Oh the greatness of grace. We love grace, because it is not earned, it is something given. God has given grace to His People, and it is so magnificent.
The first level is a type of grace that comes from God, a free gift that a man does nothing to deserve to receive it. This is a foundational gift and is absolutely necessary for us to receive it, before any other grace can be manifested to us. It involves our Salvation, our being Justified (as if we hadn’t sinned), and our continue growing in Divine Grace, which involves sanctification.
The second level is something, in which we receive from God – or something received from mankind. This Grace is a benefit, or a Gift that is bestowed upon us as we’ve entered the first level of Grace – especially as we’ve wholeheartedly yielded our lives unto the Lord.
The third level is as we submit our lives to Jesus and leading of the Holy Spirit, we’re convicted to change, grow up in the Lord, and to be yielded vessels of righteousness. The more we submit ourselves at this level, the more we change inwardly – as it will manifest outwardly in our actions. Usually, there will be evidence of a person’s walk in the Lord based on how they appear or act outwardly. We become Living Epistles of Jesus Christ in order to be a witness to others.
The fourth level is for a title in England, where Grace is used for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop. When we become Living Epistles of Jesus Christ, we take on His nature – which is His Royal Priesthood. We’re chosen to go forth, as Ambassadors of His Kingdom, showing the praises of the Lord and lead others into the truth of God’s Grace. The fifth (and final) level of Grace says to “Give a Blessing” or to “Give Thanks.” We give a song of blessing back to the Lord, a perpetual giving of thanks to Him for all of His Grace and Mercy toward us.
Those who have found grace in the eyes of God
Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord, I believe according to Genesis 6:9, because he was a just man and perfect in his generations, and that he walked with God. Even though times were tough, Noah still had his heart toward the Lord.
Lot found Grace in His sight, when he saw that two angels were sent unto him informing him of the coming destruction of Sodom. Also, that he’d be plucked out of the destruction and be out of the city (saved).
Hannah, as we see in 1 Samuel 1, prayed and beckoned before the Lord that if she would be given a son, that she would dedicated him to the Lord all the days of his life. The priest, who was Eli, encouraged Hannah to believe that God would answer her prayer, so she also prayed for Grace, as we see in verse 18. (After this, she indeed gave birth unto a son, Samuel.)
Gideon, as we see in Judges 6, is chosen by God as a deliverer for the Israelites, because they’re crying unto God for help – yet they were disobedient and unfaithful. Gideon was first unsure about God’s call it seems, for he prayed for Grace, as we see in verse 17. (After this, God confirmed it unto him by having fire suddenly burn his offering unto God, so he was certain it was God speaking to him.)
For Ruth, in Ruth 2, she says to Naomi in verse 2 that she is going to the field to get ears of corn after him in whose sight to find grace. Later in verse 10, Ruth fell on her face and bowed unto the ground, and said unto the Lord, “Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” She marveled at how the Lord gave her grace, took notice of her, showed her affection, etc. This showed Ruth’s humility also, because it seems she was touched by the grace bestowed from the Lord.
For Esther, as we see in Esther 2:17, she received grace and favor in the sight of the king more than any other virgin that the king had to pick from. She had a royal crown bestowed upon her head, being declared queen – accepting royalty.
Paul speaking to the Galatian people (Book of Galatians)
Paul’s letter carried notable importance. The Church would still be dealing with Jewish Law and other forms of legalism, if it weren’t for this letter. The writer of it is Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles, according to Galatians 6:11. It was addressed to all the Churches in Galatia. Although the date appears to be uncertain, many believe it was written sometime in the late 50s, and that it was possibly the first of Paul’s Epistles.
For Galatia was a Roman province, and included Lycaonia, Isauria, and parts of Phrygia and Pisidia. This was based in Asia Minor, which is now known as Southern Turkey. Something peculiar about this area is that Paul begins without a word of praise or thanksgiving, which is quite unusual for him. There is also no request for prayer in this epistle.
However, his purpose of the letter is to address them due to their fickle nature, when Judaizing teachers had came their way teaching salvation by works and the necessity of circumcision – among also following Jewish Laws and other legalism. They were also teaching another gospel, which was that if you have faith in Jesus Christ and do works, you gain or maintain salvation – so Paul had to address this. Paul heard of this backslidden condition, and wanted to admonish them that such false teachers were deceiving them – so he gives rebuke and warning, along with profound teaching, which led to the assurance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and divine grace upon the people of that area.
