HOW WAS JESUS CHRIST CRUCIFIED AMONG THE GALATIANS?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Galatians 3:1 concludes with some very interesting words: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” Was not the Lord Jesus Christ crucified just outside Jerusalem, Israel, some decades prior? Then how could the Scriptures say here that was He crucified among Paul’s converts in Galatia (modern Turkey)?
Today’s “Gospel” preaching and teaching usually blurs and obscures the simple truths of God’s Good News to mankind. You hear “the Gospel” (?) preached today in the average church, and you hear nothing but discrepancy and contradiction. There are pleas for individuals to straighten up their lives first and then come to Jesus Christ. At “invitation time,” various and sundry enticements are heard. They are invited to do everything but rely on Christ and Christ alone—walk an aisle, say the “sinner’s prayer,” make deals with God, shake the preacher’s hand, kneel at the “altar” and weep hysterically, “ask Jesus into your heart,” give money, fill out a visitor’s card, pray for the “fire” to zap you, help the poor, support missions, join the church, get water baptized, “make Jesus the Lord of your life,” confess your sins, keep the Ten Commandments, obey the denomination’s precepts, repent of your sins, turn from your sins, feel “so sorry” for your sins, on and on and on.
All the above activities focus on us—what we can do to rehabilitate, reform, and manage sin. They are not pure Gospel messages because Jesus Christ’s work is not preeminent in them. Law is emphasized and grace is thus hidden! Contrariwise, the aforementioned conundrums and confusions were not the case with the Apostle Paul’s ministry. It was before the eyes of the Galatians that Jesus Christ was presented as the crucified Saviour. There were no gimmicks, no lies, and no traditions of men to clutter and cloud the minds and hearts of these idolatrous, Hell-bound souls! Laden with religious works already, they needed the grace of the Creator God they knew not! When the Apostle Paul arrived in Galatia and preached the Gospel of the Grace of God, there was such authority and clarity that his audience saw Calvary with awesome vividness.
First Corinthians 15:1-4 delineates Paul’s Gospel: “ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”
With Paul’s ministry, there was nothing difficult to grasp, nothing mysterious, and nothing unclear as to what God’s justice demanded as payment for our sin. Our works were not the issue; Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself for our sins, THAT was the issue! The Galatians saw it with startling lucidity, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. They immediately passed from death to life, from Satan’s family to God’s family. However, Satan would not be outdone and would not give them up without a fight!
Galatians 1:6-9 is a sad commentary: “ I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
Immediately after Paul left Galatia, the Devil worked his “magic.” Some Jewish legalists came in and used the Law—Moses’ writings, Scripture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!—to confuse those saints. Paul’s advice was for the Galatians to separate from such false teachers. He called those Galatian Christians “foolish” in Galatians 3:1. They let people “bewitch” them: false teachers had cast a spell on them, causing them not to think clearly when it came to spiritual matters. They had abandoned the clear message of God’s grace and its accompanying blessings, and returned to religious bondage (Law) and its associated spiritual ignorance! Instead of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), they were mixing the dispensations God had separated.
Acts 15:1-5 highlights this problem that existed between Jewish kingdom saints, Jewish false teachers, and Paul’s Gentile converts: “ And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.  And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.  And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Verse 5 was the message preached in Galatia after Paul left.
To correct the mix-ups, the Holy Spirit through Paul said in Galatians 2:16-21: “ Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.  But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.  For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.  For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
Now, Galatians 3:1-5: “ O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?  Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.  He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
Galatians 4:21: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” What was the problem at Galatia? Those saints wanted to follow the Law of Moses instead of the Grace of God!
Also, Galatians 5:1-9: “ Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.  For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.  Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” How awful—these dear saints had been polluted with non-dispensational Bible study! Sound familiar?!
Lastly, Galatians 5:18: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Spirit of God will never, ever, EVER (!) lead anyone in the Dispensation of Grace to place himself or herself under a performance-based acceptance system! Grace operates today; it tells us how to be justified and accepted before God unto eternal life (Romans chapters 1-5) and it tells us how to live as Christians before God on a daily basis (Romans chapters 6-8, 12-16). It is all about Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, and it is all about Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as means of conquering sin on a daily basis. Our performance is not the issue because we are weak and unreliable. Never once has Jesus Christ failed, though. Never once will Jesus Christ fail. That is why God put Christ in us—He wants us absolutely, totally, completely, eternally to have victory. Sin will only come about when we rely on ourselves.
My dear friends, we need to be extremely vigilant concerning false Gospels. They always have some element of works attached to them. They are widespread, and have—yes—led millions to eternal damnation rather than eternal bliss. Still, we need to be warned concerning clear Gospel messages also. We can hear all the clear Gospel of Grace messages we want, but, unless they are coupled with our faith, those divine words will do nothing for us. A pure Gospel message without personal faith will do as much good for you as a false Gospel message. We can be saved and on our way to Heaven, never to go to Hell, and still be so warped in the Scriptures that it is beyond comprehension (remember the Galatians!). We can be saved by grace through faith without works, and then be fooled into thinking we can maintain our salvation by our works. What deception! Satan’s evil world system is very subtle—it comes in so many forms.
By the way, in closing, let me stress this. Your greatest handbooks to combat false Gospels today are the Bible Books of Romans and Galatians (major tools Protestants used during the Protestant Reformation to discredit Roman Catholic works-religion). Read Romans chapters 1-5 and Galatians (all six chapters), and you will see the Gospel of Grace like never before. This instruction will enable you to spot any erroneous Gospels. Above all, they will help you in evangelizing others, that you too may evidently set forth before their eyes Jesus Christ crucified among them! 🙂
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