The Book of Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul about a.d. 58. The people of Ancient Gaul, now known as France, founded the nation called Galatia. These war-like tribes had migrated across Europe into Asia Minor several centuries before the Christian era. The word Galatia means, "the coming of the Gauls." About a quarter of a century before Christ was born, the Romans made Galatia a part of one of their larger provinces, and called the entire area Galatia. Paul had founded the churches at Galatia about a.d. 45-48. He had then revisited these churches on his second missionary journey about a.d. 50, and again on his third missionary journey about a.d. 54. Paul's work had been extremely successful in Galatia, and great multitudes, mostly Gentiles, had accepted Christ. Some time after Paul left, certain Jewish teachers began teaching that the Gentiles could not be Christians without keeping the Law of Moses. Many of these Galatian Christians gave heed to these teachings and were confused concerning law and grace. Paul's writings to these churches were to straighten out the Christians on these things.
In chapters 1 and 2 the key word is "Gospel." It is found ten times in these few verses. Paul is striving to show that his calling came directly from Christ and not from men. Paul was not preaching a second-hand Gospel, but a first-hand message directly from the Lord.
In chapter 1:6-10 Paul seems to be very disturbed that the Christians were so quickly removed from the teachings he had brought to them. They had received the Gospel so enthusiastically, and now false teachers had come to their cities and they had also believed them. Paul explains in verse 7 that there are people who will trouble you and pervert the Gospel of Christ. In verse 8 he says that anyone who would preach any Gospel other than the Gospel he preached, should be accursed. Paul repeats that statement in verse 9.
Today, in our churches, we have similar problems with the perversion of the Gospel. We have many people who are preaching only a partial Gospel, and combining works, grace, and many false doctrines. God's Word to them, as to the Galatians, is to let them be accursed. The grace of God, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation. Chapter 2:16 again explains that man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. How foolish it is for anyone to believe that he can be good enough to go to heaven without receiving Christ.
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