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God's Message Through God's Apostle

Galatians 1:1-2

The Bible is the Word of God. However, some people, who are willing to believe the teaching of Jesus, refuse to accept Paul’s writing as being truth from God. Paul was used to that misunderstanding. People who did not like what God said through him, he said would ridicule him and despise his teaching. So, in this letter to Christians in what is now western Turkey, Paul described the source of his apostolic authority – it came directly from Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God the Father.

Rescued From the Present Evil Age

Galatians 1:3-5

Paul’s greeting paragraph to the Turkish believers is a powerful statement of the gospel. His words were written on behalf of God the Father and God the Son to assure the Christians that God was continuing to pour His goodness out towards them. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice takes away God’s wrath against sinners who repent, and so declares peace, which replaces the war of their fighting against God, enabling His grace to flow freely.

Unstable Faith

Galatians 1:6-7

The Galatian believers were becoming confused. Although they had believed the gospel which Paul taught (Galatians 1:10-11), trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and becoming born again, false teachers were seducing their minds with a different ‘gospel’. Of course, there is only one gospel (good news) which can bring people into eternal life; no other religious philosophy has God’s saving power (Romans 1:16).

Exclusively Authentic Gospel

Galatians 1:8-9

Are there really many gospels: many ways to God? The Apostle Paul said, ‘No’! He was convinced that Jesus is the only way to God’s kingdom, and that His death on the cross was full payment for the sins of the world – God’s way of rescuing us from the evil in the world (Galatians 1:3-5). He asserted that there is no other gospel: and that anyone who should suggest a different way, or devalued the work of Christ on the cross - should be eternally damned.

The Revealed Gospel

Galatians 1:11-12

Paul was accused of making up a new religious philosophy or presenting another person’s academic thesis about God – to make money and a name for himself! But Paul denied that quite emphatically. Humanly speaking there was no reason for Paul to embrace anything except the Jewish Law, about which he was an expert. However, Paul’s encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus produced a radical change in his thinking: instead of persecuting Christians and destroying their churches, he preached to them and prayed for them in the Name of Jesus.

The Revealed Son

Galatians 1:13-17

Paul, previously, had no desire to think or speak well of Jesus. He believed that the concept of Jesus as the Son of God was blasphemous and it was his religious duty to eradicate such nonsense. The wave of persecution which Paul had encouraged was violent and indiscriminate – men and women who believed in Jesus were liable to face beatings, prison and death.

The Revealed Transformation

Galatians 1:18-24

The Apostle Paul had been explaining that after he encountered the risen Jesus, he had no contact with other apostles, churches or believers for three years. During that time the Lord taught Paul the meaning of the Scriptures - when they were read as intended, looking forward to the person and work of Christ. Peter and James were still alive when this letter was written and could validate all that Paul said; when they eventually met, their understanding of the gospel was identical to Paul’s.

Reassuring Fellowship

Galatians 2:1-5

Three years after his conversion, Paul met Peter and James and talked with them over a fortnight; then he continued his ministry to the Gentiles in (what is now) Syria, Turkey and Greece. He was confident in the gospel he was preaching but he had constant opposition from people with a Jewish background who did not believe that people could be saved unless they earned God’s favour by their good deeds including submitting to being circumcised. He did not want his preaching to be in vain and longed for a way to neutralise that religious obstruction

Validated Gospel

Galatians 2:6-7

When Paul met with Peter, James the Lord’s half-brother, and John in Jerusalem, they found that ‘Paul’s gospel’ was exactly the same as ‘their gospel’. That was because it was God’s gospel - which He had revealed to all of them at different times and in different ways. It was important for them to have that conversation; not only to encourage each other that what they believed and taught could only have come from God, but so that they could all refute the accusations of false teachers who said that Paul was preaching a different gospel.

Gospel Fellowship

Galatians 2:8-10

Although Paul and Peter were ministering to different people-groups they were in true fellowship. They were not in competition nor did they despise each other because of their radically different ministries. They recognised that the work, to which they had been called, was God’s work; and that He had given them the same gospel to be presented in different ways, but with the same ‘Jesus-crucified-and-raised’ content.