Palms Baptist Church Bible Study
Unite to Ignite: Intro to Galatians
January 24, 2023

Unite to Ignite: Intro to Galatians

January 24, 2023   /   Palms Baptist Church Bible Study

  • Context Matters
    • Example: My Son’s essay on the Boston Tea Party
    • He had the right context, right characters, right places, but missed the prime point
      • Bible study is like art: Michelangelo’s job was to cut away everything that is not David…problem is sometimes we have a block of marble (piece of scripture) where to much has been cut away

*The Letter of Galatians has often been treated like my son interpreted the Boston Tea Party, all the right characters, contexts, and places but we’ve missed the primary point

Two Questions:

  • How we chip away: Most read through the lens of answering a 16th century, reformed question: “How can I be assured in my salvation?”
    • After reformation, the reformers rejected many of the Catholic practices such as believing baptism and Lord’s Supper as “saving graces,” transubstantiation, but primarily as it applies to readings of Galatians, Purgatory
    • Most believers PREFERRED the idea of purgatory
      • Purgatory allowed for a catch-all, in-between for dealing with being in faith but also living/dealing with sin
      • Either hell or heaven scared them, which led to the question, how is my salvation assured?
      • Luther went here, to Galatians 2, to justify his doctrine of salvation: You are justified by faith, and only faith, not by any good or bad works
  • HOWEVER…the question Paul is answering, “What is the church?”

Question: What is the church to you? Is church is the place I go on Sundays? What’s is my salvation and church’s relationship to government (politics), social life (unbelievers in my life), religious establishment (church structure), church people (in faith but not like my story), and people like me

*The Modern, western, and more so American question is not “Is my salvation secure?”, rather, “What does salvation ultimately bring to community and my relationships? “Church-life” looks so different everywhere, what is the point?

Letter of Galatians is NOT anchored on , rather

  • Terms:
    • Soteriology = Study of Salvation
    • Ecclesiology = Study of the Church
  • Many think Paul is trying to teach on the doctrine of salvation, especially in the doctrine “Justified by faith” -Galatians 2:15-16
    • Paul is speaking to a much higher concept! A concept that includes and requires salvation, but is much higher
  • Ecclesiology is not an alternative to soteriology, its is salvations public display!
    • You cannot understand the community of church without understanding salvation, and you cannot understand salvation without understanding the community or family it intended to provide. (If your idea of salvation does not lead to a community, then your understanding of salvation and community is wrong)
  • A United church ignites the Spirit corporately, and the fires individually! Paul is talking about a bonfire, not the individual lamps or disparate bonfires

*Imagine every church is a bonfire as contributed by every individuals own personal torch

*I think Jesus grieves the disunity of the modern church, but even so, that fact that most don’t even care about it!

Paul’s Gospel and View of Church

  • Adam and Eve Sin- Genesis 3 (The Problem)
  • God makes covenant with Abraham to set the sin of Adam right – Genesis 15 (The Plan)
  • God makes covenant with Isaac and PROMISES through his SEED all nations would be blessed- Genesis 26 (The Promise)
  • Moses warns Israel’s unfaithfulness to God or the law will lead -Deuteronomy 27-29 (The Warning)
  • After warning against Israel’s unfaithfulness, Moses assures Israel of God’s faithfulness to His promise- Deuteronomy 30 (The Assurance)
  • God’s expands His promise that the inheritance promised to Isaac extends the entire earth- Psalm 2 (The Inheritance)

*Problem is: Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness made a situation where the nations they were promised to rule over now rules over them!

    • Paul’s Gospel: God has ushered the “coming age” from “present evil age” where God’s faithfulness breaks Israel’s unfaithfulness (Christ defeated the curse of Deut. 27-29 and ushered in Deut. 30)
    • Paul’s Church: A united community outside socio-political norms together in worship, mission, and relationship (God has remained faithful to the promise that ALL Nations are blessed and enter into Abraham’s family)

*The church is the shaping of communities and individuals within them so that they reflect more fully and faithfully the fact that the Spirit of Jesus is dwelling in their midst: both corporately and personally within themselves!

5 Relationships of the Church

    • : Roman Authority
      • Official religion was the Roman Occult
        • Worship of Augustus and the roman gods
      • Rome knew that they could never suppress the Jews by forcing them to worship the occult
      • However, Romans were less offended by the idea of monotheism as Jews were to polytheism

*Rome made a pact with the Jewish authority, they can continue worshiping only Israel’s God AS LONG AS they prayed on behalf of and for Rome

    • : Pagan Gentiles
      • Pagan Gentiles believed it was everyone’s duty to worship all the gods
      • They believed their safety, security, and prosperity depended on it
        • Natural disasters, famine, and general calamity was believed judgment by the gods for unfaithfulness to the gods
      • While they couldn’t change Rome’s exemption to the Jews, they did not like it
        • First, if Jews did not worship the gods, then they would have to “pick-up the slack,” which in areas with large Jewish populations created tension
        • Second, while they may believe it was logical to worship Israel’s god, they did not know Him, and never attributed the calamity to Him, thus, leaving them vulnerable

*Jewish exemption was a hot topic political issue throughout Rome’s history and they often blamed the Jews when disaster struck

    • : Jewish Authority
      • Jewish authority understood the sensitivities throughout Rome in regards to the exemption

*Simply, the Jewish Exemption was a very delicate issue that could be removed at anytime!

