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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, June 19 2019

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai


Paul founded the Church in Galatia (modern Turkey) on his first missionary journey with Barnabas. (Acts 13-14). In Galatia, they found people eager to hear about Jesus but it really upset the local Jewish community. They were jealous. So they talked the authorities into throwing the apostles out of the area. Eventually the Apostles returned to their home base of Antioch in Syria for a breather. But news of the controversy got back to Jerusalem. Acts 15:1-2 tells us the story

“Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”

While Paul and Barnabas made plans to travel to Jerusalem to resolve the issue with the other apostles, news arrived that some of these legalists had sent their own teachers to the new churches in Galatia and were causing havoc. They claimed that Paul had not shared the whole gospel. He’d left bits out like circumcision to make it more popular. These new teachers taught with the authority of an ancient and respected creed. They offered membership of the true people of God. They were ‘true sons of Abraham’, after all weren’t all the Apostles circumcised Jews? And Jesus as well? They were being offered membership of the historic church of Jerusalem, not some independent outfit led by a former renegade rabbi named Paul. They probably also said that Paul wasn’t a real Apostle. He hadn’t been picked by Jesus. He was just a self-appointed leader with no credibility and no credentials.

In today’s study, we will consider how Paul responded to this message in his letter to the Galatians


There are three observations we can make about these opening verses:

  1. His Ministry: The authority of an apostle (Verses 1-2)

“Paul, an apostle - sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead - and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia”

Paul was not self-appointed. He was an apostle - that means ‘one who is sent’ - by Jesus the Son and God the Father.

  1. His Message: The authority of the gospel (Verses 3-4)

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

Paul went ahead to introduce the heart of his message.

The Source of the Gospel - “according to the will of our God and Father”

The Heart of the Gospel - “Jesus gave himself for our sins”

The Purpose of the Gospel - “”to rescue us from the present evil age”

The Fruit of the Gospel - “Grace and peace to you”

  1. His Motive: The glory of God (Verse 5)

“to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Paul’s motive was the glory of God. The hard words and the stinging rebuke and the scathing anathemas, which follow, were motivated by his passion for the glory of God. Paul exerts his authority. His ministry, his message, his motive. Now we see how:


“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Paul knew he needed to act very urgently; you will notice that in this letter there was no praise, no prayer, no thanksgiving, no commendation. Instead he went straight to dealing urgently with the matter at hand and sternly warning the churches in Galatia. He did this because he observed the following:

  1. The Unfaithfulness of the Galatians (Verse 6)

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you” (Galatians 1:6)

The word for “desert” means to transfer your allegiance. It is a word used to describe a soldier who rebels against his commander, or deserts to the enemy. By adding to the gospel they were turning away from it (Acts 15:1). This is what marks off all the cults and ‘isms’ from authentic Christianity. They say ‘yes’ to Jesus but… then add their own beliefs or additional requirements.

But you cannot add to the finished work of Christ. “The work of Christ is a finished work; and the gospel of Christ is a gospel of free grace. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, without any adding of human works or merit. Our salvation is solely due to God’s gracious call.” To depart from the gospel is to desert God. For there is only one gospel. There is only one way back to God. Only through Jesus’ death in our place.

  1. The Activity of the False Teachers (Verse 7)

“Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

The word ‘pervert’ means to distort or reverse. This is what the false teachers were doing. They were reversing the flow of biblical revelation. They were taking these young believers back to the law of Moses; confusing them and reversing the gospel. They were leading people in the wrong direction; away from God. Paul inferred that perverting the gospel was synonymous to deserting God. Because in the Scriptures God has revealed Himself fully and finally in Jesus Christ. He died in our place.

You can’t add to it without taking away from it. Any message, any sermon, any book or article that adds to the finished work of Jesus is not only a perversion it’s a sign of a desertion. To add is to take away.


  1. Paul’s Anathema/Curse (Verses 8-9)

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”

If Paul is astonished at the Galatian churches, he is outraged at these false teachers. Here we see Paul using some of the strongest language in the Bible. It was a universal condemnation with no exceptions. It equally applies to human teachers, angelic beings or even the apostle Paul himself. It was not an emotional outburst but an unmistakable condemnation.

  1. Paul’s Motive (Verse 10)

“Am I now trying to win the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

  1. The glory of Christ was at stake: To add to what Jesus has done is to belittle Him. To suggest His work for us was incomplete. That may win people’s approval but it won’t earn God’s.
  1. People’s souls were at stake: To pervert the gospel is to corrupt the only way to God. And that is frightening. The issue of false teachers is serious, not just because God warns of eternal condemnation, but because no one is immune, not even an apostle, let alone a house group leader, Sunday School teacher, a vicar, archdeacon, bishop, or even an archbishop.


The threat comes not just from those outside the Church but also from those who may be on the inside. It happened then and it happens today.  If people can be made right with God through their faith, or their good works, through circumcision and obeying the mosaic rules, or offering animal sacrifices, or because of their race, then Jesus died for nothing. Paul declared his motive in the letter he wrote to the Corinthians.

“We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23)

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2)

This lesson was culled from:

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