For the first part, Introduction, it seems that Paul is beginning with a different from normal greeting, also introducing the atonement – which is dear to him and rejected by them. He also has a stern reproof for them, as he expresses great surprise they’ve already accepted another gospel (thus rebuking their fickle behavior).
For the second part, Paul’s Apostolic Authority, he proves unto them that the gospel he preached/preaches came via direct revelation from the Lord. He also talks about experiences with the apostles, as well as showing how he has always resisted the Judaizers.
For the third part, Defense and exposition of salvation and salvation by faith alone, Paul talks about justification of faith alone, divine union by faith, reception of the Spirit by faith, righteousness by faith predates the Law of Moses, that the Law served as a schoolmaster to show his need of a savior, and legalism versus faith. This, overall, was a great teaching on relating grace with faith, and how it trumps legalism.
For the fourth part, Warnings, Instructions, and Exhortation – he talks about warnings regarding false teachers and their fake doctrine, characteristics of the spiritual life, and then he contrasts the doctrine of the false teachers to that of himself.
Galatians 1:6-7, “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.” He wrote this because of false teachers pushing their false teachings. He was amazed that they’ve so soon accepted another Gospel, which wasn’t a gospel at all. The people were fickle, and he wrote mainly to address this.
Judaizers – ones that would try to make Moses equal to Jesus by insisting that just faith in Jesus Christ wasn’t the only way to get to Heaven, or gain or maintain salvation – frequently perverted the Gospel. In order to be saved, they would require circumcision and the keeping of the Law. They wanted all Christians, even Gentiles, to live as Jews; under the Law.
In Acts 15:1, 24 – “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment.”
Galatians 5:6, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
Paul can confirm his Apostolic Authority, because the Gospel received from the Lord was by direct revelation, as we see in Galatians 1:10-12. He questions on whether he persuades or pleases God or men…and that if he did please men – he shouldn’t be a servant of Christ. Therefore, he tells them that it is not after man, but after Christ – who taught it to him by direct revelation. He wanted to please God and Him alone!
For the First Church Council, it was a Council at Jerusalem, which decided on whether it was necessary for Gentile converts to be circumcised. They seemed to have claimed they have authority from James. They carried a letter, which expressed a regret concerning the trouble from the Judaizers – and encourage the Gentiles to better get along with their Jewish brothers. Soon, peace was restored.
Gamaliel, a man only mentioned twice in Scripture, was someone who was tolerant toward the Christians. His full name was Rabban Gamaliel Ha-Zaken, and was usually tagged as “the elder.” He was a grandson of the great Hillel. Living in the first half of the first century, he was president of the Sanhedrin. He maintained close contact with the Jews of Eretz and also with those of the diaspora. He was responsible for many changes in the Law “for the benefit of mankind,” and particularly for women a law for “permitting to remarry on the evidence of a single witness to the death of her husband.” He has ties with the Royal Family (Agrippa I), and had a son named Simon – who succeeded him – and also had a daughter.
Noting things to Titus – some things we too can glean
Titus was proclaimed by Paul as his brother in 2 Corinthians 2:13. Through chapters 7-8 of 2 Corinthians, we see the work of Titus collaborating a bit with Paul – in which he spoke and brought truth and care unto the people. Titus joined Paul and Barnabas on another journey up to Jerusalem, as we see in Galatians 2:1. Titus was not compelled to be circumcised, and that done to proclaim freedom for the Gentile converts from the Law.
When Paul was released from the Roman prison, he took Titus to Crete with him to evangelize (Titus 1:5). Paul left Titus there to do the work, delegation, while he went on to Ephesus. Paul instructed Titus in the letter to Titus (which is the Epistle of Titus). The Church on Crete was newly planted and Titus was expected to run this Church. Paul seemed to want to make sure that the believers were living a good Christian life and be an example of grace unto their neighbors (some of whom had pagan beliefs). Therefore, Paul’s entire letter to Titus was aimed especially at helping him get started running the Church in Crete and for the general pastoring that Titus was about to embark.
We first see Barnabas in Acts 4:34-36, where it says his name is Joses…surnamed Barnabas – which means “the son of consolation.” He was described as a Levite from the Island of Cyprus, and honest, because of the deed he did in verse 34-35 of Acts 4 – which was bringing the money and laying it down at the apostles’ feet. In Acts 11:24, he was described as a good man who was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.
