Galatians 1-3 Justification By Faith

Galatians 1-3 Justification By Faith

Psalm 143:1-12 Thirsting For God and Trusting Him
Ps 143:1 Of David “Hear my prayer, Yahweh. Listen to my petitions. In your faithfulness and righteousness, relieve me. 2 Don’t enter into judgment with your servant, for in your sight no man living is righteous. 3 For the enemy pursues my soul. He has struck my life down to the ground. He has made me live in dark places, as those who have been long dead. 4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me. My heart within me is desolate. 5 I remember the days of old. I meditate on all your doings. I contemplate the work of your hands. 6 I spread forth my hands to you. My soul thirsts for you, like a parched land. Selah.
  • 7 Hurry to answer me, Yahweh. My spirit fails.
  • Don’t hide your face from me, so that I don’t become like those who go down into the pit.
  • 8 Cause me to hear your hesed/loyal covenantal love in the morning, for I trust in you.
  • Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to you.
  • 9 Deliver me, Yahweh, from my enemies, I flee to you to hide me.
  • 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
  • Your Spirit is good, lead me in the land of uprightness.
11 Revive me, Yahweh, for your name’s sake. In your righteousness, bring my soul out of trouble. 12 In your hesed/loyal covenantal love, cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul, for I am your servant."

Observations: 143:1-6 Persecuted by his enemies and overwhelmed, David calls to God for much-needed help. Rather than remaining in the darkness, he recalls God's faithfulness, righteousness, past deliverances, and presses his plea to God. He bases his plea on the righteousness of God, knowing that no one is perfect in his sight. Every fiber of his being thirsts for God, his only hope.
143:7-12 The last half of the psalm contains a number of requests and the reason for them. The last half of verse 10 flips the order for emphasis. Our dependency upon God should be so great that if He is not actively involved in our lives, sustaining and guiding, we will perish. There might be dry days but no prolonged parched periods in the life of someone who walks in the shadow of God, for in His presence (available to anyone, anywhere, anytime) is fullness of joy. David asks God for guidance and direction, which He is pleased to give so we can do His will. God's servants can trust Him because not only is He infinitely good, He is infinitely loyal to His promises to protect those who trust in Him.
Application: If we're seeking and following God throughout every day, it will be difficult to be far from Him when trouble comes (as it inevitably will).
Prayer: God, please guide my steps in doing Your will, so I can have complete confidence in Your protection and presence. Thanks. Amen.

TMS Romans 3:23 All Have Sinned
Rom 3:23 “(22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;)

23 for all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God,

24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.“

Observations: 3:23 This is the major passage in the Scriptures on justification by faith, declaring our need for it (forgiveness). All people have “missed the mark” (that's what sin means) of the righteousness God requires. Some might be better or worse than others, but all miss out on the glory God wants to give them. He's the one who sets the rules/standards, and we are all too short to go on the ride. Fortunately God also provides a solution to the problem. See the comments on Romans 3 for an exposition of the verse in context. “Crowbar” questions: “What makes you think you've hit the standard God requires? How do you know what the standard is? Where does Jesus fit into the picture? Why did He have to die?”
Application: Confession is to “say the same thing” that God does; acknowledgment of sin opens the door for the solution, and the ride to glory.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned against You in not seeking nor doing Your will, and thus am not worthy to receive Your glory; thanks for sending the Lord Jesus to die for my sin, so that I can become worthy. Amen.


