Saturday, January 01, 2011

Galatians Study - FREEDOM in Christ - Introduction

We are in 2011 and as promised we start our study of Galatians.

Also, we ask that everyone be kind and loving to each others comments. I personally will not allow bashing or arguing. If you find at anytimeyou don't agree or like the group you can always leave. We do want productive hungry Christians sharing their insights on the passages. Thanks!

We will not be rushing through it. We will likely do a lesson a week.

You may read and comment throughout the week. Comments on Facebook group will be the main place to converse.
Group there is: Galatians Study - FREEDOM in Christ

Let's get started with our Introduction to Galatians.
This Galatians study is titled, "Break Free."

The letter begins with a greeting (Galatians 1:1-5), which notably lacks Paul's usual thanksgiving for the letter’s recipients. No beating around the bush, Paul was upset and concerned, he wanted to get directly to the problem at hand.

AUTHOR: Paul the apostle is clearly stated as the author in the very first verse of the letter (1:1; 5:2).

WRITTEN TO: The churches of the Roman Providence - Galatia. Believed to be addressed to 4 churches (Acts 13 & 14) Iconium, Antioch, Lystra, Derbe.

NOTE: Paul had started this young church in Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey). Thus, Paul communicates in no uncertain terms that Christianity, with its emphasis on faith and grace in Christ, is opposed to religion which approaches God based on good works. Paul argues strongly in this letter that there is nothing that can be added to Jesus' sacrifice for our sin, not circumcision or any other external religious forms. The gospel, according to Paul, means faith in Jesus Christ plus nothing.

DATE WRITTEN: Galatians was written in 48-49 AD just before the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) at the time of this crisis, one of (if not) the earliest writing in the New Testament.

PURPOSE: To deal with the problem of churches departing from the Gospel of GRACE (they start well), embracing a FALSE gospel, and accepting a counterfeit gospel of Works and Ceremony and Law.

We named this Galatians study, "Break Free" as the theme is FREEDOM. Paul uses the word FREEDOM 28 times in the Pauline Epistles 10 times in this Epistle to the Galatians. Paul uses the word grace 100 times in his writings. Among all the other writers of the New Testament, it is only used 55 times. Paul was truly the apostle of grace. They had started well and then got away from the foundational truth of Faith and God's Grace as the only way to salvation and started to add works to it. We'll get into that in much more detail in the coming weeks.

OCCASION: Word had reached Paul that the Galatian Christians were falling away from the true Gospel of grace which he had preached, and were turning to a legalistic system of merit salvation (1:6-9). He wrote to correct this error which was introduced by false teachers.

The great reformer Martin Luther especially loved this letter; he called Galatians his “Catherine ” because, he said, “I am married to it.”

As we close our introduction to Galatians, have you started out right (Faith alone, Grace alone) and are now trying to perfect yourself by doing works? If so, this study will set you free. If not, I still believe you will learn a lot from this series.

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Next we will start with Galatians 1:1... (invite other to join us). :-)