“Freedom in Christ” is the theme of this great New Testament letter by the apostle Paul. Grace Life of Senatobia begins with this important book by emphasizing that salvation is in Christ and in Him alone. Paul had to deal with the influence of the Judaizers, a group of false teachers who had influenced the Galatian believers to the point that they were moving away from the Gospel of Grace. The book has six chapters and can be outlined in this way: Chapters 1-2: Paul’s personal defense, Chapters 3-4: Doctrinal correction, Chapters 5-6, Practical application. Each sermon link is in blue.
Paul’s personal defense begins in Galatians 1:1-10, where he expresses his shock that the Galatian Christians were so quickly deserting the Gospel, by listening to the Judaizers. This group had led these believers away from the Gospel of Grace into a “works based” righteousness. He states that his goal is not to be a man-pleaser but a servant of Christ.
In Galatians 1:11-24, the apostle shares his testimony of conversion. He shares with the church at Galatia that he received his message and mission from God and not from man and thankfully, Jesus still changes lives today. While he did not received his message from man, Paul makes the point that his message was confirmed.
In Galatians 2:1-10, he states that his message was consistent with the other apostles and that he was confirmed by Peter, James and John. . They agreed that he was preaching to the gentiles the same message that they had been preaching, a message of Grace.
Christians should never start a fight, but they must always be willing to fight if the Gospel is at stake. Paul confronted Peter because he sided with the Judaizers. Galatians 2:11-21 shows that when the Gospel is threatened with legalism, Christians must be confrontational, not for controversy’s sake but for the good of souls and the glory of God.
Martin Luther, the protestant reformer said that “The church stands or falls on the issue of Justification.” In Galatians 3:1-14, Paul defends Justification, an issue in which there can be no compromise. People are declared righteous by trusting Christ alone and not through any of their works.
People see their need for the Savior by realizing that they have broken God’s moral law. Galatians 3:15-29 makes it clear that the law is the “tutor” or the “school master” that leads us to Christ. God gave the law to show us our desperate need for a Savior. Galatians 3:15-29 teaches that we are all lawbreakers and need to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness.
Christians have been adopted into God’s family and can now call God “abba” father. This intimate relationship is a privilege only for believers. Galatians 4:1-20 describes this incredible privilege.
In Galatians 4:21-31, Paul contrasts law and grace. There are two covenants. Paul uses the two sons of Abraham as a spiritual analogy. Ismael represents the efforts of the flesh. Isaac represents Grace through a promise. One is self-righteousness and the other is God’s righteousness. Paul makes the point that self-righteous, religious people persecute the true church today.
In Galatians 5:1-15 Paul uses analogies of running a race and leaven and dough to make the point that legalism is a dangerous threat to the church. He shocks us with his strong words (v. 12) in an attempt to wake us up to the danger of false doctrine. He points out that our freedom is not to indulge our flesh but to serve one another in love.
The acts of the sinful nature and the fruit of the spirit are contrasted in this passage. In Galatians 5:16-26, Paul urges believers to Walk in the Spirit and then we will not satisfy the lusts of the flesh.
In Galatians 6:1-10, believers are taught to bear one another’s burdens. When a believer is “caught in a trespass” other believers are to come alongside and restore in a spirit of gentleness.
“Boasting in the cross of Christ” is the triumphal note to end this great letter. Galatians 6:11-18 completes this great letter by contrasting man’s effort with God’s grace in Christ.