Why Am I Saved?
What Does That Mean?
A Study of Galatians
by David Chadwell
AN OVERVIEW OF THE LETTER OF GALATIANS
- Paul's introduction to his letter (1:1-5).
- From: Paul, an apostle appointed by God.
- To: the congregations in the Roman province of Galatia.
- The essential accomplishment and purpose of Jesus Christ is confirmed.
- Paul's amazement and concern (1:6-10).
- He was amazed that they left the grace of Christ.
- The good news of Christ's grace was the only message that could save them.
- Paul listed the evidences documenting as fact that his message of the good
news came from Christ.
- Before becoming a Christian, he a leading persecutor of Christians (1:11-17).
- Obviously, no one would teach the persecutor about Christ.
- His Christian message came directly from Jesus after conversion.
- He did not visit Jerusalem for three years after his conversion (1:18-24);
[obviously the Christian leaders in Jerusalem did not teach him after conversion].
- On that visit, he visited with Peter and James only.
- He was there only 15 days.
- The Christians in Judea did not know him.
- Fourteen years later, he made a second trip to Jerusalem with Barnabas and
- Titus, a Christian who was not a Jew, was not asked to be circumcised.
- The apostles in Jerusalem acknowledged that Christ sent Paul to teach
people who were not Jews.
- Later, when Peter visited with Christians who were not Jews in Antioch, he
stopped associating with them (2:11-21).
- Paul condemned Peter to his face for doing this.
- Paul showed the inconsistency of Peter's behavior.
- Justification is produced through faith in Christ, by through following the
instructions of the law.
- Paul, the expert in the law, declared, "I died with Christ; Christ lives in me."
- Paul examined their thinking and understanding.
- "Who bewitched you [charmed you out of your senses; mesmerized you]
- "Every spiritual blessing you received came through the work of the Spirit,
not through the message of the law."
- "God regarded Abraham, the forefather of the Jews, to be a righteous man
because of his faith."
- "The person who is not a Jew but who has faith in Christ is Abraham's son"
[faith, not circumcision, makes a person who is not a Jew a descendant of
- "The law placed people under a curse; Jesus rescues people from that
- The common, understood realities of a covenant agreement (3:15-22).
- The conditions within a covenant agreement cannot be altered; the covenant
must be completed as agreed.
- God made the covenant agreement [that included the promises] with
Abraham hundreds of years before the law was given to the Jews.
- That agreement, which could not be changed, was for the Christ to come.
- The blessing God promised came as a result of God's covenant with
Abraham; therefore the promise came through Christ, not through the law.
- If they left Christ and turned to the law, they left the blessing.
- When Christ came, the intended purpose of the law ended.
- Now people are God's children because they have faith in Christ.
- To God, there are no preferred people any longer; anyone who believes in
Jesus is Abraham's descendant.
- Paul's insightful understandings.
- A young child is not a slave, but he is under a guardian (4:1-7).
- The law (the Jewish law; the law of Moses) served as a guardian until Christ
- Christ came to release the Jews from the guardian and to adopt people who
were not Jews--both can be true sons of Abraham, children of the promise,
and sons of God.
- Christians who were not Jews were slaves to idols before conversion to Christ
- Paul feared that they were thinking like slaves again.
- "I am not your enemy; see me for who I am in my relationship with you--the
one who dearly loves you."
- Their decision to accept the teaching of Christians who demanded that they
obey the law confused and bewildered Paul.
- The allegory of Sarah and her son Isaac and Hagar and her son Ishmael
- Those two sons represented two covenants, one temporary and one eternal.
- Hagar and Ishmael represented God's covenant with the nation of Israel
established through the law of Moses [given only to Israel].
- It represented the Jews who clung to the law and rejected Christ.
- The law of Moses was the temporary agreement.
- Sarah and Isaac represented the God's covenant with all people established
- "If you people who are not Jews agree to the Jewish rite of circumcision, you
reject Christ's freedom and return to slavery (5:1-26)."
- "If you use your freedom to love and serve each other, you do not have to
worry about obeying the Jewish law--loving each other fulfills that law."
- "Refuse to allow your lives to be controlled by the appetites and desires of
your physical body."
- "Live your life each day in the Spirit bearing its fruit (love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).
- Closing instructions and encouragement (6:1-18).
- Help the Christian who has made a mistake that can destroy him
- Remember the law of the harvest and live with the awareness of that law.
- I was so concerned that I wrote this letter instead of dictating it.
- Those Jewish Christians who demand that you accept Jewish teachings
have their own selfish, private agenda.
- To the Christian, there is one supreme reality: the all important, essential
death of Jesus Christ.
- Closing statement.
OVERVIEW OF GALATIANS:
- Paul was astounded that they left the grace of Jesus Christ for Jewish law.
- He listed the evidences which verified that his message came from Jesus.
- He challenged them to understand:
- Every spiritual blessing they had came through the Spirit.
- God's covenant promises were not received through the law.
- The law's intended purposes were completed when Christ came.
- He challenged them to think.
- The law was only a guardian that served until Christ came.
- Non-Jewish people who trusted Christ were the true children of Abraham.
- Accepting the Jewish rite of circumcision made them slaves again.
- Closing instructions:
- Rescue the Christian who made a mistake.
- Live in the awareness of the law of the harvest.
- The supreme spiritual reality is the death of Jesus Christ.
Galatians Study Guide (part 2)
Wednesday evening Bible class, 14 January - 3 June 1998
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Copyright © 1998
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