Galatians 1 Lesson

Saved By Faith, Not Works


The Book of Galatians is sometimes referred to as, “The Declaration of Independence for Christians.” In his writing, the Apostle Paul tells us that it is our faith in Jesus that liberates us from the Law (Old Testament).

Paul wrote this letter to address an ongoing concern in Galatia.

At the time of his letter, there was a growing concern over:

  1. False prophets,
  2. A false belief among the Galatians that they were still under the Law and saved by works, not faith.

Paul was astonished that the Galatians had fallen back into the teachings of the Old Law after all they had learned! He wrote:

  • “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from Heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” – Galatians 1:6-9.

The central message of Galatians is that Christians are saved by faith and not by works. 

Most scholars agree that Paul’s letter to the Galatians was written in approximately 50 AD. 

Therefore, Paul’s conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus would have happened about 15 years prior to his writing this letter. 

Paul’s conversion was so powerful that he devoted the rest of his life to serving Jesus! 

He would endure:

  1. Beatings,
  2. Ridicule,
  3. Imprisonment,
  4. And many other forms of adversity along the way.

Despite all his suffering, Paul never stopped following Jesus after his conversion.

And that is a lesson that we can all learn from today!


A few years after writing to Galatia, Paul touched on similar themes in his letter to the Romans:

  • “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin,” – Romans 8:1.

As we begin our study of the Book of Galatians, we will first ground ourselves in the definitions of faith and grace:

FAITH: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1. When you have faith, you trust or believe in something very strongly.

GRACE: “Unmerited favor.  Receiving something that you have not earned.”  The greatest example of grace is Jesus who, “Gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age.” – Galatians 1:4.

The Galatians, like all of us, needed to hear that there was a plan to save them from the sin that was all around them.

As you read through the book of Galatians, pay attention to how Paul repeatedly tells us that we are saved through faith and not by works.

We must let go of the concept that we can gain salvation through our own works and accept the precious gift of Jesus. 

As humans, it is hard to fathom how a gift so valuable could be freely given to the entire world. 

That is the wonderment of God’s grace!


The book of Galatians is sometimes referred to as, “The Declaration of Independence for Christians,” because it freed us from our obligations under the Law.

Paul repeatedly makes the point that we are saved through our faith in Jesus, and not by our works.    

In this epistle, Paul uses the word “grace” more than one hundred times!  This is done intentionally.

The Bible will often repeat a message when it is a point that God really needs us to understand. 

Since we are saved by faith and not by works, it is imperative that we do three things:

  1. Study the Bible regularly,
  2. Learn what God’s commandments are,
  3. Apply what we have learned.

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following scripture taken from Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia:

  • “A person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” - Galatians 2:16


Virtual Bible Study™

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think or feel?
2) What questions do you have?
3) How can you apply what you have learned to something specific in your life?


Click To Join The Discussion
Craig Davis

I think you've misunderstood Paul's message in Galatians.. He wasn't concerned about the "faith vs works" issue, we so often hear of, especially in Catholic/Protestant debates....but he was arguing that Christians are no longer bound by Mosaic law. That is what means when he refers to "works of law". Most Biblical studies and scholars make this clear. Peace to you.


And faith without works is dead think about that for a while.


Amen Brent!

Virtual Bible Study™

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think or feel?
2) What questions do you have?
3) How can you apply what you have learned to something specific in your life?


Shawn Hart

This scripture is often taken out of context to turn baptism into a "work" that does not need to be performed in order to have a relationship with Jesus; however, Paul's instruction here is not in regard to negating the need of baptism, but rather to address those who have already been baptized and are being drawn back into the practices of the old law. As the study progresses Paul also repeatedly addresses those who are in Christ through faith. In Galatians 3:26-27, he further sustains this by finally declaring exactly how they had come into that relationship: "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."