Christ + nothing = everything.
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Galatians 1 (ESV)
1 Paul, an apostle—
nor through man,
who raised him from the dead—
2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave himself
for our sins
to deliver us from the present evil age,
according to the will of our God and Father,
5 to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly
deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ
and are turning to a different gospel—
7 not that there is another one,
but there are some
who trouble you
and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we or an angel from heaven
should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,
let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again:
If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received,
let him be accursed.
am I now seeking the approval
or of God?
Or am I trying to please man?
If I were still trying to please man,
I would not be a servant of Christ.
11 For I would have you know, brothers,
that the gospel that was preached by me
is not man’s gospel.
I did not receive it from any man,
nor was I taught it,
but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism,
persecuted the church of God violently
and tried to destroy it.
14 And I was advancing in Judaism
beyond many of my own age among my people,
so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when he
who had set me apart before I was born,
and who called me by his grace,
16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me,
in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles,
I did not immediately consult with anyone;
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me,
but I went away into Arabia,
and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years
I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.
19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.
20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!)
21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.
23 They only were hearing it said,
“He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”
24 And they glorified God because of me.
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Galatians 1 Summary
As we begin a new book, it's good to remind ourselves that we're not really reading 'books' per se when we read things like Hebrews and Galatians, rather, we're reading letters. The fancy name for these letters are epistles.
Keep in mind as we read this letter that we must understand and interpret it in the context it was written to: early Christians living in what is now southern Turkey, both Jews and Gentiles who were struggling with how they should express their Christian beliefs.
Paul has two main purposes in writing this letter: 1) To establish his authority as an apostle appointed by Christ, and 2) that it's through Christ alone that salvation comes.
Paul gets right to the point: he's stunned that the Galatians are turning away from the simplicity of the gospel. The Galatians were falling victim to a universal human weakness, one that continues to plague Christians even today: it's not that the Galatians were not loving and trusting Jesus, it's that they were counting on their own religious practices and good deeds as being part of the basis for their salvation. In other words, their salvation formula had become
JESUS + MY OWN GOOD WORKS = SALVATION
Paul writes this letter to correct their, and also our, salvation math. The formula Christians ought to follow is
JESUS + NOTHING = SALVATION --> GOOD WORKS.
In other words, we contribute nothing to our salvation - it is because of Christ alone, which we receive by grace alone, through faith alone. Good works flow out of our salvation, they are not an ingredient of it.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (v1, 3). To Him be the glory forever and ever (v5).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: It is the will of God to give His Son to rescue us from the present evil age (v4). Pray that this aspect of God's will be accomplished in your life, that He will preserve you in it, and use you to help spread this gospel (good news) to others.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: