[WRITTEN FROM CORINTH OR EPHESUS, A. D. 53.]
I.--PAUL, an Apostle, not from men, neither by man; but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead; and all the brethren who are with me, to the congregations of Galatia: Favor to you, and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
6.--I wonder that you are so soon removed from him, who called you into the favor of Christ, to another gospel; which is not another: but there are some who trouble you, and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But if even we, or an angel from heaven, declare to gospel to you, different from what we have declared to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so now I say again, if any one declare a gospel to you, different from what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now conciliate men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Now I certify you, brethren, concerning the gospel which was declared by me, that it is not according to men. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, except by the revelation of Jesus Christ. You have certainly heard of my behaviour formerly in Judaism; that I exceedingly persecuted the congregation of God, and laid it waste; and made progress in Judaism, above many of the same age with myself in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his favor, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, that I might declare the good news concerning him to the Gentiles; immediately I did not consult flesh and blood: neither did I go up to Jerusalem, to them who were Apostles before me; but I went away into Arabia, and again returned to Damascus. Then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But I saw no other of the Apostles, except James, the Lord's brother. Now as to the things which I write to you, behold, God is my witness that I do not falsely affirm. After that I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was personally unknown to the congregations of Judea which are in Christ. They had only heard that--He, who formerly persecuted us, now announces, as glad tidings, the faith which he formerly destroyed. And they glorified God on my account.
II.--Then, fourteen years later, I went up again to Jerusalem, with Barnabas; taking Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them the gospel, which I proclaimed to the Gentiles; but privately to them who were of reputation; lest, perhaps, I should run, or had run in vain. However, neither Titus, who was with me, though a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised, even on account of the false brethren secretly introduced; (who came in privily to spy out our liberty, which we have by Jesus Christ, that they might bring us into bondage;) nor did we give place to them by submission, not even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. Besides, from them who were of reputation, I received nothing: (whatever they were formerly, is no matter to me: God respects not a man's appearance. For they who were of reputation, communicated nothing to me.) But, on the contrary, perceiving that I was entrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, just as Peter was with that of the circumcision; (for he who wrought effectually in Peter for the apostleship of the circumcision, also wrought effectually in me for the Gentiles:) even, James, and Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, having perceived the favor granted to me, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we, indeed, should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision; requesting only, that we would remember the poor, which very thing I had also been diligent to do. Moreover, when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him face to face, because he was to be blamed. For before certain persons came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles; but when they were come, he withdrew, and separated himself, being afraid of them of the circumcision. And the other Jews also dissembled with them, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their dissimulation. But when I saw that they did not walk uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter, before them all,--if you, being a Jew, live after the manner of the Gentiles, and not after the manner of the Jews, why do you compel the Gentiles to Judaize? We, who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that man is not justified by works of law, but only through the faith of Jesus Christ; even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of law; for by works of law, no flesh shall be justified. But if seeking to be justified by Christ, even we ourselves are found sinners, is Christ then the minister of sin? By no means. For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I constitute myself a transgressor. Besides, I through law have died to law, that I might live to God. I am crucified together with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me: for the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith which is of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the favor of God. For if righteousness is through law, then certainly Christ has died in vain.
III.--O inconsiderate Galatians! who has deceived you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ crucified was evidently represented among you? This only I wish to learn from you, did you receive the Spirit by works of law, or by obedience of faith? Are you so inconsiderate, that having begun in Spirit, you are now perfect in flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain? if, indeed, it is in vain.
5.--He, then, who ministered to you the Spirit, and wrought miracles among you, did he these by works of law, or by a hearing of faith? even as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness; know, therefore, that they who are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham. For the Scripture foreshowing that God would justify the nations by faith, formerly announced the gospel to Abraham, saying, "Surely in you shall all the nations be blessed:" Wherefore, they who are of faith, are blessed with believing Abraham. But as many as are of works of law, are under the curse: for it is written, "Accursed is every one, who continues not in all the things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them." Besies, that by law no one is justified before God, is manifest: "For the just by faith shall live." Now, the law is not of faith; but he who does these things, shall live by them. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us: (for it is written, "Accursed is every one who is hanged on a tree:") that the blessing of Abraham might come on the nations through Christ Jesus; and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men: no one sets aside or alters a man's Will, after it is ratified. Now, to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He does not say, "And in seeds," as concerning many; but as concerning one person, "And in your seed," who is Christ. Wherefore, This I affirm, that the Will which was before ratified by God concerning Christ, the law, which was made four hundred and thirty yers after, cannot annul, so as to abolish the promise.
18.--Besides, if the inheritance be by law, it is no longer by promise? but God bestowed it freely on Abraham by promise.
19.--Why, then, the law?
It was added on account of transgression, till the seed should come to whom it was promised; being ordained by messengers, in the hand of a Mediator; and the Mediator is not of one party; but God is one party.
