In our Sunday Morning studies, we are currently going through Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. It is regarded by some as one of Paul’s greatest and most important letters. Dr Merrill Tenney said “Few books have had a more profound influence on the history of mankind… Christianity might have been just one more Jewish sect, and the thought of the Western world might have been entirely pagan had it never been written”.
William Ramsey, the respected historian comments: “It is a unique and marvelous letter, which embraces in its six short chapters such a variety of vehement and intense emotion as could probably not be paralleled in any other work.”
Galatians was Martin Luther’s favorite book, and it became the touchstone of the protestant reformation with the simple message of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone – in a word Grace.
Paul declares that the Gospel of the grace of God, which he preached, was not given to him by another man, nor did he invent it, but rather it was given by revelation from God. In these six chapters Paul will argue for the authenticity of the Gospel and for its superiority over the Law of Moses.
The trouble in Galatia at the time of Paul’s writing was that a number of people who had grown up under the Jewish Law were trying to merge Christianity and the Law together. Sadly, many of the Christians in Galatia were being drawn away by these Judaizes who were espousing this false gospel, and instead of the liberty and freedom the true Gospel promises, they were finding themselves once again under the bondage of the Law.
It has been a recurring theme down through the ages that people will try to add things to the simplicity of the Gospel, and the sad fact is that many people get draw in by them and deceived. This is essentially the root of most of the ism’s and cults.
Gospel means ‘good news’ and it is very good news to realise that salvation is through simply believing in Jesus! I don’t mean merely believing He exists, but believing He is God manifest in the flesh, He came to die for our sins and rose again to give us new life. The Gospel is all about what God has done through Christ, and not at all about what we can do. The moment we try to put a condition on salvation, it becomes an affront to God; what can we possibly do that will be of greater value to God than the shed blood of Jesus?
Our verse by verse audio studies and PDF PowerPoint slides are available for download.
In the next post we’ll look at one of two hidden keys that unlock some Old Testament mysteries!