Galatians 1 on the True Gospel and What it Means for You Today

The True Gospel and What it Means for Us
(A Devotional on Galatians 1)

What is the Gospel and what does it mean for you today? Here, we unpack some truths from Galatians chap. 1.

Some Salutations
Verses 1-2
Paul starts by establishing his credibility and position, to address concerns and accusations against him. He does so by declaring Jesus’ call to him. “Apostle” means “one who is sent”. It is also commonly used to refer to “messengers of God”.

Lessons to Learn:
1. We need to recognize our call.
Each of us is called to be messengers of God. We may be called to different positions and titles. But, all boils down to us being His messengers to the world. Recognizing our call helps us be more purposeful in life.

2. We need to recognize Who called us.
We may be assigned certain positions and responsibilities in our respective ministries or vocations, but, ultimately, we need to recognize that it is God who placed us where we are; helping, providing, and empowering us for that life and those tasks. Recognizing Who called us helps us be more confident in carrying out our purpose.

Verses 3-4
Paul reminds them again of God’s salvation and how this salvation continues to empower them to live right. He not only reminds them but prays that they experience it more and more as they appreciate their position in God.

Lessons to Learn
1. Don't forget who you are to God.
Being recipients of God’s grace (undeserved favor) and being at peace with Him is something that we need to be reminded of daily.

2. Saved from sin's penalty and power.
Jesus has granted us salvation from the future penalty of sin, and He has given us strength against the present power of sin.

3. Grace and graciousness.
As recipients of God’s amazing grace, so should we be gracious also to others, even praying they experience His grace & peace on a daily basis.

NO other Gospel
In verses 8-9, Paul clearly emphasizes that there is no other way of salvation (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). These new Christians heard another gospel (heteros - as in heresy - meaning another of a different kind) and were easily swayed (Eph.4:14).

Paul here expresses his disappointment and how he was very much surprised at how “easily” (translated here as “quickly” but carries this sense also) they subscribed to wrong teaching. Paul emphasizes that there is no other gospel, no matter how close it may be to the truth (“another one” in vs.7 is ‘allos’, meaning “another of the same kind”).

Lessons to Learn
1. Ignorance is your choice.
You need to understand your Bible. Many Christians have turned away from the truth because they made no effort to fully understand what Biblical truth is. They know very little and choose to remain ignorant of what God is saying.

2. Love the Truth in all its entirety.
People, including many Christians, like to listen to words that appeal to their desires, and to teachings that tickle their fleshly logic. They choose to believe only what is ‘reasonably acceptable’  to them.

You must be receptive to learning even the hard stuff. You can't be selective. There is no growth in that. It's wrong to turn away from Scriptures because you don't like what you're reading or what Scriptures are saying. It's in those moments you need to sit on those truths, process them, and see how they can guide and guard your life.

3. Discern false teaching. 
Subjective reasoning is what influences false teachers to twist the gospel truth. Since it is based solely on human logic and self-justification, it is no wonder that it appeals to many. 

4. We can't uphold the truth and be men-pleasers at the same time.
Paul’s brutal emphasis and strong rebuke are because he cares only for the truth, and never for trying to please men. We need to uphold the truth and teach it, even if it hurts the stubborn or those who choose to abandon what is right. 

Paul puts up a defense
Verses 11-24
Paul describes his call and his former life, to lay the foundation for his arguments against his critics and those who were following and teaching another gospel. He mentions two important things about the true gospel of Jesus Christ:
1. Its source, and
2. Its supernatural effect

Lessons to Learn:
1. The Gospel is not logical.
The one true gospel does not come from man and is not based on man’s logic. This is why some have difficulty understanding and accepting it.  

2. The Gospel is from God.
It comes from God. It is provided, established, and made available by Him through His grace. Man's effort is out of the equation.

We may also further state here that man's 'perceived' value is also out of the equation. Some religious speakers take on this man-centered line of reasoning, that we are so valuable to God that He made every way to provide salvation for us. While that is indeed true, the Christian should not err in placing too much value on himself. We have value only because of the value God has placed upon us. And praise God, we are highly valued by a gracious God.

3. The Gospel is Supernatural.
Its supernatural effect of genuine life transformation is all possible because of its supernatural source.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ does not only save people from the penalty of sin. It gives them eternal life. It saves from the power of sin, providing transformation of life.

Final Thoughts
As we reflect on the story of Paul and how he changed, consider this, How have we been changed by God’s transforming power?
photo credit to James Chan