Galatians 1:1-5 - Introduction
In the wonderful book of Galatians, Paul the apostle writes his experience of, first, living among the men of the world and trying to please men and, second, living above these men and above the world to please God. This is done through faith. The word "faith" is used 20 times in this book, and that word is the basic theme of the book.
Paul explains that he is an apostle, not by men nor of men (within the confines of this world system) but is an apostle by his Savior, Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him (Jesus) from the dead (vs. 1).
He extends greetings from himself and those who are with him to the specific local churches which are located in the area of Galatia. Churches are all local; they are not universal or invisible (vs 2).
To give bonafide evidence that he is living above the world, Paul gives greetings of "grace." Now, grace does not come from man but is a gift of God; and here Paul extends a greeting of grace to these churches from God the Father and Jesus Christ. Where else would this grace come from? There is no other source or treasury whereby grace can be extended. It is a heavenly greeting, not an earthly one (vs 3).
Paul gives specific attention to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He calls him Lord in verse three, and he expresses the work of Jesus Christ as our Savior in verse 4. Jesus Christ "gave himself for our sins." The Greek word for "for" is huper, and it means "in behalf of." Jesus Christ gave himself in our behalf, or in our place. When he was on the cross, he took my place. I should have been crucified, not Jesus Christ, who had no sin. I was the sinner, but I could not die for myself, nor could I suffer in the flesh for any or all of my sins. It took a Savior to die for me. Faith in Jesus Christ raises us above the elements of the world and helps us to live above the world just as it did the apostle Paul (vs. 4).
But why did Jesus die in Paul's place? The verse continues to explain to us that the reason is "that he might deliver us from this present evil world." This deliverance happens upon our being born again and allows us to live above the rudiments of the world and from under the traditions of men. We can live in and by the Spirit of God and can enjoy Heaven's best blessings without the help of people or things in earth. Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (vs. 4)
It is the will of God, our Father,that we live above the world, having our conversation in heaven (Phil. 3:20), our minds on Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), and having a separation from the world (1 John 2:15; 2 Cor. 6:17).
This is all done to the glory of God, and this glory will last forever and ever. Ephesians 3:21 tells us that his glory is gained in the church (the local churches), and that glory will endure forever. May God be please to both prompt us to live above the world and to separate ourselves from the world and its traditions, as Paul did, so that we may be proper instruments of service to his honor and glory.