Posted by: Brad Beaman | June 4, 2008

The Gospel: God’s Only Way, Galatians 1:1-10

When you take a flight the airline’s final announcement is usually something like this; thank you for choosing our airline, we know you have a choice when you fly and we hope you decide to choose us again. In so many areas of life we have many good options. When it comes to the gospel can we really say there is only one way to God?

There are many clever illustrations about there being many ways to God. They can never alter the fact that Jesus is the only way to God. In the book of Galatians Paul does everything he can to establish that any other Gospel other than faith in Christ is no gospel at all.

Galatians is Paul’s most explosive letter because Paul is defending the most central point of the gospel. Is it by faith that we are saved or do we work and keep the commandments? Do we conduct ourselves in a morally acceptable way to become Christians?

Verses 1-5 is the greeting of Galatians. It underscores the aspects of the true Gospel that Paul writes to defend. The emphasis is on the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.

Verse six of chapter one begins the body of the letter. Paul has, up until now, always started his letters off with something positive to say, even to the Corinthians. This time he comes out swinging. These are the harsh words at the start of the body of this letter.

Deserting the savior!
Turning to a different gospel!
He calls them confused!
He accuses some of perverting the gospel!
He even calls those who are doing the confusing to be eternally condemned. Twice!

Who is it that has Paul so upset? The Judiazers. They teach that you must first become a Jew and keep the law before you can put your faith in Christ and become a Christian. They were disturbing the churches that Paul established in the area of Galatia.

In order to undermine the churches that Paul planted these Judiazers had attacked Paul’s character too. Paul needed to remind the churches of Galatia that God called him and not man.

Galatians 1:1
Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—

Paul’s authority verses 1-2, 10

Paul is not one of the twelve apostles. But Paul has three qualifications that gives him the authority of an Apostle:
1: Paul seen the risen Lord on the Damascus road (1 Corinthians 9:1)
2. He had a personal call from Christ. He emphasized that aspect of his Apostleship here. (1 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1)
3. He had the testimony of spiritual fruit, (1 Corinthians 9:12), you are my seal

Paul established his spiritual authority. He was speaking as a God called apostle.
He defends the man pleaser charge in verse 10

Galatians 1:10
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

The Judaizers were telling the churches that Paul established that he just tries to please people. In Acts 14:1-20 we read that Paul was stoned and left for dead in Galatia. That is not what you think of as what happens to a people pleaser. Paul was a God pleaser. He wanted God’s approval not mans. The way he wrote this harsh letter in tone points to the fact that he was not simply trying to please man.

As a God pleaser he paid a high price in suffering. If I were trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ. Paul was a converted Pharisee. He established his authority as apostle and servant of Jesus Christ.

It can become all too easy to become a people pleaser rather than a God pleaser. Many of us have been people pleasers all our lives trying to please parents, teachers and friends. As disciples of Jesus Christ it is time to think more about pleasing God rather than how to please others.

The True Gospel vs 3-5

When Paul begins the body of his letter he blasts the false Gospel and anyone who receives a false gospel. But Paul puts forth the true gospel. Just look at his introduction and (also you can see how it permeated his letters)

You can see that he teaches that Jesus Christ alone is sufficient. You can see that for Paul everything rests on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that God raised Christ from the dead.

Grace is the emphasis of verse three. Grace is undeserved favor. This world grace is the antitheses of everything Paul opposed in the Judaizers. It is the exact opposite. To somehow suggest that we work or earn our salvation was an anathema to Paul. He strongly condemned even the thought of this.

Galatians 1:8-9
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Grace is the undeserved gift of God. Peace is the byproduct of this grace. Grace is the basis of salvation and peace is the result, peace with God. Since we have been justified with faith we have peace with God. (Romans 5:1)

In verse four we see Paul emphasizing the true gospel pointing to the atonement and the cross. Christ gave himself on the cross and that is the central aspect of the true gospel. Jesus willingly laid down his life, the just for unjust.

Why did Jesus die on the cross? I was because of our sin. It was to rescue us from our sin.
There was no other way that we could be rescued from our sin, except that Jesus give himself for our sin on the cross. If we could by good moral behavior earn our salvation it would not have been necessary for Jesus who is God to take on humanity and be shamed and crucified.

Look at the ingredients:
Grace- undeserved gift
Atonement- cross, rescue
Resurrection- Power to give spiritual life.
And the Result: Peace

This salvation is available through faith in Jesus Christ. How can you add to this?
To add to this destroys the faith. (Gal 2:16).

Paul uses strong language. This is serious and he is angry. He has the right kind of anger. He is angry because of those who attacked God and his salvation, not about those who mistreated him.

Galatians 1:6
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—

The different Gospel vs. 6-9

The primary objective of the false teachers was to attack the doctrine of salvation. Satan is the father of lies and he works through false teachers. Satan is actively involved in false doctrine. He slips into churches that are pure like the churches in Galatia. His central point of attack is the doctrine of salvation.

The true gospel of grace brings peace, life, liberty, deliverance and freedom. Any different gospel brings bondage, spiritual death, legalism and drudgery.
It is really no gospel at all. Gospel means good news and this is bad news.

Galatians 1:7
Which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

In verses 8 & 9 Paul calls for these opponents of the true gospel, whomever they might be, to be eternally condemned. They should be accursed because they are an anathema. Paul said this applies to me if I would distort Gospel in this way.

Galatians 1:8-9
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

When someone adds works to salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, beware, this is an anathema. It transforms trust in Christ to trust in works. It becomes trust in law. Paul is astonished that the churches went from faith in Christ to faith in works.

Run from anything that says: faith + something = salvation

Remember the reformation cry: solo faith

“And Galatians was not only Paul’s trumpet blast for freedom in Christ in the fist century, but Galatians was the battle cry of Martin Luther in the Protestant Reformation,” Herschel Hobbs

It is not faith in Christ plus baptism.
It is not faith in Christ plus church membership.
It is not faith in Christ plus sacraments.
It is solo faith. It is faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Jesus paid it all. He died for your sin. You did not is any way shape or form, work your way to salvation. It was completely faith in Christ.

Have you discovered the true gospel? Salivation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone?

As a young monk Martin Luther thought that salvation was attained by works. It was Galatians that unlocked the door. He discovered that it is by grace through faith. It is faith alone. Salvation comes through faith in Christ plus nothing.



  1. this is very powerful, it is God inspired message about the true Gospel, because there is no other gospel beside the one of the message of the Cross, thats why Paul says in 1 Cor 1: 23 “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews an offence, and to nations foolishness”. really i have experienced this before i got the revelation about the Cross of Christ, i thought i have grasped the real one but the one i had was unable to liberate from sin, but instead i was bound by the law, thinking that inorder to please God you need to sweat or struggle. I thank God for the message of the Cross which changed my life completey, i was a preacher that time but not knowing the real gospel; but now i am a preacher of the Cross of Christ, which include Jesus’ death, and His resurrection.
    I am in South Africa.

  2. Just thought I’d throw this out there… I just cited this post for an exegetical paper on the same passage. Thanks bro. 🙂

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