In the letter to the Galatians, Paul exalts Christ by proclaiming the true Gospel. It is here that Paul speaks to the Galatian churches who, only a short time before, had heard the Gospel and many believed. But there was a problem. You see, even while Paul was ministering there and especially after he left, the false teachers came in and began to pervert the truth of the Gospel. That is, they were teaching that men had to do something in order to earn their salvation from God. The people began to doubt the sufficiency of God’s grace when it came to salvation. They were beginning to think that they had to live under the regulations of the Law of Moses in order to please God. And so, Paul writes this letter to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as the Supreme Savior with Sufficient Grace to provide the eternal satisfaction of Salvation.
“Understanding the Gospel”
In Galatians 1:1-5, we will make three (3) observations regarding the Gospel.
- The Origin of the Gospel (1:1-2)
Key Word Study- “apostle” (#652, “one sent, apostle, ambassador, … The Lord chose [this] term … to indicate the relation of the Twelve Apostles whom the Lord chose to be His witnesses…”). The term leads us to think not only of the messenger but more particularly of the message itself, namely the Gospel.
Paul emphasizes that his calling as well as the Gospel itself which came from God not from man. The Gospel is God’s idea not man’s, it is God’s initiative not man’s.
2. The Outline of the Gospel (1:3-4)
A. Substitution of Christ
“who gave Himself”
Key Word Study- “gave” (#1352 aor., pass., ptcp.,from didomi)- “To give of one’s own accord and with good will…”. Christ gave Himself as a gift! If we are to understand the Gospel, we must understand it in terms of a gift. When we speak of salvation we must speak of it in terms of a gift. In Matthew 20:28 Christ declares, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Salvation is not based on my perfection nor is it based on my performance! The Bible declares, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). But what does that mean? Well, God is concerned about your relationship to Him through His Son. It is not to be found in your relationship to organized religion or in your adherence to a creed or in your performance of some ritual.
B. Sin of Man
“for our sins”
Key Word Study- “for” (uper, a preposition, “Meaning, for, in behalf of, for the sake of” #5228). This word introduces us to the purpose of Jesus giving Himself. He gave Himself as a sin offering. He gave His life in order to make an offering for our sin—not His, but ours! Peter writes this of Jesus, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, …” (1 Peter 2:24).
C. Salvation from Sin
“that He might deliver us from this present evil age”
Key Word Study- Christ gave Himself in order to deliver us. The word “deliver” (#1807, “To take or pluck out … out of affliction or danger, to deliver”) was used when Peter was freed from jail by the angel—he was delivered. It is used to speak of Joseph being delivered from affliction in Egypt. There is a definite negative connotation here—we are being rescued from something that is not desirable.
“from this present evil age”– This does not mean contemporary time—but it refers to the whole evil system—time and space that has been dominated by Satan and evil. That is what Christ has delivered us from (and will deliver us from).
D. Sovereignty of God
“according to the will of our God and Father”
Key Word Study- “will” (#2307, “The Thelema is that which results from the process of determination. What God determines to do is the result of His thelesis and it is His thelema.”) John 1:13, “who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”.
E. The Outcome of the Gospel (1:5)
“to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.”
The first word in verse five is “whom” (#3739) referring to God. This is the emphatic position and thus must be given emphasis. The ultimate outcome of the Gospel is the glory of God. That is why we minister! See 2 Corinthians 4:15.
We must get the Gospel right!