The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

July 1997



1) Sowing and Reaping Finances
3) Letters and Responses


Sowing and Reaping Finances

     Introduction: This is the concluding chapter of a "commentary" put together by this pastor on the entire book of Galatians (available upon request). The purpose of the commentary was for an outline of the entire book for a lengthy document being prepared by this pastor, "Who Is Israel/The Conversion of Israel." There are those today attempting to discredit Galatians 3:26-29, saying that Paul does not really mean what he clearly said in that section. In order to accurately deal with 3:26-29 and with 6:16, i.e., the Israel of God, their proper contexts must be examined and developed; therefore, this pastor felt that a complete commentary on the entire book was necessary. Those who take Bible study seriously enough to spend multiplied hundreds of hours developing the contexts of passages find many amazing things: things we many times have been taught one way concerning a text will not hold up when its context is seriously examined — the true teaching required by the context of a passage is many times forgotten, replaced by the applications for that text, which is a very real danger of the "Bible Reading" method of study. (See The Death of Victory, by this pastor. The final corrections have been returned to Ross House, so the publication date is within sight.) One such misused text this pastor found in his current study in Galatians was 6:7-9. (I should mention that upon finding texts wrested from their contexts, I search the writings godly teachers, i.e., teachers NOT using the "Bible Reading" method of study, to be sure I am not seeing something "new.") Thus we call the reader's attention to the entire chapter of Galatians six as we develop the context of vv. 7-9.

     Galatians Six

     As Paul draws his letter to a close, he returns to several points he has already covered; the points covered included: 1) the teachers undermining the Gospel of Christ given to Paul by inspiration were proud men whose personality attracted huge followings (2:6); 2) Paul continually emphasized justification by the faith of Jesus Christ, apart from any works of the law, whether the Jew's religious laws or the moral law (2:16); 3) Abraham was justified by faith alone (3:6); 4) the heir to Abraham's promise is Christ, and those in Christ are joint heirs with Him — heirship IS NOT by physical birth nor physical relationship to Abraham (3:16, 29); 5) possessing the faith of Abraham makes one a child of Abraham (3:7) and, therefore, a child of God (3:26); 6) the work of Christ set His people free from the heavy, binding demands of the Jewish religious laws, particularly circumcision (5:1, 2; Ac. 15); 7) through the persuasive, bewitching words of the false teachers, the people to whom Paul writes were being influenced to turn again to the weak and beggarly elements of the Jewish religious laws (4:9, 10), the bondage from which Christ removed them; and 8) the teachers were attempting to maintain the old Jew/Gentile distinction which was done away with in Christ (5:6).

     The false teachers were convincing the new converts that they wanted to return to the old Jewish religious laws that had been done away with by the work and the gospel of Christ (4:21). Their desire to return to the bondage from which the gospel freed them cause Paul to be greatly concerned about the genuineness of their conversion. Paul urges them to stand fast in the liberty of Christ against the bondage offered to them by the false teachers (5:1). Then Paul tells them that the liberty in Christ was not liberty to follow the desires of the flesh; rather, true liberty is freedom from those desires; the Jewish religious laws could not provide them with that freedom (5:15ff.).

     The fruit of the Spirit which indwells the believer (indwells by faith not by any works of the law) develops character traits that are quite contrary to the works of the flesh (5:22ff.). Moreover, opposite of the attitude and spirit of the false teachers among them, the Christian attitude is one of meekness

     Vv. 1-5

     V. 1, BRETHREN... (See 3:15; 4:12; 5:13; 6:18.) This verse implies several things:

     1) evidently, those to whom Paul writes was a passionate group of people, easily irritated and ready to “fly off the handle” at the slightest provocation.

     2) apparently, there were two major problems in this church. One, the entertainment of false teachers and their unscriptural teachings that were clearly contrary to what Paul had taught them just a short time previously. And, two, the lack of brotherly love; rather than acting in love one toward another, they were acting out of pride, envy and irritation — they did not miss the chance to irritate one another, or to “lord” over one another.

     3) they seemed to have looked for an opportunity to find fault in one another. Thus Paul instructs them that even in the most flagrant violation of the Word of God, they must act in the spirit of meekness, each remembering his own weaknesses. Brotherly love does not overlook sin, but it does deal with it in a loving manner. Paul’s closing words imply that they relished any opportunity to catch someone at fault. The urging of Paul for them to treat each other with Christian brotherly love implies that they were prone to fight among themselves over unimportant and trivial matters.

     Apparently, the arguments were over what made one a child of Abraham: was it natural birth and the Jewish religious ceremonies, as being taught by the false teachers, or was one a child of Abraham and thus heir to the promises by faith, as taught by Paul.

     Various points from the verse: We should point out that overtaken speaks of not intentionally following after the fault. Spiritual refers back to what Paul had just defined as spiritual, including the spirit of meekness, 5:22, 23 — the readiness to forgive and gentleness reveal one's spiritual condition. Thou also tells us that the lack of brotherly love toward the "accused" leads the "accuser" into temptation.

