“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel,” writes St. Paul in his opening salvo to the Galatians. “Not that there is another” (Gal. 1:6–7), he concludes. No other Gospel.
The teaching of the Gospel, “that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal. 2:16), forms the core and central teaching of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. At times, teachers of the church led people away from this core doctrine. Martin Luther faced this false teaching from the Roman Catholic church.
It is no surprise, then, that Martin Luther loved Paul’s letter to the Galatians and considered it his “beloved Katie.” His commentaries on Galatians begat many “reformational children,” and through these commentaries, Luther continues to preach the pure Gospel to Christians today. Not because they are Luther’s commentaries, but because Luther points his readers to Christ’s suffering and death for the sins of the world.
This month, we are digging into Galatians. We are giving you the context of the churches in Galatia and an overview of the theology in the letter. We took one often-misinterpreted text, Galatians 3:28, and explained what Paul is saying. And lest one begins to think that the Gospel gives freedom to sin, we discuss how Paul teaches the third use of the law in Galatians. Finally, we explain what place this letter had in the Reformation and how to read Luther’s commentaries on Galatians.
Do not desert Him who called you in Christ Jesus. There is no other Gospel than that which we preached to you: “A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal. 2:16).
Proclaiming the one Gospel,
Roy S. Askins
Managing Editor, The Lutheran Witness