The Heart of the Gospel (Galatians 1:1-5)


Galatians 1:1–5

"Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—[2] and all the brothers who are with me, [3] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, [4] who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, [5] to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."


Even though the word gospel is not used in Galatians 1:1-5, the heart of the gospel is established: the death and resurrection of Christ that delivers sinners from the dominion and tyranny of Satan (vv. 1b and 4a).


Verse 1a, "Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father." 

Paul did not authorize himself to be an Apostle. The church did not authorize him. God authorized him. God alone calls and equips His servants for whatever work He has for them. God made Paul an Apostle and, by His grace, gave Paul a ministry. 

Do you have a ministry? What is your calling in the church? Whatever it is, consider it a gift from God. God calls. God appoints. God gives Spiritual gifts. God gives ministry duties, and God gives us all the perseverance, energy, wisdom, and love to perform our duties. God also gives any Spiritual fruit that might come through, or as a result of our ministries. It is "through Jesus Christ and God the Father" that both Paul and we are servants in the kingdom of God.


Verse 1b, "Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead." 

We have eternal life only because Jesus, after being three days under the dominion of death, was given eternal life by God the Father. Then, after Jesus ascended to heaven, He poured out the Holy Spirit, sharing the gift of eternal life -- the reward of His obedience -- with all who turn and believe in Him. 

All other blessings of salvation flow from the resurrection life we possess through faith in Christ. Because of this life, the life of the Spirit, Jesus dwells within us. Because of this life, a heavenly life, we are united to Christ and are seated with Him in heaven. This is our true and lasting hope as we traverse a world under the curse of sin, death, and judgment: Jesus lives, and He always lives to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25). 

This is our salvation: When the final judgment comes, we will be carried safely through to receive resurrection bodies and inherit the new heavens and the new earth, the home of perfect righteousness.


Verse 2, "and all the brothers who are with me." 

Neither Jesus, Paul, nor the other Apostles and pastors in the New Testament served the Lord alone. Have you isolated yourself in ministry? Am I proud, imagining I can do it all and refusing to share the workload? The only way to be a Spirit-led servant in the Lord's church is in the context of brotherhood, working together for the Name of Christ, the glory of God, the good of the church, and the salvation of the lost. Do not be an island. Pursue and honor "fellow workers for the kingdom of God" (Col. 4:11).


Verse 3, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." 

My heart is ever-burdened for the church in this, that we daily sense our ongoing need for God's grace and peace. As long as we live in these bodies in this world, we stand in desperate need of sanctifying, strengthening, and sustaining grace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We need guidance, conviction, and comfort; we need the presence, power, and perseverance of the Holy Spirit of the living God. Grace: undeserved kindness, goodness, and love from the hand of a holy God to weak sinners. I need grace daily. You need grace daily. 

And we also need peace. Peace: an inner sense of spiritual rest and contentment that comes from knowing God and being justified in His sight. "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). But due to our weakness we do not always feel at peace in our hearts. Often, our own hearts condemn us (1 John 3:20), and we need to be reminded that God is greater than our hearts and that His Word to those of us in Christ is that we are not condemned (1 John 3:19-21; 2:12-14; Rom. 8:1). 

Jesus promises rest for all who come to Him. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). But often we do not feel at rest in our souls. What then? Do we seek rest somewhere else? Doing more good deeds? Making more rules to help us avoid sin? Participating more in outward, public, and formal religion? Absurd! Christ is the only source of rest and peace for the soul; go to Him in faith. Cry out for help. Call upon the Name of the exalted Savior for inner peace and the daily grace of sanctification.


Verse 4, "who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father." 

First, Jesus died willingly. He "gave Himself." Second, Jesus died for the sake of others, not Himself. He gave Himself "for our sins." Third, Jesus' death is the only source of victory and salvation from the reign of sin and Satan. He gave Himself for our sins "to deliver us from the present evil age." 

The present evil age refers to the kingdom of darkness that is still under the reign of Satan. The present evil age is completely given over to sin, death, and the judgment of God. It is given over to the ruling and enslaving power of sin. It is given over to the reign of death. It is given over to the holy, righteous, and just judgment of God against all that is wicked, proud, and rebellious. God's salvation in Christ is nothing else than God sparing us from these things. God delivers us, in other words, from the present evil age and all it has been over to because of man's sin and God's anger against sin. 

The most important question in the world is: How? How does God save sinners from sin, death, and judgment? How does He accomplish such a wonderful feat of strength? How does God deliver us from the present evil age and us partakers of the glorious kingdom of God? By the death of Christ alone! He gave Himself "for our sins." For those who believe, Jesus took your sins as His sins, your guilt as His guilt, and the wrath you deserve as wrath upon Him. And if you are joined to Him by faith, you have received His righteousness as your righteousness, His resurrection life as your resurrection life, and His inheritance of glory as your inheritance of glory. 

But it all goes back to His death on a cross, where the perfect Son of God shed His blood as a substitute offering for sinners to save us from the guilt, power, penalty, and, one day, the presence of sin. Beloved, Satan is not your master and sin is not your treasure. Christ is both your Master and Treasure, your present and future; and in life and death, nothing can separate you from the love of God you have found in Him.


Verse 5, "to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen." 

Let this song be ever in your heart and daily on your lips. Everything God has done has been for this purpose: to shine forth His blessed character so that He might be seen, trusted, known, loved, worshiped, served, proclaimed, and thanked for all that He is. God has done this for the blessing and eternal benefit of man, NOT for the cursing, manipulation, or to the detriment of man. 

That which brings glory to God is also that which is best for you! Satan wants us to believe the opposite. The sin that lingers within us wants us to believe the opposite. They say, "Either live for God's glory OR seek your own God." They say, "Seek your own glory and find joy." They say, "God wants you to love and obey Him, not be happy." All of these are lies. They have led to the eternal sadness of many. What most glorifies God is what most blesses mankind. What is that exactly? 

We've been contemplating it this whole time: The death and resurrection of Christ that delivers us from darkness, joins us to God, and gives us true and lasting grace, peace, and hope for time and eternity. That's why verse 5 says, "forever and ever." God has revealed His glory in Christ, and all who believe in Him will praise Him for the glory forever and ever, in the fullness of joy and holiness of God's presence.