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Comments on the Book of Galatians

Comments on the Book of Galatians

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Published by Mike Spencer
Paul's letter to the Galatians soundly refutes the idea that there is anything else needed besides faith in Jesus Chrsit for salvation. In addition he makes it clear that to attempt to earn one's way into God's favor will only lead to disaster.
Paul's letter to the Galatians soundly refutes the idea that there is anything else needed besides faith in Jesus Chrsit for salvation. In addition he makes it clear that to attempt to earn one's way into God's favor will only lead to disaster.

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Published by: Mike Spencer on Jul 22, 2010
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Comments on the Book of Galatians
By Mike Spencer 
Outline taken from Daniel B. Wallace
This letter was written to the Galatians to warn them of the danger they faced from the ‘judaizers’ whohad come into their churches and were disrupting their faith in Christ by compelling them to return to the Lawand its commands. Specifically, these wolves were teaching that circumcision was still a necessary requirementfor life in God. Paul’s letter soundly refutes this idea and offer many proofs to the contrary; the most notable being that as believers in Jesus Christ we are free to live and love in His name and to hope to receive the promise spoken to Abraham so long ago. Paul reminds the believers in Galatia that the Law only brings death,never justification. Only through belief in God, and in His Son, Jesus, will one be saved. There is now a newLaw, the Law of Love- “Love your neighbor as yourself.”I have used (borrowed without consent is closer to the truth, but I have borrowed it respectfully!) anoutline written by Daniel B. Wallace that I retrieved from Bible.org. His outline condenses the arguments made by Paul and simplifies the entire letter in a manner that makes it very easy to follow Paul’s objectives. Withinthis outline I have added my own thoughts and comments (My work is bulleted.). All bible quotations are takenfrom the NASB (
 New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update
. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation,1995). 
I.Introduction (1:1-10)
In the introduction to this letter the author identifies himself as Paul, “an apostle.” Hespecifically stresses the point that he was not sent by men or through the authority of men butwas sent to preach the gospel through the direct agency of 
“Jesus Christ and God the Father,who raised Him from the dead.”
Paul then addresses the apparent turning away of theGalatian believers from the gospel they had first received in order to align themselves withthis new and dangerous “different gospel.” Paul reminds them (and us) that it is not men thatwe are to fear or to try to please but God. The judaizers must be cast out.
a.Salutation (1:1-5)
Paul identifies himself as an apostle sent to the Gentiles not from man but fromJesus Christ and God. His message therefore is not from man nor does it carryman’s authority. His message, the gospel of Christ, the gospel of freedom, comesfrom God Himself and carries His almighty authority. This is an important pointto understand in reading the rest of this letter for it is against intruders in theGalatian church that Paul is writing.
Paul’s greeting carries a blessing of grace and peace from God and from Jesus,
“who gave Himself for our sins that He might rescue us”.
This is a mini-gospel presentation that carries with it all the weight of a full presentation such as wefind in Paul’s other letters. This is the core of the truth of the Gospel. This is whatwe teach to our youngest children, that Jesus died for our sins and that God raisedHim from the dead. It is this truth, that it is Jesus who saves and not the works of men, that Paul defends in this letter.
Word Study: Apostle
πόστολος [
/ap·os·tol·os/] From 649; 81occurrences;
V translates as “apostle” 78 times, “messenger” twice, and “he thatis sent” once. 1 a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders. 1
specificallyapplied to the twelve apostles of Christ. 1
in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers.
of Barnabas.
of Timothy and Silvanus.
V Authorized Version
Strong, James:
The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order 
. electronic ed.
Outline of the Book of Galatians by Daniel B. Wallace
(Mr. Wallace’s outline in
By this definition, Paul is a messenger sent from God and from JesusChrist with orders to present the gospel to the Gentile people. This meansthat Paul’s duty is to God and not to man. It is to God that Paul isaccountable, not to man. His message is therefore of utmost importanceand his dedication to it must also be. In contrast, the judaizers were non-appointed men with a message designed by men and therefore their authority was also only from men. Because of this Paul expects theGalatians to turn from their different gospel and return to the only truegospel.
b.Denunciation (1:6-10)
Paul wastes no time in getting to the point of his letter. He is “amazed” at therapidity with which the Galatians have deserted Jesus Christ in order to embrace adifferent message. Paul had preached to them the gospel of Christ that Jesus gaveHim. The Galatians had received that gospel and been saved; they had begunchurches and new lives in Christ. But because outside agitators had entered their churches teaching that believers must adhere to the old tenets of the Law in order to partake in the grace of God, specifically in circumcision, the Galatians wereturning away from Paul’s teaching. The judaizers who infiltrated the churches of this region were teaching and demanding that Gentiles become as Jews incircumcision in order to be full partakers of the grace of Christ and God. Paulmakes it clear in this letter that it is not through rules devised by man (or even theLaw of God Himself) that man is saved and has peace; it is only through the work and gift of Jesus Christ and God, His Father. There is only one gospel and that isthe one Paul first preached to the Gentiles. Any other ‘gospel’ is a perversion andought to be discarded immediately and its bearer “accursed.”
Understanding that Jesus Christ has saved us completely and has left us perfectly free to enjoy our lives as best we can and to focus primarily onloving and caring for others as our worship of God is difficult. We haveembedded in our culture of religion an understanding that rules mustgovern our conduct, that God demands certain things from us before Hewill be pleased with us. We believe, deeply in our subconscious, that if wedo not obey perfectly or correctly understand His will for our lives, thenHe will certainly punish us. We therefore easily allow rules and doctrineto invade our churches and our lives. We turn to the Law in order to becomfortable in the practice of our religion. But the truth is that the Law of God was given in order to govern the lives of His chosen people until thetime of salvation would come. The Law of the Jews was given in order tokeep the sins of man within bounds lest they transgress so much that they be destroyed completely. But it was always God’s intention that Hischildren be freed from the chains of the Law forever. Now the Law standsas a stark reminder that man is bound up with sin and cannot ever  perfectly meet the requirements of the Law.
When men first believe in the grace of Jesus Christ and understand thattheir lives are now in God’s hands and that He loves them very much, theyare grateful and joyful. But what happens in individual lives and in the lifeof our churches is a slow creeping in of the dependence on governingauthority. We feel we need to be constrained by rules or else we willtransgress the will of God. And so these Galatians turned to the judaizersin order to be SURE of their favor with God. And so we turn to legalisticOntario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G6523

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