Netzarim, Original followers of Yeshua & His 12
Feb.17, 2009 in Commentaries
NIV text | improved translation | insertion based on context (thought based on context)
1Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Messiah Yeshua and G-d the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers with me,
To the called-out assemblies in Galatia:
3Unmerited favor, and peace to you from G-d our Father and the Master, Messiah Yeshua, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our G-d and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one (G-d) who called you by the unmerited favor of Messiah and are turning to a different way to eternal life (one that alone requires personal merit)— 7which is really no way to eternal life at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the way to eternal life offered through Messiah. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a way to eternal life other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a way to eternal life other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned (and I’m speaking to the one doing this among you)!
10Am I now trying to win the approval of men (just like the one doing this to you), or of G-d? Or am I trying to please men (like those who promote this other way to eternal life)? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Messiah (who provides the only way to eternal life).
11I want you to know, brothers, that the way to eternal life I preached is not something that man made up. 12I did not receive it from any man (so one couldn’t say it’s not of G-d), nor was I taught it (so one couldn’t say I could never find it on my own); rather, I received it by revelation from Messiah Yeshua (who himself stopped me in a vision on the road to Damascus, prompting me to entirely re-investigate this matter concerning the way to eternal life I now preach to you).
13For you have heard of my previous (belief and walk in another) way of (eternal) life, in Judaism (in which I clung to a different means to eternal life through Jewish identity alone), how intensely I persecuted the called-out assembly of G-d and tried to destroy it (since I sincerely believed the Way was leading all other Jews astray from the only means to salvation, which I believed was through Jewish identity alone). 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers (which included the teaching that birth or conversion into Judaism is the only means to eternal life for anyone). 15But when G-d, who set me apart from birth and called me by his unmerited favor, was pleased 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man (so that my desire to truly know the truth for myself could not be corrupted by others), 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was (so that I could study on my own and so be able to authenticate separately what it is they preach, if in fact what they preach was correct), but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus (in order to study and understand this way to eternal life).
18Then after three years (of extensive studying through a three year Torah reading cycle, looking for answers to understanding the way to eternal life), I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days (to confirm with him all that I discovered). 19I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother (because I wanted to go to no one else other than the one who was the leader of the sect who knew Yeshua from childhood, so I could also confirm with him what I learned concerning the way to eternal life through Yeshua). 20I assure you before G-d that what I am writing you is no lie (-I really did discover this way to eternal life through my own studies, without any input from the Jerusalem leaders, and separately arrived at the same conclusions they had already known). 21Later I went to Syria and Cilicia (to begin preaching what I learned on my own, and what was confirmed to me by Peter, and James). 22I was personally unknown to the called-out assemblies of Judea that are in Messiah. 23They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they praised G-d because of me.
1Fourteen years later (of preaching the way to eternal life through Messiah Yeshua) I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas (as a witness to my ministry and what we taught, in order to give an account of to the leaders in Jerusalem then). I took Titus along also (who is a Gentile turning to G-d). 2I went in response to a revelation (that it would be prudent to give an account of my teaching and my ministry) and set before them the way to eternal life that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain (even though I already confirmed what I learned on my own with James more than fourteen years ago). 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to go through conversion to Judaism (in order to fellowship with the Jerusalem leaders), even though he was a Greek (and not yet recognized as a Jewish convert by the Jewish conversion process). 4This matter arose (which required me to give an account to the Jerusalem leadership) because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom (from our old natures which relied on the world for our identity, which) we have in Messiah Yeshua and to make us slaves (again to our old natures and the world the world gives us). 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the way to eternal life (, which allows Jews and Gentiles to freely fellowship together because we all are immersed in the same identity of Messiah Yeshua, and therefore take on his identity and thus the right of fellowship with one another,) might remain with you (and not be taken away which would make it easy for you to be led astray by the false way to eternal life through Jewish identity alone which those false brothers wanted us to give in to).
