Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians to defend them against those “who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:7 NKJV). His seven references to “grace” in this letter summarize both their foolish backsliding and his persuasive defense against it (3:1,3; 1:10). Paul began by telling them what they had received: “Grace ... and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:3). Peace comes from knowing that we have been saved by God’s grace, not by our own feeble works which we eventually discover can never save us.
Next he wrote, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel” (1:6). When we turn from salvation by grace, we are really “turning away” from Christ “who gave Himself for our sins, that He might save us from this present evil age” (1:4).
Then Paul used himself as an example and told them how his old life of persecuting the Church was radically changed when God called him “through His grace” and allowed “pillars” of the Church to also “perceive the grace” and give him “the right hand of fellowship” to preach the truth about grace which he would never “set aside” nor allow the “foolish Galatians” to “not obey” (1:15; 2:9; 2:21-3:1).
After pointing out that they had been duped by judaizing legalizers, Paul summarized their situation this way: “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (5:4). The cure: “Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made you free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (5:1). He concluded his letter by praying: “Thegrace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (6:18).
Where grace is concerned, are we more like the Galatians who originally “ran well” or like those who were “hindered … from obeying the truth” (5:7)? This month’s Features can help us answer this important question.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org