RELIGION ATTACKS GOSPEL
When Jews were converted in the first century, many often brought into the church the religious legalism of the Judaism from which they came. The letters to the Romans and Galatians specifically dealt with this threat that denied the foundation of the gospel of freedom.
Galatians was possibly the first inspired letter of the New Testament canon to be written. It was a stern letter that was directed against the self-sanctifying legalist theology that was invading the fellowship of the disciples in southern Galatia. If Galatians was the first letter of the New Testament, then the Holy Spirit considered Jewish legalism to be a great danger to the continued existence of the early church. The sternness by which the letter was written indicates the seriousness of the attack of legalism against the truth of the gospel.
Paul’s purpose in writing Galatians was to investigate the erroneous nature of the Jewish legalism of the first century in reference to the threat of any legalistic theology that would attack the gospel at any time in history. One of the great threats against the church today is systematic legalism. This was the primary threat against the church in the first century.
Throughout every century, systematic legalistic theology has always sought to divide Christians from one another. It is imperative, therefore, that disciples be very familiar with the characteristics and behavior of legalistic religiosity.