the blessings of Abraham
Week 40 is scheduled for study Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, 2023. As the heirs to all the blessings of Abraham, as we walk in the Spirit we are given the same blessings Abraham received.

Day 1

As you read Galatians, record the impressions you receive. Doing so will help you remember and ponder them in the future.

Galatians 1-5 – The law of Christ makes me free.

Paul had taught the Saints in Galatia the gospel of Christ. All was good until those Jews who couldn’t let go of their traditions began to teach the new converts that old law of Moses practices, like circumcision were necessary for them to be a good Saint. The practices these Jews introduced to the churches in Galatia were the teachings of the world, since they went against the teachings of Christ.

At one time the law of Moses was a commandment, but when it was fulfilled in Christ that law was done away. To live it after Christ abolished it was to embrace false and damning doctrine, for salvation never was meant to come through the law of Moses, only through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Christ’s gospel is one of faith and living by the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Instead of the bondage of daily practices and ordinances, the Saints were to be free to act for themselves and to receive revelation for themselves and for their families. This is the nature of the gospel Christ brought us.

The same gospel Christ brought to the Jews he gave to Abraham almost two millennia previously. It was only because the children of Israel rejected that gospel that Jehovah (Christ) gave them a schoolmaster to prepare them for the day of his coming when he could once again give them the spiritual freedom the gospel offers. Unfortunately, there were those in Paul’s day who insisted that the old practices from the days of the law of Moses still continued to be practiced. This was a major step backwards, and was an introduction of false doctrine into the body of the Saints.

I have written an article entitled Law of Moses Vs. Gospel of Christ that I think might help you better understand these chapters in Galatians.

Day 2

As you read Galatians, record the impressions you receive. Doing so will help you remember and ponder them in the future.

Galatians 3 – I am an heir to the blessings promised to Abraham.

What set Abraham apart from others was that in a day of idol worship he walked (or lived) by faith in Christ. He sought the blessings and priesthood power held by his ancestors, the great patriarchs of old who also had faith in the Christ who was to come. Once the children of Israel settled in Egypt they drifted away from the faith in Christ taught by their patriarch fathers. So for the next couple thousand years God had them live a lesser law that wouldn’t save them, but was meant to prepare them for the day he would come and give them back the gospel of faith and the gift of the Holy Ghost that Abraham enjoyed. This is the same gospel we have today.

It is because we live each day following the Holy Ghost in faith, trusting in Christ’s redemption, that we can become heirs with Abraham to receive all the blessings of salvation Christ offered him. The key to receiving the blessings of Abraham is the gift of the priesthood in our lives. Abraham lived under a patriarchal order, so only those in the patriarchal line could hold the priesthood. We don’t live under that order. That is why every worthy male member can hold the priesthood and receive the same blessings Abraham received. The blessings of Abraham are the same blessings and covenants we make and receive when we go to the Temple.

Day 3

As you read Galatians, record the impressions you receive. Doing so will help you remember and ponder them in the future.

Galatians 3:6-25 – Abraham had the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Abraham stands out from all the Old Testament patriarchs precisely because of his exceedingly great faith in Christ. While living in a world of idol worship and human sacrifice, Abraham was faithful to the teachings of the old patriarchs like Adam, Enoch, and Noah. He was faithful to God’s commandments, because he sought the same power and blessings they had at the hands of Jehovah (Christ). He was so single minded in his faithfulness that God promised him that through his posterity all the nations of the earth would be blessed through the priesthood his posterity would wield in Christ’s name. Abraham was even promised that the Savior would be one of his descendants.

Through the faithful examples of Abraham we learn what living a life of faith can require of us. He made the same kind of sacrifices that the Apostles in the New Testament made to follow Christ. And if we look at the examples of those faithful Saints at the beginning of the Restoration, we will see that they made many of the same kinds of faith-filled choices people like Abraham made. The Gospel we have is the same basic set of covenants Abraham had, and the blessings are the same. We have inherited our priesthood blessings from those promised to Abraham because of his personal obedience to God. This is why Paul teaches that the Saints of the Church are the children of Abraham. Whether they were born as physical descendants or were adopted as his heirs, the promises of salvation and exaltation are available to all who follow in his footsteps.

While it is true that Abraham offered sacrifices, that doesn’t negate the fact that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. According to Joseph Smith – see the manual – Abraham had the gospel of Christ preached to him. Our Father in Heaven is the one who told us that there is one and only one way for us to be saved, and that in and through His Son, Jesus. So if any of the great patriarchs from Adam on down are to be saved in the Celestial kingdom it will be because they knew of and believed in Jesus of Nazareth and his mission.

Day 4

As you read Galatians, record the impressions you receive. Doing so will help you remember and ponder them in the future.

