STUDY IN GALATIANS
1) The Cause of the Letter
a) St. Paul had completed his first missionary journey
b) The residents of Lower Galatia had come to Jesus as Saviour & Lord
c) BUT after St. Paul had left a contingent of people claming to be “from the Church in Jerusalem” had come saying that
i) Salvation required also the act of circumcision
ii) Salvation required the doing of Good Works in order to be effective
d) In other words, the Cross of Jesus was merely a component in the economy of Salvation
e) And the Galatians were thrown into confusion
i) What should we believe?
ii) Whom should we believe?
iii) Which way is right?
f) Similarity to today with so many divergent messages being presented even from within the Church
i) What should we believe?
ii) Whom should we believe?
2) The Question of Authority
a) St. Paul moves right to the heart of the question of Authority
b) He clearly illustrates that his message – his Gospel (Good News) – did not emanate from men
c) He received the message he preached directly from Jesus Christ
d) He walks through his former life, conversion, and 3 years in the wilderness with the Glorified Christ teaching him
e) St. Paul shows how the message he received from Jesus was confirmed and affirmed by St. Peter and St. James and again, 14 years later after Barnabas had brought him to Antioch, when he, Barnabas, and Titus had gone before the elders in Jerusalem
f) The second visit was prompted by the news of the famine when they took aid from Antioch and he took the opportunity to again discuss the presence of the Judaisers and their conflicting message
g) All of this learning from Jesus directly and this confirmation from Jerusalem (twice) prior to his first missionary journey when he had gone to the Galatians
h) Thus St. Paul can say with clarity “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” NIV
i) St. Paul is clearly teaching the Word of God given to him for such transmission. Thus, any opposing word is not from God and is to be condemned.
j) Similarly today we are to take our authority from the Divinely Inspired Holy Word of God (The Holy Bible) and not from any other authority, including ecclesiastical, where such in any way contradicts God’s Spirit Inspired Word in Scripture.
3) The Matter of Salvation
a) St. Paul also addresses the means of Salvation only in the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
b) In referencing the faith of Abraham, St. Paul instructs that Salvation only comes through faith and not by works
c) In referencing the Promise to Abraham and his Seed and identifying the Seed with Jesus, St. Paul clearly instructs that the only Way to Salvation is through Jesus Christ
d) St. Paul shows how the Law was given to convict of sin and make individuals realise their need for Salvation
e) The Law cannot save – it only makes people aware of the hopelessness of trusting in personal goodness and ability to save one’s self
f) The Law is good in that it teaches us and moves us to know that, in ourselves, salvation is impossible
g) This Salvation is not earned. It is a free gift that comes through Faith like that of Abraham in the Promise of Almighty God through the Seed of Abraham – Jesus the Christ
h) St. Paul then calls us to choose our descendency from Abraham
i) Through the mother of slavery in the lineage of Hagar and Ishmael
ii) Through the mother of faith and freedom in the lineage of Sarah and Isaac
i) Christians are the children of Freedom and Grace through Jesus Christ
j) Today’s worldly political correctness and world-friendly ecclesiastics would have us see Jesus as simply one of the ways to Salvation BUT SALVATION IS ONLY THROUGH THE SEED OF PROMISE IN JESUS CHRIST – and any other message is to be accursed and condemned.
4) Christian Holiness
a) Having established his authority and the clear message of exclusive Salvation in Jesus Christ, St. Paul moves on to the matter of living the Christian Life in Christian Holiness
b) In order to do this it is necessary to set our eyes firmly upon the Cross of Jesus Christ and not deviate from that Throne of Victory
c) The Cross holds all people in spiritual equality in the eyes of God and calls all people inclusively to the exclusive Salvation that is only found in Jesus.
d) Christians are freed from the Law but not free to undertake licentious living
i) Rather the life of Christ lived in us through the Holy Spirit will keep us from sinning against the Law
ii) Christian liberty leads to the “serving of one another in love” as is clearly demonstrated in the Cross of Jesus Christ
e) Living by the Flesh
i) Satisfying the carnal (sinful) nature
ii) Following the acts of the sinful nature leading to Hell which are, “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that THOSE WHO LIVE LIKE THIS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” NIV
f) Living by the Holy Spirit leads to Eternal Life and produces the Fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” NIV
i) Further, in the economy of Christian Holiness, as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, we are called to:
(1) Care for one another and help each other out of sinfulness
(2) To sow good seed in the Holy Spirit so as to reap the benefit of Eternal Life in Jesus Christ
(3) Only boast in the Cross of Jesus Christ
(4) Live in Faith and Faithfulness to the Cross which separates Christians from the world and the world from Christians
(5) Seek to be, in(to) Christ, that New Creation that can only come through the Free Gift of Eternal Life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(1) Live under the Authority of Almighty God as given in His Divinely Inspired Word (living in Jesus Christ and written in The Holy Bible).
(2) Find unrequited Salvation only through Faith in the Promise of God through Jesus Christ the Promise of God to Abraham.
(3) Live the Life of Holiness through sowing the seed of the Holy Spirit and reaping the Free Gift of Eternal Life in(to) Jesus Christ our Lord.