You may recall the churches in Galatia were founded by the missionary activities of the Apostle Paul. But the believers in that area had turned away from the true gospel messages Paul had delivered to them. In fact Paul said they had turned to another gospel. These congregations had allowed themselves to be seduced into believing that the Pauline Gospel of Jesus plus nothing was not adequate to save them. So they decided to adopt the concept of Jesus plus circumcision, Jesus plus rules, and Jesus plus the law.
Of courses Paul was amazed by this, and we should be as well. We should even be asking ourselves how this possibly could have happened, how could these Galatians be duped so easily. The apostle Paul explains the “How” of this in chapters one and two of Galatians. He tells us how certain Christians from Jerusalem had come to the region immediately on the departure of Paul and Barnabus. These men were Hebrew believers in Christ who still hung tenaciously to their Jewish roots. Paul refers to them as Pharisee Christians.
Once in Galatia these Pharisee Christian had convinced these new believers that Gentiles like them could not receive the blessings of salvation unless they first became Jews. That was essential. After All they claimed the Bible is clear that the blessings of salvation were only promised to Abraham and his seed and knowone else.
Gentiles like these believers in Galatia could only inherit those promises by being incorporated into the family of Abraham. The only way for this incorporation to accor, these Pharisees taught, was for them to be circumcised just like Abraham who was a gentile himself at the time of his circumcision. However that was not all that they had taught. They had also taught that anyone who had totally appropriated the promises of God, had to rigidly obey the laws of God as given to Moses on Mt. Sinei. In other words, they had to at least obey God’s moral law, or the ten commandments. And whether or not they appropriated the promises depended on their being circumcised and obeying God.
The Pharisee Christians were adamant, if the Galatians would first be circumcised, then live according to God’s moral law they would be saved. However, if they broke God’s moral law their salvation would be forfeited. Without question the Apostle Paul was repulsed by these teachings and he was equally repulsed by the fact that the Galatian converts had so willingly fallen for it. So Paul sat down and dictated the epistle to the Galations in an attempt to straighten out the situation. Our text for today represents one of the apostles' most succinct arguments.