The Reluctant Puritan Bible Study

Last week, I looked at the first two verses of Galatians. This week, I will continue where I left off and examine the rest of the salutation.

Galatians 1:3-5

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

One thing that I find interesting about Paul’s opening of the letter is the part that’s missing. In most of Paul’s letters, he offers up some sort of thanksgiving for the recipients of the letter. Not so in this case. As we will be reminded of further in the letter, Paul is disappointed in and angry with the Galatians. The tone of the letter is harsh and rebuking.

The salutation begins with the words, “grace” and “peace”. MacArthur notes in his commentary that this was a distinctly Christian greeting. The more common greeting in the Greek culture in Paul’s time was “chara” which means joy. And grace and peace are two important concepts for the Christian. MacArthur notes the following:

Two of the most precious words related to that God-given gospel are grace and peace. The first is the source of salvation and the second is the result. Grace is positional, peace is practical, and together they flow from God our Father through His Son and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul also notes that this grace and peace are from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Luther notes:

The peace of the world gives nothing but the peace of our goods and bodies. But in affliction and in the hour of death, the grace and favor of the world cannot help us; they cannot deliver us from affliction, despair, and death.

Verse 4 is a concise summary of salvation by grace. MacArthur divides the verse into three aspects of the Gospel.

  1. The Nature of the Gospel: Christ’s Atoning Death and Resurrection
  2. The Object of the Gospel: To Deliver from the Present Age
  3. The Source of the Gospel: The Will of God

Our salvation is not earned by us in any way. Christ’s atoning death was essential to our redemption. We are delivered from this age. This idea connotates a rescue. In our salvation, we are rescued from the evil system of the world. Every Christian is saved through the deliberate, sovereign Will of God.

Verse 5 closes with an acknowledgement that God is worthy of glory forever.

Next week, we will begin to dig into the depths of the letter. I anticipate covering the next three verses.

soli Deo gloria

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