The letter to the Galatians is important because it describes the struggle between Paul and the Judaising Jewish Christians early on in the existence of the church.
According to the will of our God and Father, Jesus gave Himself to rescue us from this present evil age.
The Galatians accepted a very dangerous distortion of the gospel.
Paul received his gospel directly from Jesus Christ through a revelation; not second-hand from the apostles.
The Traditions of the Elders were intended to ensure that people obey God’s Law but their emphasis on outward behavior shifts the focus away from God to self.
God appointed Paul an apostle. He was not sent from men but through Jesus Christ.
Paul took an uncircumcised Gentile Christian to the church leaders in Jerusalem. The church leaders accepted Titus, and, by implication, Paul’s message.
Through a vision to Peter, God instructed the church to accept Gentiles without converting them to Judaism. But Peter yielded to the Circumcision Party.
The Acts 15 Church Council agreed with Paul and confirmed that Gentile Christians do not have to convert to Judaism to be saved.
Through his teachings, Paul destroyed the dividing wall between Jewish and Gentile Christians, which was the law of commandments.
Paul was “released from the Law.” He has “died to the Law.” He serves “not in oldness of the letter” but has “destroyed” “the Law of commandments.”
The Galatians, attempting to earn “righteousness” through the Law, thereby nullified “the grace of God,” for they trust in the rituals and ceremonies of the Law.
Overview Galatians 1 & 2
Jewish Christians took a distorted gospel to Galatia. Their goal was to convert Gentile Christians to Judaism. They argued that man is justified by the works of the Law.
The Galatians received the Spirit and miracles without the works of the Law but now they want to continue in their own power.
Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, those who believe are sons of Abraham; not his physical descendants.
No one is justified before God by the Law because no one is able to fully comply with the law. People that seek to be justified by the Law remain under the curse.
Jesus Christ is Abraham’s true Seed. As such, He inherited the Covenant promises. The Law was for Israel but the Covenant was for all God’s people.
God gave the Law to Israel to keep them on the right path. When Christ came, He became our Tutor. We no longer need the Law to keep us on the right path.
There is no difference between circumcised and uncircumcised Christians and, therefore, no need to circumcise Gentile Christians. Israel no longer has a separate role in God’s plan.
Overview Galatians 1-3
The danger of and arguments against compelling Gentile Christians to be circumcised
- Work in Progress
When was Galatians written?
Galatians was written before the Church Council in Jerusalem in Acts 15; therefore somewhere in AD 48-50. It represents Paul’s arguments before the council.
The Real Danger
Jewish Christians compelled the Gentiles to be circumcised. If they would convert to Judaism, they might seek to earn salvation and lose their eternal inheritance.
For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.
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- Is Jesus the Most High God?
- How the Trinity Doctrine developed
- Trinity doctrine – General
- Origin of Evil
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- Christ’s Return
- Law of Moses