You foolish Galatians! I had been a Christian about 10 years when I “found” this passage in Galatians 3. It read “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” And my answer was “Yes, isn’t that what I am supposed to do – try harder and do more? God saved me by His grace and I recognized there was nothing I could do to earn his favor but I was working so hard to please Him in my Christian life – I wanted to pray more, study the Bible more, serve more and honestly, I became worn out by striving to do all the things I thought I needed to do make myself into the person I thought God wanted me to be. Then I read this verse and how freeing it was to realize that just as I received salvation by faith, I would also be sanctified by faith. Hallelujah! It did not depend on my efforts and this was good news because I could never get it right!
Read Galatians 3. What made Abraham righteous (3:6)? You can see the whole account in Genesis 15. Some people will claim the in the Old Testament, before Jesus, people were made righteous by works of the Law. What do you see from this section? What observations did you make about the law and faith, promise and covenant from this chapter? What was the purpose of the law (verses 19,24)? What is now true of us (26,27,28,29)?
Since this is a long chapter with many subjects, share as the Spirit guided your study and any insights or applications you want to post.
The power of the gospel was exploding in Asia but what were the essentials and what was part of tradition that was not crucial to becoming a believer? What was mandatory and what was optional? Read Galatians Chapter 2. I think the theme of Galatians was stated in verse 16, “A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
What was one thing all churches were asked to do? (verse 10) Do churches prioritize this today?
In reading Acts 15 and Galatians 2, we observed a both a large-scale controversy in the church and a personal confrontation with Paul and Cephas (Peter). What applications did you learn about conflict resolution and compromise?
Galatians 2:20 is a well-loved and memorized verse. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.” Restate/paraphrase this as your own personal affirmation.
For example (obviously my statement is not as poetic/powerful as Paul’s)… Jesus is ruling from the “control tower” of my life. I no longer make by own choices but let Him decide what is best. I have laid down my desires and asked him to direct me in his ways and purposes. He proved his love by pouring out his life for me so I choose to trust him for every detail of my today, tomorrows, and eternity.
Read Galatians Chapter 1. What do you notice about the tone of this letter compared to the letter we just studied (Philippians)? What seems to have inspired Paul to write this letter?
What promise do we receive in verse 4 and what does that mean?
Certain men called the Judiazers had come to the Galatians presenting a “different” gospel. They claimed that although a man was saved by faith in Jesus, salvation and sanctification were maintained by keeping the Law. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we see how he responds both to the Judiazers and another group called the Anti-nomians who taught that the Law is not important and it does not matter how one behaves. Galatians primarily addresses those who say the church must maintain the works of the law. If we think that those presenting a “different” gospel only existed in the first century of the church, consider the controversy with “legalists” and “hyper-grace” Today, we continue to see books and hear messages that distort the true gospel so Paul’s message to us is as timely as it was in 50A.D.
As we study these 6 chapters, examine your life to see if you are living under grace or under the law.? We will be talking about how we can subtly slip back into relating to God and others based on law instead of grace. I don’t have many questions from chapter 1 so you can comment on however the Lord led your study.
Now, we will begin to examine Galatians which was written in approximately 49 A.D. which was about twelve years before Philippians. Before we move into chapter 1, let’s look at the church during this period of history.
Read Acts 1:6-12. Just before He ascended, what did Jesus say would happen?
Read Acts 8:1:,5,12 Acts 11:19-26, Acts 13:1-3, Acts 14:1-22. Note: Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe are the the southern region of Galatia. Where is the Gospel being proclaimed?
Romans 1:16 says ” For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Do you see anything that relates to this in Acts?
Cross-referencing Galatians 2:1. I believe the epistle to the Galatians was written shortly after the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. Read Acts 15. What was the problem and the outcome? What was the essence of the letter sent out to the churches?
Again, always feel free to comment on anything you learn even if there is not a question.