Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Response To: Galatians; Holy Days or Pagan Days?

This comment, regarding the 5/12/08 post, was left early this morning, and because this is such an important issue, I'm posting their comment along with my response (Seeker Of Truth also left a response in the comments section of the original post):
Anonymous said...
Its all fine to go pointing to other parts of the book to say that Gal 4:9 is not talking about Pagan days, but you only have to look at the preceding verse to see otherwise...8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.Sorry, but I'm afraid it is talking about going back to observing pagan gods.As for living only under faith, how do we show our faith?James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
My Response:

Gal 4:8 "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.

9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?

You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!

I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you."

(Quote; Jeremy Weaver doxoblogy.com)
Galatians 4:3, 9
“The elements refer both to pagan gods and their worship and the law. Paul compares the two in order to show the Galatians that when they had not formerly known the true God they were involved in a religion of works. Through faith, they had now come to know the true God and sought Him by grace. But now they were returning to a basic system of works salvation by allowing the Judaizers to turn them to the law.
Paul is talking about keeping days and season’s period, as if it will please God. Pagans kept days for their gods, and for a time Israel had the same requirement. God commanded Israel to do many things similar to the pagans; armies, kings, gave them rules for slavery, and detailed laws to cover everything. Legalism is a human invention, god gave man his own version of legalistic law to make a point, and to bring man to the only truly godly law which is Christ in you.

The entire context of Galatians is the law that; 1) had served its purpose, Gal 3:24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ,” and
2) is no longer needed, 3:25we are no longer under the supervision of the law,” because Co l2:16…… a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” And this is certainly not referring to pagan days which could hardly have pertained to Jesus.

It’s clear that the Galatians are both familiar with the law, and are being pressured to keep it. Why would they be so familiar with a law they never kept? All one has to do is note the places Paul spoke at, and of who his audience consisted of, to gain a clue as to the likely background of the church in Galacia. Acts18:44Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.” The Greeks could only be converts to Judaism, or they wouldn’t have been there. The Jews were scattered, and more lived elsewhere than in Palestine. They kept their traditions and drew in local converts. In Acts Paul spoke at the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch 13:14-16; the synagogue in Iconium 13:42; the synagogue in Thessalonica 17:1-2; the synagogue in Berea 17:10-11; the synagogue in Athens 17:17 (which states God fearing Greeks were there along with the Jews); the synagogue in Corinth 18:1-4 (again, both Jews and Greeks in attendance).

The Jews were clearly living in every Greek city, and they and their local converts to Judaism were Paul’s usual soil in which to plant a new church. The Greeks would have been converted twice; from pagan beliefs they learned of the writings of the Old Testament that became a foundation for belief in He for whom they testified.

Acts3:23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.” This is speaking to both Jew and Greek. Some had once kept pagan days, others had not. And for both, keeping of a legalistic set of rules to try to please God, or a false god are equally an exercise in futility.

Faith by works

James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” People see what this verse says and immediately;

1) get the cart before the horse. Eph2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”The question is; what comes first, good works or faith;

2) Default to the old covenant rules to define what those works should be. The New Covenant, like any contract spells out what is required.
The first step is; 1John 4:15 “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.” The second step: Rom 8:9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” The third step is Gal5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

God does the work through you. He provides the faith, no less than he provides the mind by which you reason. God provides the natural affection by which any good is done without faith, but he provides what is so much greater in the fruits of his spirit which transcend the natural, which he originally provided. And the good works God does by his spirit through you is the proof of the faith God gives, he makes you a vessel of good works that brings glory to God. This is the reason you were born.

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