Pulling the Wool over God’s Eyes
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. Paul clearly states the obvious, punctuated by the true fact that we, who are born again believers, are all one in Christ. How can this verse be so widely misinterpreted? In response to a commentary I wrote on women pastors many have used this particular verse to contradict Paul’s teachings. As we all know, God’s word never contradicts itself. So in this commentary I’ll show what Paul was clearly teaching while addressing the Galatians.
It’s interesting, if we go back and read from the beginning of this chapter we see that Paul is disturbed by what’s going on in Galatia and his blood pressure must be more than just slightly elevated as he refers to the Galatians as fools. “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth…” Galatians 3:1. Paul is speaking to the Galatians as believers who, by all accounts, knew the truth. They had been taught well and the knowledge and understanding was there. So what went wrong? The doctrines of men, the pride of life, the rebellion to the simple truth of the scriptures, and we see the same thing has happened today in many of our Christian Churches. Perhaps not the same deceptions as the Galatians were entertaining but deception none the less. Letting down our guard allows Satan a foothold and erroneous doctrines will creep in, most of the time unawares.
“… who hath bewitched you…” Galatians 3:1a. Paul is speaking to the Galatians as though they are under some kind of a spell. Paul knows the Galatians and what they’ve been taught, but something has changed. He sees the Gospel of Christ, having been previously accepted by them, being supplanted with a huge error. The Galatians were in the process of adding to the simple gift of salvation with the Old Testament Law of Moses.
Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law and the prophets and the Galatians were taught that truth. But they were bewitched in their thinking and became disobedient to that truth. The Galatians were heading off course and Paul had to help them get their sights back on Jesus Christ, and Him alone for salvation.
Unbiblical doctrines have once again permeated the Church, and strangely enough, these lies have become the norm and widely accepted by those in leadership. It’s as though no one pays attention to all the warnings against such doctrines. Jesus Himself addresses seven churches in the book of Revelation and most of them have strayed way off the correct path. Only two were still hanging onto the truth of the Gospel, and that was way back in the first century AD. Like the Galatians, much of the Christian Church has moved way off base.
Man’s perception of the Bible has changed over the years. It’s now seen as allegorical, erroneous, mythological and in many instances quite controversial. When man determines the Bible contains errors, or when verses are interpreted in a controversial way, some simply prefer to delete those supposed errors and stubborn contradictions so their agenda may be easier to achieve. If this procedure is continued for any length of time we can be assured many false doctrines will infiltrate our Christian Churches. Oh yeah, they already have. When people are blindly led by the rings in their noses instead of studying the scriptures for themselves these errors will fester into huge doctrinal issues which no one will want to deal with so they’re systematically ignored. Finally, erroneous doctrines become the new truth, and as we can now see are well entrenched in present day Christendom.
Paul saw this coming and he tried to head it off at the pass. The Galatians were being foolish in their attempts to yoke the Law of Moses with salvation, and Paul knew where this would lead. Our Christian Churches today have wandered off course; sadly there does not seem to be enough men with true biblical knowledge around to affect the change needed to get the Church back on course.
Over the past few decades there has been a huge lack of spiritual maturity among Christians. They’ve grown lax in how they deal with erroneous teaching. They’ve allowed new ideas and concepts that are unbiblical to filter in among the sheep, and in the end God’s truth has suffered greatly.
If we were to somehow conjure up Paul today and allow him ability to see for himself what has happened to the Church he would be both appalled and deeply saddened. His teachings are being treated with distain each time they stand in disagreement with or contradict a person’s personal stance on a certain issue. When someone doesn’t want to agree with the Apostle Paul because his words contradict their own manipulation of scriptures, they simply say “Although I respect Paul as a man of God he certainly didn’t speak for God in all instances”. This proves their own ignorance and deceitfulness. Of course since all scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) we know that it’s not Paul’s words that are being tortured and manipulated, but God’s.
There’s an old adage that goes something like this, “If you torture the text long enough you can make it say whatever you want.” I’ve seen this many times, especially when someone disagrees with my commentaries. No matter how I try to explain various Scriptures in context and from the original Greek or Hebrew meanings, there are those who have been taught a skewed doctrine for so long that they cannot accept Biblical truth. Or Biblical truth doesn’t fit into their concept of how God should be doing things.
