Galatians 1:1-24 Part 1

Galatians – Paul a man of grace

Galatians 1:1-24
Welcome to our latest series of devotions from Everyday Church. As some of you may be aware, over the summer Phil Moore stepped down from being the Lead Elder of Everyday Church. We have been so blessed by Phil’s teaching over the years and we are praying that he will be fruitful in the next phase of his adventure with God.

Simon Elliott is going to lead the team through this season of transition as we hopefully emerge from the lockdown restrictions that have impacted so many of us over the last 18 months.

As part of that transition, as a team, we will be producing a weekly devotion, available from Monday morning at 6am which you can use as part of your own time with God, or as a family or friendship group through the week.

Galatians

Over the next 12 weeks we want to immerse ourselves as a church in Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches. These churches were planted by Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. You can read about their commissioning and travels in (Acts 13 and 14). Geographically an area covered by modern day Turkey. This kingdom adventure probably took place around 46-48 AD and the letter was most likely written about a year later – 49/50AD. We know that the letter was written quite soon after the churches were established as Paul makes reference to the Galatians losing sight of grace so quickly (Galatians 1:6).

So that is a bit of background – but why bother to study Galatians? Indeed why study the Bible at all? This might seem a strange question, but it is a key question. If we lose sight of why we do something it quickly becomes a chore, a duty rather that a delight. Unfortunately this can be true of our spiritual disciplines. So what’s the answer? Take a quick look at 1 Timothy 3:16-17 and Ephesians 2:8-10. These may be new to you or well known, but did you notice the common phrase? “Good works”

Timothy tells us that scripture equips us for good works, and Paul in Ephesians tells us that Christ saved us for good works. God has an adventure for us to take part in and scripture is one of the key ways he equips us for that adventure. Reading scripture is not meant to be a religious duty, it is meant to be a vital energy giver for deepening our relationship with God and seeing the Kingdom of God break out in every area of our lives.

What then is the key equipping principle we might draw out week 1? Well it is found in the first word – Paul. It is a matter of identity. This one word, this name, obviously tells us who is writing the letter. But, as we dig into his story later on in the chapter, and indeed elsewhere in the New Testament (Acts 9), we also discover where Paul placed his identity. We discover his identity, his foundation, was the grace of God. Paul is honest about his past, but his past does not shape who he is because his past has been totally covered by the grace of God. Paul is not limited in the present or as he looks to the future, because he knows it is covered by the grace of God. God’s grace has brought healing and forgiveness for Paul’s past failings and is sufficient for his future mistakes. Paul’s identity is secure because by God’s grace he literally cannot fail.

Apply

  1. Are there areas of our past that need to be brought under the grace of God through repentance, forgiveness and ongoing accountability?

  2. Where might we have placed our identity in positions, titles, roles, or other people, which whilst good, were never meant to become our foundation?

  3. Who might we talk to and pray with about our answers to questions 1 and 2?

Prayer

Father God, thank you that my identity is secure because my identity is in you. Thank you that because of your love, perfectly demonstrated through Jesus on the cross, I am totally secure. Help me today to live in the good of my identity and to show your grace to those around me.
 
Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by Simon Elliott, who leads our team of Elders.

Simon unpacks these themes in more detail in his sermon message this week on our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions has also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.