Galatians 1:1-5 “Glorious Grace”

Posted: July 21, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Biblical Studies, Galatians

Galatians 1:1-5 “Glorious Grace”

Pastor Rick Hogaboam

Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Nampa, ID


Declaration of the Gospel

–          Simple Grace (3)

  • Sincerity of greeting (3a)
  • Significance of greeting (3b)

–          Saving Grace (4a-b)

  • Our Savior (4a)
  • Our Salvation (4b)

–          Sovereign Grace (4c-5)

  • Government of God (4c)
  • Glory of God (5)

Galatians 1:1–10 (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—

–          Paul is the Roman name, whereas Saul was his Jewish name.

–          Apostle: He encountered the living Christ and was hand selected for this task, apostolos=sent one, who sent him?

–          not from men nor through man : The judiazers were questioning and assaulting his apostolic charge by declaring that he was sent by man, not sanctioned by God, at most was just a bishop. Paul confronts this charge head on right at the beginning of his letter, it is his counterpunch to these heretics.

  • Heretics must be confronted because the Gospel is at stake. Paul was willing to show charity towards those preaching the Gospel out of envy when he was in prison (bad motive + correct Gospel = acceptable), but shows no charity towards those who get the Gospel wrong, no matter how well-intended they may be (good motive + wrong gospel = accursed).

–          but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead: dia + Genitive

a. Agency: by, through

b. Means: through

c. Spatial: through

  • Jesus and the Father are the agents, are the means, and are spatially the union within which Paul operates.
  • Paul delights not in his Position, but in the Person of Christ. Paul is not some self-seeking guru trying to make a name for himself. He is a Christ-seeking missionary trying to make much of Christ…the one who was raised from the dead.
  • The resurrection of Jesus is the short-hand Gospel. It is why we are here this morning, why we gather on 1st day of the week.
  • The Gospel is historical. It is not some esoteric thing that is attained through subconscious meditation.

2 and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

–          and all the brothers who are with me: not clear who else Paul is exactly referring to. It is clear however that Paul is reminding people that He doesn’t speak as some loner believing in some strange Gospel. He is not alone.

–          To the churches of Galatia: this was a cyclical letter sent to the churches in Southern Galatia in the Asian province.

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

–          SIMPLE GRACE:

  • If the resurrection has already stated by Paul is a shorthand declaration of the Gospel in the sense of what Jesus DID, this typical salutation including the words “Grace” and “Peace” are an abbreviated form of the Gospel in what we RECEIVE from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

–          The first word Paul has is, “GRACE”. The last thing Paul desires for the Church in this letter is, “Grace”: Galatians 6:18 (ESV) — 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

  • It starts and ends with grace, and is filled with grace throughout because it is the main doctrine under attack. You take away grace, you take away peace, you take away salvation, you take away God’s glory.
  • Grace:
    • Romans 3:23–24 (ESV) — 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
    • Ephesians 2:4–10 (ESV) — 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 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.
      • The Judiazers were denying grace, saying that it had to be improved upon. All false gospels do the same thing.
  • Peace:
    • Ephesians 2:14–17 (ESV) — 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
      • No Gospel, no peace. Good news is intended to comfort. I don’t much grace, peace, or joy among the cults.
  • from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: This grace is extended to us and in Christ, God is our father in a special adoptive sense.

4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age,

–          this phrase is exceptional to the normal pattern of salutation, which shows that Paul’s main concern in this epistle is the Gospel.

–          SAVING GRACE

  • Jesus gave himself up for our sins, voluntary surrender
  • 1 Timothy 2:5–6 (ESV) — 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
  • Titus 2:14 (ESV) — 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
  • John 10:11–18 (ESV) — 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
  • for our sins – 90.36 ὑπέρa (with the genitive): a marker of a participant who is benefited by an event or on whose behalf an event takes place—‘for, on behalf of, for the sake of.[1]
  • to deliver us from the present evil age :
    • “to” = hopos, purpose marker
    • “deliver” = rescue,
    • “present evil age” = saved from the present for the future, live in-between the times, already and not yet,
      • Acts 2:40 (ESV) — 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”
      • Doesn’t mean we are removed from, means our status has changed. We were enemies and now are family.

–          John 17:15–19 (ESV) — 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

  • We remain in the world, but are kept from the evil one, no longer of the world, sanctified in His Word, are sent into the world for mission, sanctified through Christ’s consecration (active righteousness)
  • We are not of the world, but sent into it as sanctified people, this is part of our salvation.
  • We don’t fear the world, He has overcome the world, but we tend to sanctification.

according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


  • Jesus gave Himself up
  • according to the will of our God and Father
    • will = thelema, will, plan, purpose
    • of our God and Father: The Father willed and planned redemption in the counsel of the Triune Godhead. Though the Godhead is ontologically equal in authority, the economy or administration of their roles, primarily in redemption flows from what we call the “Covenant of Redemption”.
      • This phrase “will of our God and Father” is found elsewhere in the salutation of Paul’s epistles, but always in reference to his apostleship…here is the only time it is stated in reference to the Gospel, of course because the Gospel is exceptionally stated here.
      • Paul is emphasizing yet again that the Gospel is from God. If people want to quarrel with Paul’s message, they are quarreling with God Himself.
      • There are some so-called Christians today who pledge allegiance to a Jesus who wasn’t virgin born, performed no miracles, whose life was only a good example, whose death was an unfortunate martyrdom, and whose resurrection a myth.
      • Steve Chalke,  “The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse—a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement: ‘God is love’. If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil.” (Steve Chalke and Alan Mann, The Lost Message of Jesus, [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003], pp. 182-183)
      • This view has been adopted by Brian MacLaren and is creeping into the Church.
      • Jesus willingly gave Himself up four our sins and it was part of the Father’s plan.  They were not at odds with each other. Yes Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, but was an expression of His very real sufferings, which in turn enable Him to be a high priest who can sympathize with our fears and sufferings.

–          In Reformed theology, the pactum salutis has been defined as a pretemporal, intratrinitarian agreement between the Father and Son in which the Father promises to redeem an elect people. In turn the Son volunteers to earn the salvation of his people by becoming incarnate…by acting as surety of the covenant of grace for and as mediator of the covenant of grace to the elect. In his active and passive obedience, Christ fulfills the conditions of the pactum salutis…ratifying the Father’s promise, because of which the Father rewards the Son’s obedience with the salvation of the elect. And because of this the Holy Spirit applies the Son’s work to his people through the means of grace (David Van Drunen & Scott Clark: Covenant, Justification and Pastoral Ministry, p. 168).

5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen

–          This doxological phrase shows us that salvation is “transcendent and beyond praise, high and lifted up above the realm of criticism and objection…The doxology serves not only to declare that the heavenly glory is due to God, but also to summon men to join in with it and to conduct themselves accordingly”  (Ridderbos, NICOT “Galatians” 1965:44).

–          God’s glory in the Gospel is at stake.

–          Where the false teachers wish to MINIMIZE Christ’s work, Paul wishes to MAGNIFY it with doxology.

–          If you insist that you have anything to do with your salvation, then it is no longer Grace. If it is no longer grace, then you have something to boast about. If you have something to boast about, then God doesn’t get all the glory. If God doesn’t get all of the glory, then your doctrine is anti-Christ, which means you are cut off, which Paul later threatens in this letter to those who are teaching and believing such things.

[1] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (801–802). New York: United Bible societies.


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