Paul wrote this epistle to deal with the problem of Jewish legalism toward Gentile believers, known today as the Hebrew Roots teaching. Paul received the authentic Gospel message directly from Christ rather than man. He warns that if anyone presents another Gospel message other than the one he was preaching, that person is under the curse of God (Galatians 1:9). The only true Gospel is declared in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”, and in a nutshell in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Paul states that Christ now lives within him, and directs, and empowers him to preach the Gospel: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone and cannot be obtained through the keeping of the Law. The Law is merely our tutor to lead us to salvation in Jesus Christ, No one can obey the Law perfectly. Everyone has broken the Ten Commandments; therefore, we can only attain salvation through trusting in our Saviour Christ Jesus and what He accomplished for us on Calvary’s Cross.
The Holy Spirit, according to our faith in Christ’s finished work on the Cross, enables the believer to live the Christ-centred life. The Fruit of the Spirit is evidence of our “walk in the Spirit”, whereas living in the desires of the flesh reveal that we are walking opposite to the life-changing power of the Gospel (Galatians 5:16). Good works do not save, but a Christian must have the desire to produce good fruit, obey God’s Word and live a holy and righteous life.
When any kind of religion is added to grace, it makes void faith in Christ. The Judaizers of Paul’s day, and the Hebrew Roots teachers of ours, complicate the simple Gospel and thus corrupt the plain teaching of Scripture. Satan still seeks to hinder the church with the notion of higher understanding of truth through the teachings of religious practices. He knows it causes confusion and division wherever it is introduced. The Epistle to the Galatians, if read, studied and preached, will correct such falsehood.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Galatians 2:21).