Isaiah 15:1-16:14; Galatians 1:1-10; Psalms 58:10-11; Proverbs 16:6-7
NT: “Paul, an apostle — not from men or by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead… Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! …For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:1, 3-8, 10 CSB)
Galatia was not a city, but a region of Asia Minor. Therefore, the epistle of Galatians was a letter written by Paul to multiple churches in the region. The reason for Paul’s letter was that legalists, called Judaizers, were teaching doctrine that said that faith in Christ was not enough for salvation… that salvation was only for the Jews, and that a person had to first become a Jew and subject themself to all the Judaic laws before they could be saved. For the Judaizers, faith in Christ was necessary – it just wasn’t enough.
Paul, understandably, was greatly concerned about the spread and acceptance of this false gospel. The gospel that Paul had been given and that Paul preached stated that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of all the law and prophets – and by giving His life as a perfect and complete sacrifice, the debt for sin was paid for and the heavy burden of the requirements of the law was broken. When we come to faith in Christ, we come into Christ and appropriate all that Christ accomplished through grace. The legal requirements of the law were satisfied by Christ, so when we come into Christ by faith, we are free from the law. Therefore, all and any are made worthy of salvation through faith in Christ. False teachings and perverted gospels aren’t just something that occurred in the first century. The gospel of Christ is a gospel of grace, but it is also a gospel of confession and repentance of sin with an expectation that by grace and the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we mature away from sin and into holiness. There are plenty of false gospels that are overly legalistic on one side and overly gracious and compromising on the other. That is why being a student of the word and following the teachings and example of Christ is so important – that we won’t fall for false teachings but will be believers, followers and preachers of the true gospel of Christ.
When people are truly set free, the people that once held power lose the power that they held over people. That is why people in power tend to renounce truth that leads to freedom – so that they can keep their dependents and subordinates in some semblance of bondage while maintaining their influence and power. Paul had no ulterior motives. He wasn’t trying to gain power. He wasn’t trying to people-please. He merely wanted the people that he loved to experience the freedom by grace that is found in Christ, and he would go to great lengths to defend the gospel of Christ.
Prayer: Lord, there are many enticing versions of the gospel out in the world. It would be easy for me to reason my way into a gospel that worked for me and allowed me to have and do all that I wanted. However, only one gospel is able to bring me true freedom and abundant, eternal life. That is the unadulterated gospel of Christ. Help me, by grace through faith, to align my life to the gospel and not the other way around. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.