Throughout the Book of Acts, we see Barnabas’ ministry, especially with Paul. They frequently went to Jerusalem to do ministry, especially concerning fellowship, concern, and much later to talk about circumcision and other law teachings. In Acts 14:12, we see a nickname given to Barnabas and Paul…Barnabas was called Jupiter, because he was older and better in appearance much like the god. Later in Galatians 2:1, Barnabas traveled with Paul and Titus up to Jerusalem to minister. After this, we don’t seem to see anymore of Barnabas, as it seems he went away from Paul permanently.
If Paul had returned sooner, then they would have had a hard time believing that the Gospel Paul was preaching was of God. Since the Church at Jerusalem was still keeping the Law, Paul had to decide when it was time to come, probably. Paul came bearing proof of his ministry, so his credentials were the true accounts of the fourteen years of miracle ministry with signs following.
Peter rose up with a solution, as we see in Acts 15:7b-11. When he arose, he spoke and told them that God made a choice that the Gentiles shall hear the Gospel and believe. Also, that God knows the hearts of men and gives them the Holy Ghost. He demanded that no difference be put between the Gentiles and Jews. He went on to say that, the Gentiles believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall be saved as the Jews are.
In Galatians 2:11, Peter cam to Antioch, and Paul said that he withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed. He was blamed for not taking a strong stand against the Judaizers’ false doctrine of legalism. He compromised truth for popularity and acceptance. He was living with the Gentiles, until the Judaizers came…then Peter quickly departed, wanting no part of the trouble that had just broke out. Paul exposed Peter openly, so Peter didn’t have anywhere to hide. Later, as we see in 1 Peter 1:18-21, Peter acknowledged Paul as being correct.
As we see in Galatians 2:16-19, we see that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. No flesh shall be justified by the works of the law. Thinking that man is justified by works of the law is calling Christ the minister of sin; therefore, we must realize we’re justified by faith!
Notes to the Romans
The Scripture begins by discussing Abraham himself being justified by faith, for this faith was given to him for righteousness sake before circumcision. By becoming circumcised, he might be the father of believers, whether they were circumcised or not. It seems like the promise was not through the law, or it would’ve just been void. Being rooted in faith by grace brought the seed of Abraham, and so then his faith was accepted. This would be for all those who profess a like faith in God. This shows that fallen mankind has always been saved by God’s grace through faith and repentance.
The Promise is given through the righteousness of faith…Romans 4:13 says, “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
Legalism adds many requirements on gaining or maintaining salvation through Jesus Christ. Faith says you believe, and you receive salvation through Jesus Christ. The Judaizers believed that true salvation came after observing the Law of Moses as well as faith in Jesus Christ. Judaizers were legalists, then. Paul and Barnabas disputed them, and Paul taught that one is saved by faith in Jesus Christ – that it is the only way. Legalism does not honor what God’s already done, and therefore leads us away from the Cross. However, faith in Jesus Christ completely honors what God has done, and leads us toward the Cross where we see redemption, grace, and love!
The blessing was with bread and wine, as we see in Genesis 14:18 – and since Melchizedek is a type of Christ, this was probably a supernatural meeting of communion with Christ for Abraham – that he received Jesus. Melchizedek met with Abraham and blessed him. Abraham gave a tenth/tithe of that blessing back. Melchizedek was called great as that Abraham gave him a tenth of the spoils.
Paul explains the losses of those who surrender their Faith in Christ, and relapse into legalism. They lose the blessing of their inheritance as children of God, and return to the bondage of ceremonialism. But, we are all children of God through Faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).
Galatians 5:22-23 states this… “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The Spirit has a “Godhead” mission, in my understanding – whereas, the flesh has its own agenda: fulfilling temptations and attempting to conceive sin in the mind. Temptation is of the enemy/foul spirits of this world. When two different entities attempt to dwell together in the same pot, they war against one another, because they’re on opposite missions. The Spirit is attempting to bring righteousness, but the flesh is attempting to bring unrighteousness by fulfilling its own desires (which usually are sinful). Righteousness cannot dwell with unrighteousness…as we see in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Our Salvation is dependent upon Salvation by Grace (born out of Christ’s Work). It is entirely a work of the Holy Spirit; man is not required to do anything but accept Salvation. Praise the Lord!