Today you should read: Galatians 1:1-10
Today, we begin the book of Galatians, which is a small book that is packed with a strong message of freedom. In order to understand this book and really grasp what Paul is saying, we must understand the context in which it was written. The letter will make much more sense by understanding why Paul is writing. Let me encourage you to search for an “Introduction to Galatians” to get a more full grasp of the context. In the meantime, here’s a very basic intro to the book.
Who: The letter was written by Paul to the churches in Galatia.
What: This was a letter that exhorted the believers that it is through faith alone in Christ alone that saves.
Why: Paul had heard that the Galatian believers were being taught a different “gospel” by legalist Judaizers, which was causing the believers to fall into a works-based theology. Paul wanted them to understand that they were justified by faith, not works.
Overall Theme: Freedom by faith in Christ alone
In vs. 1-2, Paul introduces himself as an apostle of Christ, not an apostle of man. That introduction sets the stage for the intention of the letter. The Galatian church was being swayed by Judaizers who preached another “gospel.” They were preaching a man-made gospel, and Paul is making it clear that he is an apostle of Christ, the author of the TRUE gospel.
In vs. 3-5, Paul gives the church a greeting of grace from the Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 3), and then he gives a description of what Jesus had done for them (vs. 4). It’s almost as if Paul said to himself when he wrote this, “If they read nothing but the introduction of this letter, at least they’ll get the point of what this letter is about.” It was Christ alone who gave Himself for our sins and rescued us according to God’s will for HIS glory.
The Judaizers were convincing the Galatian believers that the traditions of men were the “real” avenues to God. Some believers were buying into the false teaching. In vs. 6, Paulcalled out the swayed believers and said that he was amazed that they had so quickly deserted God, who had called them by grace, for a different “gospel.” I can hear him asking himself, “How could these people, who have experienced the goodness of Christ, be so easily deceived?”
It’s easy to look at the Galatians and ask, “How could they be soeasily swayed?” Well, I can ask myself the same question today. Why am I so easily swayed? Why do I often give into other “gospels” of religion, self-righteousness, and performance-driven ministry? I’m not so much different than the Galatians, and sometimes I just need to be called out and reminded of this.
If you are like me, stay tuned because the book of Galatians contains a message of freedom.
Posted by: Rich Duffield