     V. 2,

     If you must needs impose burdens on yourselves, let them be the burdens of mutual sympathy. If you must needs observe a law, let it be the law of Christ’ (J.B. Lightfoot, Galatians, Zondervan. 1865.)

     Paul defines true Christian “bondage,” and it is not to the old Jewish religious laws: Bear ye one another’s burdens, and not the burdens of the ritual laws. Bear ye one another’s burdens... Be tolerant and patient rather than irritated and short fused over the failures and shortcomings of others. We might add that Paul was extremely intolerant over the false doctrines being presented and of those who received it, but even then he dealt with the situation with genuine love and meekness.

     The law of Christ is given in John 13:34, 25:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (Lev. 19:18, Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.)

     A new commandment: the motive was new, motivated by the Spirit of God; and the example was new, as I have loved you — the Lord God Himself revealed how we are to love one another. We must not overlook the fact that the law of Christ also says, If ye love me, keep my commandments. (Jn. 14:15, 15:10.) In giving this law (i.e., If ye love me...) to His people, Christ clearly quoted from the Old Testament law, Exodus 20:6; Leviticus 22:31; 26:3.

     Note the contrast between the law of Christ and the law of the Judaizers: the Judaizers called for a separation between people based upon ritualistic observances of the Jewish religious laws (e.g., Gal. 1:14); the Judaizers taught that to be a disciple of Christ, they had to follow the Jewish religious laws. Moreover, obedience to the Law of Christ makes one a child of Abraham, which contrasted to the Judaizers who said that obedience to the law of Moses, laws of the Jews’ religion, made one a child of Abraham.

     Lightfoot's comment on v. 3, sounds as though wrote to the modern church caught up in the "Psychoheresy" of our day (pastors, especially, should subscribe to the "PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter," published by Martin and Deidre Bobgan [4137 Primavera Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93110]; the Bobgans are doing a tremendous work exposing the heresies of psychology under the guise of Christianity):

     In Christian morality self-esteem is vanity and vanity is nothingness. With the Christian it is not I but the grace of God which is with me’: see 1 Cor iii. 7, xv. 9, 10, 2 Cor. iii. 5.

     When he is nothing does not mean that he can be something; it means that he is nothing without Christ. Gill:

he deceiveth himself: and will find himself sadly mistaken, and wretchedly disappointed another day; or whoever thinks himself to be some famous and excellent person, to be something more, and better than others, of a more excellent nature, and of greater abilities, that he is free from sin, or at least holier than others, and not liable to fall as others, whom he looks upon with disdain and contempt, wanting that charity which the law, and new commandment of Christ, requires, when he is nothing but sin and vanity, he is destitute of the grace of God, he deceives himself and the truth is not in him. This the apostle says to depress pride, and a swelling conceit of themselves, and all uncharitable, rough, and severe usages of others... (Emp added. Online Bible.)

     He deceiveth himself, and no one else.

     Vv. 4, 5. Let every person be busy about his own business, for every person has his own work to do, John 21:21, 22. Paul could be referring to the duties of a soldier who must bear his own kit, as just mentioned. (See Paul’s instructions to Timothy.) Or Paul could be referring to each person having his own particular “burden” to bear, specific responsibilities and/or unique “thorns” to contend with. In any event, the call here is to let brotherly love prevail, realizing each person is made differently by God, having different strengths, weaknesses and abilities.

     Vv. 6-10.

     V. 2, Bear ye one another's burdens...; every man shall bear his own burden...; Let him that is taught in the word communicate.

     6. I spoke of bearing one another’s burdens. There is one special application I would make of this rule. Provide for those temporal wants of your teachers in Christ.’ ... Each man must bear his own burden; but his law does not exempt you from supporting our spiritual teachers.’ ... (Lightfoot.)

     In v. 6, Paul applies part of the old Jewish religious laws to the church. Under the old Hebrew/Jewish economy, the spiritual leaders, the tribe of Levi which was responsible to teach God’s Law-Word, was solely supported by the tithes and offerings of God’s people. (Num. 18:20-32.) Paul now tells the people that not only are they to mind their own business, but they are also to mind the business of their spiritual leaders, in the since of seeing that they are cared for finically:

     Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth. (Deut. 12:19. See Rom. 15:25; 1 Cor. 9:9ff.; 2 Cor. 11:7ff.; Philp. 4:1ff.; 2 Thes. 2:7, 9; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18; )

     According to Gill:

     communicate to him that teacheth; who is commissioned, and qualified and sent forth by Christ, and whose office in the church is to teach the word, to preach the Gospel, to instruct men in the truths of it, and teach them their duty also to God and men, such are to be communicated to; that is, such as are under their instructions ought to impart of their worldly substance to them, for their honourable and comfortable support and maintenance; for since they spend their time, and make use of their talents, gifts, and abilities, for their instruction in spiritual things, it is but reasonable, and no such great matter, that they partake of their carnal things; and especially since it is the will and ordinance of Christ, that they that preach the Gospel should live of it...

