In verses 1-5, Paul explained his authority. Now, he is ready for a second step as he begins this battle for the liberty of the Christian. Conspicuous by its absence is Paul’s usual expression of thanksgiving to God for his readers. Instead he vented his astonishment and anger over the Galatians’ defection. When compared with the opening of 1 Corinthians this is even more striking, for despite the Corinthians’ deep moral defection Paul nonetheless expressed commendation. But here in the face of theological departure he did not express thanks, thus emphasizing the more serious nature of doctrinal apostasy. God had called the Galatians in His grace, and saved them from their sins. Now the Galatians are moving from grace back into Law. They are abandoning liberty for legalism! The grace of God is a basic theme in this letter (Gal. 1:3, 6, 15; 2:9, 21; 5:4; 6:18). Grace is simply God’s favor to undeserving sinners. The words “grace” and “gift” go together, because salvation is the gift of God through His grace (Eph. 2:8–10). The Galatian believers were not simply changing churches but were actually abandoning the very grace of God! To make matters worse, they were deserting the very God of grace! God had called them and saved them; now they were deserting Him for human leaders who would bring them into bondage.
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