Talks for Growing Christians
Galatian Churches Denounced for Distorting the Gospel
Lesson Number 1
- Only a gospel that is Christ-centered will save you.
- Only a gospel that is Bible-based will save you.
- Don’t preach to please people.
- Briefly outline the salutation of the letter to the Galatians.
- What was the source of Paul’s apostleship?
- Why was it important that Paul stated the source of his apostleship?
- Who were the Judaizers? What were they teaching?
- How did the apostle Paul respond to this false teaching?
- Galatians 1:4 is a summary of the gospel. Name the “who” of this verse.
- Salutation to the letter: Galatians
1:1 – the writer of the letter is the apostle Paul
1:2 – the recipients of the letter are the churches of Galatia
1:3 – the greeting of the letter
- Jesus Christ and God the Father
- It was important for the Galatians to understand that Paul’s apostleship came from Jesus Christ and God because the Judaizers were trying to undermine Paul’s authority.
- The Judaizers were certain Jews who had influenced the Galatian churches. They were teaching that salvation was not through faith in Christ alone, but that one also had to keep the requirements of the Mosaic Law.
- He affirmed that salvation is by God’s grace alone. The work of Christ on the cross saves. Salvation is not by a person’s own work of keeping the law, or of any other good works that he might do.
- The Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who gave Himself for our sins.
- I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.” (Galatians 1:6) Paul was surprised that the Galatians had, in such a relatively short time, turned to a different gospel. The Judaizers were teaching a perversion of the gospel of Christ by faith alone, by mixing in the requirements of the Mosaic Law. They were adding human works to the perfect and finished work of Christ for salvation. Good works have their place in the Christian life, but not for salvation. If you add any works to God’s grace (God’s unmerited favor), it is no longer God’s grace.
Consider distortions to the pure gospel of God’s grace that are prevalent today. Pray for those who are under such teaching, that their eyes may be opened to the one true gospel, salvation by faith in Christ alone.
- “If anyone, even an angel from heaven, preaches any other gospel…let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8) To be accursed (anathema) means to be eternally condemned. This curse is pronounced on anyone who adds to or takes away from or changes in any way, the gospel that was handed down from the apostles.
Review 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 for the gospel preached by the apostles. Notice that there are no requirements of the law or of good works added to this gospel. Check out Ephesians 2:8-9.
- “Do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) Many people do not like to hear that they cannot work their way to heaven because this doesn’t allow for human pride. And some do not like to hear that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. They would rather believe that there are many different ways to heaven. There are those who believe that sincerity is sufficient to become heaven-bound. Such preaching would be appealing and pleasing to most people, but it would not be the truth. Do you want to be a servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10)? Then don’t preach a distorted gospel. Don’t preach to please people. Preach to please God and to honor His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world.
- “The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age…” (Galatians 1:4)
- “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel…” (Galatians 1:6)
- “…there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:7)
- “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)