Galatians 5:13-26; 6:7-10 – If I “walk in the Spirit,” I will receive the “fruit of the Spirit.”

Let’s take a look at how Paul defines and describes the ways in which we can walk in the Spirit versus walking in the flesh. If we want the fruits of the Spirit we will need to first understand what it means to walk in the Spirit.

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The law of Moses is considered by Paul to be a source of bondage, for exercising faith is not a big part of that law. Now that people are free from the daily performances and commandments they can make their own choices and learn to use the gift of the Holy Ghost in their daily lives. This is what he refers to as being “called unto liberty.” His warning here is that now that we are free to make our own choices, we need to avoid making choices that take us back into even worse bondage than the law of Moses. He discusses those attributes we call the lusts of the flesh in a moment.

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

This is part of the two great commandments as defined by Jesus. The second great commandment is to “love thy neighbour as thyself.”

15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Now Paul is getting into his warnings. People who figuratively stab each other in the back and speak evil of one another don’t tend to have much mercy for others who do wickedly. You see this all the time in the political arena (aptly named) and in social media places, like Hollywood. People who advocate evil in one area will turn on others in another area. They don’t seem to recognize how much hypocrisy they are demonstrating.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Paul acknowledges that it is just a fact of life that the flesh, or the body, has its own desires, while our spirit has higher desires. If we don’t learn to walk in the Spirit then we end up seeking after the desires or lusts of the body. Jesus described this relationship well while in the garden of Gethsemane. His apostles were asked to watch for him while he suffered, but instead they went to sleep. Jesus said, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). They wanted to do the right thing, but they weren’t strong enough spiritually yet to overcome the powers of the flesh.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

This is the goal of this whole letter to the Galatians. Paul wants them to give up the law and exercise their faith and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornicationuncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkennessrevellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

These three verses list many of the desires of our mortal bodies. These are all things we must learn to overcome, if possible, in this lifetime, for those “which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is lovejoypeacelongsufferinggentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meeknesstemperance: against such there is no law.

These fruits or results of following the Spirit justify us with the laws of God. That is why Paul says that “against such [behaviors] there is no law.”

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Those who follow Christ have sacrificed their earthly desires, here identified as having “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” This means we have killed or overcome those earthly lusts through our obedience to Christ.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

If we are going to live by the Spirit in this life, we must learn not to provoke one another, be envious of others, or desire things that are vanity (of which there are many things that can fit into this category). It occurred to me last night as I was thinking about this lesson that so much of the world today consists of presenting a front that is not real. Those marketing sin in many categories do so by creating the illusion that reality is much better than whatever it is you are experiencing. They plant the seed of desire in our hearts to strive for things that are almost impossible to achieve or are blatantly impossible. Yet strive for perfection in physical beauty we do. We seek surgery, pills, regimens, recipes, all sorts of things that are “guaranteed” to bring us wealth, happiness, physical beauty, lack of pain, eternal youth, etc., etc. Following the Spirit teaches us to find peace with what is real, and happiness in our present circumstances. The world simply cannot offer peace, for peace is the domain of God and His Christ.

FHE/Personal Study

Galatians 4:1-7 – Children/Servants

I’m going to add the next two verses to this lesson. This lesson talks about something with which most of us are very unfamiliar, being an heir. When a King has children, as long as they are still children they are no different than his servants. They need to be taught, tutored in their duties, and learn what it means to be the ruler of the country. It is only once they come of age that the King can give them the responsibilities and recognize them as the next potential ruler.

Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

Paul says that those who lived under the law of Moses were spiritually children, and were in bondage to the things of this world. He can assert this, because the law of Moses was a physical taskmaster that was supposed to train Israel to be ready for the coming of the Messiah, but in the meantime they kept following after idols, which are no gods at all. Idols are only manmade substitutes for worshipping the one true God.

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Sonmade of a woman, made under the law,

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Mary was also born and raised under the law of Moses, so she couldn’t have helped anyone be any different than all others raised under the law. It required the Son of God to fulfill the law so that it was no longer of any use. Only he could give us the next law God wanted us to live. The purpose of the gospel of Christ is to qualify us to be sons/daughters and heirs to God’s kingdom. This is what Abraham had, for those covenants that lead to exaltation that were given to Abraham were now extended to all who chose to follow Christ.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Ditto from the last comment. The Spirit teaches us how to become like God, and hence heirs “of God through Christ.”

Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

These two verses ask the question: How can you have served made up gods, but when you now know God, and are “known of God” you turn away from being His heirs and become servants of lesser things, desiring to be in bondage rather than to be free as heirs to Christ?

Paul gives us a lot to think about in our daily personal conduct through these verses.

Click the link below to

print a PDF copy of the file.

NT40-2023 – Walk in the Spirit