Book of Galatians

From Journey the Word

This is a short letter by Paul, around 49 A.D., to the Galatian people, who are being condemned by the Jews to follow Mosaic Law. Paul's aims were to free the Galatian people from this- From addressing circumcision to assuring they receive spiritual life and the Holy Spirit through Jesus' redemptive work.

He begins the letter by greeting the Galatian people, and turning the attention toward Jesus, since it is all about Him. He immediately addresses the false teachings and other issues the Jews have brought about. He speaks if any other gospel (other than the gospel of Jesus Ghrist that is) is taught, let them be accursed. Next, he addresses the teachings of circumcision being unnecessary, and that it was unto Peter. He teaches that, 'A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ (2:16) and continues, "That we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law."

Paul continues by talking about the Holy Spirit, in that He works miracles by faith. He poses an example of Abraham as believing God and having righteousness. God blessed Abraham as the Father of Nations. However, no one, declares Paul, is justified by the law in the sight of God, but that the just shall live by faith. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse himself. ln addition, that to receive the Spirit is to have righteousness. Paul wrote his hope that the Galatian people would be given the promise of faith of Jesus Christ, and be able to put on Christ (to become Christlike) - instead of clinging to the law. lf believers are Christ's, they are of Abraham's seed and are heirs. Therefore, Paul warns them not to return under the law, especially with them being Sons of God - they are not servants, but rather Sons.

Paul puts an example of Hagar and Sarah in to play, with Hagar representing the Old Covenant (at Mount Sinai), and Sarah representing the New Covenant. Those of the "old', including Hagar's children, were subject to the law and did not have the Spirit. However, those of the "new", including Sarah's children, were "Sons" - having the Spirit and grace from God. Then, Paul instructs the consequences of deserting Jesus Christ, in that those who cling to the law have fallen from grace.

Next, Paul delves into talking about the Spirit, when he states that the $pirit wars with the flesh (spiritually) and vice versa. Believer should be led of the Spirit, avoiding the works of the flesh and taking on the fruit of the Spirit. They were given some final instructions to love and bearing one another's burdens. He taught them to sow to the Spirit, so that they can reap life everlasting. He concludes by tying up loose ends, including making sure the Galatian people's focus stays on the cross of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work - not on the law. For many, they seem to focus too much on the law, because it is normal for man to require such strict guidelines for life in order to maintain morality, justice, and freedom of choice. But, Jesus came along and set us free. How wonderful it is to know that we do not have to stick so strictly to the law, but have grace.