Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of Galatians is focused on Christ replacing the law. It is not God’s intention to keep His people under the law. His intention is to dispense Christ into them. Thus, Christ as the center of God’s economy must replace the law. Because the Judaizers were misusing the law, the Epistle to the Galatians was written to reveal Christ as the replacement of the law. Yes, the law was given for a specific purpose, but God did not intend for the law to be permanent. Christ has come to replace the law with Himself. This is the focal point of Galatians.
In chapter one Paul shows that God is pleased to reveal His Son, Jesus Christ, in us (1:15-16). In chapter two we see that we should live this Christ, not the law (2:19-21). God does not want us to be occupied with keeping the law and be distracted from living Christ. According to the pleasure of His heart, He has revealed His Son in us that we may live Him. The crucial points in chapters one and two are that the Son of God has been revealed into us and that we should live Him.
In chapters three and four Paul shows us how to experience this Christ and enjoy Him. The One revealed as the center of God’s economy is Christ. But in our experience this One is the Spirit. This is the reason that, beginning in chapter three, Paul speaks of the Spirit again and again. In 3:2 he asks the Galatians if they received the Spirit by the works of law or by the hearing of faith. Then, in a somewhat rebuking tone, he goes on to ask in the next verse, “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Here we see the contrast between the Spirit and the flesh. This is somewhat different from 2:20, where the contrast is between Christ and “I.” The Spirit in chapter three is the very realization of the Christ in chapter two, and the flesh is the experiential aspect of the “I.” Doctrinally we may say that our problem is with the “I,” the self, but in experience our problem is with the flesh, which is the totality of our fallen being. It may be easy for us to testify in the church meetings that we are nothing but flesh. But in our daily life it is not so easy to admit that we are flesh. In the sight of God, fallen man is nothing but flesh. Beginning in chapter three and continuing into chapter six, Paul contrasts the Spirit with the flesh.
Galatians 4:29 says, “But as then he that was born according to flesh persecuted him that was born according to Spirit, so also it is now.” In this verse we see two categories of people: those born according to flesh and those born according to Spirit. As saved ones, we are in both categories. On the one hand, we are children born according to flesh; on the other hand, we are also children born according to Spirit. Within us we have two elements, two natures—the Spirit and the flesh. These two elements make us two kinds of children.
The contrast between the Spirit and the flesh continues in chapter five with the contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit (5:19-23). In 5:17 we are told, “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” The Spirit and the flesh can never work together or go along with each other.
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