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Rescued From This Present Evil Age

I’m excited to share a new series with you over the next few months.  I have the privilege each summer to preach in a campground ministry.  I will be sharing with you basically what my message will be each week.

Today I am preaching Galatians 1:1-5.  In the way of introduction, Paul has a problem.  The churches of Galatia that he has founded are being led astray by false teachers called Judaizers.  They have entered these churches and added the Law to the Gospel.  They are telling these people that grace is not enough, but works must be added to receive salvation.  Word has gotten back to Paul and he writes this letter.  Nothing less that the integrity of what he has proclaimed to them is at stake: the Gospel.

Paul immediately asserts his authority in the opening of this epistle.  We can surmise that Paul himself has been called into question by these Judaizers.  He states that he is an apostle.  Most likely these false teachers have told the Galatians that Paul never witnessed Christ’s ministry or even knew him like the other apostles.  You can almost hear them scream the question: What right does Paul have to be an apostle?

Paul contrasts himself and these teachers immediately.  He says that his being an apostle has nothing to do with any other person on earth.  He says that his apostleship is not from man, nor from any agency of man.  Instead it is through Jesus Christ and God the Father.  Paul is summarizing the fact that Christ appeared to him on the Damascus Road and appointed him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles at that point.  The Judaizers, on the other hand, came stating that they were representatives of James and the apostles back in Jerusalem.

Paul gives a familiar greeting in verse 3.  Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is a typical greeting from Paul, but it seems to pack an even greater punch in the context of the issues he is facing with the Galatians.  In essence, Paul tells the Galatians that the message he brought them, the Gospel he preaches is one of grace.  The false teachers is one of Law.  The Gospel brings peace into your life.  The false Gospel brings turmoil.

Paul continues by summarizing the Gospel.  He writes that Christ gave Himself for our sins.  In five words, Paul reminds the Galatians that Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.  He wants the Galatians to understand that Christ died in their place so that they could have eternal life.  He gets to the heart of the Gospel in that Christ did the work so that they could be right with God.

What is the result of Christ giving himself for their sins?  He did this so that He might rescue us from this present evil age.  The Judaizers brought a message that Christ, along with the Law, delivered the Galatians from their sinful state.  Paul declares that Jesus, with no other help, does this Himself.  He rescues us from the state they were in.  He delivers them into the kingdom of God.  Christ Himself with no help from the Galatians at all.

To further emphasize this, Paul states that Christ does this according to the will of our God and Father.  All of the work that Christ has done.  The Gospel that Paul preaches.  The rescue of everyone that Paul describes.  This is done according to the will of God.  This is His plan.  To alter it in any way to cross the Father Himself.

Finally, Paul states that the Gospel he preaches and the work of Christ is all done for the Father to whom be the glory forevermore.  Paul is stating that his message of grace through the Gospel is one that glorifies God.  The message that is leading the Galatians astray is one that cannot possibly do this because it includes the work of man in it.  Paul’s sole aim in proclaiming the Gospel and founding the churches of Galatia was to glorify God.  What is the aim of the Judaizers?

The question we must ask ourselves is so what?  False teachers abound in today’s world.  Paul’s message is relevant to us as well.  We must keep the Gospel close to our hearts and minds in our lives.  We must measure the words of anyone claiming to represent the Lord by the truths that Paul preached.  Christ has delivered us from the present evil age as well.  We cannot afford to be led astray by false teachers and doctrine.  We must seek to glorify God in all we do.

  1. May 5, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Nicely done Larry. So relevant to today’s life. i look forward to the rest.

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