Pondering Paul’s Epistles (Galatians 1/2)
So here are a few of my ponderings from Galatians 1:
v. 4 – I love the word that Paul uses here to describe what Christ did for us. He “rescued” us. We were in dire straits, on the verge of eternal lostness, and Christ brought us back from the dead. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help myself. If Christ had not intervened then I was a goner. But because of what He did I can experience the newness of life everyday.
v. 6-9 – Paul does not mince words AT ALL when it comes to people who toy with the gospel. In this case people were adding to the gospel, telling new believers that they in addition to believing that they also had to follow the Law. It was grace +. Anytime you add to or subtract from grace you have perverted the gospel. Paul says “let him be eternally condemned.” There is much of this going on in our day as well. We need to be very careful that we are not taken in by “preachers” who tickle our ears with stuff that makes us feel good but that minimizes sin, repentance, and grace.
v. 10-11 – Admittedly, I am a people pleaser. But I a hope that the approval of God is more important to me than the approval of man. A correct and thorough understanding of the gospel is essential to being a God-pleaser. Our souls need to be drenched in the gospel so that our hungry and hurting hearts can be quenched by the gospel.
Here are a few questions to help get you thinking as you ponder Galatians 2 this week:
v. 4 – How do believers recognize and identify “false brothers?” What does Paul mean by the “freedom we have in Christ”? How has religion robbed believers of their freedom in Christ in our Christian culture today?
v. 9 – Who are the people in Christendom that would be recognized as pillars today? What is it that makes someone stand out as a pillar?
v. 10 – Why was remembering the poor so important to the Jerusalem leadership? In what ways can we as small group of believers “remember the poor?”
v. 11-13 – How was Peter acting like a hypocrite? How has hypocrisy hurt the modern day church? Where do you identify hypocrisy in your personal life? How is this stunting your growth and keeping others from Christ?
v. 15-16 – Why do so many religions base salvation on “observing the law?” How is Christianity different? Why is it a much better way? What does the phrase “justified by faith” mean? How would you explain this concept to an unbeliever?
v. 20 – Why is this verse a verse worth memorizing? What does this one verse communicate to us about the gospel?
Martin Luther referred to justification by faith as the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. Why does this doctrine affect everything about the church’s life and witness?*
* from the book Exalting Jesus in Galatians