FREE booklet : The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?
The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?
¬ Introduction
¬ God's Magnificent Series of Covenants
  Did Abraham Keep the Same Commandments God Gave to Moses?
  How Can We Obey God's Commandments?
  The Sinai Covenant and the 'Voice of the Lord'
  God's 'Laws, Statutes and Judgments'
  Key Elements of the Sinai Covenant
  Rightly Understanding 'Justification' and 'Righteousness'
  Did the Ten Commandments Exist Before Moses?
  God's Law: Is It a Burden or a Blessing?
¬ A New Covenant for Transforming the Heart
  What Was the Main Weakness of the Sinai Covenant?
  How God Balances Justice With Mercy
  How Is the New Covenant 'New'?
  The Ten Commandments: Keys in a Law of Love
¬ The High Priest Essential to Salvation
  Grace and Law: Why Are They Inseparable?
  A High Priest Eager to Help Us
¬ Circumcision vs. a 'New Creation' in Christ
  Current Confusion Over Christian Freedom
  The 'Curse of the Law'
  Galatians 4:9-10: Are God's Laws Bondage?
  Did Paul's Words to the Galatians Contradict His Actions?
  Why Paul Used the Term 'the Whole Law' in Galatians 5:3
  What's Wrong With Our Human Nature?
  The Holy Spirit: God's Promise of His Divine Help
¬ The Justice and Judgment of God
  How Paul Put the Law on 'Firmer Footing'
  How Does Justification Relate to Salvation?
  Does Romans 14 Abolish Laws on Unclean Meats?
  Did Paul Teach That All Days of Worship Are Alike?
  Did Paul Tell the Romans One Thing and the Corinthians the Opposite?
¬ Peace and Unity in Christ
  Paul Imprisoned Over a Man-Made Taboo
  The Corruption of Apostolic Christianity
  What Was 'Wiped Out' by Jesus Christ's Death?
  What Does 'Shadow of Things to Come' Mean?
  The Calendar Used by the Earliest Gentile Christians
  The Ascetic Philosophy Affecting the Colossians
  Colossians 2:16-17: Are God's Laws Obsolete?
¬ The Apostles, the Old Testament and God's Law
  Jesus and Paul Emphasize the Law's Correct Focus
  Paul Regularly Used the Old Testament as the Authority for His Teaching
  Acts Shows What the Early Church Believed and Practiced
  What Did Paul Mean by 'Christ Is the End of the Law'?
  The Jerusalem Conference of Acts 15: What Was Decided?
¬ Jesus' Teaching on God's Law
  Other Important Ways Jesus Fulfilled the Law
  Does the New Covenant Abolish the Commandments?
  The 'New' Part of Jesus Christ's 'New Commandment'
  Confusion Over Legalism: What It Is and Isn't
  Does God Set Conditions on His Gift of Eternal Life?
¬ All the World Under the New Covenant
  Liberty Through God's Law
  A Covenant of Marriage
From the publisher of The Good News magazine.
The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?
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Did Paul's Words to the Galatians Contradict His Actions?

One common interpretation of the book of Galatians is that Paul criticized the Galatians for keeping the biblical Sabbath and Holy Days. Many theologians believe these were the days to which Paul referred when he wrote: "How is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years" (Galatians 4:9-10).

Is Paul criticizing observing the Sabbath and Holy Days here? The book of Acts provides important facts showing this clearly wasn't the case.

Paul visited several cities within the Roman province of Galatia (in what is today central Turkey) during his first journey around A.D. 46-48. He wrote his epistle to the Galatians at some point after that journey.

But notice what Luke records in Acts 13 concerning Paul's actions during his actual visit to Antioch in Pisidia, a region in the province of Galatia:

• Paul participates in Sabbath services at the local synagogue (verse 14).

• Paul, as a guest and scholar, teaches in the synagogue (verses 15-41).

• At the conclusion of the service, "the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath" (verse 42).

• When that next Sabbath arrived, "almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God" from Paul and Barnabas (verse 44).

If one assumes that Galatians 4:9-10 condemns Sabbath-keeping, an obvious question is, why would Paul teach gentiles and Jews on the Sabbath while visiting the Galatian churches and then, after departing, write a letter reprimanding them for observing the Sabbath day?

We should also ask, if Paul believed keeping the Sabbath and biblical Holy Days was "bondage," why didn't he take the opportunity to tell these Sabbath-keeping Jews and gentiles this when he had such a perfect opportunity?

When they "begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath," why didn't Paul simply tell them he would teach them the very next day—Sunday—or any other day? Instead, "almost the whole city came together" a week later to hear Paul and Barnabas—on the Sabbath day!

If in Galatians 4:9-10 Paul was attempting to condemn Sabbath-keeping as bondage, his actions as recorded in the book of Acts show that he was either very confused or very hypocritical. On the other hand, if we really understand the true intent of Paul's words (see "Galatians 4:9-10: Are God's Laws Bondage?" beginning on page 72), both his actions and words are consistent and make perfect sense.

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