Galatians

Galatia was a Roman province in Asia Minor. It was the name for what is today central Turkey. The Apostle Paul established a number of "ecclesias" (assemblies of Christians) there during his missionary journeys.

Paul wrote this letter to answer false teachings that were being introduced in the Galatian churches. Some of the Jewish Christians were trying to persuade believers that they ought to keep the Law of Moses.

Paul reminds his readers that he was once a zealous supporter of the Law of Moses and of Judaism. But Jesus had personally appeared to him (Acts 9) and this had convinced him to become a Christian. His account of this is in chapter 1 of this letter.

In this letter, Paul reminds his readers that trying to keep the Law of Moses does not make a man "righteous" (good). God counted Abraham as righteous when he believed God. Paul shows, in chapter 3, that people who have faith in God's promises are pleasing to Him.

The Law was given by God, so it must have had a purpose. Galatians 3:19 shows it was intended to make people realise they were sinners needing forgiveness. The Law was only to last until Christ came, as the real sacrifice for sinners (3:24). Christ had now certainly come!

The Law, says Paul, was only a "custodian" (guardian) - like someone to take care of children until they're grown up. Now Christians were like grown up "sons of God" (3:25). Those who believe the promises and are baptised into Christ change their way of life. They have "put on" Christ and are thus covered by his righteousness. Paul may well have had in mind the practice of the time when a young man would have "put on" a toga - an outer garment warn by adult Romans - to mark the change to manhood.

 

 

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