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Sat, May 16, 1998

2 - Substitutionary Atonement

Galatians 1:1-5 by Robert Dean
Series:Galatians (1998)
Duration:1 hr 1 mins 16 secs

Substitutionary Atonement; Gal. 1:1-5

Gal 1:5 to whom {be} the glory forevermore. Amen.

Six requirements to be an apostle

1.  An apostle of Jesus Christ must be a Jew. He had to be from Messiah's nation.

2.  An apostle must have received a specific call and commission to his office directly from Christ. The nature of his office: he had full plenary powers, full authority. This was the highest rank in the church age. The precedent was set by the Lord Himself in Luke 6:13 NASB "And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles." Paul elaborates on this in 2 Corinthians, and especially here in Galatians 1:1.

3.  They must have been an eyewitness of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and have heard His teaching. If they were to be foundational witnesses to Jesus Christ and what He taught then it was necessary for them to know a) what He taught, and b) to have seen His public ministry while He was alive on the earth. (Paul was probably among the Pharisees and scribes who were arguing with Jesus during Jesus' time on the earth) Paul made is specifically clear that he was an apostle.1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8; Acts 22:6-21. 

4.  An apostle must possess authority in communicating divine revelation. When an apostle spoke it was "Thus saith the Lord." He was the mouthpiece for God; he gave absolute truth. What he wrote from divine revelation was directly from the mind of God. 1 Corinthians 2:16. 

5.  An apostle is required to furnish the signs of the apostles. 2 Corinthians 12:12 NASB "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles." All of these things authenticated their message. They demonstrated the veracity of their message.

6.  An apostle possessed plenary authority among all the churches. Peter, for example, judged Ananias and Sapphira on the basis of his authority as an apostle. Paul asserted his responsibilities over all of the churches, 2 Corinthians 11:28 NASB "Apart from {such} external things, there is the daily pressure on me {of} concern for all the churches. And he dictated to the different churches what they should do in various, e.g. disciplinary matters such as in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 5:3. They had authority to tell every local church congregation how to conduct their business.

In summary, apostleship was a unique spiritual gift that was sovereignly delegated by the Lord Jesus Christ and distributed by the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:27, 28; Ephesians 4:11; Colossians 1:1. In the pre-canon period of the church age certain spiritual gifts such as apostleship were necessary in order to communicate the revelation about the church age and the unique spiritual life of the church age because they didn't have it written down yet. Once it was all written down it was no longer necessary for these people to continue their function—apostleship, prophecies, healing and tongues, for example. Apostles were not appointed until after the resurrection of Christ and they did not really become operational until the day of Pentecost when the church age began. Galatians 1:1 NASB "Paul, an apostle (not {sent} from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)." The reason he mentions resurrection here is because Paul himself was commissioned by the resurrected Christ, and he is reminding his readers of his testimony of how he came to know the Lord on the road to Damascus when Jesus Christ appeared to him.

The doctrine of resurrection

1.  Resurrection means to be physically raised from the dead with a body of incorruption that is never again subject to the limitations of a mortal body, including illness, harm and physical death.

2.  Scripture reveals that there will be two resurrections. The first resurrection comes in several phases. a) Christ as the firstfruits of the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23a; b) The resurrection of the royal family of God, the church, at the Rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; c) The Old Testament believers and Tribulation martyrs; d) Believers at the end of the Millennium. The second resurrection is for unbelievers only at the end of the Millennium.

3.  Jesus Christ set the pattern for resurrection as the first Man to be raised from the dead, so he is called the firstfruits. His victory over death is the basis for our victory over death.

4.  Physical death the prerequisite for resurrection for all but the Rapture generation.

5.  All believers who die in this age will be resurrected at the Rapture of the church. 

Galatians 1:2 NASB "and all the brethren who are with me,  To the churches of Galatia." Paul always travelled with a few men. Who were these Galatian believers? They were a group of Celts who had migrated into this area from Europe. While Paul was on his second missionary journey he heard reports that the churches in Galatia were no longer believing the gospel. They were being distracted by the Judaisers in believing in a works salvation. During the time of the development of the Roman empire there was a group of Celts from up in western Russian who had migrated down into Europe. Part of that group went on into Spain and Ireland and Scotland. But there was another group that migrated from Europe back eastward and eventually crossed into Turkey. Later when the Romans took over they called the area the Roman province of Asia. Here were the churches of Galatia of which there were several and they had all become caught up in a works salvation and a works spiritual life.

Galatians 1:3 NASB "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." This is Paul's standard salutation. Notice that grace is mentioned. This is always the policy of God—the unearned favour of God. That is God's policy for dealing with mankind throughout human history. "Grace to you" was a typical greeting of the Greeks, but the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives new meaning to it in the epistles. Paul adds something. It is "from God our Father." His grace and true peace and inner happiness can only come from God our Father and the reason is because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the word "our." Paul views the Galatians as believers. 

Galatians 1:4 NASB "who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father." There is a very important foreshadowing here. It is talking about the gospel, that Jesus Christ is the one who gave Himself. The verb here is from the Greek didomi [didomi]. It is an aorist participle. It basically means to give and is the basic word for grace. It is indicating grace, that Jesus Christ gave Himself. There are no string attached and it is not based on anything that God sees in us or on anything that we have merited. The term "for our sins" is very important. The Greek word is huper [u(per], the preposition of substitution. To give it its full meaning we could translate this, "who gave Himself as a substitute for our sins."  This is the nature of Jesus Christ's death on the cross. He died as our substitute. He has taken our punishment on Himself. "…that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father" is God's blueprint for our life. If we follow the blueprint then we will be delivered the power of sin in our life today.

Then Paul closes with a doxology in verse 5, "to whom {be} the glory forevermore. Amen." The ultimate purpose for God's plan is for Him to be glorified in the angelic conflict.