Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Because the Galatian believers were missing the mark of God’s economy, Paul wrote them this Epistle in the attempt to unveil God’s economy and to bring them back to Christ. They had been distracted from the experience of Christ and the enjoyment of Christ to the keeping of the law and the practice of circumcision. Paul wanted them to turn back from the law and circumcision to the real blessing of God’s gospel—the blessing of the all-inclusive life-giving Spirit. This is the underlying thought in 6:7-16.
Paul’s concept was that those who were trying to keep the law and were practicing circumcision were sowing unto the flesh. In 6:8 Paul says that the one who “sows unto his own flesh, shall reap corruption of the flesh.” Then in verses 12 and 13 he goes on to say, “As many as desire to make a good show in the flesh, these compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For neither do they that are circumcised themselves keep the law, but they desire you to be circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.” Paul’s use of the word flesh in these verses affords us a key to understanding what it means to sow unto the flesh. According to the underlying thought in this portion of Galatians, to sow unto the flesh is to practice circumcision and to endeavor to keep the law. Circumcision and law-keeping are both outward things. Paul strongly pointed out that the Judaizers boasted of circumcision in the flesh. They compelled others to be circumcised so that they could boast in their flesh. Paul even says that they desired to “make a good show in the flesh.” It was almost as if the Judaizers were saying, “Look at us—we have been circumcised. We have a sign in our flesh to show that we are circumcised people.” In Paul’s words, this is to make a good show in the flesh.
By seeking to make such a display in the flesh, the Judaizers were sowing unto their flesh, and the result was sure to be corruption. The Greek term for corruption does not mainly denote rottenness; on the contrary, the primary significance of this term is destruction. Those who were sowing unto the flesh by practicing circumcision were an offense to God, and God came in to destroy their religious system. Not too long after the Epistle to the Galatians was written, God sent the Roman army under Titus to destroy the city of Jerusalem with the temple and all that pertained to it. It was a most serious matter for the Judaizers not to give up law-keeping and circumcision.
In 6:7 Paul declares, “Do not be led astray, God is not mocked.” God is the Creator, the Administrator, and the One operating all things in the universe. He is not mocked by those who stand against His economy. When He decided to put aside the law and circumcision, who had the right to stand against Him? What right did the Judaizers have to continue the practice of circumcision when God Himself had abolished it? By maintaining this practice in order to make a fair show in the flesh, the Judaizers were rebelling against God’s governmental administration. Such rebellion, a real sowing unto the flesh, was bound to issue in corruption, in destruction.
As believers in Christ, we need to sow unto the Spirit. God’s economy is to give us Himself as the Spirit. We should take the Spirit as our aim, our goal, and not be so foolish as to aim at the law or circumcision. God’s goal is to become the all-inclusive Spirit in us for our enjoyment. What reason could we have for not aiming at such a marvelous goal?
When we see God’s goal in His economy, we can realize how foolish the Judaizers were. We can also understand why God would send the Roman army to destroy the system of Judaism. It is a matter of utmost seriousness to insist on law-keeping and circumcision when God has made a change in His economy. Such insistence is offensive to God and is rebellion against Him and His economy. Nothing is more pleasing to God than to take the all-inclusive Spirit as our goal and to sow unto the Spirit. If we sow unto the Spirit, we shall reap eternal life.
The consummation of eternal life will be the New Jerusalem. In the New Jerusalem there will be neither the law nor circumcision. Instead, there will be the river of water of life flowing with the tree of life. This is life eternal. The New Jerusalem, the ultimate embodiment of eternal life, will be the consummate issue of our sowing unto the Spirit.
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