The Works: Whether or not we are gratifying the flesh or walking by the Spirit is relatively easy to observe. Paul lists fifteen "works of the flesh" in Gal 5:19-21 and ends with the catch-all phrase "and things like these" (Gal 5:21). These works involve sexual sin ("sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality"), worshiping or depending on something other than God ("idolatry, sorcery"), damaging our relationships with others (enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy), and wildly sinful living ("drunkenness, orgies").
As to the Spirit, Paul gives us nine examples of "fruit" that He produces in the Christian's life. "Love" heads them all, and while more could be listed, his emphasis in this text (as with the earlier "works of the flesh") involves the Spirit's work in our relationships ("joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness"). Perhaps "self-control" at the end of this list sits in contrast to the two sins of wild living in Paul's list of sins.
In evaluating whether or not we are living according to the flesh or Spirit, we could simply ask which list is more evident in our lives than the other. Whether works of the flesh or fruit of the Spirit, one or the other might be more prominent than another from one person to another. As far as the overall thrust of Gal 5:16-26 is concerned, perhaps the question could be this-do I see the works of the flesh gradually diminishing over time while at the same time seeing progress in the fruit of the Spirit? As we live by the Spirit, walk by His leading, and keep in step with Him, we will progressively bear His fruit.
The Warning: As to the works of the flesh, Paul gives this warning: "those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal 5:21). A life that is void of faith and thus the Spirit will evidence the works of the flesh to one degree or another. The person who perseveres in sin has no place in Christ, has never been transformed by Him through the Spirit, and will not inherit all that God could otherwise have for him in His future kingdom.
On the other hand, after listing the fruit of the Spirit, Paul comments, "against such things there is no law (Gal 5:23), implying in the context of Galatians, it seems, that neither is there the curse of death for violating the law nor its consequent condemnation of the law-breaker. As this list and comment follows Paul's list of the works of the flesh with the warning against those who do them, it seems this comment actually assumes a positive eschatological tone-if no curse and condemnation come to those who bear the Spirit's fruit, they will be the ones who inherit the kingdom of God.
Mark and Anita Swedberg in Sao Paulo
Tuesday, March 20 to Thursday, March 22
On Monday, March 19, I will fly United Airlines (UA 845) out of Chicago at 10:10 PM to arrive in Sao Paulo on at 10:40 AM on Tuesday, March 20. Mark and Anita Swedberg will pick me up, and I will stay with them until Thursday morning. They serve various churches, teach, coordinate conferences, and run a printing press.
Paul and Susan Van Loh in Maringa
Thursday, March 22 to Monday, March 26
On Thursday, March 22, I will fly GOL Airlines (G3 1190) out of Sao Paulo at 1:05 PM to arrive in Maringa at 2:25 PM. Paul and Susan Van Loh will pick me up, and I will stay with them until Monday morning. During this time, I will teach a Men’s Bible Study on Saturday night (“Godly Men, Young and Old”; various passages) and Sunday school on Sunday morning (“What Is an Evangelist?”). I will also preach for their primary service on Sunday evening (Galatians 3:6–9; “Righteousness by Faith Alone: Both Then and Now”). They have been jump-starting a struggling ministry, will travel for their last furlough in 2019, and retire in 2020.
David and Dawn Spink in Natal
Monday, March 26 to Wednesday, March 28
On Monday, March 26, I will fly GOL Airlines (G3 1111) out of Maringa at 5:45 AM and have a 3-hour layover in Sao Paulo before flying to Natal at 9:55 AM on GOL Airlines (G3 1586) to Natal. I will arrive at 1:10 PM and stay with David Spink. His wife Dawn will be in the USA with one of her daughters who will have recently had a child. David hopes to introduce me to various churches and pastors during my stay.
On Wednesday, March 28, I will fly Avianca Airlines (O6 6351) out of Natal at 4:40 PM and have a 2-hour layover in Sao Paul before flying on United Airlines (UA 844) at 10:20 PM to return to Chicago on Thursday, March 28 at 7:00 AM.
