March 18 - Galatians 1
This short video helps explain the overall message of Galatians.
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? It's important to remember that these books of the Bible were first and foremost letters. We often refer to them as epistles, which is a fancy term for a written communication. As such, it's important to know three things before reading an epistle: 1) Who the author is, 2) who the audience is, and 3) what the underlying issue is. Paul spends much of the first two chapters answering the first question, and you will likely recognize many of the things he mentions since we recently read Acts. This is an open letter, written to several individual churches located in the area of Galatia (modern day Turkey).
The underlying issue is key to understanding Galatians, and Paul doesn't waste any time with small talk at the beginning: he is astonished that the Galatians have abandoned the gospel (good news) that people are saved completely by grace because of the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 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:
Check out the first course in the Worthington CRC Lifelong Learning program:
The videos are only 5 minutes long and include interactive discussion questions.