6As for those who seemed to be important (such as James, Peter, and John)—whatever they were makes no difference to me; G-d does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing (new or different) to my message (which I had been preaching for the past 14 years). 7On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8For G-d, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the unmerited favor given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. 10All they asked (in what may have been seen as an addition to our mission) was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men (of the party of the Pharisees who still didn’t understand that eternal life is given by identity in Messiah Yeshua alone, and who said they) came from James, Peter used to eat with the (G-d-fearing, Torah-keeping, but still unconverted) Gentiles (who are believers in Messiah Yeshua, as we). But when they (of the party of the Pharisees, who tow the line that Gentiles are intrinsically unclean, are “sinners,” and thus believe it is not permitted for a Jew to associate with Gentiles) arrived, Peter began to draw back and separate himself from the (G-d-fearing, Torah-keeping) Gentiles (who are believers in Messiah Yeshua, just as we are,) because he was afraid of those who belonged to the Jewish conversion-first-before-fellowship group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy (in that by their actions they now preached that it was now no longer ok to fellowship with unconverted believing Gentiles, even though this is contrary to the truth of the identity we all share in being clothed in Yeshua as believers), so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the way to eternal life (that declares those immersed in Yeshua as identified in him, making even the believing Gentiles a people that Jews can fellowship with), I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a (believing) Gentile (who themselves live by being immersed in Messiah Yeshua, and who themselves fellowship with other believing Gentiles) and not like a Jew (who according to the traditions of our fathers are not allowed to associate with Gentiles period). How is it, then, that you force (believing) Gentiles to follow Jewish customs (which require that Gentiles become first converted to Judaism before they can have fellowship with other Jews, which would also have them force their Gentile friends and family to follow suit too, in spite of what we all share as our identity as believers immersed in the identity of Messiah)?
15″We (, me and you Peter, apostles of the Way,) who are Jews by birth and not (counted as) ‘Gentile sinners’ by (greater Judaism because of our identity as Jews) 16know (without a doubt) that a man (Jew or Gentile) is not deserving of eternal life by observing the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish), but by trusting obedience in Messiah Yeshua. So we, too, (as a result of what we know of the way to eternal life, and know without doubt) have put our trusting obedience in (identifying with) Messiah Yeshua that we may be deserving of eternal life by our trusting obedience in Messiah and not by observing the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish), because no one will be deserving of eternal life by observing the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish, since Jewish identity through birth or conversion isn’t what merits us to eternal life).
17″If, while we seek to be deserving of eternal life (by identifying ourselves) in Messiah, it becomes evident that we ourselves are (in fact) sinners (who still sin), does that mean that Messiah (, who we are identified in,) promotes sin? Absolutely not! (Yet, by promoting that we should not fellowship with so-called “Gentile sinners,” before they take on Jewish identity through Jewish conversion, even if they, like us, are believers identified in Messiah Yeshua; by our rejection of them as “sinners,” we therefore make out the Messiah both they and we identify with, to in fact promote sin, since we count them as “Gentile sinners!” To make my point clear: ) 18If I rebuild (my sinful nature, which was a slave to the world, but was) what I destroyed (by coming to a trusting obedience to Messiah Yeshuah, by immersing in his identity), I prove that I am a Torah-breaker (for I simply rebuilt what I was before: a Torah-breaker). 19(We know this would be so if I did so,) for through the Torah I (, my sinful, Torah-breaking nature,) died to the Torah so that I might live (in the identity of Messiah Yeshua, who himself is the perfect Torah-keeper,) for G-d. 20I (, my sinful, Torah-breaking nature,) have been crucified with Messiah and I(, my sinful, Torah-breaking nature,) no longer live, but Messiah (the perfect Torah-keeper) lives in me(, as well as the Gentiles). The life I live (now, as a result,) in the body, I live by a trusting obedience in the Son of G-d, who loved me and gave himself for me (even though I didn’t deserve it). 21I do not set aside the unmerited favor of G-d, for if (the) righteousness (that merits to eternal life) could be gained through the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish), Messiah died for nothing (for his death would have not been for our merit, which we would already have had through being born Jewish, or converted to Jewish identity)!”
1You foolish Galatians (who I have heard you have been duped by this false way to eternal life)! Who (in the congregation) has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Messiah Yeshua was clearly portrayed (by me and other witnesses) as crucified. 2(If you don’t respond to anything I’ve written thus far,) I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish), or by believing what you heard (me and others teach you concerning Messiah Yeshua)? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning (your way to eternal life) with the Spirit (as Gentiles first having faith in Messiah Yeshua), are you now trying to attain your goal (of eternal life) by human effort (through Jewish conversion)? 4Have you suffered so much (persecution as followers of the way to eternal life) for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does G-d give you his Spirit and work miracles among you (thus confirming you have eternal life) because you observe the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity), or because you believe what you heard (concerning Messiah Yeshua and the way to eternal life he offers through being identified in him)?