     Those who teach all good things, i.e., the whole counsel of God, are to share in the material prosperity of those they taught

     the communication should be large and liberal, sufficient to support the teacher in an honourable manner, and to supply him with all the necessaries of life, that his mind may be free from secular cares, and he be at leisure to attend to the instructing of others. (Gill.)

     Vv. 7-10 is a passage much used to preach against sin in general. Though it applies to sin generally, that is not its context. Lightfoot holds that the context is “liberality in almsgiving,” v. 10:

     Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Eph. 4:28.)

     The context of the above quote is interesting, v. 26, 27, Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Paul warns of the severe consequences of Christians not being liberal with their finances (Gal. 6:7, 8), and in Ephesians, he connects the severe consequences of giving place to the devil with Christians not being liberal with their finances.
     However, Gill holds that the context of Galatians 6:7 refers to supporting the faithful teachers of v. 6. I would say that either teaching (toward those in need, vs. supporting godly Christian ministers) works well in the context, but the latter works better. Regardless, an obvious problem Paul deals with is the people’s unwillingness to lower their standard of living in order to finance what was required of them by the Lord, either the needy, the ministers of God's Word or both.

     Evidently, the false teachers were dissuading the Galatians from supporting the faithful ministers and teachers of God’s word that were among them. One suspects that the false teachers were persuading the people to give their finances to them. At any rate, the false teachers were persuading the people that they did not have to liberally support the faithful ministers who were among them.

     I find it strange, though consistent with fallen men, that the false teachers who were trying so hard to make the people follow the old Jewish laws fought so hard against the laws regarding finances — support of the needy and ministers. (See conclusion at the end of v. 8.)

     V. 8, accordingly, is a strange verse, for it deals with the proper use of finances. Both Lightfoot and Gill basically agree. I will use Gill because he is on CD-ROM:

     Ver. 8. For he that soweth to his flesh, &c.] Not that taking due care of a man's body, seeking the preservation of its health, providing proper food and raiment for himself, and all necessaries for the good and support of his family, is to be called sowing to his flesh, nor is he to be called a carnal sower; but he is such an one that pampers his flesh, gratifies and indulges the lusts of it, who minds the things of the flesh, lives after it, and does the works of it, who spends his substance in a luxurious way upon himself and family; or whose whole bent, and study, and employment, is to increase his worldly riches, to aggrandize himself and posterity, to the neglect of his own soul, the interest of religion, the poor of the church, and ministers of the Gospel:

     shall of the flesh reap corruption; shall by such carnal methods procure for himself, in this world, nothing but what is corruptible, as silver and gold be, and such treasure as moth and rust corrupt; such substance as will not endure, but is perishing, and may be by one providence or another taken from him; so that all his care in sowing comes to nothing, and is of no advantage to himself, nor to his posterity; see Hag 1:4-6, and shall fall into the pit of corruption, and be punished with everlasting destruction, and die the second death in the world to come.

     But he that soweth to the Spirit; not his own, but the Spirit of God; or that soweth spiritual things, that minds and savours the things of the Spirit, lives in the Spirit, and walks in the Spirit; that lays out his worldly substance in promoting spiritual things, in encouraging the spiritual ministers of the word, in supporting the interest of spiritual religion, in relieving the poor of Christ's churches, in contributing to the spread of the Gospel, and the administration of the word and ordinances in other places, as well as where he is more immediately concerned:

     shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting; in the use of such spiritual means, though not as meritorious, or as causes, he shall attain to, and enjoy eternal happiness in the other world; or of, and by the Spirit of God, by whose grace and strength he sows, and does all the good things he does, by and of him sanctifying him, and making him meet for it, and not of himself, or any works of righteousness done by him, shall he inherit eternal life; which is the pure gift of God through Jesus Christ, and bestowed as a reward of his own grace.

     In other words, Paul is simply repeating and applying Haggai 1:4-6 and Matthew 6:33ff. The problem was that the people were gratifying the lust of the flesh for more, bigger and better luxury while neglecting their financial responsibility to the faithful ministers of the gospel and to the needy. The luxuries of life pursued at the expense of obedience to the word of God, supporting the advancement of the Kingdom, helping the needy and supporting the ministers, will not endure. On the other hand, those who mind the things of the Spirit, investing their worldly substances in advancing the kingdom of God on earth, supporting and encouraging the men of God and helping the needy will reap the godly benefits:

     (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) (2 Cor. 9:9, 10.) He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. (Ps. 112:9. See also, Ps 112:3; Pro. 21:21; )

     Obviously, there is nothing wrong with the luxuries of life. However, there is grave danger in perusing those luxuries at the expense of what is owed to God's work on earth, to God's faithful ministers and to the needy (Eph. 4:28), or Paul would not be so "harsh" concerning the matter, shall of the flesh reap corruption.

