Galatians 1:1–9

Read the passage.

The book of Galatians was written by Paul the apostle. It says so in the first three words, unlike Hebrews, which we don’t know the author of nor does it really matter who wrote it. For this book, however, Paul is responding to a group of false teachers who are discrediting him to the churches of Galatia. This makes it vitally important to understand who is writing. Thankfully, Paul is very good at putting his name on his own writings, so there is no need to wonder.

Paul identifies himself as an apostle, which is a common Greek word but becomes a kind of technical term in the New Testament writings. The word means “messenger” and it carries a connotation of one who is sent with authority. Thus, the apostles’ authority is not inherent but is derived from the One who sent them. Biblical apostles were personally commissioned by Jesus to lay the foundation for His church. Paul affirms this by saying he is not sent by men but by Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Paul’s greeting to the churches of Galatia invokes grace and peace from the Lord as he does in all of his letters. He reminds them of the good news that he had preached to them when he journeyed through Galatia, specifically that Christ gave up His life in order to deliver us from our sins and the evil that surrounds us.

And then he comes out swinging. Paul is really riled up that the Galatian Christians are listening to teachers that have distorted the truth. He uses very strong language to convey the depths of his emotions about the situation. The Galatians may not have realized it, but they are on the precipice of rejecting the true gospel for something else. Paul is clear that the good news of Christ is the only true way to salvation, and if anyone says differently, even if it’s an angel from heaven or Paul himself, that person should go straight to hell. And then he says it again, he feels so strongly about it.

Beloved, let us not mince words. Damnation awaits those who teach or follow any path other than the Lord’s. Salvation is found in no other name under heaven than Jesus Christ our Lord. If you have followed along with my study of Ezekiel, then you know we have seen how God views sin, and what He does to those who persist and cling to it. Cling instead to the cross of Christ where His death paid the penalty you deserve so that you may live the life His righteousness earned for you that you never could. It’s the only way He will accept you into His kingdom.

Great is Your mercy on us, wretched sinners.

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