6(To make my point clear to you: ) Consider Abraham: “He believed G-d (as you do), and it was credited to him as righteousness (, the very righteousness which merits to eternal life, which you seek to gain by being converted to Jewish identity).” 7Understand, then, that those who believe (like Abraham) are children of Abraham (thus giving you an identity as his descendants). 8The Scripture foresaw that G-d would have the Gentiles deserve eternal life by (such) a trusting obedience (as Abraham had), and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9So those who have a trusting obedience (in Messiah) are blessed along with Abraham, the man of trusting obedience.
10All who rely on observing the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish,) are (still) under a curse (by the Torah), for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (As mentioned above, they continue to identify as Torah-breakers, because they have rejected, and chosen not identify in Messiah Yeshua for eternal life.) 11Clearly no one is deserving of eternal life before G-d by the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish), because, “The righteous will live by a trusting obedience.” 12The Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish) is not based on a trusting obedience; on the contrary, “The man who keeps the Torah (which includes a conversion to Jewish identity) will live in accordance to the Torah (because he already has eternal life!).” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Torah by becoming a curse (of the Torah) for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He made an exchange for us (from the curse of the Torah) in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Messiah Yeshua, so that by our trusting obedience we might receive the promise of the Spirit (which you obviously received by such means).
15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case (concerning the giving of the Torah which contains the instructions for Jewish conversion – it does not, and should not nullify the covenant of the promised Spirit to Abraham which was given before the Torah was written). 16The promises (of the Land, the Spirit, and eternal life) were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Messiah (since it refers back to the promised “Seed” given as a promise to Eve). 17What I mean is this: The Torah, (the covenant) introduced 430 years (after the promises given to Abraham), does not set aside the covenant previously established by G-d (to Abraham) and thus do away with the promise (of the “seed” and the “blessing” of eternal life which follows, which G-d gave to Abraham). 18For if the inheritance (of the promise of the “seed” and the “blessing” of eternal life which follows, which G-d gave to Abraham) depends on the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish), then it (eternal life, which is your goal) no longer depends on a promise (which came before the giving of the Torah at Sinai); but G-d in his unmerited favor gave it to Abraham through a promise (that came before the giving of the Torah at Sinai).
19(If the promise of eternal life was given before the giving of the Torah at Sinai) what, then, was the purpose of the Torah (which includes instructions in conversion to Jewish identity, or defines being born Jewish) (towards those after the promise of eternal life was given to Abraham)? It was added (after the promise of eternal life) because of transgressions (which are accounted to those who will not receive the promise of eternal life) until the Seed to whom the promise (to Abraham) referred had come(to them who repent and finally receive the promise of eternal life by the “Seed” who himself came through the identity of the Jewish people). The Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish) was put into effect through angels by a mediator (Moses). 20A mediator, (like Moses, who in this case is Messiah) however, does not represent just one party (who is G-d, for Messiah also represents us); but G-d is one.
21Is the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish), therefore, opposed to the promises of G-d (given to Abraham such as the Land, the Seed, and eternal life)? Absolutely not (in any way shape or form)! For if a Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish) had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish). 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin (not just “Gentile sinners”), so that what was promised (to Abraham, which is the promise of eternal life), being given through a trusting obedience in (identifying in) Messiah Yeshua (whose righteousness we identify with as our merit to eternal life), might be given to those who believe.
23Before this trusting obedience came, we (all of us who now believe in Messiah Yeshua) were held prisoners by the Torah (which includes instructions in conversion to Jewish identity, or defines being born Jewish), locked up (, our fate sealed to an eternal condemnation by the curse contained in the Torah) until a trusting obedience (to Messiah Yeshua) should be revealed (in us). 24So the Torah (which includes instructions in conversion to Jewish identity, or defines being born Jewish) was put in charge to lead us to (the) Messiah (which the Torah reveals to us) that we might be deserving of eternal life by a trusting obedience (in Messiah). 25Now that a trusting obedience has come (to us who believe), we (who believe in Messiah Yeshua) are no longer under the supervision of (condemnation by the curse of) the Torah (which includes instructions in conversion to Jewish identity, or defines being born Jewish) (, for you have been brought by the Torah, to Messiah, who is the goal of the Torah for all who believe).
26You are (therefore) all sons of G-d (, just as Yeshua is the Son of G-d,) through (your) trusting obedience in Messiah Yeshua, 27for all of you who were immersed into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah (and that is all who we should see when we come together in fellowship with one another). 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua(, taking on, and clothing yourselves in his identity). 29If you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed (since Messiah is Abraham’s seed), and heirs (to the Land, to the Seed, and to eternal life) according to the promise (of the promised “Seed,” the Messiah, that G-d promised Abraham).
