Summary: In the book of Galatians Paul does everything he can to establish that any other Gospel other than faith in Christ is no gospel at all. In so many areas of life we have many good options. When it comes to the gospel there is only one way.
When you take a flight the airline’s final announcement is usually something like this; thank you for choosing our airline, we know you have a choice when you fly and we hope you decide to choose us again. In so many areas of life we have many good options. When it comes to the gospel can we really say there is only one way to God?
There are many clever illustrations about there being many ways to God. They can never alter the fact that Jesus is the only way to God. In the book of Galatians Paul does everything he can to establish that any other Gospel other than faith in Christ is no gospel at all.
Galatians is Paul’s most explosive letter because Paul is defending the most central point of the gospel. Is it by faith that we are saved or do we work and keep the commandments? Do we conduct ourselves in a morally acceptable way to become Christians?
Verses 1-5 is the greeting of Galatians. It underscores the aspects of the true Gospel that Paul writes to defend. The emphasis is on the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
Verse six of chapter one begins the body of the letter. Paul has, up until now, always started his letters off with something positive to say, even to the Corinthians. This time he comes out swinging. These are the harsh words at the start of the body of this letter.
Deserting the savior!
Turning to a different gospel!
He calls them confused!
He accuses some of perverting the gospel!
He even calls those who are doing the confusing to be eternally condemned. Twice!
Who is it that has Paul so upset? The Judiazers. They teach that you must first become a Jew and keep the law before you can put your faith in Christ and become a Christian. They were disturbing the churches that Paul established in the area of Galatia.
In order to undermine the churches that Paul planted these Judiazers had attacked Paul’s character too. Paul needed to remind the churches of Galatia that God called him and not man.
Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
Paul’s authority verses 1-2, 10
Paul is not one of the twelve apostles. But Paul has three qualifications that gives him the authority of an Apostle:
1: Paul seen the risen Lord on the Damascus road (1 Corinthians 9:1)
3. He had the testimony of spiritual fruit, (1 Corinthians 9:12), you are my seal
Paul established his spiritual authority. He was speaking as a God called apostle.
He defends the man pleaser charge in verse 10
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The Judaizers were telling the churches that Paul established that he just tries to please people. In Acts 14:1-20 we read that Paul was stoned and left for dead in Galatia. That is not what you think of as what happens to a people pleaser. Paul was a God pleaser. He wanted God’s approval not mans. The way he wrote this harsh letter in tone points to the fact that he was not simply trying to please man.
As a God pleaser he paid a high price in suffering. If I were trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ. Paul was a converted Pharisee. He established his authority as apostle and servant of Jesus Christ.
It can become all too easy to become a people pleaser rather than a God pleaser. Many of us have been people pleasers all our lives trying to please parents, teachers and friends. As disciples of Jesus Christ it is time to think more about pleasing God rather than how to please others.
The True Gospel vs 3-5
When Paul begins the body of his letter he blasts the false Gospel and anyone who receives a false gospel. But Paul puts forth the true gospel. Just look at his introduction and (also you can see how it permeated his letters)
You can see that he teaches that Jesus Christ alone is sufficient. You can see that for Paul everything rests on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that God raised Christ from the dead.
Grace is the emphasis of verse three. Grace is undeserved favor. This world grace is the antitheses of everything Paul opposed in the Judaizers. It is the exact opposite. To somehow suggest that we work or earn our salvation was an anathema to Paul. He strongly condemned even the thought of this.