Here are some of the quotes I referred to in today's message on Galatians 1:1-10. As I prepare for these Galatians sermons, here are the main resources I am using to get the meaning of Galatians right. (HERE.)
Craig Keener - "Galatians addresses hearers who are already believers. Paul’s argument is not against Judaism but against a faction of Jewish believers in Christ… who insist that “Paul’s Gentile converts must accept the Jewish law” if they are to belong to God’s people. The gospel of grace in Christ is supplemented with the system of Moses. This is a gross perversion of the Gospel… and a totally different message."
Scot McKnight says the heart of the Galatian problem is: "a gospel of grace at war with a gospel that minimizes Christ."
McKnight - "Legalism, according to Galatians, was a religious system that combined Christianity with Mosaism in a way that demanded total commitment to Israel’s law as the climax of one’s conversion to Christ. This “deeper commitment to the law,” according to Paul, was a subversion of the adequacy of Christ’s work and an abandonment of the Holy Spirit as God’s way of guiding Christian ethics. In other words, the legalism of the Judaizers is more than a problem: it has become a new message, a different gospel. It is this implication—that it is a different gospel—that forces Paul to action."
McKnight - "We must be on guard against the idea that every rule or regulation in Christian living is a necessary form of Galatian legalism. Legalism – for Paul - was wrong not because laws are somehow wrong, but because legalism supplanted Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. There are many commands and rules that are helpful; for Christian development."
Dallas Willard - “Grace is not opposed to effort; it's opposed to earning. Effort is action; earning is attitude.”
Tim Keller - In [Galatians] chapter 5, Paul has laid out two errors, both of which oppose the gospel: losing freedom by seeking salvation through keeping rules (moralism); and abusing freedom by rejecting the idea of rules at all (hedonism)."
Tim Keller - o In verse 7 [of ch. 1], Paul says that any teaching which adds keeping Mosaic ceremonial law to faith in Christ “perverts” the gospel. Literally, the word he chooses to use means “reverses." This is illuminating. If you add anything to Christ as a requirement for acceptance with God—if you start to say: To be saved I need the grace of Christ plus something else—you completely reverse the “order” of the gospel and make it null and void.
McKnight (again) - "Here we are at the heart of the Galatian problem: a gospel of grace at war with a gospel that minimizes Christ."
N. T. Wright - The true Gospel declares that God’s single, unique action in Jesus has dealt with sin and launched the new age, the new world, the new creation. The rival “gospel” of the newly arrived teachers isn’t about that good news at all. It isn’t a variation on the theme; it is a different theme altogether. It isn’t an announcement that the new age has begun. It is simply a message about how to survive in the old age. And Paul says that anyone who announces such a thing, pretending that it’s the same thing as the genuine message of Jesus, must be under a “ban.” They are the ones, he says, that you should avoid.