1What I am saying is that as long as the heir (you who are in Messiah) is a child (for you are considered as children, not deserving anything, when you do not have Messiah), he is no different from a slave (like the rest of the world is a slave to the world), although he owns the whole estate (since he is in fact destined to receive eternal life). 2He (, the child-when you did not have Messiah-) is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father(, who is G-d). 3So also, when we were children (destined to receive eternal life, but not knowing the Messiah), we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world(, subject to the desires of our flesh and condemned by the Torah as a result since we had no other identity except ourselves and our own merit). 4But when the time had fully come (when we first believed in Messiah), G-d sent his Son, born of a woman (and not of Adam), born under (the curse of the) Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity or being born Jewish) (since as a Jew, and as the Messiah, he is therefore expected to keep it perfectly and have no sin, and does so for our sake), 5to redeem those (also) under (the curse of the) Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish) (wherein which we do fail by not keeping it perfectly, and are thus cursed if we cling to our identity in the sinful nature in order to merit eternal life), that we might receive the full rights of sons (because we have clothed ourselves in his identity: that of a perfectly Torah-observant Jewish man who is also the Son of G-d). 6Because you are sons (because of Yeshua’s identity as G-d’s Son), G-d sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts (as evidenced by what we saw in you when we preached this way to eternal life to you), the (same) Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave (nor a child who is no different than a slave, subject to the curse of the Torah), but a son (because Yeshua is the Son of G-d, and we have his identity); and since you are a son, G-d has made you also an heir (to eternal life, just as Yeshua is the first of all of us who identity with him, to rise to eternal life).
8Formerly, when you did not know G-d, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you know G-d—or rather are known by G-d (by his unmerited favor upon you to know Messiah Yeshua)—how is it that you are turning back to (those who by nature are not gods, your sinful nature, the world, which are) those weak and miserable principles (which demand you identify with the world instead of Messiah)? Do you wish to be enslaved by those who are not gods(, your fleshly desires, and the condemnation that goes with it,) all over again? 10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! (Great! You should be doing those things! But) 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you (since it seems you are so easily duped into accepting a conversion to Jewish identity as a means to meriting eternal life. It is only through our identity in Messiah Yeshua that we have eternal life, and not by this false teaching that eternal life is gained by converting to a Jewish identity, or being born Jewish!)
12I plead with you, brothers, become like me (who gave up my hope in my Jewish identity for eternal life, and instead accepted Messiah Yeshua’s identity as my hope for eternal life), for I became like you(, you who were humbled too, and realized that you can only cling to identity in Messiah Yeshua for the hope of eternal life). You have done me no wrong(, only wrong to yourselves if you go through with a conversion to Jewish identity as your hope for eternal life). 13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the way to eternal life to you. 14Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn (as some of you are now being led to do so by those promoting this false teaching). Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of G-d, as if I were Messiah Yeshua himself(, which is the point I am making that that is how we should see one another). 15What has happened to all your joy (and the freedom of fellowship that you had with one another)? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you (Gentiles) would have torn out your eyes and given them to me (a Jew). 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17Those people (who are pushing the package deal of conversion-to-Jewish-identity-for-sake-of-eternal-life line) are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us (who are preaching the message of the way to eternal life for you, through Messiah Yeshua), so that you may be zealous for them (and their teachings, which on top of alienating you from eternal life, also include the teaching to alienate yourselves as converted Jews from any and all Gentiles, no matter if they are fellow believers in Messiah). 18It is fine to be zealous(, for we too are zealous of these things such as keeping the Torah out of love for Messiah and others, and converting to a Jewish identity), provided the purpose is good, and (I desire) to (see you) be so always and not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again (due to this false teaching) in the pains of childbirth until Messiah is formed in you (as your lone hope and identity for meriting eternal life), 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone (with which I have been writing this letter in), because I am perplexed about you (and don’t know why you have been duped by this teaching concerning conversion to Jewish identity for the purpose of gaining eternal life)!
21Tell me, you who want to be under (the curse of the) Torah, (and return to your former state of Torah-breakers without hope,) are you not aware of what the Torah says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way (through the act of man); but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise (which G-d gave to him).
