The Apostle to the Gentiles in Galatian
In the letter to the Galatians, Paul is calling himself an “apostle to the Gentiles(2:8)” comparing himself to Peter who was an “apostle to the Jews”. So does that mean that they were preaching two different Gospels?
“…for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles…”
– Galatians 2:8
1:6-2:14 The Truth of the Gospel
As Paul is calling himself an “apostle to the Gentiles(2:8)”, he was called to preach the gospel especially to the Gentiles. So in Paul’s day the gospel was prevalent among big number of people. But at the same time, some Jews forced the Gentiles to be circumcised and also to keep the law of Moses. Because they believed that the circumcision is required for the salvation. So this problem between Jews and Gentiles is one of the key theme in this letter.
2:15-4:11 Justification and the Fulfillment of the Law
Jews believed that salvation will only be given by keeping the mosaic law and performing circumcision. But this ceremonial law was fulfilled by Jesus Christ so salvation was given to all the people who believe in Christ. Not like in the old days when salvation was given to those who kept the old covenant.
So what was the purpose of the Law? One of the purposes was to reveal people’s sins to themselves till the day of the Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. So the law is not something that goes against the promise that was given to Abraham and the seed. The Abrahamic covenant’s promise is that the people will be saved through faith in Jesus Christ and not by the works of the law. And that is the justification that Paul is speaking of in this letter.
4:12-5:6 Brothers of Christ
The people who believe in God will be Heavenly Father’s children. And they will also be His heir that inherit the kingdom of God with His Son Jesus Christ. And this is the fulfillment of the promise and the salvation. Paul is calling the people who is under the Abrahamic covenant “the son of free woman” in the comparison to “the son of slave woman” who is under the Mosaic law. The son also means the heir so the people who will be saved through faith in Christ will inherit the kingdom of God. Because we are the brothers of Christ. And this is the justification.
5:7-6:16 The Great Commandment
Salvation will be given through the faith in Christ and not through the ceremonial law. But it does not mean that the law was meaningless or bad. Or it does not mean that there is no connection between the faith in Christ and the Mosaic law. But the Mosaic law was summarized into two commandments as Jesus taught the Pharisees in Matthew 22:37-39, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”. And this is the fulfillment of the Mosaic law that was done by Jesus Christ.
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Matthew 22:37-39
So by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, we still keep the law but not the Mosaic law it self. But the Mosaic law that was fulfilled by Christ. Because Jesus Christ didn’t come to abolish the Law(Matthew 5:17) but to fulfill the law. And so keeping those two commandments of love which is also called “the great ” is the way we should live and walk in the Spirit(5:25).
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
– Galatians 5:25