We are beginning a new study on Galations.
GRACE: NOT BY MAN
An Apostle – Galations 1:1-5
Paul was a man who had once hated, and persecuted the church of God (Acts 9:1-2). He was zealous for the cause of Judaism, and it didn’t matter until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and was gloriously saved by grace.
The writing of this letter [Galations] was probably some time between about 48 to 60 A.D. It is believed that the Jerusalem council was around 48 A.D. so this would have been written after by some of the things Paul writes (chapter 2).
Some of the churches of Galatia had been founded by Paul. He had learned that the “Judaizers” had moved in and was working against grace. These Judaizers were professing believers in Christ, but they were teaching that the Gentile believers would need to follow Jewish teachings, especially those related to circumcision. In doing so they were adding to grace, thus destroying the whole meaning of grace.
This letter is meant as a rebuke and correction of this tragic, and heretical teaching. Some were probably asking, “What gives Paul the right to speak against this teaching?”
Verse 1 – Paul is, of course, the former Saul of Acts 8 and 9 and following. The word “Apostle” means, “Messenger, one who is sent”. Apostle was one during the early days of the Church who was one with the authority of Christ, and what he said was taken as truth, when he spoke for Christ.
We should note that a true apostle of Jesus Christ was not appointed or called by a man or men, but was an appointment of God’s own choosing and calling. The only man who does the choosing and calling is the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
The same can be said of “Grace” which is what this study is based upon.
“But by Jesus Christ , and God the Father…” If men were the responsible ones for this calling then it would be worthless in power and glory to God. There would be no change of heart or life; such as Saul experienced and changed his name to Paul.
“…Who raised Him from the dead;” A reminder from Paul. The MacArthur Study Bible note on these words tell us…
“Paul included this important fact to show that the risen and ascended Christ Himself appointed him ( ), thus Paul was a qualified witness of His resurrection (cf. Acts 1:22).” Page 1788
Verse 2 – “And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia…” The apostle never or rarely travelled alone. We often read of men being with him such at Luke in Acts, Timothy, Titus, and others as well. It was first of all wise in that time to travel in a company of people, but it also formed a source of fellowship, encouragement, and strength for each member of the travelling party.
The people of Galatia were Gauls also called Celtics
The churches of Galatia would have included Antioch of Psidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. Letters can be received, read, heard and applied by living people. That just meaning that this letter was written; not to a “universal church”, but to local churches.
Verse 3 – “Grace be to you…” Is common words of salutation from Paul. When you read his epistles you will find in most of them that he says something very similar, “Grace be to you and peace…” (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; and following epistles).
“…and peace from God the Father…” It is the “peace of God” that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). It is by God’s justifying grace through which we have “Peace with God” (Romans 5:1).
“…and from our Lord Jesus Christ… ” Apart from the gift which Jesus Christ gave to pay the price, the penalty for sin; there would be no peace with God or peace that passes our understanding.
Verse 4 – “Who gave Himself for our sins…” He paid the sin debt that was not His own, but mine and yours. Paul is setting the stage here for his rebuke and correction of those who have distorted grace, and added the works and doctrines of men. If Christ Jesus gave His own sinless life for our sins, then how can any work, ritual, religious rite of man add any right thing to the work of God? It cannot; rather it perverts grace.
“…That He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” It was the Lord’s purpose, and promise to deliver us from sin, and the evil of the world. Being delivered from this “present evil world” is speaking of being delivered from this age of the system in which the devil/Satan is working. It is not the will of God for His children to be part of the evil system, but to be delivered from it.
We should be concerned about the will of God and doing that will. Some claim they don’t know God’s will and don’t know where to find it. Here we find the will of God: TO BE DELIVERED FROM THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD; through the work of Jesus Christ His Son.
Verse 5 – Paul leaves us evidence that the glory of God is on his heart. God the Father and God the Son are worthy of worship, praise and glory.
-Tim A. Blankenship