Thru the Word of God: Paul’s letter to the Galations | Faith
by The Press and Standard | November 18, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: November 14, 2018 at 11:47 am
The first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Galatians is packed from margin to margin with timeless truth. However, when one considers the current state of our common faith in the U.S., it seems that now — more than ever — we need to take special heed of the truth of God revealed here.
Paul opens the epistle in his customary way, yet he adds a vital explanation concerning his motivation. In this explanation, he not only renders his writing as trustworthy and authoritative as an apostle chosen by Jesus, but he also discloses that he is writing by the power and direction of the Spirit of God, not “through the agency of man” (Galatians 1:1).
In like manner, Paul goes on to write in verse 12 that the gospel he is preaching of Christ Jesus is divinely inspired by that very same Christ: “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).
This passage of scripture and many others (2 Timothy 3:16, John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 2:12-13, etc.) reveal that the entirety of the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. Meaning these passages and all others you find between the covers of your family Bible are inerrant, infallible and stand as an eternal testament of God’s love and providential plan for His people.
However, immediately following his encouraging introduction, Paul addresses the chief issue facing the church in Galatia, which is the central focus of the letter.
The people of the church, although they started off believing that their salvation came through faith alone in Jesus Christ, were now adding works of the law to the equation. They believed that apart from faith, works must also be employed by a believer for true salvation. This is heresy.
Salvation is a free gift from God given to all those who trust in His son, Jesus. No work of the law could ever earn a sinner to heaven, because no work of the law would ever be enough, nor could it atone for the sin that we already own. And for that sin, we deserve death.
The only atonement that can ever free a sinful soul from the judgment of God was made by Jesus — in our place — as He died alone on the cross of Calvary. Through His death, sin’s debt, was paid for all those that would call on Him as their Savior and Lord. No work could ever satisfy the demands, so Jesus did. Anything other than faith in this precious Savior of all is eternal separation from God.
Understanding the immense gravity of this truth, Paul responds to these distorters of the faith in a heavy-handed way, writing, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). Paul’s severe remedy for the problem signals that he rightly understood (and we should, too) that any deviation from the perfect word of God will always end in the devastation of sinful man apart from God. For how could any man be saved apart from the true gospel of Christ Jesus?
To this biblically unapologetic end, Paul writes in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans that he is “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). How marvelous!
Let us, too, in this current day not be ashamed of the gospel. For not only is every word a revelation directly breathed from the mouth of the true God, it is the very source of power that God has chosen to save the souls of the lost world. Let us take this two-edged sword of the gospel to the unbelieving world with this stirring urgency.
For as the famed theologian Carl F. H. Henry stated, “The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.”
(Jeremy Breland of Ruffin is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.)