Galatians 1-3 Paul writes to the believers in the churches he planted on his journey to Galatia to call them back to the gospel he had preached to them, which they had believed, and which resulted in them being indwelt by the Spirit of God. Jewish believers who cared more for tradition than truth had perverted the good news of justification by faith, by seeking to impose the Jewish ceremonial and religious law, especially circumcision, on Gentile believers as the means of gaining the promises contained in the good news. Paul combats this error by showing that the message they believed was from God, and the others were teaching the mere words of men. Some of the difficulties in understanding Paul's argument lie in not knowing what he means by law and justification. The law in this epistle is not the moral law (which as recipients of the Holy Spirit is written in our hearts), but rather those aspects that separated the Jews from the Gentiles as the peculiar people of God. The justification in chapter 2 is most likely not forgiveness (since they already had that) but a declaration of the righteousness they needed for blessing (inheritance and reward) in the future Age of the Messiah (kingdom). This is just like the OT requirement to do what is right in God's sight (righteousness) to receive the promised blessings. The just, (as in justified/forgiven), shall live (as in receive the blessings of the Messianic kingdom) by faith (as in continuing to believe that God will do what He said He'll do -Heb 11:6). The righteousness God requires extends beyond forgiveness, as the rest of the epistle demonstrates. One can't read their preconceptions into chapter two and then ignore all the evidence in the rest of the epistle, and be right.


Galatians 1 No Other Gospel
1:1 Paul, an apostle (not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead), 2 and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father— 5 to whom be the glory to the Ages of the ages. Amen.
6 I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different "good news"; 7 and there isn’t another "good news." Only there are some who trouble you, and want to pervert the Good News of Christ. 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any "good news" other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed. 9 As we have said before, so I now say again: if any man preaches to you any "good news" other than that which you received, let him be cursed.
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ. 11 But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the Good News which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. 12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jewsreligion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the assembly of God, and ravaged it. 14 I advanced in the Jewsreligion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called/summoned me through his grace, 16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I didn’t immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. Then I returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But of the other apostles I saw no one, except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 Now about the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I’m not lying. 21 Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still unknown by face to the assemblies of Judea which were in Christ, 23 but they only heard: "He who once persecuted us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy." 24 And they glorified God in me.

Observations: 1:1-5 Paul opens with the assertion that he is an apostle (sent one) from Jesus the Messiah. He writes to the assemblies of believers in the resurrected Christ, which he planted in Galatia on his first missionary journey. As in Romans and 1Corinthians, he wishes them the covenantal blessings of grace and peace and writes the book so they can get blessed. The “bookend” of 6:16 tells them how to get them (“walk/live according to this rule/standard”). The Lord Jesus, the Messiah gave himself for our sins (justification -see Romans 3 comments) so that (purpose) believers might be delivered out of (ek) this present age (here aion is used for a definite period of time), according to the will of God. The will of God is not just that our sins be forgiven, but that we experience a deliverance, through sanctification, into the glory of the Age to come (glorification).
1:6-14 Paul marvels that those who believed the good news/gospel he preached to them (see comments on 1Cor 15 for what that was) were so quick to bite the bait Satan dangled in front of them. Even if an angel (which Satan can disguise himself as -2Cor 11:14) told them anything different than Paul did, they shouldn't believe it, and the false teacher should be accursed. To understand what he means, you have to skip ahead to understand the context of the letter: those Jews who had believed, were trying to make the Gentiles become Jews to be recipient of God's blessings. (See comments on the Jerusalem Council -Acts 15). This teaching is not from God, but men. By seeking to please men and submit to the Jewish traditions and “law” they would not be pleasing to God. This is why Paul emphasizes the choice the Galatians face: please unauthenticated men by following their teaching, or please God by following His authenticated teachers (the apostles) and His message. Paul recounts his conversation with Jesus, and his resultant conversion, and commission to show his message is the real deal.
Acts 26:15 So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.' (See comments there).
1:15-24 After his encounter with Jesus Paul didn't immediately go to Jerusalem, but eventually did, meeting briefly with Peter and James (the Lord's brother, now an apostle -see comments on Acts 12:2 and 15:13). He did not get his message from the other apostles, nor did he have contact with the churches in Judea, so his message was based upon revelation from God alone (the only way a finite being can know infinite truth).
Application: Our beliefs need to be based squarely and solidly upon the revealed word of God, not what men say about it, otherwise we'll be following fables and traditions that are powerless to deliver us out of this present evil age into the glories of the Ages to come.
Prayer: God, I praise You for being both the Creator and Communicator of life; thanks that You have power to not only create, but communicate in such a way that I can understand what you desire of me, and what I can expect of You; please guide me in understanding and applying Your revelation to my life. Amen.


