God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
--GALATIANS 6:14, 15, NKJV
Like a cannon shot—such are the opening words of Galatians, in a barrage that will extend throughout the six chapters of Paul’s letter to Galatia.
Paul doesn’t beat around the bush with pleasantries and courtesies but gets right to the heart of the matter. And with good reason—his credentials and his message have been challenged! As a result he feels a responsibility to set the record straight: his authority, his calling, came not from the church leaders in Jerusalem, or from any other earthly authority; his commission came directly from Jesus Christ and God the Father.
In order to understand the book of Galatians, it is important to understand the crisis that provoked Paul’s fiery response. These issues prompted Luther to nail 95 propositions to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, 500 years ago, and they are still central to Christianity today.
The Christians in Galatia had received the genuine gospel from Paul along with the Holy Spirit. They had a genuine Christian experience. But certain Jewish Christians had come along some time after Paul established the gospel in Galatia and convinced them that something more was needed to receive God’s full blessing. The Galatians accepted a counterfeit gospel.
Galatians is perpetually relevant because it deals with three issues central to the Christian faith: authority, the plan of salvation, and unity. As you study this most important book and work through some of the most significant words ever penned, may you be inspired to personal reformation.