SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The book of Galatians is also written by Paul. It was written for churches in Galatia, which is now modern-day Turkey. Paul's letter is full of anger. Why? Unlike the Corinthians who were wild and worldly, the Galatians were the exact opposite. They adhered to their strict Jewish heritage and every tradition. They were more concerned with festivals and circumcision then faith in Christ. They had gone as far as looking down on uncircumcised believers as beneath them. He could see that they were forgetting about grace and trusting in their own human effort to get to God. This letter addresses all of those concerns in a very firm tone.
- Paul immediately raises concerns that they have deserted God's grace for another message. The message or "different gospel" he is referring to is Jewish law. Their strict adherence to the law was like saying "Believing in Jesus is cool, but our laws are even better." He understood that these thoughts and practices devalued what Christ had done. He reminds them that grace is not man made, but from God himself.
- Paul closes the chapter by sharing his personal life journey. This is significant because he could directly relate to them. Before finding Jesus, Paul was one of the most zealous, law-abiding Jews in the country. He believed so strongly in tradition that he was responsible for the persecution and death of many Christians. But when Paul met Jesus on the way to Damascus everything changed. As a result of his previous life before Jesus, he truly understood the dangers of living by the letter of the law and he knew he had to warn Galatia.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- The message of Jesus is a message of grace. We are saved by God's grace only.When we mix our faith with a list of do's and don'ts, rules and regulations, we are believing a man made lie that is not from God at all.
- Teaching and believing the true gospel is critically important. A twisted gospel is no gospel at all.
- Paul was able to effectively share his personal story of God with others. His story was relatable to the listener. We should be able to do the same.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Have you accepted a life with Jesus? If so, what man made lie are you buying? Do you ever think his grace isn't enough for what you've done? This kind of thinking is wrong and not from God. God's grace covers all that you've done or will ever do. Believe in that and not the false message that you can ever work hard enough or be good enough to enter heaven, because you can't. It is by grace alone that we are saved.
- In what ways does your autobiography show that God exists? In what ways was God active in your life before you even realized it? In what ways has God shown you His personal care and provision, and used your life for His purposes?
- How have you been able to share what God has done in your life with others? Who could you share your personal experience of God with this week? How could it encourage them or help them to take another step closer to God?