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May 6, 2020

Yesterday we heard the story of Deborah and Barak. (Say, that name sounds familiar!) Barak doesn't get the glory for his notable defeat of Israel's enemy, Sisera. Instead the crowning glory goes to a woman named Jael, who happened to see a new use for a tent peg. The poem in chapter 5 includes taunts to Israel's tribes who ‘sat on their hands’ and didn't get involved in the war.

This poem has a mysterious part in verse 5, where an unknown voice (or perhaps ‘language’) speaks to us. But immediately afterward the unknown voice clearly belongs God, who speaks in the first person to us.

Review 2:17-21 in the PET:

17 But there are Jews who believe in Christ who still don’t understand the way we are made right in God’s sight— which is only through union with Christ. For them, if we no longer depend on the Law to become right in God’s sight, we’ve become ‘sinners’. That’s definitely wrong! Becoming a follower of Christ definitely doesn’t mean that we’ve become ‘sinners’! 18 For we in the past taught, “Let’s become right in God’s sight by depending on Christ.” If we now teach, “Turn away from Christ and depend on the Law again,” it becomes very evident that we really are ‘sinners’! 19 And this is what I’ve experienced: When I tried in my own strength to obey the whole Law, I finally realized that I’m not able to do it, and would die in my sin. But it was in that despair that I realized the gift of God through Christ— which is eternal life. Now I consider that I’ve been crucified with Christ. 20 That means that I no longer control my life, but Christ is the One who is living in and through me. Now I live my whole life in this worldly body only through believing in the Son of God, who loved me so much that He gave Himself to redeem me. 21 So I reject turning away from the kindness of God which we receive through our union with Christ in order to go back to work to be made right in God's sight based on the Law. For if we suppose that mankind can be made right by obeying the Law, then it was useless for Christ to die for us!

GNT Translation notes:

[I have explained before that faith and believe are the same thing in Greek, just the noun and verb form of the same root (pistis). Faith has taken on all kinds of fuzzy and wrong meaning in modern English usage. To maintain Paul’s persistent use of the same term, in the reading today, I will read all instances of ‘faith’  as ‘believing’ or ‘belief’. The verses where I have read with this substitution in chapter 3 are 6-8, 11-12, 14, and 22-26.]

Gal. 3:7 GNT You should realize, then, that the real [sons//descendants] of Abraham are the people who [believe like he did//have faith].

[We will see in chapter 4 that Paul uses the legal Roman law term for the adoption of sons. Even women get adopted and have rights equal to sons.]

Gal. 3:20 [PET However, in the case of God acting alone in giving his promise to Abraham, God Himself gave it directly without an intermediary.//GNT But a go-between is not needed when only one person is involved; and God is one.]

22 [PET Moreover the Scripture says that sin has control over the lives of all men.* So the only way to be saved is by fully believing in Christ Jesus, and through believing, we receive the blessing that God promised to Abraham.//GNT But the scripture says that the whole world is under the power of sin; and so the gift which is promised on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ is given to those who believe.

*Ps. 14:3, 53:4; Rom. 3:9-19]

26 It is through [believing in Christ Jesus//faith] that all of you are God's [sons//children] [and united to Him// in union with Christ Jesus].