The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to address a serious problem troubling the churches in the province of Galatia. The teaching of legalism!

Legalism implies one can only be in a right relationship with God based on human effort. Legalism stands in contradiction to the Good News Jesus brings to the world...

That only through Jesus can one come into relationship with God!

Paul worked very diligently to take the Good News of Jesus to the Gentiles. He was very successful in establishing many congregations.

However, there were some legalistic teachers who followed behind him upsetting the peace of these Christians.

These false teachers were Jewish Christians who tried to convince the Gentile Christians they needed to keep certain traditions of the Law of Moses.

One of the main ideas they taught was the necessity of circumcision. They went so far as to say that if the Gentiles weren’t circumcised they could not be saved.

Paul saw this for what it was. An attack on the sufficiency of Jesus!

For it is only by through the life and death of Jesus that anyone can be right before God. It is trust in the work of Jesus on our behalf that makes the story of Jesus such good news for us. Because our obedience will always fall far short of the perfection required to be in fellowship with God.

The entire letter of Galatians is Paul’s argument that Jesus is not only all we need to be saved, but any attempt to add other requirements is a repudiation of Jesus.

Galatians is a letter upholding salvation as the free gift of God. Our works cannot possibly justify us before God. Our sins outweigh our obedience on the scales of God's justice! Sins can only be forgiven by the grace God provides through Jesus' sacrifice for us.

Paul knows if these churches fall into the trap of legalism they will fall from this grace of God. But this letter is for students of Jesus in every age, for it is a basic tendency to try to be worthy of God’s gift by human effort. If this was sufficient, why then did Jesus come to die for us?

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