26 Question 2

Let’s read Galatians 5:1-4, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

Normally in his epistles, Paul will address the church in the city he was writing to.  For example, look at 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”  Here, the apostle addresses his letter to the church that is in Corinth.  However, in his address to the Galatians, Paul writes in Galatians 1:1-3, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Galatia was not a city, but a country, as we read in Acts 18:23 which says, “And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.”  Therefore, we see that the apostle Paul addresses this letter to the churches that were in Galatia.  We can’t say which city originally received this letter, but we can assume that it was passed from city to city.  Galatia is a place where both Paul and Peter wrote epistles to as we read in 1 Peter 1:1-2 which says, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

Now, let’s go on to your question. Of course, Galatia was not part of Israel.  It was a region or province of Asia Minor, so we can understand that the Galatians, as a whole, were not Jewish.  In Galatians, chapter one, Paul twice refers to the “Jews’ religion.”  That these people knew and accepted the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is evident in Paul’s words in Galatians 1:3-5 where he says, “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  Paul is writing to fellow believers or Christians.  The problem in Galatia was that the people began to try to mingle grace and law.  These two are so contrary one to the other that they cannot be mixed.  First of all, as Gentiles, the Galatians had no tie or association to the law.  Secondly, to try to find justification by keeping the points of the law is to set aside Christ as savior and depend on your own works.  The sad thing about this is that so many people still do that today.  Many true believers on the Lord Jesus Christ try to live by the law, and thus “fall from grace” or leave the principles of grace as these Galatians had done.  We see then that justification cannot in any way be attributed to the law without renouncing Christ and his grace.  Our standing before God is all of grace, and that grace is evidenced in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ for our sins.  Paul goes on to rebuke the Galatians in Galatians 5:7-8 where he says, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.”  Outside influences had come in and drawn people away from the truth of the Gospel and Paul exhorted the Galatians by saying in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  The Lord Jesus, Himself, said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  Dear brother or sister in Christ, we have been set free through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us stand firm in that freedom.  Let’s be careful that we do not give up that freedom by seeking to please the Lord by obeying the Old Testament law.  That does not please Him and when we walk by the principle of the law, we, in practice, fall from grace.  This has nothing to do with our eternal salvation.  It concerns the practical falling away from the principle of grace as our way of life.