     We cannot avoid the fact that vv. 7 & 8 are given in the context of finical support of ministers and the needy, so they must be primarily understood in that context. Paul made it clear: each man is responsible before God to bear his or her own unique burden, and part of the burden of the individual Christian is supporting the faithful ministers of the gospel and supporting works of charity. In fact, the law of sowing and reaping is not used in the New Testament in the context of sin, as we think of sin, though it certainly applies. Except for the time it refers to sowing the gospel (Jn. 4:38), it is always used in the context of material goods, and most of the time in the immediate context of giving. (Mt. 6:26; Lk 12:24; 1 Cor. 9:5-7; 2 Cor 9:5-11; Gal. 6:7, 8. Reaping in Mt. 25:26 & Rev. 14:15 simply is reaping a harvest.)

     Be Not Deceived.

     God has given clear human authority to enforce His "righteous wrath" against moral sins: the church is to remove the unrepentant sinner and civil government is ordained with the power of the sword. When the church and/or civil government fail to judge sin righteously, the sinner is deceived into thinking he has escaped; nevertheless, we are assured he has not. (Ecc. 8:11.) However, that is not the context of vv. 7, 8. Here we see that no person nor institution, though the institution be God-ordained, has God's authority to pursue "righteous wrath" against an individual's use of personal finances contrary to Galatians 6:6, 10 and/or Matthew 6:33ff. Therefore, the one who fails in the proper use of his finances is easily deceived into thinking there is no "righteous wrath" against his misuse.

     Paul tells them, first, that it is mockery against God to withhold from His faithful ministers and/or the needy what is justly due to them under the law, and, second, that they will be rewarded according to their faithful use of the money the Lord has provided them, vv. 6, 10.

     Vv. 9, 10

     Thus the very key verse, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not, is given in the context of the proper use of one's worldly wealth and doing the good works of v. 10. Money spend on advancing the Kingdom of God, spent on encouraging God's ministers and on helping those in need, especially unto them who are of the household of faith, seems to the natural man money wasted. "Corporate" Americans look at the bottom line, and if there is no immediate visible increase, their policies change. However, to carry this view over into Christians using their God-given finances as required by God will reap corruption. Therefore, the Spirit encourages us to not be weary in well doing, i.e., using our money as required by God's Law-Word — remembering the teachers of God's Word (Deut. 12:19), the needy (Deut. 15:7-11) and His Kingdom's work (Mat. 6:33ff.):

     He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. (Pro. 19:17. See also, Ps. 37:26; 112:5; Pro. 11:24, 25; 14:21; 28:8, 27; Ecc. 11:1; Isa. 58:7ff.)

     The Spirit assures us that wealth used properly, though there are no immediate visible results, will lead to a wonderful harvest, if we faith not — the Lord Himself will repay the investment. The reaping will be in His time and according to His choosing, and "harvest time" cannot be controlled by man. Though men desire an immediate harvest after sowing, it will not happen. The reaping might even be in the life to come, for These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them... (Heb. 11:13.)

     V. 10, therefore, is given in the context of doing good toward all those in need, especially Christian brethren who are in need. As we have the opportunity, or ability. Thus "Let us not tire of doing good when we have the chance and means to do good, especially toward those of the household of faith." Though good is given in the context of finances, the general teaching is doing good works in general. Good is defined by God's Law-Word. In other words, it is not good to finance a lazy bum who will not work, nor is it good to finance those ministers who do not teach the whole counsel of God, nor is it good to finance charitable works that are against the Kingdom of God on earth. (Charitable works to help finance the stateist school system that is clearly Antichrist in every area is on the same level as those who abort their own young.) Worldly wealth does not belong to the individual; it belongs to God, and must be used according to His Law-Word. (Deut. 8:17ff.) However, good works are owed to all men, even to the drunk on the street, if the good work can be no more than preaching the gospel to him. (Sometimes, good works must be defined as putting the lawless person to death, Deut. 21:18ff., &c.)

     Vv. 9 & 10 correspond with our Lord's words in Luke 6:36-38:

     Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Actually, the complete context of our Lord's words there fit the context of Paul's words: Lk. 6:27ff. — brotherly love and the proper use of ones finances.)

     Vv. 11-18

     In this section, Paul sums up what he said in the previous letter.

     1) large a letter... There is plenty of speculation about what Paul meant here, and we will not add to that speculation.

     2) mine own hand. Lightfoot says that Paul only took pen in hand and wrote this conclusion to the letter, vv. 11-18. However, the strong implication is that he wrote the entire letter with his own hand, showing his, a) genuine love for the people, b) the seriousness of his concern about the errors of the false teachers among them and c) his honest desire to recover them from the errors they were being led into.

     3) he restates his position about the false teachers among them. They were men proud of their linage to Abraham and their "privileges" of being Hebrew followers of the Jews' religion.

     Paul expressed his alarm over the teaching that Christian converts should follow the Old Testament Jewish days, months, times and years, 4:10. There are folks today who claim to trace their linage back to Abraham, so they "keep" the Jews' holy days, e.g., Passover. Those who love the Lord Jesus should have the same alarm over any desire in the hearts of professed Christians to follow the old Jewish religious practices with the hope that they will be more closely identified with the Heavenly Father.

     4) Paul, inspired by the Spirit, exposed the motives of these teachers. Their first motive was to avoid the persecution for the cross of Christ. They compromised the gospel of Christ lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. Paul spoke these words from personal experience, for he persecuted the church for the cross of Christ. Their second motive was so they could boast about how many followers they acquired. (There is money in millennialism!)