21.--Is the law, then, contrary to the promises of God?--
By no means. For if there had been a law given, which was able to make alive, certainly righteousness would have been by law. But the Scripture has shut up together all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe. Wherefore, before faith came, we were kept in durance under law, shut up together to the faith, which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law has been our instructer to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But faith being come, we are no longer under this instructer. For you are all the sons of God through the faith by Christ Jesus. Besies, as many of you as have been immersed into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bondman nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, certainly you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
IV.--Now, I say, as long as the heir is a minor, he differs nothing from a bondman, though he be lord of all. For he is under tutors and stewards, till the time before appointed by his father. So also, we, whilst we were minors, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem those under law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So that you are no more a bondman, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But formerly, indeed, when you knew not God, you served those, who, by nature, are not gods. But now, having acknowledged God, (or rather, being acknowledged by God,) why do you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which again, a second time, you incline to be in bondage? You carefully observe days, and moons, and seasons, and years. I am afraid of you, lest, perhaps, I have labored in vain among you. Brethren, I pray you, be as I am: for I am as you are. You have injured me in nothing. You know, indeed, that in weakness of the flesh, I declared the gospel to you at first. Yet that trial of mine, which was in my flesh, you did not despise; neither did you reject me, but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What, then, was your happiness! for I bear you witness, that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes, and given them to me. Am I, then, become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? They love you ardently, not honorably. Yes, they wish to exclude us, that you may love them ardently. But it is honorable to be ardently in love with a good man at all times, and not merely when I am present with you. My little children, for whom I travil in birth again till Christ be formed in you; I could wish, indeed, to be present with you now, and to change my speech; for I am exceedingly in doubt concerning you. Tell me, you who wish to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written, taht Abraham had two sons: one by the bondmaid, and one by the fre woman. But he, indeed, who was of the bondmaid, was begotten according to the flesh; but he who was of the free woman, was through the promise. Which things are allegorized: for these women are two institutions; the one, indeed, from Mount Sinai, bringing forth children into bondage; which is Hagar, (for the name Hagar, denotes Mount Sinai in Arabia,) and she answers to the present Jerusalem, and is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem above is the free woman, who is our mother. For it is written, "Rejoice, O barren woman, who dist not bring forth! Break out and cry, thou who travailest not in birth; for more are the children of the deserted, than of her who had the husband." We, therefore, brethren, like Isaac, are children by promise. But even as then, he who was begotten according to the flesh, persecuted him who was begotten according to the Spirit: so also now. But what says the Scripture? "Cast out the bondmaid and her son; for the son of the bondmaid shall not inherit with the son of the free woman."
31.--Well, then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondmaid, but of the free woman. Stand fast, therefore, in the freedom with which Christ has freed us, and be not again held fast in the yoke of bondage. Behold, I, Paul, say to you, that if you be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify, moreover, to every circumcised person, that he is a debtor to do th whole law. You are loosed from Christ, who are justified by the law; you have fallen from favor. But we, through the Spirit, look for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith, which works by love. You did run well: who has hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion comes not from him who called you. A little leaven levens the whole mass. I am persuaded concerning you by the Lord, that you will think nothing differently from me: but he who troubles you shall bear the punishment, whoever he be. But I, brethren, if I now proclaim circumcision, why am I yet persecuted? Certainly the offence of the cross is abolished. I wish, indeed, they were cut off who subvert you. For you, brethren, have been called into liberty; only use not this liberty for an occasion to the flesh; but through love, assiduously serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled by one precept, even by this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another. I say, then, walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you would. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. Now, the works of the flesh are manfiest, which are these:--Fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, sorcery, enmities, strifes, emulations, wraths, brawlings, factions, sects, envyings, murders, intoxications, revellings, and such like; concerning which, I foretell you now, as I also have foretold, that they who practise these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance: against such things there is no law. Besides, they wo are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with the passions and lusts. Since we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not be vain-glorious, provoking one another, envying one antoher.
VI.--Also, brethren, if a man be surprised into any fault, you, the spiritual men, set such a one right again in the spirit of meekness; taking a view of yourself, lest even you be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if any one think himself to be something, being nothing, he deceives himself. But let every one try his own work, and then he shall have boasting in himself alone, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. Now let him, who is instructed in the word, communicate of all good things to the instructer. Do not deceive yourselves; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, taht also he shall reap. Therefore, he who sows to his flesh, shall from the flesh reap corruption: but he who sows to his spirit, shall from the Spirit rreap life everlasting. Wherefore, let us not flag in well doing; for in the proper season we shall reap, if we faint not. Well, then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all; but especially to them, who are of the household of faith. You see how large a letter, I have written to you with my own hand. As many as wish to appear fair by the flesh, these constrain you to be circumcised, only that they may not be persectuted for the cross of Christ. For not even do the circumcised themselves keep the law; but they wish you to be circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. But, far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Jesus Christ, neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Now as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God. Henceforth let no one give me trouble, for I bear the scars of the Lord Jesus in my body. The favor of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
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