The Gospel of Unity

Text: Galatians 2:1-21

This is the second of six lessons examining the gospel from the book of Galatians. This lesson will focus on the gospel as a message of unity.

The Announcement

  • There is liberty in Christ (Galatians 2:4) – Paul mentioned the liberty that we have in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:17); does not mean we are free to live as we please (Romans 6:1-2; Jude 4); means we have freedom from sin (Romans 6:6-7) and human teaching (Colossians 2:20-23)
  • The gospel is for the Jews and Gentiles (Galatians 2:9) – for everyone regardless of their lineage (Galatians 5:6; 6:15); all are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28-29); God welcomes all (Acts 10:34-35) and sees all the same
  • We are justified through faith in Christ (Galatians 2:16) – God declares us to be righteous; not by works of the Law of Moses (Galatians 2:15-16); “the Law made nothing perfect” (Hebrews 7:19) because it pointed to Christ (Galatians 3:24); we are justified by faith through our obedience to the gospel (Romans 1:16-17; James 2:24)

The Instruction

  • The message is the same for all (Galatians 2:7) – so we must teach a consistent message (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17); Jesus commissioned His apostles to preach the gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8); the message cannot be changed to fit the audience, the audience must be changed/converted (Acts 17:30)
  • Why we are not justified by works of the law (Galatians 2:16-21) – no one could keep the law perfectly (Acts 15:10) and the sacrifices could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:1-4); if we could be justified by works of the law, we could earn our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9); but all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and need the sacrifice of Christ (Romans 5:6, 8)
  • We must be crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) – Jesus sacrificed His life for us so we must sacrifice our lives for Him (Romans 12:1); conform to His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4); afterward, we must live as He lived (Romans 6:4, 11, 18; 1 Peter 2:21-22)

The Warning

  • Do not yield to false teachers (Galatians 2:4-5) – they came to spy out our liberty in Christ [see earlier point]; false teachers can turn Christians away from “the truth of the gospel” (cf. Galatians 1:6-7); cannot be tolerated (Romans 16:17-18; 2 John 9-11)
  • Do not fear what certain brethren think (Galatians 2:11-14) – Cephas/Peter is an example of this; Barnabas is an example of one who refused to oppose sin when he should have (cf. Ephesians 5:11); Paul withstood Peter publicly because we must be “straightforward about the truth of the gospel” (cf. Galatians 1:10)
  • Do not nullify the grace of God (Galatians 2:21) – remember that the gospel is a message of grace (Galatians 1:6); if we can “earn” salvation, grace is unnecessary; this included Jesus’ sacrifice (cf. Hebrews 10:29); we must always remember the fact that salvation is a gift (Romans 6:23); we have no hope without God’s grace (Ephesians 2:1-5, 12)

Conclusion

  • The gospel is a message of unity – but we must be united in Christ, not apart from Him
  • Be crucified with Christ and obey His word in all things – do not follow after another message

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