Galatians: Freedom In Christ (Galatians 1:1-10)

In the book of Galatians, the concept of freedom in Christ is explored in depth. This powerful passage, Galatians 1:1-10, provides valuable insights on the nature of this freedom and the importance of staying true to the authentic message of the gospel. As we delve into this letter from the Apostle Paul, we will uncover the significance of this freedom and how it can revolutionize our lives. Let’s embark on this journey together and discover the transformative power of freedom in Christ.

Overview of Galatians

Galatians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to the churches located in the region of Galatia. It is one of the letters included in the New Testament and is addressed to both Jewish and Gentile believers. The letter is believed to have been written around 48-50 AD. The primary purpose of the letter is to address the issue of false teachers who were promoting a distorted version of the gospel. Throughout the letter, Paul emphasizes the importance of the true gospel and the freedom that believers have in Christ.

Introduction to Galatians 1:1-10

In the first section of Galatians, Paul sets the context and background for his letter. He begins with a greeting, introducing himself as an apostle chosen by Jesus Christ and God the Father. Paul establishes his authority as a messenger of the gospel. The issue of false teachers is immediately addressed, as Paul expresses his concern that the Galatian churches have started to believe in a different gospel.

Verse-by-Verse Analysis

In this section, we will analyze the specific verses in Galatians 1:1-10 and explore their meaning and significance.

Galatians 1:1-5 – Paul’s Apostleship and the Gospel

Paul starts by affirming his position as an apostle, emphasizing that he was not appointed by human authority, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father. He then offers a customary greeting, wishing grace and peace to the recipients of his letter. Paul reinforces the central message of his ministry, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. He highlights that Jesus gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age. This passage underscores the centrality of Christ’s sacrifice and its significance in the lives of believers.

Galatians 1:6-9 – The Danger of False Gospels

Paul expresses his astonishment that the Galatian churches have quickly deserted the gospel of Christ and turned to a different gospel. He warns that anyone, even an angel from heaven, who preaches a gospel contrary to what they have received, should be accursed. Paul emphasizes the importance of remaining faithful to the true gospel and not allowing false teachers to deceive them.

Galatians 1:10 – The Pleasing of God or People

Paul addresses the issue of people-pleasing, questioning whether he is now seeking the approval of humans or of God. He asserts that his primary concern is to please God, not man. This verse encourages believers to prioritize the approval of God over the opinions and expectations of others.

Paul’s Authority and Gospel

In this section, we will delve deeper into Paul’s authority as an apostle and the nature of his gospel.

The Divine Origin of Paul’s Gospel

Paul emphasizes that he did not receive his gospel from any human source, but through a revelation of Jesus Christ. This divine origin validates the authenticity and authority of Paul’s message. It also highlights the uniqueness of the gospel as a revelation from God.

Paul’s Conversion and Commissioning

Paul recounts his dramatic conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He explains that God called him by His grace and revealed His Son in him so that Paul could preach Him among the Gentiles. Paul’s encounter with Christ transformed him from a persecutor of the church to a devoted follower and messenger of the gospel.

The Exclusivity and Sufficiency of Christ’s Sacrifice

Paul emphasizes that the gospel he preaches is all about the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He emphasizes that nothing else is needed for salvation or to find favor with God. The sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice underscores the exclusivity of the gospel and challenges any attempts to add or distort its message.

The Danger of False Gospels

Here we will explore the nature of false teachers, the distortion of the gospel they promote, and the consequences of following false gospels.

The Nature of False Teachers

False teachers are those who stealthily infiltrate the church and spread teachings that deviate from the true gospel. They often present themselves as knowledgeable and persuasive, but their motives are driven by self-interest rather than the truth. It is important for believers to be discerning and aware of the tactics used by false teachers.

The Distortion of the Gospel

False teachers distort the gospel by adding legalistic requirements or promoting a different path to salvation. They undermine the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice and lead people away from the true message of grace. The distortion of the gospel leads to confusion, spiritual bondage, and a departure from the freedom found in Christ.

The Consequences of Following False Gospels

Paul warns that those who accept and follow false gospels are “accursed.” By deviating from the true gospel, believers risk losing the freedom and salvation that comes through Christ alone. Following false gospels leads to a fractured relationship with God and a rejection of His grace.

