Summary of Galatians

Summary of Galatians

The book of Galatians is a series of letters written by Paul to the Galatians. These letters are known as “Epistles”, which were written around 50 A.D. The reason that Paul wrote these letters was because of some controversy among the churches and its members in Galatia, concerning Jewish laws. One of the laws that were in question was the law of circumcision, which the Christians believed were only for the Jews.

In chapters 1-2: Paul delivers his testimony about how he came to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul warns of people who come preaching another doctrine, than the one of Christ.

In chapters 3-5: Paul explains that Salvation cannot be obtained by law alone, but rather through faith on Jesus Christ. However, following the commandments of God and doing good works validates our faith.

In chapters 5-6: We learn about the Fruits of the Spirit and we come to understand that we must walk by the Spirit and abandon the desires of the flesh. Good works alone does not grant us salvation, however faith and good works do.

Galatians 6

Galatians 6: As Ye Sow… So shall Ye Reap

                “BRETHREN, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

                Paul opens this last chapter of Galatians with a letter urging the members of the church to consider those around them, which may have fallen into temptation. He asks the members to help by restoring them spiritually. He urges the members to do this with a spirit of meekness, or in other words to guide the person who has fallen into temptation with humbleness, and patience. However, if someone does not want to be restored spiritually or in the process of helping them you are also dragged down into temptation… we should stop. In other words, helping people is good… but if it starts to affect our own personal salvation we should tread lightly.

Paul goes on to say that we should rejoice in our own work and burdens; “…let every many prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” (Galatians 6:4-5) We should not seek praise or praise one another to the point of idolatry. Being happy in our own work and being proud of another person’s work is another thing. Paul explains that we are responsible for ourselves and our sins, we cannot pass them on to another… therefore we are also not born with sin, for we cannot be punished for the Fall of Adam and Eve. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that; “…men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” (Articles of Faith; 1) Therefore we are saved by grace, after all that WE do PERSONALLY. In the Book of Mormon; “…we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23; The Book of Mormon)

Paul explains that we are going to be judged according to our works. He also explains that God will not be mocked… Whatever a man gives, he shall receive. If you do evil works, evil will be your reward. If you do good works, good will be your reward.

“…God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

Galatians 5

Galatians 5: The Fruits of the Spirit

                “STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

                Paul makes a very bold statement in declaring that we are free in liberty when we follow the commandments of God. However, if we get entangled in the evils of the world we will be in bondage. Paul goes on to say that in the “…Spirit [we] wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Galatians 5:5) We are not always going to have signs or wonders performed in front of our eyes for us to believe in Jesus Christ, or His doctrine and commandments. We walk by faith and by that faith we serve one another. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14)

Paul gives the Galatians a great piece of advice, which can be applied to everyone: “…Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) Paul explains that lust pulls away from the Spirit, those who are led by the Spirit have no need for the law… because the Spirit will guide them in the ways of the law.

Paul explains the works of the flesh: “…Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [lustful], Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance [contention], emulations [rivalry, self-seeking], wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings… they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) Those who follow after the desires, and lusts of the world will not inherit the kingdom of God.

                Paul goes onto explain that those who follow the Spirit will feel something different than those who are following after the flesh. For “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

                Those who are filled with the Spirit and fight against the lusts of the world are filled with the joy of the Spirit. Those who rid themselves of those evils, have participated in their own crucifixion of the evil and have been Spiritually reborn and symbolically resurrected of their old ways. “…they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:24-26) Paul urges the Galatians (and the reader) to walk by the Spirit and love one another.

Galatians 4

Galatians 4: Heirs of Christ

                Paul opens by explaining how a servant cannot inherit anything of their lord. However, because of the Abrahamic Covenant we all become adopted under the seed of Abraham. God sent His Son, so that we may be redeemed, for we “…were in bondage under the elements of the world:” (Galatians 4:3) Therefore Paul asks the Galatians; “…how turn ye again to the weak and beggearly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9) The reason Paul asks this is because he clearly points out that all those adopted under the Abrahamic Covenant are “…no more a servant, but a son… [and] heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:7)

                If we turn away from the worldly things and instead turn to Christ we can be made free from the misery of the world. We learn from Alma, a Book of Mormon Prophet who lived in Ancient America, that “…wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10; The Book of Mormon) Therefore those who choose to follow God and His commandments will be made free from the bondage of the evil that oppresses the earth.