The time for all three locations is two hours ahead of our own. I will keep a journal, have my phone for a camera, and take a pocket-sized video camera in order to bring back an encouraging report of the Lord’s work in Sao Paulo, Maringa, and Natal. Please pray for good sleep on overnight flights, no missed connections, and good health in returning to the USA. Above all, pray that our missionaries would be encouraged by one of their churches who loves them enough to send its pastor to them for a brief visit!
In Galatians 4:21-31, Paul implies that his readers do not really understand the Mosaic Law (Gal 4:21), summarizes a portion of it concerning the births of Isaac and Ishmael (Gal 4:22-23; cf. Gen 16-21), announces that "this may be interpreted allegorically" (Gal 4:24; cf. 4:24-27), and applies his interpretation to the situation of the Galatians (Gal 4:28-31).
In trying to understand the difficulty of this text-Paul's use of allegory-we should remember that Paul does not deny the historicity and literal meaning of the story of Hagar and Sarah. Neither does Paul change the meaning of the story. Rather, Paul assumes the original meaning of the story in order to give it a figurative meaning that, as best I can guess, Moses himself would not have gathered.
Let's attempt a summary from the facts of Gal 4:22-23 and their allegorical interpretation in Gal 4:24-27. Hagar represents the Mosaic Covenant given at Mount Sinai. Though in Arabia, this Hagar-Sinai-Mountain represented the Jerusalem of Paul's day-a people in bondage to the Law who found no freedom by faith in Christ. As the slave woman gave birth to the enslaved, so also Jerusalem's theology enslaved its adherents to the Law. As Abraham's human effort with Hagar produced a child who persecuted the child of promise and would not receive an inheritance, so also those who persecuted the Galatians and attempted life by the Law would inherit nothing. In contrast, Sarah represents the Abrahamic covenant. Just as she had Isaac by God's initiative in fulfilling His promise to Abraham, a miracle of the Spirit through their aged bodies, so also God gives life through the Spirit of promise to those who have faith in Christ-something they can never achieve in and of themselves. An eternal inheritance will come as well.
Gal 4:28-31 then applies the allegory in Gal 4:24-27-the readers were to realize that they were truly God's children who were being persecuted and were responsible to put these false teachers out of the church.
Why did Paul use the OT in this way? Maybe he was correcting an improper use of these texts by his opponents. Maybe he was being creative to make a point. Either way, the allegory would have seized his readers' attention to highlight the truths they needed to hear.
Can we interpret texts in this way today? My answer would be this-we are prone to misunderstand a given text as it is. If we sometimes lack illumination to understand the original meaning of a text, why should we attempt a figurative meaning of a text, something done only rarely by those who were inspired? In other words, I would suggest that we let the biblical authors be the ones who interpret texts in this way. May we be faithful to understand the Word as it is and communicate it clearly to others.
Dear pastors, deacons, and brothers and sisters in Christ,
Holiness is what makes God uniquely God and should be reflected in his people, personally and corporately, and certainly in those who lead the church. I hope you’ll be able to join us for our annual Conference on the Church for God’s Glory as we promote holiness in our theme this year.
What is more, we will tackle this theme in a unique way: “A Call to Holiness by a Rising Generation.” There are younger pastors and leaders who have been able to find a voice in their own ministries and perhaps in an online presence, but we do not always have the privilege of hearing some of them in person as much as we would like. While there are many good men that we could ask to speak, this year we will have a small sample of “younger guys” addressing holiness as it relates to various topics important to each of us in our ministries.
While this conference is an opportunity for some of the younger guys to have a voice, it is not meant to exclude those upon whose shoulders we stand as if we have something new or better to say. If anything, we hope that those who taught us will attend and be honored as we stand in the pulpit before them and preach of the Word of God.
