SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The book of Galatians is written by the Apostle 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 (the recipients of Paul's previous letter in the Bible) who were wild and worldly, the Galatians were the opposite. They adhered to their strict Jewish heritage and every tradition and elevated it above their faith in Jesus. They even looked down on uncircumcised believers (Christians who were not formerly Jewish like them) as beneath them. Paul could see that they were forgetting about grace and were 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. It was significant because he could relate to them. Before finding Jesus, Paul was a zealous, law-abiding Jew. He believed so strongly in Jewish 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.
- The message of Jesus is a message of grace. We are saved by God's grace only. Grace means to get not what we deserve, but the opposite of what we deserve. 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.
- Have you accepted a life with Jesus? If so, what man made lie are you tempted to buy? For instance, do you ever think his grace isn't enough to cover all your sin? 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 never be good enough for God, or that you have to add good works to your faith in Jesus. 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?