Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Galatians+001
Galatia was a Roman province in central Asia Minor. Paul traveled here on each of the three journeys he made to spread the message about Jesus. The Galatians received both Paul and his gospel announcement warmly. But later some people Paul calls agitators came and challenged Paul’s leadership as well as the foundation of his teaching. So Paul wrote to answer the threat to his status as an apostle and to reaffirm the core message that faith in the Messiah is the basis of membership in God’s new community.
Paul doesn’t open his letter by appealing to the apostles in Jerusalem. Instead, he insists that the gospel I preached is not of human origin … rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Paul is compelled to share this revelation, and he notes that the other apostles support him.
Paul then proceeds to his main argument, which is that Gentiles who have become followers of Jesus do not need to be circumcised. The new worldwide family which had been promised to Abraham is created by faith in Messiah Jesus, not by keeping the Jewish law (Torah). The biblical story had been pointing to this all along.
But if following Torah is not the basis of the gospel, won’t there be anarchy? Paul answers by describing what Spirit-empowered life looks like in the community of Messiah-followers. Paul closes by emphasizing the main theme of his letter once more: Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.
Galatians 1 (ESV)
1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
No Other Gospel
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
- Paul began this epistle in an uncharacteristic way. After a customary salutation, he rebuked the Galatian Christians for turning away from the gospel that he had preached to them, and for turning toward “a different gospel.” He accused them of being religious deserters!
- Paul said the gospel that the false teachers taught was no gospel at all. Any message that tells us “try harder” is not good news. No matter how hard we may try, we can never be good enough to escape the bondage of “the present evil age.” Only God’s grace, through the person of Jesus Christ, is truly Gospel – “Good News.”
- What are some ways the gospel is being distorted today? How can you ensure that the gospel you believe and preach is the true gospel? How can you increase your understanding of the gospel?
- How might the way you present the gospel be different if you are seeking the approval of people vs of God (v10)?
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you your true intention and pray for God’s forgiveness and/or empowerment to bear truthful and fruitful witness for Him.
I Love To Tell The Story – youtu.be/CQQPooy0wKA
- “Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 26, 2024 – Galatians 001
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- “Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 20, 2024 – 2Kings 022
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
In January 2009, PGC started the “260 Appointments with God” Bible Reading and Devotion program. From September 2017, the program has a vision to help brothers and sisters do devotion and reading through the whole Bible in four and a half years starting with the Book of Genesis. The program was renamed to “Listening to God” in January 2020. Thank the Lord the first cycle finished with Revelation on March 25, 2022. From March 28, 2022 “Listening to God” began another cycle starting with Genesis. The order of the books is alternated between the Old and New Testaments. For details, please refer to Bible Reading and Devotion Book Sequence.
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May brothers and sisters listen to and obey God’s Word every day, and be the Lord’s disciples.