Galatians 2 Justification Isn't Always Forgiveness
2:1 Then after a period of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. 2 I went up by revelation, and I laid before them the Good News which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately before those who were respected, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 This was because of the false brothers secretly brought in, who stole in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage; 5 to whom we gave no place in the way of subjection, not for an hour, that the truth of the Good News might continue with you. 6 But from those who were reputed to be important (whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God doesn’t show partiality to man)—they, I say, who were respected imparted nothing to me, 7 but to the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the Good News for the circumcision 8 (for he who appointed Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision appointed me also to the Gentiles); 9 and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision. 10 They only asked us to remember the poor—which very thing I was also zealous to do.
11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before some people came from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews joined him in his hypocrisy; so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they didn’t walk uprightly according to the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live as the Gentiles do, and not as the Jews do, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do?"
15 "We, being Jews by nature, and not Gentile sinners,"
16 yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed into/(eis) Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law. 17 But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a law-breaker. 19 For I, through the law, died to the law, that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. 21 "I don’t make void the grace of God. For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing!"

Observations: 2:1-10 Fourteen years later Paul again went to Jerusalem and met with the chief apostles who agreed with his message to the Gentiles. No circumcision was required (Titus heaved a sigh of relief). False (pseudo) brothers had entered into the assemblies, to advance the cause of Judaism, not Christ. These folks are referred to as Judaizers, who taught that one had to become a Jew to be blessed, even though one believed in Christ. The apostles at Jerusalem saw that Christ had appointed Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles, as he had Peter to be the apostle to the Jews. The request the apostles had of Paul was for him to remember the financial needs of the poor saints in Jerusalem, which he was eager to do.
2:11-14 When Peter was at Antioch, he ate with the Gentiles, which was considered a violation of the law by the Jews. So when the Jewish believers came from Jerusalem, Peter withdrew from the Gentiles (even though God had given him direct revelation that eating with Gentiles was OK; see comments on Acts 10:28 when God showed him that). Peter's hypocrisy, for fear of the Jews, was leading others astray, so Paul opposed him to his face in front of all. Peter was clearly wrong for trying to compel the Gentiles to live as Jews.
2:15-20 Paul argued that even Jews are not justified by works or deeds of the Jewish law, but by faith in Jesus. One has to ask why Paul is arguing justification with people who already have their sins forgiven. The answer is that he is viewing not the forensic righteousness ala Romans 3:23-26 (above in the TMS section), but rather the righteousness (doing what is right in His sight that God required for blessing in the OT, and still requires for blessing in this life and in the Ages to come). The law can't declare one righteous, since it points out sin. If someone who has believed in Christ doesn't follow all the law (like doesn't keep his distance but actually eats with defiling Gentiles) does that mean that Christ causes sin? Obviously the indwelling Christ can't be a source of sin, so the only reasonable thing to conclude is that the law is no longer valid. The law to which Paul refers must be inferred from context, and the context of the chapter. The rest of the letter will point to the ceremonial or religious law, rather than the moral law (which the audience, as recipients of the Holy Spirit, and participants in the blessing of the New Covenant, would already have written on their hearts). "Rebuilding" the law by seeking to live according to it (in the ceremonial sense, since the moral law was now written in his heart) would make himself a law-breaker. Paul has died to the law so that he may live for Christ.
2:20 He himself is crucified with Christ (in his union with Christ) and thus no longer lives as the law-keeping/breaking Paul.(see TMS Galatians 2:20)  He now lives by faith in the son of God, (with the resultant indwelling life-giving Spirit). Paul is using justification here in a different sense than most realize. Justification usually refers to being declared righteous in reference to the penalty of sin, also known as the forgiveness aspect of salvation (see introduction to Matthew for the different aspects of salvation). Here Paul is looking beyond forgiveness to the righteousness God requires for reward in the Kingdom. To receive this declaration the just person needs to live by faith. Living by faith is more than a one time belief in the substitutionary atonement, but an ongoing trust in the promises of God (see Faith Actuates God's Promises on Truthbase.net if you've never studied what the Scripture says faith is). To live is not just a deliverance from the lake of fire, but to exercise dominion/glory in the realm of God's promises (Dt 30:19). This is the only understanding that is consistent with all the facts. It's not about past forgiveness, nor present position, but future righteousness (knowing and doing what is right in God's sight).
2:21 If one can be rightly related to God, forgiven, reconciled, and restored by doing deeds of the law, then Christ didn't have to die. A major “crowbar” question to ask in helping folks understand Christianity is: “Why did Jesus have to die?”
Application: Since Paul will continue the law argumentation in the next chapter, let's pick our application from earlier in the chapter. How about hypocrisy? Caring more about what people think that about what God thinks causes us to be censured by God; so make your motto: “what you see is what I am.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I live in freedom, as someone who is dead to the unrighteous expectations and demands of others, seeking to be pleasing in Your sight above all. Amen.