    • : Jewish-Believers
      • Now, Jewish believers (Paul, Peter, James, John etc.) were in a situation where they are transforming the Jewish message to the Jews
      • Much of the beginning of the book of Acts documents the tension between Jewish-believers and Jewish authorities over the messiahship of Christ

*Until the massive influx of gentile believers, the tension between Jesus-followers and Jews was over messiahship of Christ

    • : Gentile-Believers
      • Gentiles are now stepping away from the Roman Occult paganism and worshiping God and God alone in Christ (Upsetting the other pagan occultist)
        • However, only JEWS were exempt from worshiping Roman religion
        • Gentiles, now, are claiming exemption under the Jewish exemption being faith in the Jewish Messiah
      • Gentiles, however, do not carry the signature of the Jewish people (Kosher, circumcised, and Torah)
        • Roman Pagans feel upset, threatened, and in physical danger from the gods by groups of Greeks walking away from the Roman occult to follow Jesus
        • Roman Authority can’t understand why Greeks, who look Greek, are claiming Jewish exemption, and expecting Jewish authorities to answer for it
        • Jewish authority, already at tension with Jewish Jesus-followers and Rome, are now concerned their delicate arrangement is in vast danger due to gentile Jesus-followers
        • Jewish-Believers have to give answers to justify gentile believers inclusion into Jewish arrangements, to a group of people who don’t believe in Messiah
        • Gentile-believers, fear legal outcasting by Roman authorities, social outcasting from pagan Greeks, religious outcasting from Jewish-believers

*Many would view these gentiles as pretending to be “Jews” while not keeping any of the Torah

  1. Remove the source of that keeps us off mission
  2. Attack divisive doctrine that the Blood of Christ
  3. Resist positions that our, or others in Christ
  4. Anchor on what and us together

Christian Tea party Essay

If I was inviting people to a Boston tea party I would invite George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere John Hancock, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. I would not invite king George the third because he is evil. I would have the tea party at Bunker Hill. When we sat down I would make them sit down next to me and I would hire someone to pass out the tea and pass out food. I would expect they would ask how is your day, and I would talk to Thomas Jefferson a lot. Before we drank the tea we would say a prayer and I would say “dear god I hope we have an outstanding time drinking tea amen”. Then we would talk about the war. Afterwards we will go in the water and swim. After swimming, we would go back to the tea party. I bet it will be fun I wish it happen in real life and it would be incredible. I wish I was there to meet my cousin John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and john Hancock. It would be a cool Boston tea party.

Questions for Guided Discussion

  1. Consider honestly what your view or answer to the question “What is the church?” Why are there so many different impressions, forms, and views of church? Do the differences matter? Can we maintain Paul’s ‘One Family’ concept of church with those differences?
  2. How would you summarize the relationship between your personal salvation and the corporate display of the church? Why do so many emphasize their personal salvation but downplay the importance of the church community, or vice versa?
  3. Do you agree with Paul that unity is the most important element of the church? What do many churches intentionally or unintentionally emphasize above unity? What threatens unity in the church?
  4. What does your view of church tell you about your view of salvation? In light of those views, what does that say about your view of the “good news” of Christ?
  5. Rome struck a pact with the Jewish people that led to a “I won’t bother you as long as you don’t bother us” relationship between the Roman government and faith in Jesus. Is that kind of relationship healthy? Dangerous? Effective? What are some examples of this mentality in our own church-government relationship?
  6. The Jewish exemption created much tension between the Roman pagans and Jews. Pagans believed that the exemption put the larger community at risk of danger and that it was a toxic Roman policy. In what ways does the modern “unbeliever” view Christianity as dangerous, in conflict, or toxic? Is there any merit to their concern, and how should the church respond?
  7. Jewish authorities were very aware of the sensitives and fragility surrounding their exemption. Anything that could disrupt the traditional agreement or culture would upset the religious Jewish establishment, and a new influx of gentiles being brought into a Jewish family rattled this paradigm. How has our own church traditions hindered progress of the gospel? How have those traditions helped?
  8. The impacts and reality of the Gospel moved faster than the Jewish-led church could handle. Naturally, they responded in trying to keep expansion within the confines of their plan. Share personal examples of when the gospel has moved faster in a situation or community. How did it turn out?
  9. The gentile believers in Galatia, after receiving the grace of the gospel now had their social community angry with them, the government suspicious of them, the Jewish authority annoyed with them, and Jewish-believers inconvenienced by them. By receiving the good news of Jesus, they received bad news in every other element of their lives. Share experiences that relate to this dynamic.


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