Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Overview of Galatians Part 1

These are my notes from a recent message I taught at Calvary Chapel Cherry Creek for a men's prayer breakfast. If you want to listen click here.

I love Galatians because it draws a clear distinction between trying to be good for God and just accepting that you're not good and that He has done everything necessary to make us right with Him. I think that a vast majority of Christians in practice are living trying to be good Christians and spending all this effort figuring out what the right things to do are that they miss out on the real power that comes with completely surrendering and accepting that you can never be good.

My style for covering the book was to just hit a few key areas because I believe that Galatians is exceptionally directed at teaching the same message throughout. I'm not saying that it isn't essential to study everything in there (God doesn't waste words), but it makes it an attainable goal to try and convey the overall message of the book by digging into a few passages. I hope this message is encouraging, and maybe even helps you understand some important things a little better.  

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:6-9

Whenever something sounds a little confusing, to me it means that there's something very valuable under the surface. Here it sounds confusing when Paul says " a different gospel, which is not another." If you do a quick study of the Greek you find that the word for "different" is heteros, which translated means "another" or "separate". This can be verified by looking up some of the other places it is used in the NT. It is used to designate a completely separate or mutually exclusive path. The word in verse 7 for "another" is the Greek word allos which means "additional". The idea is that the people of Galatia were being taught by who Paul called "the Judaizers" who were teaching that in addition to a profession of faith, they had to be circumcised and follow other Jewish traditions in order to be saved. What Paul is saying is that what the Galatian believers thought was simply additional actions within the same Gospel was actually not the gospel but something completely separate. The idea that we need to do things in addition to what Christ has already done is not only inaccurate, it's a completely different and mutually exclusive way to approach God than the one true Gospel.
(Note that in the recorded teaching I reversed the Greek root words)

In verse 8 and 9, it repeats the same Greek phrase twice which is translated "preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached" and "preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received" which is euaggelizō para euaggelizō. This literally means gospel beside/next to gospel in a geospatial kind of way. They're not in line, not pointed the same direction. 
One thing that may jump out as strange is that Paul specifically warns of an angel of light bringing a different gospel. Satan is our accuser and condemner who is known as angel of light and has continually pushed a different but similar gospel from the very beginning. See Isaiah 14:12-15 and Gen 3:1-5. Also interesting is that Joseph Smith who founded Mormanism received a vision from the angel Moroni. The islamic prophet Muhammed received a vision from the angel Gabriel. Mary Baker Eddy who founded Scientology heard an angelic voice calling her name. All of these profess to worship the one true God and all profess to have begun from a special revelation from and angel in addition to what the Bible teaches, but none of them have additional information about the truth. They are completely separate from anything that Biblical Christianity teaches. It's important to know that these lies are continuing to be told and that people have and will continue bringing forward "new revelations" in addition to the Bible, but we have been warned they are coming. The only truth is what we already have because God never changes (Heb 13:8) and His Word never changes (Mat 24:35). 

The original lie and subsequent lies including what Paul was warning the Galatians of was a false gospel of condemnation, trying to put the burden of sin and deciding what was right and wrong on people. Many people may have a wrong understanding of God, that He has set forth all these rules and regulations for us to follow, and if we don't He's ready to condemn us for messing up. 
Here's the truth.

For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son. John 5:22   

God defers judgment to Jesus.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:17

In addition to these, we see in John 8 an example of God's grace and the true Gospel in Jesus Christ colliding with the gospel of men.
If God defers judgment to Jesus, and Jesus doesn't condemn, who does that leave to do the condemning? Us.
We chose back in Genesis 3 that we wanted to be the judges of what was right and wrong. What we have really done is judged God's grace and the sacrifice of Jesus not to be enough. Jesus says in John 5:45 that the accuser is Moses, not that Moses was an accuser, but the people chose to make their relationship with God about how well they followed the law, and I'll explain later how everybody from both the OT and NT and now are made right with God not by any works or laws but by belief alone. Jesus lays out a choice in Matthew 7:1,2 between condemnation and grace.
Paul finishes this thought in Galatians 1:10 by saying that he doesn't care about pleasing people. Even good people usually require some sort of action or reciprocation of friendship and love, but only God's love is truly unconditional and free of condemnation.

No comments:

Post a Comment