Paul urges the Galatians to be like him and follow his example, as he follows the example of Christ. Paul then explains how Abraham had two sons, one was born of a bondwoman and the other was born of a freewoman. Ishmael was born of the flesh and unto a bondwoman, which represents the old covenant. Isaac was born of the spirit and unto a freewoman, which represents the new covenant. Those who do not follow the spirit, but rather follow the flesh shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 3

Galatians 3: Children of Christ

                Paul addresses the Galatians and asks them; “Are ye so foolish? …are ye now made perfect by the flesh? …He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galations 3:3,5)

Paul is essentially asking the Galatians if they are justified by the law or by their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of the Galatians believed that if they followed the letter of the law, they would be saved. During this period of time in History the law was either directly from the scriptures or derived from the scriptures.  So one could say they are following all of the laws, but without having a true intent in their heart at following the commandments of God and having faith in Jesus Christ… they would not be saved.

Here is a modern day example: Someone drives 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. They obviously broke the law by doubling the speed limit. But, will they be judged of that by God? No, because they have not broken God’s law. If that person pays the ticket and goes on living a good life following the law of God, they will be saved. Let’s say that same person decides to speed down the sidewalk with the intent on killing someone. Now that person has still broken the law, but they have also broken God’s law by murdering someone. God will judge them now, and the chances of them being saved and returning to live with God has drastically gone down. However, we cannot say for sure what will ultimately happen to that person… because God will judge them in the end, and only HE can decide.

Paul goes on to explain that because we ALL are part of the Covenant, the same one made by Abraham we all have the potential to return to our Heavenly Father. This is so, because we can; “…receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:14)

Justified by Faith Alone?

                Some argue that it is by faith alone that we can return to live with God. Is it really that simple? Paul points out that “…the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24) Paul is saying that we are given commandments and laws to guide us so that we can not only have faith, but live by it. If someone has faith in Jesus Christ, they also have faith in His teachings. Jesus Christ taught that we are supposed to live a good life, filled with service, love and joy. Can someone truly have faith in Jesus Christ if they don’t live by His teachings? No, and that is why faith and works go hand-in-hand. In the very next verse Paul states; “…after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Galatians 3:25) Does that mean we no longer need to live by His laws? Absolutely not, but now that we have obtained our faith… we know how to live without someone having to tell us. The laws and commandments are known and our disobedience and lack of discipline will distant us from Him.  True DISCIPLEs of Christ, are  DISCIPLined in Christ’s teachings.

Paul ends this chapter by explaining how we are all counted under the Abrahamic Covenant; “For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then ye are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)

Galatians 2

Galatians 2: Contending the True Gospel

Paul goes to Jerusalem (after he had been absent for 14 years) and preaches the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church in Jerusalem had accepted Titus even though he was a uncircumcised Greek. Paul preaches that God favors no one. The leaders in Jerusalem (James, Cephas and John) accept the ministry of Paul and his preaching to the gentiles.

Paul publicly expresses his disapproval of Peter, because he had separated himself from the gentile Christians in that area. Paul has to remind Peter that the Gentiles are justified before God, not in their keeping of the law, but by the works they put forth in the name of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1

Galatians 1: The Gospel is Received by Revelations

                Paul speaks to the Galatians and tells them that Jesus Christ died for everyone to; “…deliver us from this present evil world…” (Galatians 1:4) However, Paul is a little concerned for the future of the Gospel and how some men will try to pervert the ways of the Lord and His Gospel truthes;

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But thought we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-8)

Paul was so troubled that so quickly could the Gospel of Jesus Christ be converted into something other than what Jesus Christ taught. However, we know that Satan has influence over some men to change the Gospel to add confusion and strife among the believers of Jesus Christ. Paul however testifies that what he preaches is from the Lord; “…I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12) How did Paul receive his testimony of the Gospel? Through personal revelation! Therefore we learn that obtaining answers to gospel questions can only occur through prayer and personal revelation with God Himself. If we only listen to man, we will obtain an answer that man can give us. However, if we earnestly desire to know the truth and ask God with a sincere heart we will obtain an answer from God that is not temporary like that of the world… but an eternal answer.

Paul ends his address by explaining that he was once a persecutor of the church and those who believed in Christ… but that he had converted and repented of his ways. This shows us that even the most imperfect person can change their lives and come to know the gospel of Jesus Christ.