     The true character of the false teachers is described by Peter:

     And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2 Pe. 2:3.)

     Outwardly they appeared righteous before men, but their goal was not the well-being of the people, but their own well-being. Rather than feeding the flock of God, they were fleecing the flock of God to build up their own self-ego.

     5) Paul points out that behind all the nice sounding words about keeping the old Jewish religious laws done away with by the work of Christ, the teachers were actually lawless — they undermined the clearly stated laws: a) of justification by faith, which alone makes one a child of Abraham and heir to the promise, proved by the Old Testament law and prophets (they desired to be under and follow the old Jewish religious laws); b) of brotherly love, love thy neighbour as thyself; c) of humble service; d) concerning proper care for their faithful ministers and for charitable works; e) of Christ and obedience to His words as spoken in the Commandments; f) of the works of the flesh vs the works of the Spirit, and g) of circumcision.

     The goal of the teachers was not love for the Law-Word of God nor for the people; rather, it was to pursue their own purpose, and that was to exalt themselves before men.

     Some time ago, a CD was sent out, anonymously, documenting the infighting for power and money among some of the biggest names in the electronic evangelism industry, all in the name of "promoting the Lord's work." Paul has only condemnation for "teachers" who are motivated by a desire for more power (i.e., influence over people) and money.

     Paul points out that the false teachers only used the parts of God's law that would strengthen their hold over the people, increasing their own following and income at the expense of the faithful teachers. They were misusing the law to: a) "prove" what they wanted to prove (e.g., that there still existed a Jew/Gentile distinction); b) counter Paul's influence, and c) undermine the godly ministers in the eyes of the people. We should note that Paul supported everything he taught, particularly the destruction of the Jew/Gentile distinction, from the Old Testament law.

     Sadly, the Law-Word of God can be ripped apart and pasted together by false teachers to support any convenient idea. (Eph. 4:14.) 2 Timothy. 2:15, rightly dividing does not mean mangling God's Word, nor rending it apart and pasting it back together in a manner to support whatever doctrine that draws the biggest crowd or most money:

     By adding nothing to it, neither deleting anything, neither mangling it, nor rending it apart, nor distorting it: but marking diligently what his hearers are able to bear, and what is fit to edifying. (Geneva.)

     There are "teachers" who study and teach God's Law-Word with a "cut and past" method: cut a little here and past a little there, and you soon have a supposed word from God that will support anything one desires to teach. God's Word must be examined in its entirety and in conformity with its context in order to get its proper understanding. In the case being dealt with by Paul, the mangled Word supported a continued Jew/Gentile distinction after Christ.

     Certainly, passages can be removed from their context to preach a Bible truth (e.g., whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap and be sure your sins will find you out), but one must understand that the passage is being removed from its primary understanding, or there false hopes can be given. Can we say that the promise I can do all things through Christ which strentheneth me means "I can do all things like take my neighbor's wife"? Did the Lord mean all things in Matthew 21:22, such as wining the lottery? How do we know if God's Word is being "cut and pasted" according to the teacher's good pleasure? Only by serious study of Scripture can we know the truth, and Paul, in the book of Galatians, used the Old Testament Scripture to expose the lies of the false teachers.

     6) circumcision was the major controversy. The false teachers came from Jerusalem teaching that only Jews and the literal Israel had the claim upon Abraham's promised blessing. Therefore, they taught, the new Christians, though converting to Christianity from Judaism, had to return to Judaism and follow the Jewish religious laws, exemplified by circumcision. Only then could one be an Israelite and heir to Abraham's promise, Acts chapter fifteen. Paul made it clear that circumcision, or being a Jew/Israelite and a follower of the Jews' religion, had nothing whatsoever to do with heirship to Abraham: it availeth nothing. The Jew/Gentile distinction was done away with in Christ, and now, Paul points out, the dividing line between men and nations is the new creature in Christ. (Gal. 6:15; 1 Cor. 7:19; 2 Cor. 5;17; Col. 3:10, 11, &c.)

     The teachers were looking for more converts back to the Jews' religion to add to their name (notches on their guns): they constrain you to be circumcised. V. 12 implies that the primary efforts of the false teachers were among the uncircumcised Gentiles. However, the overwhelming evidence within the book is that the efforts were to reclaim the Jews who had converted to Christianity, escaping the bondage of the Jews' religion, e.g., 4:9-11.

     7) "Who Is Israel?" is a primary controversy dealt with thoroughly by Paul throughout this book. A key issue is, "Who is the heir to Abraham's blessings?" "Who is the Israel of God who possess the premises of old?" The false teachers claimed the inheritance was through Old Testament national Israel, through physical linage to Abraham and through the Jewish religious laws; Paul is claiming that the inheritance always was and presently is through faith in Christ, evidenced by brotherly love and love for the Law-Word of God, even in the area of finances.