24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai (representing the result of breaking the covenant, which is the curse of the Torah) and bears children who are to be slaves (to sin): This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem (which continues to break the covenant and is still without hope for eternal life since it chooses not to place its hope for eternal life in the identity of the Messiah, but rather in itself), because she is (still) in slavery (to the sinful nature) with her children (who like all children of slaves, are destined to be slaves, in this case, they are slaves to the curse of the Torah until Messiah is formed in them). 26But the (other covenant is also from Mount Sinai representing the result of the One, the Messiah, who keeps the covenant perfectly, and merits eternal life, and bears children who are to be free of the curse of the Torah. This is Sarah. Now Sarah stands for the promise given to Abraham that came before the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai and corresponds to the future city of) Jerusalem that is above (and) is free (from the condemnation of the curse of the Torah which is the current condition of the present city of Jerusalem), and she(, Sarah, the Jerusalem that is above,) is our mother (and is who we also identify with if we in fact identify with the Messiah who keeps the Torah perfectly and by whose merit we have eternal life). 27For it is written:
“Be glad, O barren woman (Sarah),
who bears no children (in a natural way, but instead relies on a promise);
break forth and cry aloud,
you who have no labor pains;
because more are the children of the desolate woman (Sarah)
than of her (Hagar) who has a husband (who gives birth to slave children through Hagar. Sarah has more children because her identity blesses all nations with eternal life, whereas Hagar has less children because her identity curses those who choose to identify with her reliance on her own identity for meriting eternal life, which is the identity of a slave to sin, and the identity of one condemned under the curse of the Torah, even though Abraham, of whom the promise came, and later the Torah was added to for the purpose of revealing who his “Seed,” is, is the husband of both Sarah and Hagar, and thus the father of both sons from each woman.)
28Now you, brothers (believing Gentiles), like Isaac, are children of promise (and thus like Isaac, are identified with him, because you have identified with Messiah Yeshua). 29At that time the son born in the ordinary way (those who place their hope for eternal life in conversion to Jewish identity, or being born Jewish) persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit (those who place their hope for eternal life in Yeshua’s identity). It is the same now. 30But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” (For those who rely on their Jewish identity in order to merit righteousness to eternal life, and therefore do not rely on the identity of Messiah Yeshua whose righteousness merits to eternal life, will themselves not inherit eternal life.) 31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman (whose children are condemned by the curse of the Torah, because they place their hope for eternal life in their own Jewish identity which does nothing to change their charge by the Torah to them as those who are Torah-breakers), but of the free woman (whose children are free from the curse of the Torah because we have placed our hope for eternal life in the identity of Messiah Yeshua, the perfect Jewish Torah-keeper whose merit extends to us and by whom we are declared as righteous, and thus deserving of the inheritance of the blessing of eternal life).
1It is for freedom (from our sinful natures, and the curse of the Torah) that Messiah has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again (as you were before you Gentiles were believers in Messiah) by a yoke of slavery (to your old sinful natures and thus fall under the curse of the Torah).
2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be converted to a Jewish identity (for the purpose of meriting eternal life by that identity), Messiah will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be converted to a Jewish identity (for the purpose of meriting eternal life by that identity) that he is obligated to obey the whole Torah (of conversion to a Jewish identity, or those born Jewish and who rely on that identity as their hope for eternal life, rather than in the identity of the Messiah,) (which also identifies such a man as one who has rebuilt what he destroyed when he first came to Messiah, and is thus then serving the sinful nature of the old condemned man who is under the curse of the Torah; and who then is required that he also alienate himself from all Gentiles, including Gentiles who believe in Messiah Yeshua). 4You who are trying to deserve eternal life by Torah (of conversion to Jewish identity, or born Jewish) have been alienated from Messiah; you have fallen away from unmerited favor (and have embraced the lie that your own identity as a Jew is your merit for righteousness that leads to eternal life). 5But by a trusting obedience we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we (as those identified in Messiah Yeshua) hope. 6For in (the identity of) Messiah Yeshua neither Jewish identity nor Gentile identity has any value. The only thing that counts (towards eternal life) is a trusting obedience expressing itself through love (as described by the Torah which contains instructions in conversion to Jewish identity, and being born Jewish).
7You were running a good race (towards eternal life). Who cut in on you (towards that goal of eternal life by presenting you a false way to eternal life through Jewish identity) and (thus) kept you from obeying the truth (of the way to eternal life as being identified in Messiah Yeshua)? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the One (G-d) who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (This single lie has worked its way through the entire congregation!) 10I am (sadly) confident in the Lord that you will take no other view (than to go through with Jewish conversion for the sake of meriting eternal life). The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty (of breaking Torah), whoever he may be (among you). 11Brothers, if I am still preaching conversion to Jewish identity as the way to eternal life, why am I still being persecuted? In that case (if the way to eternal life is through Jewish identity, then) the offense of the cross (which offends the sinful, natural self,) has been abolished(, and made of no effect in condemning all of us Torah-breakers, since it would have no effect in setting us free from the curse of the Torah, which is death). 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves (for then at least as eunuchs they wouldn’t be able to draw near to the service of the Temple, and perhaps be forced to realize that their work for a new identity for the purpose of meriting eternal life, didn’t give them anything at all in regards to actually getting closer to redemption, let alone to eternal life)!
