Posted by: Craig | 16 October, 2007

Galatians Chapter 1 …

Well since easter my group of friends has been getting together friday nights for prayer bible study and worship, well it is really open it could be different each week, sometimes just prayer or worship. Well for the last three weeks i have been preaching/teaching on Galatians taking a chapter a week so i thought I would post summaries/key points from each week.

Well Galatians Chapter 1 :

Greeting
1Paul, an(A) apostle—(B) not from men nor through man, but(C) through Jesus Christ and God the Father,(D) who raised him from the dead— 2and all(E) the brothers[a] who are with me,

To(F) the churches of Galatia:

3(G) Grace to you and peace(H) from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4(I) who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present(J) evil age, according to the will of(K) our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

No Other Gospel

6I am astonished that you are(L) so quickly deserting(M) him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to(N) a different gospel— 7(O) not that there is another one, but(P) there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or(Q) an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,(R) let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received,(S) let him be accursed.

10For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying(T) to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a(U) servant[b] of Christ.

Paul Called by God

11For(V) I would have you know, brothers, that(W) the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.[c] 12(X) For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it(Y) through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13For you have heard of(Z) my former life in Judaism, how(AA) I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely(AB) zealous was I for(AC) the traditions of my fathers. 15But when he(AD) who had set me apart(AE) before I was born,[d] and who(AF) called me by his grace, 16was pleased to reveal his Son to[e] me, in order(AG) that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;[f] 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18Then(AH) after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19But I saw none of the other apostles except James(AI) the Lord’s brother. 20(In what I am writing to you,(AJ) before God, I do not lie!) 21(AK) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22And I was still unknown in person to(AL) the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they glorified God because of me.

Galatians is a letter from the apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia, these churches were planted by Paul on his earlier travels and are predominantly Gentiles (Not Jews). Now what has happened is that some Jews have gone to those churches and claiming to be Christian (they were called Judaizers) and declaring the “Gospel” but their “Gospel” has added works of the Mosaic law into it, in particular circumcision. So Paul writes this letter to show the Galatians that this is not the Gospel.

In Chapter one :

  1. Claims his apostleship in verses 1-5
  2. Declares his astonishment as to how they could turn away from Christ in verses 6-10
  3. Shows that his message is from God not man in verses 11-24

Now why is Paul making such a big case for the Gospel?

Because truth matters, because he does not see the Galatians following a slightly altered Gospel as good for them even if that is what they are more comfortable with. Our culture today goes against the concept of absolute truth and that only your personal view of truth matters, two people can have contradictory views of truth yet the culture says that for each of them that is still truth, this goes as far as universalism with the idea that all religions lead to God/Heaven.

But Paul is not allowing the Galatians to follow this truth that is a little different from this, in verses 6-10 he is stating how astonished he is that they can turn away from the gospel, that they can turn away from Christ after knowing him as he says that preaching anything but the true Gospel makes you accursed, anathema which means cut off entirely from Christ and if you have seen and known Christ how could you let that happen.

This issue of perverting the Gospel is a big issue to Paul as this is the only letter where he does not start with a prayer for them or edification but goes straight into telling them their mistakes, it is harsh! This is because there is only one Gospel(v7) only one way that wont lead to hell, one God, Christ states he is the way the truth and the life no other way is there to see the Father and this is not going to change(v8). Verses 4-5 are the Gospel in a nutshell and I believe there are many perversions (by this I don’t mean things that are totally different from the Gospel but are based on it with additions subtractions and twists) the obvious being things like Mormonism, then the Prosperity Gospel, and getting even subtler we get to legalism (the sin of the judaizers) something I think most Christians do at some point and we shall talk about this more in the coming chapters.

But I think that even as a Christian following the one true gospel I can still inadvertently pervert that Gospel in my way of thinking and acting, this sin seems to be when making it more about us and less about God when we take glory for ourselves, I came up with this statement to describe perversion of the Gospel :

Anything other than the one true Gospel is narcissistic as anything other than the total sufficiency of Christ is making it about us and what we can do and taking Christ’s glory for ourselves

So I shall stop this long summary of the talk with the Challenge (for me as well) to look and see where you pervert the Gospel in your life how ever subtle.

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