     PAUL IS CLEAR: Paul proved from the Old Testament that only those who are a new creature in Christ make up the Israel of God. Natural birth, though that birth might be according to the Jewish/Israelite religious laws of Jews/Gentiles, has nothing to do with being a child of Abraham.

     Upon the true Israel, whose praise is from God and not from men; # Ro 2:29. (V. 16, Geneva.)

     8) v. 17 seems to be a sharp rebuke to those who would trouble Paul over the issues he has so throughly covered in this book, the book he wrote with his own hand. The issue is settled, and Paul does not want to be further bothered about the matter of "Who Is Israel and thus the children of Abraham." He sounds as though he now delivers those who chose the pleasing words of the false teachers, at whose hands he had suffered so greatly, over to the deceptive spirits that appeal so much to the natural man.

     9) Paul points to the marks of his suffering for the cross of Christ as the conformation that his stand on Israel is the Spirit's stand. The distinction has always been, is and will always be the faith of Abraham, not the physical laws of the body of Abraham.

     10) though Paul has been very firm with these unstable people, even hinting of demonic influence among them, his parting words are affectionate and humble, even elevating the people to his level (something the false teachers would never do).

     His desire is that they would abound with the grace of God, that is, both the desire and power to do the Lord's will as revealed in His Law-Word.

     Taking his farewell of them, he wishes them grace, and the Spirit against the deceits of the false apostles, who labour to beat those outward things into their brains. With your minds and hearts. (Geneva.)


     We must conclude with this thought: The messages of false teachers with their false gospels (which is not gospel) and their false distinction between men, Jew/Israelite vs Greek/Gentile rather than the distinction of faith in Christ, are very appealing. Only the grace of God keeps one out of the snares of those teachers and only the grace of God can deliver those caught in the snare of those fowlers. (Ps. 91:3; 124:7; 1 Tim. 3:7.)


     On-Line Bible

     The goal of our ministry from the start can be summed up with, freely ye have received, freely give. (Mat. 10:8.) Those of you who have received our mailings for any length of time know how this pastor feels about those who "charge" for what the Lord has freely provided for them. Especially hypocritical are those who ask for a donation for their material, and then tell you how much the donation MUST be or you will not get the material. Lord have mercy on such verbal trickery.

     However, when I first came into contact with Online Bible several years ago, I was extremely impressed with Larry's opening statement:

     You are free to give copies of the Online Bible to your friends, GRATIS. If you charge anything for it, even a "nominal disk copying fee", you must register with us and obtain written permission. The Online Bible material is NOT SHAREWARE and may not be distributed by shareware dealers without our written permission. You may upload versions to bulletin boards provided there is no download charge for accessing the material. You SHALL NOT distribute or upload the NIV, NAS, NRSV or other modern copyrighted versions. Consult Internet site, "" for latest material and information.

     It is not often we find folks who are actually serving the Lord and not the god of mammon. As you know, I have used Online Bible for several years, for it is a tremendous research tool, more than worth the money Larry asks for it. Therefore, we highly recommend the new version to you. If you order, be sure to tell him if you want the 32 bit version (W95) or the 16 bit version (W3.x). They install differently, and the W95 requires another install disk. You might mention where you heard of the program.

     Online Bible Version 7.0 Windows CD-ROM


     /386 DX or better with 4 or more megs of memory, 2 megs of hard disk space, Windows® 3.1 or Windows 95®. (® of Microsoft Corporation)


550+ megs of material Over a $1000 worth of books Easy to use, menu driven program Fast word, phrase or Strong's number search 644,000 cross references Over 5000 topics including Thompson Chain Topics Bible Dictionary Bible keyed to Strong's numbers Verb parsings Greek and Hebrew lexicon Add your own topics, notes and word studies Import passages easily into most word processors Ten English versions including KJV, RSV, ASV Three dozen foreign translations in French, Spanish, German, Dutch and others Greek text keyed to Strong's and fully parsed Bible commentaries include Concise Matthew Henry, A.T. Robertson Word Pictures in the Greek New Testament, plus others John Gill's 1,000,000 word "Body of Divinity" Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" Latest Archaeological material Creation Science material, "The Lie", and the "Quote Book" plus others Pilgrim's Progress McGuffey's Readers for Home Schoolers Full Color Maps plus lots more.

$49.95 US/$69.95 CAN

You can easily move some or all of the material from your CD to your hard drive thus freeing up your CD player for some other CD. Each CD contains a coupon when you wish to buy the next Windows CD. Enough new material is added annually to justify getting an annual update each fall. The CD is easily copied to floppies for use on older systems.

Adding the NIV or NAS or NRSV Version to the CD

To get the unlock disks for either the NIV or NAS or NRSV version on the Windows or DOS CD, include the following amounts for each unlock disk: NIV, 20 US - NAS 20 US - NRSV 5 US.

Volume discounts are available. Contact Larry Pierce, Make cheque or money order (NOT US Postal MO) to "L. Pierce in trust." Allow up to 4 weeks for delivery by 'snail mail.' (I believe the complete program can be downloaded from the web site listed above.) Send to:

Larry Pierce, 11 Holmwood St., Winterbourne, Ont. N0B 2V0

If you study Scriptures at all, you cannot go wrong with this CD.

