This is a letter that highlights just how easy it is to turn aside from the true gospel of Jesus Christ to “a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all” (1:6-7). In Galatia, some false teachers had been ADDING things to the gospel and claiming that they were necessary for salvation – FAITH IN JESUS + X, Y, Z. Paul answers these false teachers by pointing out that the things that they are saying are necessary are the very things from which the gospel sets us free!
It’d be easy to read this letter and stand at a distance thinking, “not our problem”. But is that true? I think that many of us slip unconsciously into the trap described in 3:3 – “after beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”
Test yourself by asking these two questions, trying to answer honestly from your heart (not just the answer you think is theologically correct):
1) What does God think of me?
2) On what does God base his opinion of me?
Other related themes in Paul’s letter to the Galatians are “Sonship” and the “Spirit”. God’s Spirit makes us children of God and enables us to live in a way that honours our heavenly Father.