The Churches in Galatia are composed of Gentile converts and Jewish converts to Christianity. Quickly, the Church discerns it is already in a transitional identity struggle with the question being– if Jewish traditions will be upheld or if new distinctive community traditions will be started which are neither pagan nor Jewish.
In the midst of shepherding the Churches, Paul sees himself as a mother in the throes of childbirth (Gal. 4:19) as he works to help believers become Christ’s new Churches.
Our study of the book of Galatians is important not only for formative Christian beliefs but also for our clear understanding of radical Grace. Both Augustine and Martin Luther drew from Galatians for these solid spiritual benefits and teachings.
Paul covers justification by faith, the Cross, the power of Holy Spirit, and the meaning of Christian freedom. Also, Paul’s letter to the Galatians offers us a model of how to live in love with one another as we are the community of Christ’s witnesses.
Paul wrote this letter because some Jewish-Christian missionaries came to the Churches and preached a different gospel (1:6), and they persuaded circumcision (5:2-4; 6:12-13). Paul called what they preached ‘a perversion of the Gospel.’ (1:7).
One of the most important ‘takeaway’s’ from Paul’s letter to the Galatians is his clarity regarding the power of the Holy Spirit. And more specifically, the Life-giving Spirit’s power which enables us to resist temptations of the flesh (5:16-26).
The truth of the Gospel is that Jesus’ death on the Cross changes our World History and our identity irreversibility. God’s Son in Jesus Christ has changed our structural identity, heartfelt spirituality, and given to us our one common Table in which we remember His body and blood. His Table is open to all ages and nationalities as we are freed from the traditional Law of Moses.