The Galatians were moving away from the pure teaching of salvation by grace through faith and trying to incorporate the Law of Moses into the salvation mixture. Paul basically resorts to teaching them all over again. This is what we learn as we read the entire 3rd chapter of Galatians.
In today’s world, a common occurrence is to manipulate the scriptures by taking them out of context. This misguided approach to the scriptures has proved quite successful for those who wish to further their own agendas. This erroneous and misguided manipulation of scriptures has led many people to believe these false interpretations while completely ignoring the exegetical process of studying scriptures. This ill conceived and satanic approach to the scriptures is what’s referred to as torturing the text. If you take a pair of scissors and cut the Bible into many pieces you can put it back together to read however you want it to read. Of course that would be cheating, and there are many who revel in this deceptive process.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27. Paul’s admonition through these verses is for one purpose, to get the Galatians back on the track. To the traditional Jewish way of thinking you’re standing before God was predicated on whether or not you keep the Law. Paul says we can be considered sons of God in a different way: through faith in Christ Jesus. The Galatians were heading toward instituting a major error by attempting to add the Law of Moses to salvation, and ultimately by forcing the gentiles to adhere to the rudiments of the law, thankfully along came Paul to set them straight.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. Now we’re getting to the fundamental reason for this commentary. I sort of went the long way around the barn as it were, but it was a necessary route because of the misinterpretation, and erroneous manipulation of the above verse.
There is an old adage that states “The only barrier to receiving the truth is the belief you already have it”. Consequently I purposely explained the substance of the entire chapter of Galatians 3 so when I got to this verse those who might disagree wouldn’t just run away at this point. So keep reading and learn what Paul was really getting at.
You see, the problem that arose in the Church at Galatia was that some of the folks wanted the dividing line that once stood between the Jews and the Greeks to remain. It was Paul’s mission to open their eyes to the fact that in Christ Jesus no such line exists. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. We are all one in Christ, so according to Paul what does “one in Christ” mean? There is no longer a dividing line between the three characteristics he mentions because when we become born again we are all “In Christ.” Greeks, slaves, and females are all the same when it comes to our inheritance of the Kingdom of Christ. We are all “In Christ”, one body, a group of people set apart for God’s good pleasure.
This doesn’t mean that there are no longer any differences. Paul knew that there was still a difference between Jew and Greek, and his evangelistic approach might differ to each group. “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-22.
The slave still had a daily obligation to obey his master , though they might be equal in Jesus “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” Ephesians 6:5-8. The whole book of Philemon addresses this same thing.
There is neither male nor female? Of course there are still differences that no one can dispute, and there are still roles for male and female in the home and in the Church “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?”1 Timothy 2:1-5.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” Ephesians 5:22-33. Though they are equal in standing before God there is still a chain of command set forth by God for all who belong to Him to follow. There are differences in role and in function, but none in standing before God through faith in Jesus.
“When we say that Christ has abolished these distinctions, we mean not that they do not exist, but that they no longer create any barriers to fellowship.” – John Stott
“He is not writing about a unity that comes about as a result of human achievement. He is saying that when people are saved by Jesus Christ they are brought into a marvelous unity, a unity between the saved and the Saviour and a unity that binds together all the saved.” – Henry Morris www.icr.org
“And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. This concluding verse of Paul’s ties it all together as to just what correcting was going on with the Galatians. This chapter of Galatians and in particular the verse that states we are all one in Christ has nothing whatsoever to do with women pastors or teachers; it’s about fellowship and our inheritance. Clearly Paul is addressing the Galatians erroneous view that adhering to the Law of Moses was a part of salvation. Paul uses this chapter to set the Galatians straight.
Although I understand how when taken out of context some might think by referring to there is neither male nor female that they’ve achieved their vindication for women pastors and teachers, clearly the opposite is true. “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:12-14. As for the word of God, it’s clear and thus it still stands.
Women who have taken on a teaching role or pastoral role by usurping the authority God gave only to men are in direct contradiction God’s word. But I’m sure these women, as well as many mislead men, will find another way to torture the text so they can continue in their attempt at pulling the wool over God’s eyes.
God bless you all,
All scripture is from the KJV