“Paul, an apostle– not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ
and God the Father, who raised him from the dead–
and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia”
Galatians 1:1-2

A new year brings a new study. But why Galatians? It’s an odd little book really, somewhat unique among the letters of Paul. Unlike the rest of Paul’s letters where he usually begins with praise and encouragement, in Galatians he gives only the briefest of introductions before jumping right in to rebuke and confrontation, saying in v 6 that he is astonished to see how quickly they have turned away from Christ to a “different gospel!” And that is Paul’s concern, that the believers in Galatia have stepped away from the purity of the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone to embrace a different message based on human confidence in doing what is right and obeying a system of religious rules.

Galatians matters because the Gospel matters! And just like the people of Galatia, we are in danger of losing our grip on the simple yet essential truths of gospel every day. For some the temptation is legalism. We substitute man-made rules for faith in Christ and come to believe that if we only perform them well enough, we can earn God’s approval and possibly the applause of others. But Galatians is the antidote to that kind of thinking. As Philip Ryken has said, “Galatians is a letter for recovering Pharisees.” It is also an antidote to our cultural tendency to look inside ourselves for solutions to our problems. We live in an age that says “Look to yourself! Follow your heart! Find your own truth!” But such thinking is spiritually deadly, and toxic to a genuine faith. What we need is to stop looking to ourselves and learn to look up and away to Christ – to see that in Him all we that need has been provided and is ours by faith alone. Galatians, with it’s God-centered message of grace and Christ-glorifying gospel of faith alone can provide that grounding for us. And boy do we need it!

Learning to live by faith alone in Christ in 2024

Pastor Scott