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Monday, July 25, 2011

(49) The Book of Galatians

Church of the Proselytes.

Galatians was the first book that Paul wrote that we have still in our possession.  If he wrote anything earlier, we do not have access to it anymore.  It was written around 49 AD.  This is about 20 years after the Resurrection of Christ and about  10-15 years after Paul's conversion to follow Christ.  It was sent from him to the church in Galatia while he was in Antioch.

It has often been called the Magna Carta of Christian liberty and can be considered the sister book to Romans.

Galatia was a Roman province named after Gaul since many of its inhabitants were Gaulic (Celtic).  An early king of Asia Minor (Bithynia), Nicomedes, invited the Celts to help him conquer the land from his own brother and to capture the throne in 278 BC.  Rome took it over in 28 BC.  Galatia was easily taken over by Rome since the area was not unified due to the attitude of the Galatians.  They usually aligned themselves with the ones who were "on the winning side".  Rome did not trust their allegiance so they attacked them and took them over.

The Church in Galatia was started by Paul (Acts 16:4-6) and included the cities of Iconium and Lystra, but just like their attitude of switching allegiance so easily, the Galatians had a hard time holding on to the faith.  They were constantly trying to win their salvation by human effort, even though Paul had taught them that they were saved by Grace.  He wrote this letter to remind them not to fall back into their old ways.

Some main points in the book are:
  1. Although we live in a physical world, we should be spiritual (2:20-21)
  2. We are not better than Israel but we are part of God's chosen people, we are heirs to the Kingdom (3:36-4:7)
  3. We are free since we have grace but that does not give us the right to abuse this freedom and "get away with things" (5:13-14)
  4. The Spirit produces its fruit in believers (5:22-25)
  5. Our actions have consequences (6:7-10)
It was written to correct false teachings about the law of Moses.  The Jewish believers were saying that faith in itself was not enough and that the ceremonies of the law were still needed.  And if anyone wanted to be a true believer in Jesus one must first be converted to Judaism first.  Neither of course is what Jesus taught.

4 comments:

hawkssong68 said...

Define: Saved by Grace

Just curious...

Gozreht said...

I didn't want to answer this right away because I don't want one word being taken and stretched out to make the meaning different. But any sentence I use has that chance, so here is it is:

Grace, in the Greek, in charis, which means gift. It is freely given. We didn't earn it. But that does not mean that one can sit back and take advantage of it. The gift only works when it is accepted and used properly. If someone gives me a baseball bat, I should not hit anyone over the head with it. It has a purpose. Yes, I am free to use the gift anyway I want but it is real when I use it correctly. Galatians 5 explains this.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Grace- an accepted, properly used gift of righteousness by God. Best I can do.

Preacher Phil said...

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is God’s gift (approach present), not of works lest any man should boast.” Eph 2:8

Saved by grace means you are saved not by who you are or what you do, but the fact of who He is (God) and what He did (died for our sins).

What is grace? The undeserved kindness of God

Isaiah 43:25—I, yes I alone, will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.

Your relationship with God will always be a relationship of undeserved mercy; it will always be that you have been given more than you could possibly ever give back.

It is crucial to remember that every time you stumble and every time you fall, the same loving Father is waiting to pick you up.

Gozreht said...

Phil,

Your post on May 6, 2011 has a good analogy of what we are dealing with here. I wanted to post a link straight to it but there is no title for it. But if anyone else wants to read his ideas go to this home page and click on Pastor Phil to get to his blog.

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