Gal. 1:1, 2 

Gal. 1:3

Gal. 1:4, 5

Gal. 1:1, 2    "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:"

The letters that Paul wrote follows the typical letter format.  He began by saying who was writing the letter.  Next, he told us to whom the letter was being written.  Third was the body of the letter.  Fourth was the salutation of the letter.  Finally, Paul gave the complimentary close of the letter.

It is important that we know that Paul wrote the letter to the churches of Galatia.  Paul was greatly suited to address the issue and problem facing the churches of Galatia.  There had come men who taught the people that they are saved by "grace, but" they must be circumcised for that salvation to be effective.  This is what I call the "grace, but" doctrine.  Those who teach a "grace, but" doctrine teach that a person is saved by grace, but he must do "something else" in order for that grace to be effective in saving him from his sins.  What the "something else" is changes from group to group, but it is the same basic principle. 

Paul knew the error of the "grace, but" doctrine for he himself was a perfect example of salvation by grace alone.  We have this account of Paul's experience of grace in his journey to Damascus in Acts chapter nine:

9:1  "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.  10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.   17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized."

From the above we know that Saul was not seeking the Lord, nor was he seeking the welfare of the church.  Saul was seeking to destroy those who worshipped the Lord and to put out the mention of his name.  Saul was walking in great hatred toward the Lord. 

Next, we know that the Lord, himself, struck down Saul along the road to Damascus and blinded him and spoke directly to him.  No man preached the gospel to Saul.  Salvation was not offered to Saul.  Rather, there was a great change in Saul.  The Lord revealed himself unto Saul.  The change in Saul is evident because he at one moment was seeking to destroy the mention of the name of Jesus and the next moment he asked the Lord "what would thou have me to do."  Later, before Ananias came on the scene Saul was praying.  Saul's praying unto the Lord was evidence that Saul had been born of the Spirit before the preacher ever came to Saul.  Further, Ananias recognized that Saul was already born of the Spirit when he met him and called him Brother Saul.  Saul was saved by grace alone.  Everything that followed this dealt with Saul's seeking to serve and worship the Lord in the Kingdom of heaven.  There was no "grace, but" in Saul's salvation.  It was grace alone.

Later on in the first chapter, Paul reaffirms that his salvation is by grace alone: Gal. 1:15 "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:"  Paul said that it was God who:

1.  separated me from my mother's womb.     2.  called me by his grace.     3.  revealed his Son in me.

All of the above was performed by the Lord alone without the means of a preacher or of the gospel.  It was by the grace of God alone.  There was no "grace, but" doctrine in the above works.

Next, Paul tells us of his authority to write a letter to the churches of the Galatians.  He says that he is an "apostle."  The word, apostle, literally means one sent forth.  In the gospels, we read where the Lord had called the original twelve apostles and later that Judas Iscariot fell by transgression.  Yet, Paul was just as much an apostle of Jesus Christ as the original twelve men were apostles of Jesus Christ. 

Paul informs us that his apostleship was "not of men, neither by men."  Men did not call Paul to be an apostle; neither did men make Paul an apostle.  Paul affirms that his calling and the gift on an apostle came directly from the Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Father.  Men did ordain Paul as an elder or bishop, but the ordination is not what makes a man a preacher, but it recognizes the gift of God and that the person is qualified to serve in the office to which God has called him. 

Thus, Paul wrote the churches of Galatia based on the authority given to him of God as an apostle.  Further, what Paul wrote was by the leadership of the Holy Spirit and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and thus carried the same weight as a letter from the Holy Spirit to the churches.  

 "And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:" Paul never directed any of his writings to anyone who was not born of the Spirit of God.  He always wrote to born-again children of God.  In this example, he wrote to the churches of Galatia.  Churches are composed of born-again children of God who have joined the church through water baptism.  Therefore, the purpose of Paul's writings was not to get people born-again, but to instruct those who by the grace of God were already born of the Spirit. 

Paul invokes the names of "all the brethren which are with me" in his letter to the churches of Galatia.  This tells us that the "brethren which are with Paul" are of the same mind and in complete agreement with what Paul was writing.  Paul did not stand alone in the doctrine of salvation by grace alone.  Thus, Paul's stand against the "grace, but" doctrine was fully supported by the brethren which were with Paul and Paul is letting the churches of Galatia know that there support of the "grace, but" doctrine was a departure from the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Gal. 1:3   "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,"

There are two great themes in the epistles of Paul: grace and peace.  In the opening of every epistle, Paul makes a statement similar to the one above.  Further, in the closing of every epistle, Paul mentions once again the grace of God.  Thus, it can be said that Paul opens and closes every epistle with the mention of God's grace.

