During his second missionary journey, Paul started several churches in Galatia. Some time later, false teachers crept into these churches and began teaching that there was more to salvation than faith in Jesus. They said that obeying the law of Moses was essential too.
Many of the Galatian believers became confused and believed the lies of the false teachers. They turned away from the gospel Paul had shared with them. Paul wrote a letter—the Book of Galatians—to correct them and reemphasize a proper understanding of the gospel.
Paul asked the Galatians how their salvation could be started by an act of the Holy Spirit but then completed by their own conduct. That was foolishness! What the Holy Spirit began, He would also complete.
Jesus’ half-brother James had written a letter to early believers, concerned about Christians’ interpreting grace to mean they didn’t have to obey God. In Galatians, Paul addressed the opposite problem: Christians who focused so much on obedience that they forgot grace.
James’ message was that grace will always lead to obedience. Paul’s message compliments James’ message: Obedience is impossible apart from grace. Grace and obedience work together in perfect harmony.
This week’s Bible story provides a wonderful opportunity to help your kids understand that obedience matters. The Bible is full of instructions and commands that we are to obey; however, the beauty of the gospel is that our ability to obey comes not through our own effort but through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit changes our minds and hearts so that we want to obey God, and He also empowers us to obey. All of salvation—from first trusting to faithful obedience—is God’s gift to us through Jesus. The Holy Spirit changes our minds and hearts so that we want to obey God, and He gives us power to obey. Our righteousness does not come through faith in ourselves but through faith in Jesus.
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
- Babies and Toddlers
- The Bible is God’s Word.
- Faith in Jesus is a gift from God.
- God loves all people and sent Jesus to save them.
- People are saved when they have faith in Jesus.
- Jesus loves us and gave Himself for us.
- Paul taught that believers are saved by faith in Jesus alone.
- What is the Bible about? The Bible is about God’s plan to save people through Jesus.
- Believers are saved and grow in godliness by faith in Jesus.
- What is the Bible about? The Bible is the story of God’s plan to save people through Jesus.
UNIT KEY PASSAGE
- Acts 4:12
- “Paul Gave Hope” (1–2 Thessalonians)