     You all might be interested in knowing that the Online Bible is also available from Jay Green <> for 29.99. In addition, Jay is putting together "The Master's Commentary Series" to load into the Online Bible sub directory. His project is a 5 year project, and will contain the complete Calvin commentary set, along with commentaries by Ainsworth, Bush, Bonar, Delitsch, Carson, Fairbairn, Hutcheson, Burroughs, Marbury, Brown (both David and John), Trench, Arnot, Alexander, Hodge, Bayne, Ferguson, Adams, Ramsey, and others.

     He is taking pre publication orders for the "Series." The first year is $118, which will consist of one disk or so a month, and a CD with all the previous year's worth at the end of 12 months. Calvin on Geneses is now ready, which I have loaded into Online Bible.

     I have purchased pre publication specials from Brother Green in the past, and have received some very good deals. I got the complete "Break the Language Barrier" from him several years ago. I believe the complete 4 vol. series was only like $40, and consists of Thayers, Wigram-Green (NT), BDB and Wigram (OT), all keyed to Strong's. They have been invaluable in serious study and research.

     Anyway, I am confident that "The Master's Commentary Series" will be money very well invested.

     You might contact him and have him send you the details. <> Let him know that I sent you his way.

By His Sovereign Grace Alone


Brother Need


Letters and Responses

     [The following was translated from the Spanish by a friend in Chicago.]

     Brother Ovid Need, beloved in Christ Jesus. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, your family, and with the congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ to which you minister. Brother Ovid, we are a small congregational work of 34 brothers in Christ Jesus. We do not have our own temple (meeting place) but we have hope that the Lord Jesus Christ will provide us one.

     Brother we do not pertain to any conference or evangelical convention; only to the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. If it were possible for you, if the Lord enables you, (to send) some of the booklets of the "Gospel Perverted" because we will be having a small evangelism campaign.

     Brother, we rejoice, as it says in the beginning of the booklet, that on the 3rd of April of this year there were 15 brothers baptized in this church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Brother Ovid, I hope that you along with the congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ that you minister to can support (help) this little work of Jesus Christ and by doing so reflect the Love of our Jesus Christ as it is said in Efesians 3:14, and by this keep perfect unity in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 4:3-6

     Brother, it is for the glory of Him who called us into the ministry, not by our strength, or with armies, but with His Word of Truth.

     The Lord Jesus Christ bless you, Pastor Ramon Alvarado. Naucalpan de Juarez Edo. Mexico.


     Greetings in our dear Lord s name. I have just read through one of your little books. “The other Jesus-The Gospel Perverted.” I can t express how I have been blessed by it. I salute you for the good job done. God bless you.

     Yes, it is our responsibility to emphasize the ATONING WORK of Christ and the sinners need to repent and trust in that for his/her sin payment. I m with you Brother in that sound view. I would love to know more about Linden Baptist Church Ministries. I would appreciate the monthly MAIL-OUTS.

     Thank you and God Bless you. Rev. Fred Ghanson, Bible Baptist Church, Ghana, W/A


     Dear Friends,

     I have enjoyed browsing your web, and have downloaded a few articles.I wonder if you would be so kind as to add me to your mailing list beginning with the current issue.Look forward to profiting from your magazine and to frequently returning to your web page.

     Yours in Christ, Malcolm Firth, Gertrudes 44a, A/K 212, Riga, LV-1011, Latvia

     [I received the following in response to my question, "Where is Latvia?"]

     Many thanks for your response to my note. To answer your questions, I found your web page through a link on the Blessed Hope Ministries page (, which in turn I found by doing a search for "Sovereign Grace" Latvia, is one of the Baltic States, which was part of the Soviet Union until it declared its independence in 1991. My wife and I are working with Grace Baptist Mission (from UK), amongst a Russian speaking Baptist church.

     We have been in Latvia since last september, and are busily seeking to study and learn the Russian language, whilst also doing a little teaching through translation. After our initial two years of language study, we hope to be more able to assist the church here - in helping in children's work, and for me - in teaching and preaching God's word, and in the training of lay-pastors. There are tremendous opportunities here at present for the gospel - but the country is changing rapidly. There is despair and hopelessness for many older people who find that the increase in prices means that they have very little to live on - and the availability of western goods only seems to make their situation worse. They look back to former times with favour. Whereas amongst the younger generation - life has never been better. The availability of western clothes and music attracts them - but along with these things, there is a ready supply of drugs, alcohol and pornographic material. We ask you to remember this country and its needs before Our Lord in prayer. Pray for the church here, that she may be given much wisdom in seeking the lost. And pray that our God may give to His Son, this country of Latvia for His inheritance.

     We appreciate your ministry, and it is always an encouragement to be able to read good Biblical material, that feeds our souls and equips us to serve the Lord. May God continue to guide and bless you in your endeavours for Him.

