Galatians Bible Study Series (Part 1) – God’s Grace, Our Redemption.

During these next few weeks, I’ll be doing an in-depth study on the Book of Galatians and how from the letter to the people of Galatia; we as Christians today can apply what was said into our everyday lives. 

In the Book of Galatians chapter 1, we see Paul as an apostle of Christ; who describes the grace of God to the Galatians and how; even when he was Saul, hunting down Christians; God’s grace still found him. Within chapter 1, we as Christians can see what it means to be an apostle and disciple of Christ; but also, how, even when we have fallen short of God; His grace still finds us in our darkest moments.

In Romans 3:23-24, Paul writes on how; we as human beings, ALL have fallen short of God’s glory and how; through His grace, we’ve been declared righteous by Jesus through His death and resurrection.

Romans 3:23-24

23. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24. being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…”

This verse is common for us as Christians to memorize so the meaning behind the verses can get lost in our own interpretations. In my opinion, I feel that because we as human beings are born into sin, we feel that we aren’t worthy of the grace that Jesus Christ paid for when He died on the Cross. However, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been declared righteous by God and for the reason; God’s grace has called us “Redeemed.”

We see in the early verses of chapter 1 that Paul identifies himself as an apostle of Christ; but, that he became an apostle for Christ not by men, but by Jesus Christ (referencing Acts 9:6; 15). For me, this shows me that God uses the “apparently” irredeemable to bring His message to His wayward children.

“… God uses the “apparently” irredeemable to bring His message to His wayward children.”

In Galatians 1 verses 3-4, Paul writes to the Galatians saying, “3. Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4. who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age…” In verse 3, we see that Paul says, “Grace to you” but what does the word “Grace” mean?

Grace comes from the Greek word “charis”, meaning “lovingkindness”; showing us as human beings and as Christians the lovingkindness of our Savior despite our sins. So, as Christians, how can we apply and show the grace or lovingkindness of God to the people we interact with?

Charles Spurgeon said, “We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.

Later, in several verses; we see Paul confront the people of Galatia; who were turning to a “different gospel” and were listening to a false teaching and perverse narrative of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul even says in verse 6-7, “6. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7. which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

I think these verses should speak to us as Christians today, because as newborn Christians who know the truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ; we should stand firm in that belief and if anyone tells us something contrary; it’s false because Jesus even speaks on the concept of false teaching in Matthew 7:15-16; 18-20.

Matthew 7:15-16 says, “15. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?”

We see in Matthew that Jesus warns us about false teaching; which gets us back to Galatians 1 because the people of Galatia were being taught that by following the Jewish Law of Moses, they would be able to justify their works on their own abilities instead of faith Christ.

What I like about verses 6-7 of Galatians is that it could point a mirror how we as Christians could be persuaded by false teaching. There is only ONE true Gospel and that is the Gospel of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His redemption of humankind.

It’s because of God’s grace that we have been saved through faith and not by our own strength because then the praise wouldn’t go to the Lord; but to ourselves (see Eph. 2:8-9 NKJV.)

A.W. Tozer put it this way, “The Cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that the only light of His love remains for believers.

The Cross is the beginning of our redemption in Jesus Christ. When we begin to believe that Jesus Christ not only died for our sin but that it’s because of His Grace that we’ve been forgiven for our sins. As Paul continues to write to the Galatians; we see him acknowledge that the Gospel of Christ that he preaches isn’t a man-made doctrine, but one that was revealed to Him through Jesus Christ.

Paul writes in verse 11-12 of Galatians chapter 1 saying, “11. But I make known to you brethren, that the gospel which was preached to me is not according to man. 12. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

What I really liked about the verses was that it reminded us of Paul’s former task of hunting down Christians before His conversion to Christianity and that; the Holy Spirit is the One who brings revelation through Scriptures. While we might be able to understand the Scripture for ourselves, it’s the Holy Spirit that really gives us the revelation of the Word of God.

Also, it should be a reminder to us as Christians today that; the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings revelation through the Holy Spirit, but it’s only when we decide to open God’s Word and ask for guidance in Scripture that we can receive the revelation of the passages we’re reading.

We see him further acknowledge of receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ by revelation when he recounts his former life as Saul and how he would hunt down Christians, but it’s what Paul said in verse 15 that really stuck out to me while reading the chapter. In verse 15, it says, “15. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…”

What I really liked about this verse is because like Paul; it’s only when it’s God’s time that He begins to separate us from who we initially were and it’s all because of His grace. Also, in my opinion, Paul was also saying that it was because of God that he was separated from the ideals of Judaism that he grew up with towards the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Grace does not choose a man and leave him as he is.

One of the things I like about this verse and the story behind it is that it also raised a question for me: What is God separating me from because of His grace towards me?” As chapter 1 ends, Paul writes how he returned to Damascus and this raised another question for me: Why was Paul going back to Damascus?

While re-reading the chapter; I came to the realization that the reason Paul was going back to Damascus was that it was the place where God met Saul where he was and turned his mission of destruction into a lifelong mission of redemption for the Gentiles. Likewise, God is meeting us where we lost our way so that He can bring us back to Him and direct us towards the purpose that He has called us.

