History of Galatians:
Galatia is actually a province, not a city. It is the region of modern day Turkey. (Hannah’s visit to Turkey) In Acts 13-14 Paul traveled throughout southern Galatia, the towns of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe on his first missionary journey.
We see indication in Acts 16:6 that Paul also did some traveling in N Galatia. ‘Phrygia’ is the territory in which Antioch and Iconium were located which is in the north.
Why was Paul writing?
There was a group of false teachers (Judiazers) that were teaching, “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1; compare Gal. 6:2). Not only did these Judaizers contradict Paul’s message of grace, but they also denied his apostleship. Sadly, many Galatian believers began believing these false teachers.” (Holman) Paul was writing to refute this teaching, and to defend his apostleship.
Paul’s Greeting: (Gal 1:1-5) (Unless otherwise noted, Bible references are from (NIV)
Gal 1:1 “Paul an apostle,
Who/what was an apostle?
Luke 6:12-16 Jesus called 12 “disciples” to become “apostles.” What does this tell us about apostles?
sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.
An apostle was appointed by God to be His messenger. An apostle was also someone who had a personal experience of seeing the Lord. (Acts 9:5)
Gal 1:2 “and all the brothers with me..”
(NLT) all the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.”
Where was Paul and who were these people?
Paul was writing not just to one church, but to the churchES in the province of Galatia. Paul had planted churches in the towns of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. This letter was to all of them.
Gal 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
This is a common greeting that Paul uses in almost all his epistles. But it still good to remind ourselves of what he is saying.
Grace and peace to you from God. What is grace? Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve. Mercy is God NOT giving us what we do deserve. Grace is given by our heavenly Father. He gives us what we do not deserve. What do we not deserve? Jesus!
Gal 1:4-5 who gave himself for our sins,
This is the grace of God! God the Father gave us the life of His Son for our sins! We did not deserve that! We deserve to die for our sins (Rom 6:23) But God who is rich in mercy, instead of giving us death, he gave us Jesus, that’s the grace he gave us. (Eph 2:4-5) That grace is what gives us peace with God. Peace with God comes from what Jesus did, not from anything we do or can do!
to rescue us from the present evil age according to the will of our God and Father,
Why did God do it? What was His big picture plan from the beginning? To rescue us! Amazing! He gave us the choice. We chose to sin! We chose to make a mess of things, and to become slaves to sin and to this evil world. (That’s what he warned Cain about Gen 4:7) But, from the very beginning he planned to rescue us!
Incredible that this was God’s plan from the beginning, before the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:4) That he would give the life of His Son up for our sins. He let us sin! He let us mess up His perfect creation, knowing that it would cost Him the life of His Son!
to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
That truly is something to worship about! Truly, all glory does go to God forever and ever! From the very beginning and through until eternity He is worthy of praise!
Why is this written?
To set the stage for why it is so astonishing that the Galatians walked away from this!
As I ask these questions, I will answer them for my own life, but I encourage you who are reading this, to answer these questions for yourself.
What is God saying to me through this passage?
Don’t forget… don’t take it for granted…. meditate on it, revel in it, let the truth amaze you once again! I chose to sin! My sin brought slavery. God chose to rescue. His solution was the life of His Son… FOR ME! He planned it from the very beginning! It brought freedom from the consequence of my own choice.
From this passage, what am I realizing that I need to become more aware of?
How little I actually think about this. How seldom I really let the truth of God’s unmerited, undeserved, absolutely free and not dependent in any way on my actions… grace that has set me from from present evil age captivate my thinking.
What do I need to do as a result of what I have read?
- What’s the first step? Take a moment right now to thank Him for this incredible gift!
- Read Ephesians 1:3-14 and note everything God says that He gave us In Christ!
- Then meditate on everywhere it says, “according to…