The Rescue – Gospel in Life

The Rescue

Tim Keller |  September 14, 1997

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  • Doctrine
Galatians 1:1-5
RS 288-01


Galatians is like a little bomb. There’s dynamite in it. It’s not a very long book, but it brings a big punch. Paul has to bring a hard truth to the Galatians. Those that thought they believed the gospel were actually losing touch with it. The lesson for us is if we really think we understand everything about the gospel, then that probably proves we’re losing touch with it.

We’re going to look at the introduction to Galatians. It’s tempting to gloss right over these first few verses, but there are important things for us to learn. Paul touches on themes that will reappear later in the book. 1) The importance of doctrine, 2) the importance of authority, and 3) the importance of God’s initiative.

Galatians 1:1–5

Galatians is a powerful book, much like a little bomb with its six powerful chapters. It changed the lives of John and Charles Wesley when they read Martin Luther’s interpretation of it. The greeting in Galatians is special because it introduces key ideas that are explored later in the book. The main message of Galatians is a warning that many people who think they understand and live by the gospel might not really get it, which is why we need to keep going back to it and learning more.

1. The importance of doctrine

Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia speaks out against false teachings. This might seem strange in a world where we’re told to respect everyone’s personal religious and moral beliefs. But we must remember that wrong beliefs can have terrible consequences, like what happened with the Nazis. Our beliefs shape our feelings and reactions, not just our situations. Paul’s boldness in rejecting false teachings has shaped our society, and he encourages us to do the same.

2. The importance of authority

Paul’s letter highlights his unique authority as an apostle, given to him directly by Jesus Christ. This is important for new Christians learning to tell the difference between truth and falsehood. Paul discusses how we gain knowledge, pointing out three sources: tradition, personal feelings, and teachings from the apostles. He argues that the teachings of the apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, should be our ultimate guide. He encourages believers to compare their traditions and feelings with these teachings to find the truth.

3. The importance of God’s initiative

Jesus Christ is described as a selfless hero who saves us from our spiritual troubles. This underlines the idea that we can’t save ourselves, but must accept Him. Faith is central to Christianity, with the only requirement being that we admit our shortcomings. The story shows Jesus as a unique hero who overcomes difficulties, unlike past and present leaders. It encourages believers to enjoy the blessings of heaven right now and to live in a way that reflects this.



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