Summary: Are you living the life God has for you? Or have you still not found what your looking for?
Back in the 1980’s the rock group U2 put out an album called Joshua Tree. One of the songs on that album is confusing, but also a reality for many people. The title of that song is “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
The song speaks of a person who is searching for something in life. The person searched Christianity, yet, he says I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. I believe that this song, or at least the chorus of the song, speaks for many people. They are looking for something, looking for life, but they haven’t found what they are looking for.
When Paul wrote his letter to the churches in Galatia, he wrote it to people who heard the gospel and accepted it; they were living their lives like they still hadn’t found what they were looking for. They were looking for life, when they already had the life that God wanted for them.
In this study we will focus on the great doctrinal truth of justification by faith as well as what happens to a life that is justified by faith. We will learn that God has a life for us, a life of freedom and victory. As we introduce ourselves to the opening five verses I want to pose a few questions to you. Do you have life? Have you found what you are looking for in life? Do you have the life that God has for you? Do you have the God life?
Allow me to point out three truths that you will see permeates the book of Galatians. These three truths point us to the life that God desires for each person. First we will notice that God has an exceptional plan for your life.
I. God has an exceptional plan for your life
In the first two verses we read, “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead, and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia.”
Paul wrote this letter to the Galatian churches while he was in Corinth around 52 AD. He did so with a sense of urgency because the Galatian believers were beginning to follow a gospel that wasn’t really the gospel. They were beginning to act like they hadn’t found what they were looking for.
In these opening verses Paul outlines the entire subject of the letter. The letter breaks down into three sections. The first two chapters deal with Paul’s authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Chapters three and four deal with the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Chapters five and six deal with morality; how God’s people should live in light of their new life in Christ. Each of these three topics are dealt with in the first five verses either explicitly or implicitly. In verse one we see Paul arguing the authority of his apostleship. In doing so, we are reminded that the exceptional plan that God has for each life is a special plan.
a. It’s a special plan
Paul, with great confidence defends his apostleship, “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead.” What Paul is addressing was the accusations of the false teachers who were perverting the gospel. They were devaluing Paul’s position as an apostle and the authority that comes with that position.
Maybe the false teachers were even saying that the church at Antioch laid their hands on Paul, but he wasn’t God’s apostle. Paul’s response is clear in this first verse. “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man…” Paul’s apostleship does not find its origin in man, nor did it come through man. The calling that Paul is talking about is not when he was called to his first missionary journey in Acts 13, but his initial calling from the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why he makes such a strong contrast in the latter part of the verses, “but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead.” In the original language Paul uses a strong conjunction, “alla” to contrast the fact that he wasn’t called by man or through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.
Paul speaks of this calling when he gives his testimony before Agrippa in Acts 26:14-17, “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and witness not only to the things you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you.” Paul is testifying of his Damascus Road experience that is recorded in Acts chapter 9. Without a doubt, we see that Paul’s calling was not by man, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.