Ladies Bible Study
A Study in Galatians
Galatians 1:3-5: 3.Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4. who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5. to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul starts this section with his traditional greeting - "Grace and Peace to you."
You can find this similarly worded greeting in most of his other epistles, but it is doubly important here to the Galatians. It serves as his traditional greeting to them, but it also simply states the entire purpose of this letter, to remind them of the true meaning of the Gospel he has preached to them.
Grace and Peace: Salvation based on God's grace received through faith which brings perfect peace.
Grace comes from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is given not earned. You do absolutely nothing to earn it, it is undeserved, but given out of complete and total love.
God so Loved the world that he gave… (John 3:16)
The church in Galatians had been side tracked and led down the road of works to gain salvation. This is why Paul is writing this letter, to get them back on the right road, the one of grace and peace, not works.
Today we see this same thing, you have to work to earn or keep your salvation. We initially accept it as the gift it is, then we somehow along the way become an employee of religion, working to keep our salvation, rather than working to spread the Gospel.
Religion is founded on man's works, not God's grace. It is man striving to do right, live right, act right, think right under his own power, not God's power. Notice I said it is man striving - the result of striving is stress. Stress leads to loss of peace!
Look at your self at work, if you are employed by someone you are always striving to please them, to please man. And you eventually find out man is fickle and unfaithful and you cannot be perfect and please him, so your job become infested with stress. Unfortunately we allow this to cross over into our relationship with the Lord, we strive to please rather than be pleased to serve!
Why do you read your Bible? Is it because you want to or have to, thinking to please God you need to read a chapter a day? Or do you read it, hungry for a Word from the Father, needing guidance, to learn what the will of the Father is? When you read it is it dry and boring or alive and vital? When you answer these questions honestly, you can see how easily the Galatians were led back into works, they wanted so much to please God, that they forgot, that he was already pleased with them, being led astray by wrong teaching.
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines grace as favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that person deserves. So God's grace is His favor to us even though we don't deserve it and in spite of the fact that we are sinners who really deserve to die.
Exodus 34:5-7: Then the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7. "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation.''
These verses clearly show that God is gracious, that grace is one of the attributes of God.
Let me pause and say here, that verse 7 does not in any means refer to generational curses.
"By no means clearing the guilty refers to salvation, each has to accept it on his own, it is not an inheritance passed down form generation to generation, but a personal decision each of us makes. If we don't make it, if we don't choose to accept God's grace in the living form of Jesus Christ our Lord, then it can cause repercussions for generations that only salvation of each individual can stop. However once you are save you are a new creature and it is stopped, once and for all. (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are not, nor will you ever be held accountable for the sins of your father or grandfathers. On judgement day you will be judged on what you did with Jesus and nothing else, did you believe in him or not?
When you believe that you are under a generation curse, then you are in essence saying, grace is not really enough, I have to work to undo all the wrongs generations before me may have done. This is as incorrect as believing as the Galatians did, that circumcision was what really made you a believer and not simple faith in the graciousness of God by sending his son Jesus to die and go to Hell, and be raised again, so that you didn't have to!
Looking back at verse 6, we see that God's grace is associated with mercy, love , compassion and patience. We see God's grace demonstrated over and over again in the Old Testament toward the nation of Israel in their disobedience.
The grace of God was supremely revealed and given in the person of Jesus Christ.
1. the beneficiary of God's grace:
Luke 2:40: And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
John 1:14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Titus 2:11: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
Acts 15:11: 11. "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.''
Romans 4:4-5: Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
Romans 4:16: 6. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
Peace is the product of grace. When you understand grace, the you truly begin to rest in the peace of God.
Living the life of faith does not require any actions on our part to please him. He is already pleased with us. Even having great faith does not put you higher on God's list of favorite people. God is not a respecter of persons, He is already pleased with you.
God has done everything he can do for you, He gave his only begotten son for you. The rest is up to you. He put every promise given to you through Jesus in his Word and it is up to you to find it and accept it. Living by faith is not about changing God to meet your need, God never changes! It is about exercising your faith to put you in the position to receive God's grace, to receive what he has already provided in Christ's finished work on the cross. That is salvation, eternal life, peace, joy, health, prosperity, success, life to it's fullest. (John 10:10).
We don't have to obtain God's blessings by our actions, His grace as already provided it!
Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
We live and act according to God's Word, not because we have to, but because we want to.
Let's look at the remainder of this passage:
Galatians 1:4-5: 4. who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5. to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Jesus gave himself for out sins. He gave himself to deliver us from this present evil age.
The world is still God's and the fullness thereof. (Psalms 21:1). However, Satan is the god
of this world, and therefore evil reigns. But, Praise God!, we have been set free and delivered from this present evil age and everything associated with it.
Jesus gave himself for our sin, He died so we wouldn't have to die. All this was the plan and will of the Father, and Jesus acted according to that will to the Glory of God.
Therefore we give glory to God our Father for ever and ever, even as Paul ended his greeting to the Galatians. Amen!.
Let's finish this chapter:
Galatians 1:6-24: 6. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7. which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 10. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13. For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, 16. to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17. nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother. 20. (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.) 21. Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
22. and I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ.
23. But they were hearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.'' 24. And they glorified God in me.
Paul says in verse 6, he is astonished at how easily and early in their walk, the Galatians were led astray. This is why it is so important for us to pray daily, the prayer in
Ephesians 1:17, for our spiritual understanding to be enlightened, to attune ourselves to the spirit of God, so that we cannot be led astray by unsound teaching. Paul is so adamant about the unsoundness of the teaching that led the Galatians astray, that he refers to it is
"another Gospel', and curses anyone who teaches it! That is pretty powerful.
Paul then goes on and gives us a little historical data. That after his conversion, he did not immediately confer with others, even the apostles that lived daily with Jesus, but instead when into Arabia, to have his own desert experience. It was during this time that he received the Gospel, by revelation from Jesus Christ himself, not from the teaching of men. He than waited three years before traveling to Jerusalem, to confer with the apostles, and then only Peter and James, the Lord's brother.
You see, Paul did not need approval of man to know what the Word of God meant. He went straight to the source, God the Father and the Word which at that time was what we know as the Old Testament. God through Jesus revealed himself and the full plan of salvation as revealed in these Scriptures, to one of the leading Pharisees of the time, Paul.
Paul was able to grasp quickly what the entire mystery was and put it so that all could understand.
We as believers have that same right. You can sit under good sound teaching, until Jesus comes, but until you get into the Word and pray for God to totally reveal it to you, so that you understand it and accept it, you will still be led astray by unsound teaching, because you are grounded in teaching and not the Word of God. Amen! Sound teaching is important to open the Scriptures to us, but each of us needs our own revelation, to plant it deep into our hearts, solidly, so that the enemy cannot come and take it. Amen!
Let me close with this, I have received my own revelation, through studying the Word and sound teachers like the author of the Book, The Spirit Controlled Life, Bob Yandian. But,
It was not until I spent time in the Word, reading and rereading Galatians, and doing Word studies and cross referencing the Scriptures, that it was revealed to me in a personal way.
Mr. Yandian opened the door, I went through it and sat at the feet of the master and learned and this is what you have to do. Use these lessons, as the jumping off place to start your on personal revelations from God. Amen? Amen!