Religious leaders, claiming to know and understand how a person becomes righteous (forgiven, clean, pure, and accepted by God), infiltrated the Galatian churches to undo what Paul taught about how a person becomes righteous.
They taught righteousness was through faith in Jesus plus following the days, diets, duties, and demands of the law of Moses (a moral and religious system).
Paul taught righteousness was by grace (what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins) through faith in Jesus, apart from any works.
Paul established churches in Galatia based upon grace - everything God has done to make us righteous through Jesus, leaving us nothing to do but to place our faith in Jesus alone for righteousness.
The Galatian people, after hearing the good news from Paul that righteousness (innocent of sin) comes by faith in Jesus and not by the law, quickly deserted the good news of grace and turned to a completely different gospel, or message about how a person becomes righteous.
The false gospel they were turning to was a gospel of works based upon obedience to the law of Moses (a moral and religious system).
Galatians is the second letter written in the New Testament (AD 49).
The letter to the Galatians was written by Paul after he established several grace-based churches in the region of Galatia (modern day Turkey).
These churches were established in the cities of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe (Acts 13:13-14:1-20).
Paul’s message in these cities was that a right standing before God (forgiveness and righteousness) came by grace through faith in Jesus alone and not by following the days, diets, duties, and demands of the law of Moses (Acts 13:38-39).
Spirit of God desires to reveal to you what God has prepared for those who love
this revelation, 1 Corinthians 2:9 says:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart
has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
revelation that God through his Spirit wants to give you is not something
conceived in the mind or heart of a person...no person could dream, invent,
develop, create, or design what God has prepared for you.
God has prepared is beyond the heart and mind of mankind.
The Jewish people of Jesus time knew from the OT Scriptures that righteousness was required to enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said the righteousness required was the very righteousness of God...his perfect righteousness (Matthew 5:48)
Part of the perfect righteous character of God was his gracious, compassionate heart...a heart of unconditional love, unmerited kindness, and unearned blessings.
The Hebrew word for gracious in the OT ischannun.
It is used 13 times in the OT to desribe the gracious, compassionate and kind heart of God.
The law is the righteous requirements given to the nation of Israel to keep them seperate from the Gentile nations for the purpose of being a light of God's love to the Gentile nations. The law was the standard of righteousness.
This would include the Ten Commandments and the two great commandments to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love others as you love yourself. It would also include everything else in Exodus 19-Deuteronomy.
The Gentiles were never under the law.
In the Bible, Jesus is called the Righteous One (Isaiah 53:11, Acts 13:14, 7:52, 22:14, 1 John 2:1).
This means Jesus was completely pure, clean, loving, holy...without a sinful thought, desire, or deed.
Everyone else is unrighteous (Romans 3:10).
Isaiah 53:11 revealed the Righteous One would come and make the unrighteous righteous by bearing their sinfulness and giving them his righteousness.
This is the Grace Exchange.
The Grace Exchange is when Jesus exchanged his righteousness for our sinfulness.
In Matthew 5:29-30 Jesus said:
“And if your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and cast it from you. For it is better for you that one of your members should perish and not that your whole body should be cast into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and cast it from you, for it is better for you that one of your members should perish and not that your whole body should depart into Gehenna.”
What does Jesus mean by pluck out your right eye and cut off your right hand?
After they were established in the truths of grace by Paul, the believers in Galatia abandoned their freedom in Christ, which is complete forgiveness and acceptance (righteousness) with God by grace through faith in Jesus alone.
They deserted grace (Galatians 1:6).
They set aside grace (Galatians 2:21).
They returned to enslavement to their... religious system... rules... rituals... and regulations to earn God's acceptance and forgiveness. In doing so, they fell from grace (Galatians 5:4).
They turned away from all God had freely and fully done for them through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and were trying to earn God's acceptance and forgiveness through religious activity and morality.
It seems absurd, even heretical, to view the Ten Commandments as something which can put someone into bondage. It seems the commandments, if obeyed by someone, can lead to freedom. But that is the problem. No one can obey the Ten Commandments. We have all sinned and broken the Ten Commandments. The penalty is death. As a matter of fact, the more someone tries to obey the Ten Commandments the more they break them (Romans 5:20, 7:7-25). Paul makes all of this clear in Romans.
In 2 Corinthians 3:6-9, we discover that the ministry of the Ten Commandments is to bring death, condemnation.