9/25/11 Galatians 6:12-16
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
real righteousness, Not artificial goodness
In Galatians Paul was extremely concerned with contrasting God’s Good News with a counterfeit news people were promoting—people who insisted a Christian must keep God’s rules for Jews. When the Bible talks about Christian freedom, it’s not giving us permission to release sinful passions. It means responding to God’s invitation to enjoy the goodness Jesus earned us, then shake off things God’s law forbids. Rules for living, throughout history, have never succeeded in making people better. Paul was so intense about this, that when he signed off in this letter (6:11), he brought up the subject once more.
How does Paul sum up the motives of the misleading leaders (6:12-13)?
Paul said that these Jewish rule enforcers were trophy hunters. They weren’t interested in helping people depend on Jesus. They didn’t want people to grow closer to God and His values. Mainly they wanted to pressure people to convert so they they’d have more success to brag about. They were also cowards. They didn’t want to suffer for Jesus. So they disguised themselves as a branch of the legal Jewish creed.
How would circumcision keep people from discrimination (6:12)?
The Jewish law advocates promoted circumcision, something people did for God. Paul advertised a Rescuer that died nailed to a cross and returned to life. Part of the reason these “special” Christians made demands of new believers was because they didn’t want to alienate their Jewish support base. But at the same time they wanted to recognize the value of Jesus. Their obedience to God’s Jewish laws was selective.
How would record circumcisions be reason for bragging rights (6:13)?
These “Christians” who idealized the Law bragged about what circumcision could do for you. Paul kept his focus on the person who rescued people by putting His own life on the line. Paul spent his time talking about the cross. This does not mean that brutality or suffering from the execution process on a cross excited Paul. He wasn’t looking at it as a piece of wood they used to execute criminals. He was looking at Jesus’ cross. He was excited about what happened there.
4. What does Paul mean by only bragging about Jesus’ cross (6:14)?
Paul mentions Jesus at least 45 times in Galatians. That means that one third of the verses contain some reference to Him. The personality of Jesus captivated Paul. It was what happened to Jesus on the cross that made Jesus Paul’s hero. In his early years as a Jewish rabbi, Paul had a distinguished career (1:13–14; Phil. 3:1–10). After he met Jesus, he turned his back on anything illustrious he had done.
5. How has “the world been crucified to me, and I to the world” (6:14)?
Society doesn’t care if we’re “religious,” as long as you dismiss Jesus as humanity’s only hope. In fact, society endorses religion—except for the ones that teach Jesus is the only road. So, leaving Jesus out and making religion your religion inflates people’s egos, makes us feel like we’re contributing in a meaningful way, and fits in with society. What happened to Jesus on the cross teaches all people are full of sin, that sin is so serious that it deserves damnation, and that people’s only hope is God taking humanity’s place. These are insulting facts of life to people.
6. Ultimately, why is keeping Jewish rules irrelevant (6:15)?
“Israel of God” (6:16) is one of the many ways the New Testament identifies believers. Jesus told Jewish leaders that God would take His kingdom from them and give it to a different people He would choose (Matt. 21:43). Peter identifies that nation as God’s family: “You are God’s chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). That went against what the romanticizers stood for. They wanted to take the church back into Old Testament Law, when that Law even the nation of Israel could not obey it.
How would you explain this “new creation” (6:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17)?
The “new” in “new creation” means “different and new.” It equates to calling non-Jews “the Israel of God.” The phrase “peace be with/on” someone was a common way for Jewish people to talk. It is one of the most common phrases on Jewish tombs. “Peace be on Israel” was also a regular synagogue prayer.
Why does Paul call these non-Jewish people God’s Israel (6:16; Romans 2:28–29, Galatians 3:7,29; 5:6; Philippians 3:3)?
When you live subject to all kinds of rules for living, it’s like someone forcing you to march over rough terrain wearing a 100-pound backpack. It’s not fun. It makes life a pain. It sucks all the joy out of life. When Jesus releases us, we can enjoy life with peace of mind. We can give and get love.
Why is it more attractive to have a faith where we get to contribute something?
2. How can worship time either promote Jesus or downplay what He did for us?
How does this section connect to Matthew 16:21-26? What’s the connection to Judges 16:22-31?