The message of the gospel is of paramount importance

by Apr 18, 2023

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes.

New Series: Letter to the Galatians, standing on grace.

Today marks the beginning of a new series on Galatians, where the central component of the gospel of God’s grace will shine brightly as we progress through the six chapters of this letter. We will come to better understand the heart of the Apostle Paul and the core of his message.

As we prepare to dive into Paul’s letter to the Galatians, it helps to have some context. Paul was a church planting missionary. After establishing a church, he would continue to teach them by correspondence. One such congregation was a body of believers in Galatia, in Asia Minor. Paul wrote this letter to them in about AD 50. C. After Paul established a church, “Judaizers”—Pharisees who believed in Jesus (Acts 15:1, 5)—often followed Paul and added to his teachings in a way that caused confusion among newcomers. believers. The main theme of what they would add is that you had to follow the law to be saved. The necessity of circumcision was an example of following the law, and a key one, since it was the sign of the covenant in the Old Testament.

There is only one Gospel, and it is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul and Barnabas had just finished their first missionary journey (Acts 13.2-14.28) during which they visited Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, cities in the Roman province of Galatia (now Turkey). Shortly after his return to Antioch, Paul was accused by some Jewish Christians of diluting Christianity, making it more favorable to Gentiles. These Jewish Christians disagreed with Paul’s statements that Gentiles did not have to abide by many of the religious laws, which Jews had obeyed for centuries. Some of Paul’s accusers had even followed him into some of the Galatian cities and told Gentile converts that they had to be circumcised and abide by Jewish laws and customs to be saved. According to these men, Gentiles had to be Jews in order to become Christians. In response to this attack, Paul wrote this letter to the churches in Galatia; in it, he explains that by complying with Old Testament laws or Jewish laws they would not obtain salvation. A person is saved by grace through faith. Paul wrote this letter in AD 50, shortly before the Jerusalem Council, which also dealt with law versus grace (Acts 15). 1.1 Paul was called to be an apostle by Jesus Christ

Grace is at the heart of this good news

In the letter to the Galatians, Paul explains in detail what the gospel is and how it works. We see that right away. In chapter 1, Paul addresses the content of the gospel. The gospel is about Jesus and what he did, that is, his sacrificial death on the cross for our sins (v. 4). This concept will expand more and more as the letter progresses, but as we consider it, we must recognize that grace is at the heart of this good news. Without God’s unmerited good favor toward us in Christ, we would not be in a right standing with God.

Paul sets the tone of the letter in chapter 1. He may seem a little strong here and later in the letter, but this is because he is passionate about the faith of his brothers and sisters and concerned about a misunderstanding of the grace and salvation. In his passion, he shows us the importance of the gospel. First, there is only one gospel (v. 7). Paul feels so strongly that he wants them to understand that even if an angel were to miraculously appear in their midst and tell them another way to salvation, they should not believe it (1:8–9). That is a bold statement! But really, this is logical. If we believe that we are saved by faith alone, then what we believe has some bearing on our salvation. Paul fears that the corruption of the faith endangers the message of God’s grace.

Sometimes in a desert, a combination of hot and cold air and the path of sunlight forms a mirage. Our eyes and brain think they see water up ahead, but there’s nothing there. Sometimes when we are in a spiritual desert, we can be tempted to believe things that are not true. Paul is exhorting the Galatians to remember that no matter what happens or what they see, they must not deviate from the truth of the gospel (1:8–9).

Putting the gospel first helps us speak the truth with love

If chapter 1 sets the tone and explains the purpose of the letter, verse 10 is the reason. Paul is not trying to please the Galatians; rather, he wants to show his love for them and for God. His ultimate goal is to be a servant of Christ, and a servant of Christ loves God and loves his neighbor. But showing love to someone is not always the same as making them happy or pleasing. This is a distinction that is often lost in religious circles today, but it is important to see here that as Paul moves forward, his motivation is focused on Christ. Putting the gospel first helps us speak the truth lovingly to others, even when that truth is a hard truth.

Sincerely, Pastor Guillermo Ayala.
Galatians 1:1-10
Acts 9


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