“Grace declared and defined”
In span of 30 years that made up Paul’s conversion outside of Damascus and his imprisonment in Rome, he traveled through the Roman empire as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. This included three famous missionary journeys where he preached the gospel and planted churches and then returned to check on them as well as wrote letters that now make up our bibles. Many believe that the earliest letter that he wrote was Galatians somewhere around 48 AD. It is address to a people originally from Gaul (present day France) that migrated south, to present-day Turkey. Julius Caesar said of the Galatians that they “Were, fickle, fond of change, and not to be trusted.” Something if you have read the account of Luke in Acts 14 Paul could no doubt personally attest too. Not only were they fickle before they were believers they were fickle afterward as Paul is now addressing those who “having begun in the Spirit were now believing they could be perfected by the works of the flesh” (3:3). To counter this in 1:1-5 Paul states three things about him in the first 5 verses:
- Vs. 1-2 His ministry: “not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ.”
- Vs. 2-4 His message: His message was and would always by about a person—Jesus Christ.
- Vs. 5 His motive: “To whom be glory forever and ever”. The false teachers were after the praise of man Paul was seeking people to praise God.
There will always be those opposed to the simplicity of the Gospel according to grace. You can always recognize them despite their many forms because they major in the “Three R’s of religion”: Rules, Regulations and Rituals! They follow a three-prong attack which can be easily seen in the outline of Paul’s defense in this letter.
- 1:10-2:21 First line of attack is aimed at the messenger: Thus, Paul is forced to defend his right to speak the message.
- 3:1-4:31 Second line of attack is aimed at the message: Thus, defends the truth of the message, practically, logically, historically then compares what the false teachers taught next to what he taught.
- 5:1-6:10 Third line of attack is aimed at what they believe disproves the message: Thus, Paul responds by demonstrating what grace looks like in everyday life.
Dear saints, we don’t need to defend our relationship with Jesus as that is what religion does. What we need to do is out live, out love and out last those who seek to criticize our relationship with Jesus.
This has been Pastor Dale, Blessings!