Defense | Paul always began his letters with encouragement – even his letters to churches with major issues . Galatians is the only letter, however, where he skipped the niceties and went straight to critique. He knew what was at stake – freedom. False teachers were preaching justification by works instead of by faith. Thus, Paul criticized them outrightly and defended his apostolic authority and message: “The gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” .
Importance | Why was freedom at stake? In his commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther wrote, “The article of justification is fragile. Not in itself, of course, but in us. I know how quickly a person can forfeit the joy of the Gospel … In the midst of the conflict when we should be consoling ourselves with the Gospel, the Law rears up and begins to rage all over our conscience. I say the Gospel is frail because we are frail. What makes matters worse is that one-half of ourselves, our own reason, stands against us … Therefore we teach that to know Christ and to believe in Him is no achievement of man, but the gift of God. God alone can create and preserve faith in us. God creates faith in us through the Word. He increases, strengthens and confirms faith in us through His Word. Hence the best service that anybody can render God is diligently to hear and read God’s Word. On the other hand, nothing is more perilous than to be weary of the Word of God. Thinking he knows enough, a person begins little by little to despise the Word until he has lost Christ and the Gospel altogether. Let every believer carefully learn the Gospel. Let him continue in humble prayer. We are molested not by puny foes, but by mighty ones, foes who never grow tired of warring against us. These, our enemies, are many: Our own flesh, the world, the Law, sin, death, the wrath and judgment of God, and the devil himself” .
Prayer | Lord, We confess our frailty. Therefore, root us deeply in the glorious and freeing truth of justification by faith alone. Guard us from despising your Word and guide us toward learning the gospel and continuing in humble prayer. Amen.