Passage: Galatians 5:1-5
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
Paul’s letter to the Galatians is all about the freedom and confidence we have in Christ, because of the gospel, as well as the kind of community that emerges from this freedom.
At the beginning of Galatians, Paul greets the church with great confidence—a confidence he expressed throughout the course of his life and ministry, even in the face of great suffering. What was the source of this confidence for Paul?
First, Paul had confidence because of his commission. His apostleship was not “from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead” (1:1). He was bold because his message came not from his own authority, but from Christ’s. We can exhibit this same boldness today because we too are commissioned by God himself to be witnesses to his gospel.
Paul also had confidence because of the nature of the gospel itself. The gospel is the good news of the victory of Christ (deliverance from “this present evil age”) through his substitution on the cross for our sins (1:3-4). The gospel, then, is about sin and forgiveness and being made right with God, but it also brings into being a new kind of kingdom—one that is set free from the marks of the “present evil age” and is defined by self-giving love. We should care deeply, then, about evangelism and justice, individual discipleship and the community that arises from it. Paul had confidence because he knew that the gospel he preached had the power to effect change on all of these different levels.
Lastly, Paul had confidence because of God’s glory. He was convinced that in all his ministry, and sufferings, he was defending the glory of God, and not his own reputation. He could endure anything because he was swept up into God’s greater purpose. So to with us today—it is only when we find ourselves caught up in God’s great purpose for us that we will become bold and steadfast.
- The Confidence of Our Commission (1:1-2)
- The Confidence of Our Gospel (1:3-4)
- The Confidence of God’s Glory (1:5)
Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide:
Re-read the passage(s): Galatians 1:1-5
The Confidence of Our Commission (1:1-2)
1) Re-read Galatians 1:1-2. What does Paul mean when he says that his apostleship is not “from men nor through man”? What effect did the origin of his apostleship have on his continuing ministry?
2) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby made the point that, though we may never have had a “Damascus experience” like Paul, we too have been commissioned by God himself to be witnesses to his gospel. When you think of your own experience, do you often feel the confidence that comes from knowing that you’ve been commissioned by God himself, with a message that is from God himself? If not, what keeps you from feeling this way?
3) What is one step of faith you can take this week to be a witness for Christ, knowing you are commissioned with a divine commission?
The Confidence of Our Gospel (1:3-4)
4) Re-read Galatians 1:3-4 and meditate on these verses together. Consider: What does Paul mean by the “present evil age” that we’ve been delivered from?How are we delivered from this age? What does this mean for us now?
5) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby highlighted how Paul preaches the gospel both of the kingdom (deliverance from an evil age, into a new age) and of the cross (Christ giving himself up for our sins)—the victory of Christ through his substitutionary death. What happens when we minimize the “kingdom” aspect of the gospel? What happens when we minimize the substitution/cross aspect of the gospel?
6) What would a church look like who rightly emphasized both Christ’s cross and his kingdom? What would their worship be like? Their community? Their outreach?
The Confidence of God’s Glory (1:5)
9) Re-read Galatians 1:5. Who was Paul living for? How did this affect his confidence, and his ability to endure trials?
10) Have you ever had a time when living for God and his glory helped you through a trial you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make it through? How might God be calling you right now to live for his glory, rather than your own reputation?
Additional Application Questions
Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?
Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?
Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.