Our schedule and topics for the day are as follows:
• 10:00 AM – David Huffstutler, Opening Sermon: “Fit for the Master’s Use” (2 Timothy 2:20–26)
• 11:20 AM – Michael Riley, Historical Fundamentalism Today
• 12:15 PM – Mark Herbster, Personal Holiness in the Life of a Leader
• 1:00 PM – Lunch at Local Restaurants
• 2:45 PM – TJ Klapperich, The Unsung Heroine: The Role of a Pastor’s Wife
• 3:50 PM – Tim Potter, Principles for Purity in Gospel Partnership
• 4:55 PM – Nathan Crockett, Holiness in Training the Next Generation
• 6:00 PM – TJ Klapperich, Closing Sermon: “The Holiness and Mercy of God” (Isaiah 57:14–21)
• 7:15 PM – Dismiss
I hope you can come. It will be well worth your time, whatever age you may be. As always, registration for the ladies is free of charge, and we hope that the session on “The Unsung Heroine” will be a special blessing to them, just as we hope every session will be. May God bless each of you in your ministries.
Pastor David Huffstutler
First Baptist Church, Rockford, IL
“A Call to Faithfulness”
Rather than a book about the Book for this Men’s Bible Fellowship, we will study Malachi, a book within the Book, so to speak. Look for study handouts on the church Information Desk or at ProclaimChrist.org the week before each time we gather to study.
If desired, to read through a shorter commentary for each passage, I would recommend Herbert Wolf, Haggai & Malachi (Everyman's Bible Commentaries; Chicago: Moody, 1976).
Date Bible Reading
March 11 Malachi 1–4
March 25 TBA
April 15 Malachi 1:2–5
May 6 Malachi 1:6–14
June 10 Malachi 2:1–9
July 1 Malachi 2:10–16
July 15 Malachi 2:17–3:5
August Malachi 3:6–12
August Malachi 3:13–4:3
Bible Study Description
We will get an idea of Malachi as a whole and then work our way through the book, passage by passage. While our time together will certainly be beneficial, if you are able to work through study handouts in advance, you will glean from our study of Malachi all the more.
God the Father has always been God the Father, and God the Son has always been God the Son. This familial relationship is something of the nature of God, and we, too, as believers have become part of this family. While more could be said, a handful of Scriptures below describe what it means to be part of the family of God.
The Father and His Children
In eternity past, God “predestined us for adoptions as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:5), and when we believe and receive the Spirit, this adoption actually takes place, confirmed to us by the Spirit (Rom 8:14–17; Gal 4:4–7). We “become children of God” (John 1:12), and to be called “children of God” is possible only by the “love of the Father” (1 John 3:1). Having been separated from unbelievers and darkness, “the Lord Almighty” claims, “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me” (2 Cor 6:18; cf. 6:14–18). When we first believe, we are “newborn infants” who “long for the spiritual milk” (1 Pet 2:2) and should eventually mature into those who eat “solid food” and have the ability to teach others (Heb 5:11–14).
The Greater Son Among God’s Children
The Father declared of Christ Jesus, “This is my beloved Son” (Matt 3:17), and we are “his offspring” as well (Isa 53:10). Along with the Father, Christ is “the builder of a house” (Heb 3:3; cf. 3:4), His church (Matt 16:18), and “Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Heb 3:6). Christ is also the elder Brother to all believers, so to speak, prominent as “the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom 8:29) who is “not ashamed to call them brothers” (Heb 2:11).
The Household and Its Code of Conduct
As children, we are “members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19) who “ought to behave in the household of God” as He prescribes (1 Tim 3:15). We are to “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). We are to “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1). Relationships in our biological family guide us for how to interact with other members of the family of God: “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1 Tim 5:1–2).
The Inheritance to Us as Heirs
Each believer is “a son” and thus “an heir through God” (Gal 4:7) of “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Pet 1:4). We are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:17).
Marilyn B. Knight, 90, of Rockford passed away Friday, January 12, 2018. Born October 16, 1927, in Chadwick, IL; daughter of Walter and Florence (Kehl) Bailey. United in marriage to Eugene F. Knight on October 26, 1946, in Rockford, IL. Together they shared 67 years of marriage until his passing on March 20, 2015. Member of First Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School for many years.
Survived by her children, Patricia Colantonio, Kay (Robert) Lehman, and John Knight; 5 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; sister, Darlin (Roger) Arendsee. Predeceased by her parents, husband, Eugene; son, William Knight.