In the end, though, God’s grace is unstoppable in its pursuit of us. As Israel Houghton’s song “Chasing Me Down” says, “Your grace is chasing me down… I can’t outrun your grace.” We as Christians and as people have to remember that it was because of His grace that we are redeemed through the sacrifice that Jesus paid when He died on the Cross.

As new creations in Christ, like Paul; we are to be willing to go out into the world and tell others about the grace of God that they have access too; if they believe that Jesus Christ died for them and trust in the Lord.

So, What does grace mean to you?

How can we apply and show the grace or lovingkindness of God to the people we interact with?

What is God separating me from because of His grace towards me?

I pray that something was said in this post that uplifts, encourages, inspires, and impacts your life. Stay Tuned because next week we will be continuing this series on the Book of Galatians.

 

God’s Blessings,

Joshua Reid

 

References

“Israel & New Breed – Chasing Me Down ft. Tye Tribbett”. YouTube, uploaded by IsraelNewBreedVEVO, 3 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubd3-OcUQ3c . Accessed 25 May 2018.

Spurgeon, Charles. “We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.”, http://www.azquotes.com/quote/798423 . Accessed 25 May 2018.

Tozer, A.W. “The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.”, https://www.christianquotes.info/top-quotes/16-awesome-quotes-about-easter/ . Accessed 25 May 2018.

 

Picture References

Author Unknown. “Galatians 1:15”, http://biblepic.com/galatians/1-15.htm#.WwiGaUgvzIV . Accessed 25 May 2018.

Author Unknown. “Matthew 7:15”, https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-7-15_Inspirational_Image/ . Accessed 25 May 2018.

Author Unknown. “Romans 3:23-24”, https://media.harpercollinschristian.com/email/nkjv-votd/13-Apr . Accessed 25 May 2018.

Cobb, Harry. “Galatians 1:3-5”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/10691432/ . modified over 1 year ago, Accessed 25 May 2018.

Garrett, Blaze. “Galatians 1:2-12”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/7030431/ . modified over 2 years ago, Accessed 25 May 2018.

Photo by Mike Dennler on Unsplash

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31 thoughts on “Galatians Bible Study Series (Part 1) – God’s Grace, Our Redemption.

  1. This is excellent, Joshua!

    Last semester for school I had to complete an in-depth study of the book of Galatians. I definitely found a new love for the book and found all that you said here to be extremely accurate! I also like how detailed you are in this blog post and how you dissect each little aspect of the verse (which, especially for a new Christian, is excellent!).

    I thought what you said here was pretty profound: “God is meeting us where we lost our way so that He can bring us back to Him and direct us towards the purpose that He has called us.” YES! This is so beautifully put.

    Overall, I thought this was a solid start to your series exploring the book of Galatians! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Faye and that’s great that you did a study on the Book of Galatians last semester.

      I’m only on chapter 4 but so far, I’ve learned so much about God’s grace and how we as Christians are to defend the Gospel from reading about Paul’s interactions with the people of Galatia.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “What is God separating me from because of His grace towards me?” ”
    What an excellent question to ask! I fully relate to the idea in this post that God uses our past mistakes to bring future blessings. He is a creative God who can find and make beauty from all things.
    So many wonderful things to consider in this post! I find Paul very relatable and always love to gain more insight on his life.
    God bless, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know I tend to say this in a lot of posts, but seriously, well done! I know you are going to do a great job with this post series! Almost all of the New Testament books I can’t get enough of and Galatians is one of them. (Now, if only I felt the same about some Old Testament books, but alas.)
    I totally see how God continues to inspire me with His Spirit as I read and discover new things of His word. I see how He changes my perspective of things of this world and turn it over to things of Him.
    I am going to have this post in the community spotlight for June, it will come out at the end of the month.

    Like

    • Thank you so much T.R. for your comment. I agree with you in can’t getting enough from reading the books of the New Testament with me feeling uneasy about reading the Old Testament.

      I like when you said, “I totally see how God continues to inspire me with His Spirit as I read and discover new things of His word. I see how He changes my perspective of things of this world and turn it over to things of Him.” That is what God does. He continues to inspire us and give us understanding of the Scripture(s) we are reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is absolutely awesome!! . For me grace means a second chance, pardon and lovingkindness. We apply it to our lives by accepting, appreciating God for it and consciously living it on a daily basis. Paul said our words should be with grace. We should interact gracefully with people, show them kindness and love. God is separating me from the old man, i.e.the old way of life by constantly renewing our mind through His word.

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment, Dynaxty. I like when you said in your comment, “… grace means a second chance, pardon and lovingkindness.”

      I agree with you that Christ is separating us from the old man by constantly renewing our mind through His Word.

      Like

  5. Love this, Joshua: “God’s grace is unstoppable in its pursuit of us.” That is so true! I relate to Paul in so many ways, in how God pursued me and drew me to Him even before I knew Him and showered grace on me, despite my horrid past. Like Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:16 “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” God is so gracious! Like you said, “… God uses the “apparently” irredeemable to bring His message to His wayward children.” I, for one, am so thankful! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the comment, Mia.

      I like when you said, “God pursued me and drew me to Him even before I knew Him and showered grace on me, despite my horrid past. ” because I’m pretty sure a lot of Christians can relate to Paul and his past; even when we were in sin, God’s love still finds us.

      Liked by 1 person

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