Galatians 1

Galatians 1 … We come now to the first of four short letters to churches in Asia. Galatia is an area, not a city, in the central region of the country we call Turkey today. It was called Asia in the first century and is sometimes referred to as Asia Minor. Many of the cities in Galatia are mentioned in the book of Acts as places visited by Paul during his missionary journeys. The Galatians letter itself has a strong reputation as a foundational Gospel text. It was a favorite of Martin Luther who wrote a massive commentary on it. Others have called it “the most profound, condensed and powerful argument ever expressed.” Therefore, we ought to come here with special reverence and openness of mind and heart to capture all that God has for us in this precious letter.

Here, the Apostle Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, warns of errors in doctrine and errors of conduct. Both are important certainly … getting our understanding of the Gospel message straight and then conforming our behavior to that which represents Christ truthfully and faithfully out to the world. One other quote to keep in mind as we begin Galatians: Charles Spurgeon said of this book, that “No man can be a Christian in these days without being a controversialist,” which means (perhaps among other things) that we should not water down our faith to suit society, but rather always to strive to be obedient to Christ and to be a faithful follower and ambassador for Christ. That’s a high calling and can easily place a person into controversy with the world. Here in Galatians chapter 1, you’ll observe how quickly Paul summarizes the Gospel and gets into his subject (v.6), mincing no words. Paul (and the Holy Spirit) considers the perversion and dilution of the Gospel to be very serious and urgent matters (and so should we all). We learn more of Paul’s personal testimony in Galatians 1:11-24. As a Jew, he was a zealot for the law of God and Jewish traditions. But when called by the resurrected Lord Jesus, Paul’s life was completely changed. After his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, you’ll observe that Paul’s work in behalf of the Gospel message and his service to Christ becomes a model for all ages. Paul’s personal account in Galatians chapter 1 is quite a testimony!

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