Funeral service at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 20th, at First Baptist Church, 5304 Charles Street, Rockford. Pastor David Huffstutler officiating. Visitation from 9:30 a.m. until time of service. Burial in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Galatians 4:6 states, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”
The verb krazō (“to cry out”) is used 55 times in 54 verses in the NT, often in a literal fashion. For example, Peter cried out for Christ to save him from sinking in the water (Matt 14:30), people cried out when possessed by demons (Mark 5:5; 9:26), and people cried out for the death of Christ (Mark 15:13). Having some literal examples in hand, we feel this verb’s intensity when it is used of the Spirit’s action inside of someone’s heart. The Spirit cries out, “Abba! Father!” What is going on here? Are we supposed to somehow literally hear these words within our hearts to know that we are the sons of God?
What Paul is describing is a figurative crying out—it is not something audible. And yet, it takes place, and we know God is our Father because of this cry.
If God has truly saved us, and if we are truly His children, the Spirit does a work within us whereby we are confirmed that we are God’s children. This work is described here as the Spirit’s crying out within us that God is our Abba and Father. Abba was a term not usually used of God and stressed the intimate relationship of child and father. Father emphasizes this relationship as well. While the Spirit may not audibly make this cry within us, we know when this cry takes place because we ourselves are the ones saying that God is our Father, all at the Spirit’s prompting. In a parallel passage, Paul says that “you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rom 8:15 ESV). This process is described in this way: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:16 ESV).
Comparing Scripture to Scripture with these two passages, we could say that one of the ways whereby we know that we are the children of God is this—God has placed the Spirit in us to bear witness to our spirits in such a way that moves us to cry with certainty to God that He is our Father.
To put it more simply, Galatians 4:6 provides us with part of the answer to the question, How can you know you are a Christian? Well, to be a Christian is to be a son of God, and we know we are the sons of God when the Spirit who lives within us prompts us to call upon God as our Father.
The women will be starting a new Bible study on the Sermon on the Mount. The study will begin on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 6:00 PM. Please join us as we dig deeper into God's Word together.
From “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” the first two verses of the third stanza read as follows:
Hail, the heav'nborn Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, Ris'n with healing in His wings.
“The heav’nborn Prince of Peace” is obviously the Messiah (see Isaiah 9:6), but our understanding of the rest of these verses is not so immediate. Malachi 4:2 states, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (ESV). How is it that Christ is Malachi’s “Sun of Righteousness” who is “Ris’n with healing in His wings”?
Roughly 400 years before Christ, Malachi called Israel to faithfulness in light of her sins after returning to her land from exile. Malachi 3:13–4:3 gives an instance of these sins, recording Israel’s “hard words” against God claiming service to Him was profitless because the arrogant and evildoers lived in prosperity (Malachi 3:13–15). God responded that the unrighteous would indeed be judged and that the righteous would be protected (Malachi 3:16–4:3). The righteous would also experience the blessings of global righteousness and healing (Malachi 4:2).
Scripture often uses light as a metaphor for righteousness, and a king’s rule could shine righteousness over his land. As David once said, “When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning” (2 Samuel 23:3–4). Likewise, Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah’s rule, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2; cf. 9:6–7). The fullest light of Christ’s rule comes at the end of the ages. John saw of the New Jerusalem that “the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23; cf. 22:5).
Malachi then pictures the sun’s rays as wings taking healing to all. Wherever this sun shines righteousness, it also gives healing through its rays. David once spoke of the sun’s dawning rays as the “wings of the morning” that reach to “the uttermost parts of the sea” (Ps 139:9). Wherever God’s righteous rule would be, so also would be His healing. The suffering of the Great Physician on the cross conquers not only sin but also its effects (Isaiah 53:4; cf. 35:5–6).
While Malachi did not speak directly of the Messiah as the sun with healing in His wings, this righteousness and healing do not come apart from Him. As He will one day be the Lamp of the New Jerusalem, we can gladly permit the hymnist the poetic license to call Christ the Sun of Righteousness whose rising day brings Healing as far as His rays will fly.
Pastor regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our staff page.