shouldn’t look so carnally at God’s laws as if they are bad; but that they are extremely good due to the LORD’s right ways which also include our 100% forgiveness that we can walk around without any feelings of guilt from the sins we’ve been completely forgiven of.
There is the law of faith (Romans 3:27). There is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2) The heavenly sanctuary is governed by God’s laws which include us believing in Jesus, confession and repentance. The priesthood is also governed by laws.
The Blessings of Keeping God’s Laws:
“Wherefore ye shall do My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.”
“If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.”
The Curses of Breaking God’s Laws:
“And if ye shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but that ye break My covenant…”
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; BECAUSE they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. THEREFORE hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: THEREFORE the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.”
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it blessed you. Please consider sharing this with others too. I would also really appreciate your prayers for me, this work, my family, my friends and the whole Body of Christ. Thank you again and may you enable God to Bless you like Abraham did.
Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.