Intro: Freedom in Christ Alone
The book of Galatians is dynamite. It is an explosion of joy and freedom which leaves us enjoying a deep significance, security and satisfaction – the life of blessing God calls His people into.
Why? Because it brings us face to face with the gospel. It’s very common in Christian circles to assume the “the gospel” is something mainly for non-Christians. We see it as a set of basic “ABC” doctrines that are the way in which someone enters the kingdom of God. We often assume that once we’re converted, we don’t need to hear or study or understand the gospel – we need more “advanced” material.
But in this short letter, Paul outlines the bombshell truth that the gospel is the A to Z of the Christian life. It is not only the way to enter the kingdom; it is the way Christ transforms people, churches and communities.
We’re going to see Paul showing the young Christians in Galatia that their spiritual problem is not only caused by failing to live in obedience to God, but also by relying on obedience to Him. We’re going to see him telling them that all they need – all they could ever need – is the gospel of God’s unmerited favour to them through Christ’s life, death and resurrection. We’re going to hear him solving their issues not through telling them to “be better Christians”, but by calling them to live out the implications of the gospel.
We’re going to watch Paul challenge them, and us, with the simple truth that the gospel is not just the ABC of Christianity, but the A to Z – that Christians need the gospel just as much as non-Christians.
Paul will explain to us that the truths of the gospel change life from top to bottom; that they transform our hearts, our thinking and our approach to absolutely everything. The gospel – the message that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope – creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth, for obedience, for love.
Galatians is all about the gospel, which all of us need throughout all of our lives. It’s dynamite, and I pray that it explodes in your heart, and makes you passionate to see it do the same work in others’ hearts, as you read this book.
(From ‘Introduction to Galatians’, pages 9-10, in Galatians For You, by Timothy Keller.)