     With much love in the Lord, Malcolm Firth


     Many thanks for your willingness to help and teach us God's Word. I appreciate any literature that can help us to understand God's Word better, and encourages us to walk according to his ways. If you are able to send any copies of past mailings that would be useful. I would also appreciate the following literature that you mentioned on your web site: -The Other Jesus -Book of Deuteronomy (Bible studies) -Book of John (Bible studies) - Paedobaptism As regards donations, please can you let me know if you are set up to receive credit cards. These are the best way that I have found to transfer funds in different currencies, as we do not have US funds. Alternatively, I could send dollar notes through the post. What's best for you? Looking forward to hearing from you,

     [My response to the above question:] We are not set up to receive credit cards, though I might look into it. Several send dollar notes through the mail to us, and we have not had any dificulty with it. Don't worry about the funds; as long as the Lord provides for us, we will provid what we can for you. Since everything is done "in house," about all we have in it is paper and time. Obviously, the book being published by Ross House is not "in house" by us, so they will sent the price on it. The basis of our ministry is Matthew 10:8, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: FREELY YE HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE. Everything we have has been freely given to us by the sovereign grace of our Lord; therefore, our policy has been to make it available as freely as He gave it to us. The funds are nice and keep things going, but funds are not the issue; the material is.


     From: Morgan Sund...

     It would be nice if you add me to your mailinglist.

     Morgan Sund.

     [My response: BTW, I forgot to ask, How did you hear about us? Many " came through as 2.]

     When I was surfing the Internet. I`m a reformed christian and have a ministry called Sola Scriptura here in Sweden. We are not many reformed in Sweden, but we trust the Lord that he through his word and his Spirit will bring more people in to life. I did not think there were many here until the internet made contact easy. I am the only "Reformed" Baptist that I know of for several hundred miles around. However, there are several other "Reformed" Christians and ministries, but I do not know that they are doing much. The following is a little story about me and our ministry. The gracious Lord called me in to His kingdom in 1970.You should know that I did not know anything about Christian doctrine in that time. I thought that all teaching was one and the same no matter who and what was taught as long as it was in a Christian environment. But I soon discovered there were something wrong, and this awareness grove stronger and stronger. The teaching among the churches did not seem to bring people closer to the Lord and it did not create true hunger after Him who alone is worthy of all our pursuit in life. Everybody seemed to go their own way in their Christianity. The situation confused me for many years -19 years. I did not know anything at all about Reformed faith and Arminianism during all these years although I searched desperately. What really kept my faith going was The Word in Philiphians1:6. ²being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.²To keep a long story short, the years between 1970 until 1989 was likened to Israel's wandering in the wilderness. But, in the autumn of 1989 something happened. The Holy Spirit illuminated my mind with the Truth of Union with Christ, and He did it through Rom. 6. He opened my eyes to the death and resurrection of our Lord and my heart was strangely warmed. It became so clear. If I saw things like tree walking before, now my eyes was wide open. I began a research to find out what it all meant. It was not until I run into Martyn Lloyd-Jones preachings on Romans and Ephesians that I realised the Truth behind the matter. Slowly the Word of Truth became brighter and brighter. The Doctrines of Grace appeared one by one, starting with The Sovereignty of God. Praise be to Him that is worthy of all the glory. Now seven years later of intense studies in the Word of God with such teachers as Calvin, Luther, Owen and others of the Puritans, to Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Pink, J.I. Packer, Llooyd-Jones and many others, The Spirit of God have led me into a little printing ministry here in Sweden. The work name of it is Sola Scriptura.

     We translate, prints and distribute literature in good reformation tradition as the Spirit of the Lord leds us in a nonprofit way. Our first printing was a simplified version of A.W. Pink's ² The Sovereignty of God². We have mailed 1500 of these to bishops, pastors, youth workers and other leaders in the different denominations including the Swedish State Church. The next booklet was J.I. Packers " Knowing God² also in a simplified version. We have mailed 600 of these to Pentecostal pastors all over the country.

     We have also translated Peter Jeffery's book ²Great God of wonders². It's about the attributes of God. People don't know who God is, do they. They have their own picture of God as normative. Surely that's not The Sovereign Triune God of the Bible. We also have other translations going on like ² Biblical Christianity² by J. Calvin, ² Not Guilty² by J. Buchanan, ² The Roots of True Faith², W. Guthrie all of these are simplified versions from Grace Publications in England. We have also copied and distributed Alan Morrison`s video ²A different gospel² which have had a big impact all over Scandinavia. Morrison is a Reformed Bapt. In the video he refutes the ²Torontoblessing.²

     Now you should know that we are not in any sense a big enterprise. When we began four years ago it was out of a need for reformation teaching in the Swedish language. And there was none. All the so called ² Christian² books in Sweden are different shades of arminianism. We are 3 persons involved. It's my self, my wife and a Christian brother Anders Engström. We have built a little cottage in our backyard and bought the necessary equipment for simplified printing. We are right in the beginning in the work for the Glory of God here in Sweden but we are confident that He that have started the work will also continue it.

     Soli Deo Gloria, Your`s in Christ, Morgan Sund/Sola Scriptura [SWEDEN]

     Pastor Need.

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