Reading for April 16th

Galatians 1-3 (Listen)

Greeting
Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

No Other Gospel
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul Called by God
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.

Paul Accepted by the Apostles
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Paul Opposes Peter
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Justified by Faith
We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

By Faith, or by Works of the Law?
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you sufferso many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

The Law and the Promise
To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

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Psalm 106 (Listen)

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good

Praise the Lord!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever!

Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord,

or declare all his praise?

Blessed are they who observe justice,

who do righteousness at all times!

 

Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;

help me when you save them,

that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,

that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,

that I may glory with your inheritance.

 

Both we and our fathers have sinned;

we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.

Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,

did not consider your wondrous works;

they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,

but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.

Yet he saved them for his name's sake,

that he might make known his mighty power.

He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry,

and he led them through the deep as through a desert.

So he saved them from the hand of the foe

and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.

And the waters covered their adversaries;

not one of them was left.

Then they believed his words;

they sang his praise.

 

But they soon forgot his works;

they did not wait for his counsel.

But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,

and put God to the test in the desert;

he gave them what they asked,

but sent a wasting disease among them.

 

When men in the camp were jealous of Moses

and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,

the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,

and covered the company of Abiram.

Fire also broke out in their company;

the flame burned up the wicked.

 

They made a calf in Horeb

and worshiped a metal image.

They exchanged the glory of God

for the image of an ox that eats grass.

They forgot God, their Savior,

who had done great things in Egypt,

wondrous works in the land of Ham,

and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

Therefore he said he would destroy them—

had not Moses, his chosen one,

stood in the breach before him,

to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

 

Then they despised the pleasant land,

having no faith in his promise.

They murmured in their tents,

and did not obey the voice of the Lord.

Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them

that he would make them fall in the wilderness,

and would make their offspring fall among the nations,

scattering them among the lands.

 

Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,

and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;

they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,

and a plague broke out among them.

Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,

and the plague was stayed.

And that was counted to him as righteousness

from generation to generation forever.

 

They angered him at the waters of Meribah,

and it went ill with Moses on their account,

for they made his spirit bitter,

and he spoke rashly with his lips.

 

They did not destroy the peoples,

as the Lord commanded them,

but they mixed with the nations

and learned to do as they did.

They served their idols,

which became a snare to them.

They sacrificed their sons

and their daughters to the demons;

they poured out innocent blood,

the blood of their sons and daughters,

whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,

and the land was polluted with blood.

Thus they became unclean by their acts,

and played the whore in their deeds.

 

Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,

and he abhorred his heritage;

he gave them into the hand of the nations,

so that those who hated them ruled over them.

Their enemies oppressed them,

and they were brought into subjection under their power.

Many times he delivered them,

but they were rebellious in their purposes

and were brought low through their iniquity.

 

Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,

when he heard their cry.

For their sake he remembered his covenant,

and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

He caused them to be pitied

by all those who held them captive.

 

Save us, O Lord our God,

and gather us from among the nations,

that we may give thanks to your holy name

and glory in your praise.

 

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

from everlasting to everlasting!

And let all the people say, “Amen!”

Praise the Lord!