The clash of covenants is no more evident in the NT than in the six short chapters of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
Though the origin of the Galatian churches is fuzzy, the issue they faced was widespread through the Mediterranean world; and, it was deadly to living by faith. Paul’s gospel didn’t derive from human sources—he received it directly from Jesus—but it was identical to Peter’s. Paul’s authority as an apostle was no less than Peter’s; in fact, he one was forced to rebuke Peter publicly.
You can sense Paul’s passion for the Galatians—endearing terms, willing sacrifice—but they had been “bewitched” by seductive by a look-alike gospel that promoted Mosaic customs. Did they begin by the Spirit; but need to finish in the flesh? Were they going to let this growing factionalism “bite and devour” them? They had their priorities wrong! Fussing over physical rituals they had lost sight of what really matters: “faith working through love.”
There must necessarily be conflict between the covenants—just as there was conflict between Ishmael and Isaac. “Cast out the bond-woman and her children” must be the rally cry for these Galatians! It’s “Flesh” vs. “Spirit” again. The two were at war—works of the flesh or fruit of the Spirit—each heart had to determine which would triumph. “Share in the good things with the one who taught you,” was Paul’s closing admonition.
Clarifying this war will help us put the glory of the New Covenant in truer perspective. Join me!