Galatians 3 Perfected by the Spirit
3:1 Foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you not to obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth among you as crucified? 2 I just want to learn this from you. Did you receive the Spirit by/from(ek) the works of the law, or by/from(ek) hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed/perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain, if it is indeed in vain? 5 He therefore who supplies the Spirit to you, and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith?
6 Even as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." 7 Know therefore that those who are of faith, the same are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Good News beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you all the nations will be blessed." 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who doesn’t continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them." 11 Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for, "The righteous will live by faith." 12 The law is not of faith, but, "The man who does them will live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree," 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brothers, speaking of human terms, though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void, or adds to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn’t say, "To seeds," as of many, but as of one, "To your seed," which is Christ. 17 Now I say this. A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, the law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise.
19 What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise has been made. It was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not between one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness would have been of the law. 22 But the Scriptures enclosed all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept guarded under the law, enclosed with a view toward (eis) the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 So that the law has become our guardian with a view toward (eis) Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise.

Observations: 3:1-5 Jesus was openly declared to be the crucified Savior of Isaiah 53, and the Galatians believed it. They received the Spirit as a result of faith in what they heard. God worked miracles to authenticate Paul's message, and their reception of it. They were even persecuted for their faith. So the issue is not the forgiveness of sins (justification aspect of salvation) received by faith. Paul rebukes them for not “obeying” the truth he delivered to them (not for being unbelievers). He appeals to the faith they already had as the basis for arguing that not law-keeping but faith-keeping was necessary for the blessings God had in store for them. It's foolish to begin a journey in the power of the Spirit and then try to bring the journey to completion/fulfillment by a means that was inadequate for starting it. It's like starting across the ocean flying in an airplane, and then halfway there, decide to finish by swimming.
3:6-9 Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 to show that the dynamic in Abraham's life was faith, not deeds of the flesh. God always “reckons” righteousness on the basis of faith. What one has to believe varies (Adam-die if eat fruit; Cain-accepted if do right; Noah-flood coming; Abe-God would bless him; Moses-God accepts sacrifices as atonement; John's audience-the kingdom promised in OT in which God rewards righteous behavior was coming [this was the same as the initial message of Jesus and the apostles], latter audience of Jesus and the apostles-Jesus is the promised Messiah who blesses [and forgives]). In each case faith in what God had revealed was necessary to be righteous in God's sight. Paul says that God (the Scriptures) foresaw (seeing ahead of) that God would justify (declare righteous) the nations/Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the good news (gospel) to Abe that in him, all the nations would be blessed. So those who demonstrate a faith like Abe will be blessed like Abe.
3:10-18 God's promise to Abe was made 430 years before the law, so there is no way the law can undue or annul the faith dynamic which was the basis of God's promise. Instead of blessing, the law brings curse for disobedience. But Christ's death took that curse as our substitute, so we would be free to receive the blessing that comes through the path of faith. The blessing comes to Abe's seed (note the argument hangs on the word being singular rather than plural), which is Christ, who shares it with those who are in union with Him. Notice that the subject matter is the inheritance that one gets in the kingdom, not forgiveness. Inheritance is a reward for faithful obedience (Col 3:24-25).
3:19-29 So what's the purpose of the law? It was added as a temporary measure (most likely to restrain or highlight transgressions/sin) until Christ would come and bring the promised blessing (which via the Spirit would write the law on their heart). Both God and the Jews had responsibilities under the Mosaic law/covenant, but the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant was dependent solely upon God (see comments on Gen 12 &15). The law isn't at odds with the promises of God. If there was a law that could give life, then righteousness would come from the law. But the law enclosed (like a shoal of fish in a net) all under sin so that the promise of faith (Spirit and inheritance) could be given to those who believe. Under the law, they were guarded or enclosed (protected?) people, the law serving as a guardian/tutor, with a view toward them being justified by faith. Now that the anticipated faith was revealed (the content of what they should believe), the believers were no longer under the guardianship of the law. Now they are all children of God (born) through faith in Christ. Their identity is one, in the Messiah Jesus, and thus heirs of the promise made to the seed of Abraham (blessing/inheritance). This means that all distinctions (like Greeks and Jews) no longer exist, so Greeks not only don't need to become Jews to receive the Messianic promises, but they even can't become Jews.
Application: How are you being perfected by the Spirit (Romans 8:14)? For what are you believing God?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thanks for all that You've promised me in Christ; guide me in drawing on Your Spirit to reap all the blessings You have in store for me. Thanks. Amen.