The Pleasing of God or People

In this section, we will discuss living for the approval of God, avoiding the trap of people-pleasing, and experiencing the freedom to serve God and live out His purpose.

Living for the Approval of God

Paul encourages believers to prioritize the pleasing of God over seeking the approval of others. When our primary focus is on pleasing God, our actions and decisions align with His will and purpose. Living for God’s approval brings fulfillment and joy that surpasses the fleeting approval of people.

Avoiding the Trap of People-Pleasing

While seeking the approval of others may be tempting, Paul warns against the dangers of people-pleasing. When we constantly strive to meet the expectations and opinions of others, we become enslaved to their approval and lose sight of our true identity in Christ. Avoiding the trap of people-pleasing allows us to live authentically and confidently as children of God.

The Freedom to Serve God and His Purpose

When we prioritize God’s approval, we experience true freedom to serve Him wholeheartedly. Seeking to please God liberates us from the burden of seeking the acceptance of others. In this freedom, we can fully embrace our calling, using our unique gifts and talents to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

The Call to Embrace Freedom in Christ

This section explores the concept of freedom, living in the freedom of Christ, and resisting the temptation to return to legalism.

Understanding the Concept of Freedom

Freedom in Christ refers to the liberation from the bondage of sin and the guilt of the law. It is not a license to indulge in sinful behavior, but a call to live in righteousness and obedience to God’s will. Understanding the true nature of freedom helps believers navigate the complexities of living in a sinful world.

Living in the Freedom of Christ

Living in the freedom of Christ means embracing the forgiveness and grace offered through His sacrifice. It involves walking in obedience to His commands, empowered by the Holy Spirit. This freedom empowers believers to overcome sin, pursue holiness, and experience true joy and fulfillment.

Resisting the Temptation to Return to Legalism

Legalism is the reliance on strict adherence to religious laws and regulations for salvation and favor with God. Paul warns believers against returning to legalistic practices, as it undermines the freedom found in Christ. Resisting the pull of legalism requires an understanding of the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice and a steadfast commitment to grace.

Significance and Application

Here we will explore the significance of the themes in Galatians and provide practical application for believers today.

Freedom from the Bondage of Sin

The message of Galatians offers the hope of freedom from the bondage of sin. Through the gospel, believers are set free from the power and penalty of sin, enabling them to live in righteousness and holiness. This freedom transforms lives and brings about true liberation.

Walking in the Spirit instead of the Flesh

The freedom found in Christ empowers believers to live according to the Spirit rather than the desires of the flesh. By relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, believers can resist temptation, cultivate godly character, and experience the abundant life that Christ offers.

Reliance on God’s Grace and Power

Galatians emphasizes the importance of relying on God’s grace and power rather than human efforts. Believers are called to depend on the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice and the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. This reliance on God’s grace allows believers to overcome sin, live victoriously, and fulfill their calling.


The message of Galatians holds eternal importance, reminding believers of the centrality of the gospel and the freedom found in Christ. It reaffirms the message of grace, challenges false gospels, and calls believers to live in the fullness of God’s freedom. May this letter serve as a timely reminder that our identity and significance are found in Christ alone.

Additional Resources

For further study on the book of Galatians, the following resources are recommended:

Commentaries on Galatians

  • “Galatians: A Commentary” by Hans Dieter Betz
  • “The Epistle to the Galatians” by F.F. Bruce
  • “Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)” by Douglas J. Moo

Books on Understanding Christian Freedom

  • “Galatians: Gospel-rooted Living” by Todd Wilson
  • “Free Indeed: Escaping Bondage and Brokenness for Freedom in Christ” by Robert Morris
  • “The Gospel Transformation Bible: Galatians” (Study Guide)

Online Sermon Series on Galatians

  • “Freedom in Christ: The Book of Galatians” by Pastor Greg Laurie (Harvest Christian Fellowship)
  • “Galatians: Freedom in Christ” by Pastor Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)
  • “The Gospel of Grace: A Study on Galatians” by Pastor Timothy Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church)

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