Paul addresses the Galatians in chapter one, beginning by establishing his authority as an apostle “not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.” We can infer, as has been the case elsewhere, that some had called his status as an apostle into question. It is clear from his writing that there were some that were teaching false doctrine, as he begins this chapter with a rebuke to them. He couldn’t have said it any plainer or stronger: “…even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”
The words are just as relevant to us today. There are still false prophets. One need only surf the television channels for a short time to find one. There are those who preach health and wealth and almost anything that the gospel does not teach, sometimes throwing in a bit of the truth for good measure. We must guard against believing what we wish to be true preached by man and coming only from man.
In defending his apostleship, he begins a narrative of his conversion from a persecutor of the very church he now served — which he continues in chapter 2. He even speaks of his confrontation with Peter in Galatians 2:11-14 over Peter “pulling back” from the Gentiles because he feared the circumcision party.
In verses 15-21, we learn that it is members of that party that must have been causing the strife in Galatia, which is, of course, the reason for his narrative. He wanted to reassure them of the gospel, and that they were not under the old law, as those teachers were trying to make them believe. He tells them “through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.