13You, my brothers, were called (by G-d) to be free. But do not use your freedom (from the curse of the Torah) to indulge the sinful nature (which you have put to death by taking on the identity of Messiah as your clothing); rather, serve one another in love (as Messiah Yeshua, the perfect Torah-keeper lives through you). 14(In fact,) the entire Torah is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (There is not a single commandment that is not an act of loving your neighbor as yourself.) 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other (by submitting to your sinful natures), watch out or you will be destroyed by each other (and be duped into forsaking the Messiah, such as you have been over this false way to eternal life through Jewish identity, being promoted by someone among you).
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature (and fall to the temptation to take on Jewish identity for the purpose of meriting eternal life). 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want (but are forced to serve one or the other). 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under (the curse of the) Torah.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of G-d(, for this is the result of following the sinful nature, which some of you want to do when you give up believing that your identity in Messiah Yeshua is what merits you to eternal life, and believe instead that Jewish identity is what merits you to eternal life).
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no Torah. 24Those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since (our sinful natures are dead and) we (thus) live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (and not follow after our sinful natures who are at odds with the way to eternal life through identity in Messiah Yeshua). 26Let us not become conceited (by claiming we are Jewish with a pedigree to boast of,), provoking (one another to jealousy to be Jewish as we) and envying each other(, when some haven’t converted to Jewish identity yet, when in fact, it is Messiah Yeshua that we should see as our most important identity, and to see him in everyone of us who are believers in Messiah, as by that alone should we have reason to relate to one another).
1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens (of keeping the Torah), and in this way you will fulfill the Torah of Messiah (whose burden is truly light). 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, (if anyone thinks he has merited righteousness that leads to eternal life because he’s Jewish, when he hasn’t merited anything from his sinful nature that can rightly be called righteousness at all) he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions (according to the Torah, and to the fruits of the Spirit I mentioned above). Then he can take pride in himself (in his trusting obedient identity in Messiah Yeshua), without comparing himself to somebody else (who also is identified in Messiah Yeshua), 5for each one should carry his own load (of keeping the Torah, not being conceited, since our load is already carried by Messiah Yeshua).
6Anyone who receives instruction in the word (that he is currently studying) must share all good things with his instructor (which helps keep him accountable, and from going astray).
7Do not be deceived (and be not duped into the alternate way to eternal life proposed by those promoting Jewish conversion for that purpose): G-d cannot be mocked (into accepting one’s merit to eternal life based on their Jewish identity alone). A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature (by converting to Jewish identity for the purpose of using that as merit to obtain eternal life), from that (sinful) nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit (by a trusting obedience to Messiah Yeshua’s identity to merit them to eternal life), from the Spirit (who gives life) will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good (works as defined by the Torah), for at the proper time we will reap a harvest (in the World to Come) if we do not give up (and fall prey to heresies that remove us from a trusting obedience in Messiah Yeshua). 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers(, and not reject any fellowship with them because they are considered “Gentile sinners”).
11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12Those who want to make a good impression (to greater Judaism) outwardly(, for their own egos and deceived sinful natures) are trying to compel you to go through Jewish conversion for the purpose of meriting eternal life. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Messiah (which is an offense to those placing their hope of eternal life in the merit of their Jewish identity alone). 13(Let me reiterate: ) Not even those who are Jewish obey the Torah, yet they want you to be made Jewish through conversion for the purpose of meriting eternal life (so) that they may boast about your flesh(, in order to feel justified in their teaching). 14May I never (need to) boast (about anyone to justify what I believe) except (boast) in the cross of our Master, Messiah Yeshua, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither Jewish identity nor non-Jewish identity means anything (when it comes to deserving eternal life); what counts is a new creation (born about by the Spirit, through a trusting obedience in Messiah Yeshua and his merit which through the promise G-d made to Abraham, merits you to the blessing of eternal life). 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of G-d.
17Finally, let no one cause me trouble (because of this letter, saying I do not know what I am talking about), for I bear on my body the marks (of persecution) of (which) Yeshua (said those who follow him would also bear as he).
18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.