Introduction to Galatians
Beginning Sunday, February 4th, we will start a new teaching series walking through the book of Galatians. The following brief overview is meant to provide an introduction to help us consider what we will learn about together.
"Galatians exist for our freedom."
Jesus announced the goal and aim of his ministry in Luke 4 by quoting from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
- Liberty to captives; Sight to the blind; Freedom for the oppressed; God’s favor (grace)
As we approach this book, we need to understand that God has both promised and provided us with something far more abundantly loving and good than we are prepared to receive - freedom.
The means by which God accomplishes our rescue, providing us with liberty, sight, freedom, and favor is “JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE ALONE.”
Justification by Grace means this: God has saved you, made things right between you and God, out of the kindness (grace) of his own heart and out of the work of his own Son. You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that makes this divine intervention necessary. God has moved in this way out of his love and compassion and sincere desire for you, though you do not deserve this kindness in any way.
It is human to violently resist this concept. At first we may casually nod our heads at the phrase “justified by grace alone” but when we begin to play out this reality we begin to see just how much it deconstructs our view of self that we spend so much of our lives building up to secure a sense of peace.
We resist the gospel because it points out a few ugly realities:
- On our own we are incapable (being a captive we have no way to escape)
- On our own we are blind (we cannot see ANYTHING properly)
- On our own we are oppressed (functionally self-destructive)
- On our own we are more disqualified than we want to be perceived.
I’m not sure about you, but I would much prefer to be seen and known as capable, clear-seeing/wise, thriving, and deserving. Yet, this is simply not the truth.
The hard facts of the Christian faith includes news that first declares my insufficiency and incapability. To this concept we continually react with both hard and soft resistance.
Enter Paul’s writing in the book of Galatians, a book well suited to calm our hidden fears and cultivate an active faith.
Throughout the book of Galatians we will discover...
That Grace & Peace are offered through God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1:3)
That Jesus gave himself for our sins to deliver us (1:4)
- That there is no other gospel (1:6-9)
- That the gospel comes from God and not from man (1:10-12)
- That the gospel is entrusted to men to be shared with all (2:1-10)
- The gospel is worth fighting for and fighting over (2:11-14)
- That we are not justified by our works but by faith in Jesus Christ (2:16-21)
- That the same gospel that delivers us, also works to sanctify us (3:1-9)
- That Christ alone has delivered us from the curse of the law (3:10-14)
- The promise of God's glorious gospel exclusively secures our salvation (3:15-20)
- The Law is our guardian until justifying faith arrives (3:21-29)
- That though the gospel we are no longer slaves, but a son, an heir (4)
- Christ, by his justifying work on the cross, has set us free to live in his love (5:1-6)
- That freedom in Christ serves to empower love and service for one another (5:7-15)
- That freedom in Christ opens the door to a new kind of life that is led by the Spirit (5:16-26)
- That life in the Spirit means humble, loving, and persistant action towards one another (6).