God’s Gospel of Free Grace Galatians 1:1-5

Truth Taught- The Apostle Paul fights to maintain the true Gospel and to keep it safe from man’s ideas and additions.


The storm is approaching.  As we begin this Epistle, we must see what’s happening and why Paul addresses these Galatian Christians as he does.  

I think it’s fitting to look at this Book after we have gone through the Gospel of Matthew because we do not want to lose sight of the absolute finished work of Jesus Christ who died for our sins.  His work of salvation is a finished once and for all work.  It cannot be duplicated, changed, added to, or subtracted from it stands absolutely alone and fully sufficient to save sinners.  The death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God has saved all the elect and nothing can change that fact. 
There are those among the Galatian Churches who were distorting this truth.  Whether they were Jews seeking to proselytize Christians or whether it was Jewish Christians seeking to add some Judaism to Christianity we do not really know for sure.  What we do know is that people were coming into the Church teaching a different Gospel than what Paul taught.  To teach and much worse, to believe a different Gospel is to forfeit all Jesus did and to never ever be saved.

We live in a day when there are an abundance of ideas and opinions concerning Christianity and the Gospel.  When you look around at different churches you will find different supposed Gospels.  There are multiple teachings as to what is necessary to be saved.  Most folks simply overlook these different views and wrap them up as just slightly different, they say, we all love Jesus so it’s okay.  The truth is, it’s not okay.  It wasn’t okay with Jesus and it’s not okay with Paul and it’s not okay today.  There is only one Gospel, only one way to be made right with God.  God’s Gospel neutralizes every possible human work and human addition to it.  Salvation is wholly a work of God.  No human addition can help but only make it of no effect.

The Apostle Paul is angry with a righteous anger when He writes this epistle.  He is in control of course because this letter is among those inspired by the Holy Spirit and found in the canon of Scripture.  Beloved there is a storm coming and Paul is about to unleash the whirlwind.  

Paul is angry for at least two reasons…

First, he is angry with righteous anger because the work of Jesus is being made worthless.  The death on the cross and resurrection of Christ is being made worthless because these Jewish False teachers are nullifying the cross by adding the Law to the Gospel.  All that Jesus did, His perfect life, His ministry, His teaching, His sacrificial death and His glorious resurrection are cheapened.  Jesus is not needed and He died for nothing if righteousness can come through obedience.

Secondly, He is angry with a righteous anger because the Gospel is being distorted.  There is no salvation for sinners if the Gospel is distorted.  

A storm is coming and in the midst of False teachers and nullifying lies and Gospel distortion the floods of truth are coming to wash away these lies that would ensnare us and lead us away from Jesus to a works righteousness.


Galatians 1:1–5 (ESV) 

1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me, 

To the churches of Galatia: 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

1.  The Apostle Paul Preached with the Authority Given by God (1:1-2)

1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me, 

To the churches of Galatia:

There is a logical fallacy that is called, Ad Hominem.  An ad hominem fallacy is one that attempts to invalidate an opponent’s position based on a personal trait or fact about the opponent rather than through logic. 

Their tactic to give credence to their false gospel was to attack Paul’s credentials.  They were saying that Paul was not a real apostle like the others.  He wasn’t on the same level as Peter or John so His teaching does not have the same authority as the other apostles has.

Now, in one sense, Paul could care less whether or not someone saw him as an apostle.  In the sense of Paul’s pride etc he did not care.  However, when it came to His message and the Gospel that he taught, His apostolic office was very important.  To be an apostle the way the other twelve were was vital for Paul.  

The Bible sees two types of Apostles.  The word apostle means “one who is sent out.” In the New Testament, there are two primary usages of the word apostle. The first is in specifically referring to the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The second is in generically referring to other individuals who are sent out to be messengers/ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

The first type, those called specifically by Christ, is not present in the church today. The qualifications of this type of apostle were: 

(1) to have been a witness of the resurrected Christ 

1 Corinthians 9:1–2 (ESV) 

9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 

(2) to have been explicitly chosen by Jesus Christ

Matthew 4:18–19 (ESV) 

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 

Acts 9:15 (ESV) 

15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 

(3) to have the ability to perform signs and wonders like Jesus did 

Acts 2:43 (ESV) 

43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 

2 Corinthians 12:11–12 (ESV) 

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 

The other type of apostle found in the NT is those who have been sent out by men.  The Church would lay hands on these men to send them out in the name of Jesus.  They were His messengers as evangelists but they were not apostles like the others. 

Those false teachers were seeking to lessen Paul’s authority because he was not part of the original 12.  This means that he does not have the authority like they did.  Paul sets the record straight and shows us that He does have the authority as an Apostle just as much authority as any of the others had.