Digging Deeper


God in a nutshell: God has purposed to extend righteousness to people who believe what He's revealed. He promised to bless the entire world through Abraham, and now conveys that blessing through Christ to those who exercise faith.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus died for us so that we could be forgiven and share in the blessings of His Messianic kingdom.

Us in a nutshell: We who believe are no longer who we were, but are new creatures in Christ, living by faith in Him, indwelt by His Spirit, and headed for glory as heirs of His kingdom.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net

2 comments:

  1. For those of you who got the email of this passage, I added a little more elaboration of the "law" and "justification" in the chapter 2 observations. It's not about past forgiveness, nor present position, but future righteousness (knowing and doing what is right in God's sight.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Question: How do we Christians know which Jewish laws from the Old Testament are moral and therefore still applicable today and which laws are only ritual, meant for the Jewish nation in a specific historical context? For example, the fact that cross-dressing was an abomination before the Lord in the OT... is that moral or historical? How would it apply to, say, actors before women were allowed on the stage?
    Answer: Good question. Here are a couple of thoughts. Some think that only the commands repeated in the NT are applicable. Of the ten commandments, only the Sabbath, the sign of the OT covenant isn't repeated. However, there are a few other considerations: under the New Covenant, the law is written by the Holy Spirit on our hearts, so that it will govern our behavior. In Romans 8:4 the righteous requirement of the law are fulfilled in NT believers who walk according to the Spirit (cf 8:14). The law is summed up in "love you neighbor as oneself," which is what NT believers should do. All of this is the moral law, which does one's neighbor no harm.
    The Levitical sacrificial system is fulfilled in Christ, and therefore not applicable, although memorial sacrifices will be carried out in the Millennial kingdom. A sacrifice of praise is no longer a lamb, but the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name (Heb 13:15).
    The ceremonial, ritual, and religious law that was designed to distinguish Israel from the pagans (constitute them as a holy people) no longer apply (Acts 10, Gal 3:28). However, God's people in the NT are not to live as the pagans do (1Pt 4:3), and be holy as He is holy (1Pt 1:15-16). Righteousness in both testaments is being careful to do what is right in God's sight. All things are lawful, yet not all things are profitable for when we stand before the judgment seat (1Cor 6:12; 2Cor 5:10). Both motive and influence on others need to be considered (1Cor 10:23). So "cross-dressing" when done as a rejection of one's God-given sexuality, would be a moral issue. An actor could legitimately perform a role that required being disguised as a member of the opposite sex. Victor/Victoria, would be more in the realm of the former than the latter. Motivation for a behavior is key, and what gets judged (1Cor 4:5).

    ReplyDelete