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Discuss the occasion and purpose for the writing of Galatians. Who were the opponents of Paul in Galatia? What was the nature of the opponents’ doctrine and how did Paul respond to it? The letter to the Galatians was one which was written by Paul to defend the one true Gospel. According to Köstenberger, “the most important contribution of the letter is its exposition of the doctrine of justification.” The letter is a letter that ultimately unshackles the believer from slavery of the law. Instead of the belief that one’s eternal destiny is dependent on one’s personal actions or certain rituals, this letter is one that expands on a higher righteousness that is prompted by the Holy Spirit which dwells in us. “The letter also addresses the Spirit’s transforming work in the believer and the nature of Christ’s substitutionary atonement. Although the message of grace through faith and faith alone was one of power, it was certainly not one without opposition. Paul’s work actually met with heavy opposition from the Jews of the area. “Their opposition was initially motivated by jealousy over Paul’s success and popularity with the people (Acts 13:45). But personal rivalry was quickly overwhelmed by religious disputes.” In essence, Jewish opposition had focused their attentions on attacking Paul’s teaching on grace. The battle became one of salvation by grace versus the Law of Moses. “False teachers infiltrated the church preaching a different gospel—a gospel that insisted that keeping the Law of Moses, in particular receiving circumcision, rather than faith in the gospel of grace alone was essential to salvation.” In defending his case, Paul reminded the people that requiring circumcision for salvation ultimately made the entire OT law an obligation. Galatians 5:3 says, “Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.” Paul’s announcement of grace was so clear that insistence on circumcision and the observance of...
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