It is true that those in Antioch sent him out as a missionary but his apostleship did not come from men but from Jesus Christ.  The Apostolic Authority Paul had also had given him the authority to write scripture.  We must realize along with those in the Galatian Churches that to reject Paul and his message is to reject Jesus and His message.  

I pray we accept Paul’s apostolic authority and realize that what Paul says, God says.  

This is not Paul’s Gospel but God’s Gospel.

The Puritans shared this very sentiment.  

William Perkins in 1605 wrote, Seeing then the writings of the Apostles are the immediate and mere word of God, they must be obeyed as if they had been written without man by the finger of God.

2.  The Gospel That Paul Preached (1:3-4)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

The normal Greek greeting was chairein literally means greetings.  Paul uses charis which means grace.  He went from the normal Greetings to you…to Grace to you.

I pray we see that Paul was saturated with Christ.  Everything he did even to the most minute detail of addressing his letters as a Christian.  Are we saturated with Christ to the degree that it affects us in the most minute details?  


In this greeting Paul first shows us the Gospel’s cause and effect as he addresses his beloved sons and daughters in the faith.  His desire is that they all should be God’s children by grace.  It’s so important that he begins his letter this way.  

Grace- God’s unconditional goodwill seen specifically in salvation extended to all the elect.  

Once someone has experienced unconditional and free grace, that person is at peace with God.  This peace exceeds all trials and hardships.  Whatever should befall us by God’s providence we can always bask in the grace and the peace we have been given freely as we believe in the Lord Jesus.  We, as God’s people are eternally at peace with Him.  

Have you experienced the Gospel’s Cause and Effect?  Are you at peace with God today?  If you are still seeking to please God and somehow earn a right standing with Him, you will never experience peace.  You will forever be seeking to do a little more and try a little harder to earn what Jesus has already earned for you.  Beloved be at peace with God through the finished work of Jesus Christ alone…

Notice with me the second half of verse three…

from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

This grace and this peace have been given to us.  It originates with God.  Look with me and let’s reason together.  If Grace and Peace come from God and Paul includes Jesus Christ then we must connect Jesus with God.  What a wonderful affirmation of Jesus’ deity.  He could never rightly be added here if He was not Himself God the Son.

God’s Gospel- 

and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

The clear and simple Gospel message…Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from this evil age. 

That’s God’s Gospel.  Anything that resembles works on our part is foreign to God’s saving grace.  Jesus died, He gave Himself for us and that was all we needed.  Nothing can add to this or surpass this. 

Ephesians 5:1–2 (ESV) 

5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

What we must see here is the preposition for means very literally substitution.  Jesus died the death we should have died.  He died for our sins.  So, in the death of Jesus as our Substitute, our sins have been paid for…atoned for.  

1 Corinthians 15:3–4 (ESV) 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 

This astonishing act of Jesus giving of Himself to die so our sins can be paid for and we can experience a sinless relationship with God is infinitely far beyond anything we could ever hope to do.  He won our redemption by His death.

according to the will of our God and Father,

Did you know that the cross was God’s idea?  It was His plan.  The cross was not the sinful Jews and Romans simply out of control but at every stage it was God’s plan and God’s amazing providence being carried out by sinful people.

Acts 2:22–24 (ESV) 

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 

the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

We must realize that the death of Jesus was God’s perfect plan to save sinners.  Jesus’ death does not make salvation a possibility…it actually saves His people.  Christ saves He does not offer help for sinners.  WE DO NOT NEED JESUS’ HELP!!  WE NEED JESUS TO DO IT ALL FOR US!!  Jesus does not offer us a partnership in the Gospel.  He does not say, I’ll do my part and you do your part.  He does not need help from a dead corpse.  

Ephesians 2:1–10 (ESV) 

2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

3.  The Gospel that Brings God Glory (1:5)

according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Salvation, Grace and Peace come from God so that the Glory will go to God.

Here’s what Calvin said…All pride is beaten down; man cannot boast of anything save the free grace of God.


As we begin the Book of Galatians, ask God to show you if there are any areas of your life where you try to help God with your salvation.  When we try to help, we are seeking to rob God of His glory because we want some for ourselves.  Ask God to show you where you are actually seeking salvation through works righteousness.

I’m afraid we have all been influenced by false teachers.  Even our perfect obedience does not get us one inch closer to God than what Jesus has done for us.  His righteousness has value and our innate righteousness, even on our best day, is like filthy rags.

Remember, obedience matters but not for salvation. 



God, through Jesus Christ, places His love eternally upon all His Children, those who trust completely in His Son.  Here is God’s Word for you, beloved of the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit… 

Revelation 1:4–6 (ESV) 

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: 

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. 

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

Go in Grace and Go in Peace

Resources Used:

Galatians by Peter Barnes

Galatians by Fung
Galatians by Timothy George

Galatians by William Hendriksen


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