I will be starting a 15 lessons series on Galatians.
Heavenly Father, we come before You with reverence and awe. Help us to understand Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. We pray for the enlightenment and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for preserving this book for our benefit, learning, and edification, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Date, authorship, destination:
Paul wrote 13 New Testament Epistles. Galatians is believed to be the first epistle written by Paul. It was written to the churches in the region of Galatia, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, or modern-day Turkey. Galatians was generally believed to be written between AD 48-49, in Syrian Antioch, soon after his first missionary journey, but not after the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. Other scholars suggested later dates. Some scholars believed that Paul wrote Galatians from Corinth, while others believed it was from Ephesus.
The Galatians Christians were Gentiles. Paul founded the Galatians Churches during his first missionary journey. Soon after he left Galatia false teachers from Jerusalem, called Judaizers, came to indoctrinate them to undergo circumcision, observe Jewish rituals, and keep the Mosaic laws in order to be saved. Paul said this was a perverted gospel. Greek for perverted is “diastrepho” which means distorted or corrupted. The Judaizers disputed Paul’s apostolic authority saying that he was not one of the apostles chosen by Christ. Paul defended his apostolic authority, saying that Christ appeared to him in a vision on the Damascus road, and gave him direct revelations. His wrote Galatians to bring his audience back on track, reminding them that justification is by grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone, and not by works of the law. They were to live out their new life in Christ in the freedom of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians is the Magna Carta, or charter of liberty on Christian freedom. Christ alone is sufficient for salvation and justification. Nothing more and nothing less is required. Some scholars said that Galatians is a mini version of Romans. The Protestant reformation’s battle cry of justification by faith is taken from Galatians and Romans.
Galatians 2:16 is the theme, ‘’knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified”.
Justification is by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone. We are not to add in other legalistic demands. Teachings that observing the Sabbath, or undergoing water baptism as requirements for salvation are contrary to justification by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone.
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that You are the only true God. We confessed that we have sinned against You. Thank You for justification by grace alone, by faith alone, and in Christ alone. Thank You for the gift of salvation and eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.