No Other Gospel: Distinguishing Faith and Works in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians for the Student Ministry of Bethel Church
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This work walks through Paul’s proclamation of the finished work of Jesus as Paul teaches that there is no other gospel. In other words, salvation has always been by grace through faith across all redemptive history. Chapter 2 argues that very reality. By looking at Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the garden and God’s covenant with Abraham, salvation is seen as an act of faith in response to God’s grace. Abraham believed in God, which he counted as righteousness (Gen 15:6). Chapter 3 begins an exposition of Galatians, showing how Paul argues my exact point. Paul begins and ends his letter with similar themes: the false teachers lead the Galatians to work for themselves and traditions rather than Jesus Christ. Paul curses anyone, including himself, if they add to the message of the gospel that was initially given. There has always been one gospel, and no one is above it. Chapter 4 shows that justification by faith alone encourages ethnic unity within the new covenant inaugurated by Christ. For societies and different cultures to come together, there must be a center from which all persons can agree upon. That center is Christ and the faith people have in him that unites all people together. Chapter 5 continues the theme of faith being the unifier of all people. Not only is faith in Christ the source by which all people are united, but all people, regardless of their background, receive the blessings given to Abraham, regardless of the familial ties. In Christ, people become a new creation. Once someone is in Christ, they inherit the same promises by grace through faith, like everyone else from everywhere else. Chapter 6 shows that even though the Abrahamic inheritance comes only by faith, and faith is the source by which people become children of God, the law still has a purpose within redemptive history and is good. It is good because it fits within the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant is superior to the mosaic covenant in its historical setting and theological outlook. Chapter 7 shows that when people trust Christ as savior and place their faith in him, they transition from slaves to sons of God. This is significant because people’s position before God changes. Slaves do not receive blessings or inheritance. The rightful heir to the father’s possessions belongs to his son. Because all those who place their faith in Jesus become sons of God, their title changes, and they identify as God's child—the rightful heir to the Abrahamic promises. Chapter 8 concludes the project by examining Paul’s theological reasoning behind his letter. By looking at Ishmael and Isaac’s births, Paul defends that there has always been one way to be free. If the Galatians (and Christians today) trust in any source for freedom outside of faith in Jesus Christ, they will be slaves. All other forms of teaching and outlooks on life lead to slavery. Only faith in God’s promises will lead to genuine freedom.