Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Galatians
Book: Galatians
Chapter: 1

The Apostle Paul asserts his apostolic character against such
as lessened it. (1-5) He reproves the Galatians for revolting
from the Gospel of Christ under the influence of evil teachers.
(6-9) He proves the Divine authority of his doctrine and
mission; and declares what he was before his Conversion and
Calling. (10-14) And how he proceeded after it. (15-24)

1-5 St. Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ; he was expressly
appointed By him, consequently By God the Father, who is one
with him in respect of his Divine nature, and who appointed
Christ as Mediator. Grace, includes God's good-will towards us,
and his good work upon us; and peace, all that inward comfort,
or outward prosperity, which is really needful for us. They come
from God the Father, as the Fountain, through Jesus Christ. But
observe, first Grace, and then peace; there can be No true peace
without Grace. Christ gave himself for our sins, to make
Atonement for us: this the Justice of God required, and to this
he freely submitted. Here is to be observed the infinite
greatness of the price bestowed, and then it will appear
plainly, that the power of Sin is So great, that it could By No
means be Put away except the Son of God be given for it. He that
considers these things Well, understands that Sin is a thing the
most horrible that can be expressed; which ought to move us, and
make us afraid indeed. Especially Mark Well the words, "for our
sins." For here our weak nature starts back, and would first be
made worthy By her own Works. It would bring him that is whole,
and not him that has need of a Physician. Not only to redeem us
from the wrath of God, and the Curse of the Law; but also to
recover us from wicked practices and customs, to which we are
naturally enslaved. But it is in vain for those who are not
delivered from this present evil world By the Sanctification of
the Spirit, to expect that they are freed from its condemnation
By the Blood of Jesus.

6-9 Those who would establish any other way to Heaven than what
the Gospel of Christ reveals, will find themselves wretchedly
mistaken. The Apostle presses upon the Galatians a due sense of
their guilt in forsaking the Gospel way of Justification; yet he
reproves with tenderness, and represents them as drawn into it
By the arts of some that troubled them. In reproving others, we
should be Faithful, and yet endeavour to restore them in the
Spirit of Meekness. Some would set up the Works of the Law in
the place of Christ's Righteousness, and thus they corrupted
Christianity. The Apostle solemnly denounces, as accursed, every
one who attempts to lay So false a foundation. All other Gospels
than that of the Grace of Christ, whether more flattering to
self-righteous pride, or more favourable to worldly lusts, are
devices of Satan. And while we declare that to reject the moral
Law as a rule of Life, tends to dishonour Christ, and destroy
true religion, we must also declare, that all dependence for
Justification On good Works, whether real or supposed, is as
fatal to those who persist in it. While we are zealous for good
Works, let us be careful not to Put them in the place of
Christ's Righteousness, and not to advance any thing which may
betray others into So dreadful a delusion.

10-14 In preaching the Gospel, the Apostle sought to bring
persons to the obedience, not of men, but of God. But Paul would
not attempt to alter the doctrine of Christ, either to gain
their favour, or to avoid their Fury. In So important a matter
we must not fear the frowns of men, nor seek their favour, By
using words of men's Wisdom. Concerning the manner wherein he
received the Gospel, he had it By Revelation from Heaven. He was
not led to Christianity, as many are, merely By education.

15-24 St. Paul was wonderfully brought to the knowledge and
Faith of Christ. All who are savingly converted, are called By
the Grace of God; their Conversion is wrought By his power and
Grace working in them. It will but little avail us to have
Christ revealed to us, if he is not also revealed in us. He
instantly prepared to obey, without hesitating as to his worldly
interest, credit, ease, or Life itself. And what matter of
thanksgiving and joy is it to the churches of Christ, when they
hear of such instances to the praise of the Glory of his Grace,
whether they have ever seen them or not! They Glorify God for
his power and Mercy in saving such persons, and for all the
service to his people and cause that is done, and may be further
expected from them.