In the book of Galatians, Paul was writing to a collection of churches in the Galatian region who had been led astray by a false gospel. Specifically, he addresses churches in the region of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. A group known as the Judaizers (Phil. 3:2–6) had claimed that salvation depended upon works of righteousness. When the Galatians believed that keeping the law could save them, they were removed from Christ and all the blessings of His presence in their lives. The cold reality of claiming that salvation can be obtained by works, is that you are left alone to justify yourself.
In Galatians, God is glorifying Himself through the justification of believers by faith alone, so that He might demonstrate His superior goodness in the salvation sinners, the damnation of the wicked, and for the preservation of His people, for His eternal glory, and their eternal joy.
“Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)…” (Gal. 1:1).
“To the churches of Galatia”
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
“See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”
What is the judgment that Paul warns will come to pass for those preaching a false gospel?
They will be accursed (Gal.1:8–9).
How is someone justified?
Through faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16).
Who are the children of Abraham, and what does this mean?
The children of Abraham are those who have faith in Christ, just as Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Gal. 3:6–9).
What was it that Paul’s opponents attempted to persuade the Galatians to believe?
That they needed to adhere to the ceremonial law in order to be saved (Gal. 4:17–18, 21; 5:1–10).
What are the works of the flesh and what are the fruits of the Spirit?
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:19–23).
What did Paul’s opponents boast in and what should believers boast in?
They boasted in being under the law and customs of Moses, but believers should boast in the cross of Christ (Gal. 6:12–15).