Grace means the unmerited favor of God bestowed upon undeserving creatures.  It is by the grace of God that God works the following things for us and in us:

    1.  Salvation from sin (2 Tim. 1:8 "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.")

    2.  The Spiritual birth (Eph. 2:1 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

    3.  Our belief (Acts 18:27 "And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:")

    4.  Obedience to the faith (Rom 1:5 "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.")

    5.  Justification (Rom 3:24 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:")

    6.  Eternal life (Rom 5:21 "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.")

    7.  God's election of a people (Rom 11:5 "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.")

    8.  Spiritual gifts (Rom 12:6 "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;")

    9.  Gospel minister (Rom. 15:15 "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.")

    10. Spiritual fruits and characteristics (2 Cor. 8:6 "Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.")

    11. The ability to preach (Eph 3:8 "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;")

    12. Prayer and help in time of need (Heb 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.")

Similarly, peace is another great theme in the scriptures and comes to us from God.  Some examples of peace that is brought to us from God are as follows:

    1.  Peace from turmoil even in the elements ((Mark 4:39 "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.")

    2.  Peace in a troubled heart (John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.")

    3.  Peace with God (Rom 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:")

    4.  Peace from conflict in the church (1 Cor 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.")

    5.  Peace in worship between Jews and Gentiles (Eph 2:14 "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.")

    6.  Peace with God (Eph. 2:16 "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.")

    7.  Peace in a heart condemned by sin (Eph 2:17 "And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.")

It is important that we remember the source of this grace and peace.  It is from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus to God be all praise and glory.

Gal. 1:4, 5   "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

We read of a lot of giving that God through his love for his people has done.  We read where he gave his people to his Son: Heb. 2:13 "And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me."

We read how that the Father gave his Son to the elect family of God: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

We also read how that God gives eternal life to his children: Rom. 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Now all of the above given is according to the will of the Father.  This will is set forth for us in the covenant of redemption: Rom. 8:29, 30 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." 

The Lord said that he came to save those whom the Father gave him according to the Father's will: John 6:37-39 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."  This is in perfect harmony with the will or covenant set forth in the covenant of redemption. 

Jesus gave himself for the sins of the elect according to the will of the Father (covenant of redemption).  Since Jesus gave himself for our sins, then he must have known whose sins and what sins that he gave himself for!  If there was a sin of an individual that he failed to give himself for, then that individual is condemned to an eternal hell.  There would be no recourse.  The idea that Christ gave himself for the sins of all mankind, but the sin of unbelief is preposterous.  Jesus made no distinction when it was said that he gave himself for our sins.  He gave himself for all of our sins.  There is none of our sins that are left out.  What individual on the face of the earth is there that at one time has not believed Christ? 

Next, Christ did not give himself for the sins of all mankind.  He gave himself for the sins of his people only.  According to Matt. 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."  The covenant of redemption is very specific: it is a people that God foreknew, that he predestinate, and called, and justified, and glorified.  It was not all of mankind, but the elect only.

"That he might deliver us from this present evil world."  The word, might, is not intended to raise doubt, but to assure us that those for whom Christ gave himself for will be delivered from this present evil world.  This speaks of a future deliverance.  This deliverance also is according to the "will of the Father" in the covenant of redemption.  In the glorification of the resurrection, we will be eternally delivered from this "present evil world." 

As we live here in time, we will be plagued form time to time by this present evil world.  We will be misled, enticed, persecuted, ridiculed, and in some cases destroyed by this present evil world.  We are told to save ourselves from this untoward generation.  This was given to those who had already been born of the Spirit and had heard the gospel preached and had been obedient to the call of servitude through water baptism.  By taking heed to the word of God we can save ourselves from many pitfalls that await us in this present evil world.  We cannot, however, save ourselves from our sins or deliver ourselves eternally from this present evil world.  Thanks be to God that he has secured our eternal deliverance for us.

"To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."  God is free with his grace to his children.  However, God is stingy with his glory:

    1.  Isa. 42:8 "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."

    2.  Isa. 48:11 "For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another."

    3.  Ps. 115:1 "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake."

    4.  Ps. 148:13 "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven."

All of the glory for our eternal salvation from sin belongs to God and to God alone.