Vital statistics

The marks of the true gospel and of the false gospels

Marks of a false gospel

Marks of the true gospel

  1. 2:21. Treats Christ's death as meaningless

  2. 3:12. Says people must obey the law in order to be saved

  3. 4:10. Tries to find favor with God by observing certain rituals

  4. 5:4. Counts on keeping laws to be right with God

  1. 1:11, 12. Teaches that the source of the gospel is God

  2. 2:20. Knows that life is obtained through death; we trust in the Son of God who loved us and died for us so that we might die to sin and live for him

  3. 3:14. Explains that all believers have the Holy spirit through faith

  4. 3:21, 22. Declares that we cannot be saved by keeping laws; the only way of salvation is through faith in Christ is available to all

  5. Says that all believers are one in Christ, so there is no basis for discrimination of any kind

  6. 5:24, 25. Proclaims that we are free from the grip of sin and that the Holy Spirit's power fills and guide us

Three Distortions of Christianity

Almost from the beginning there were forces at work within Christianity that would have destroyed or sidetracked the movement. Of these, three created many problems then and have continued to reappear in other forms even today. The three aberrations are contrasted to true Christianity.

Vices and Virtues

The Bible mention many specific actions and attitudes that are either right or wrong. Look at the list included here. Are there a number of characteristics from the wrong column that are influencing you?


(Neglecting God and others)


(The by-products of living for God)

  1. Sexual immorality (Galatians 5:19)

  2. Impurity (Galatians 5:19)

  3. Lust (Colossians 3:19)

  4. Hostility (Galatians 5:20)

  5. Quarreling (Galatians 5:20)

  6. Jealousy (Galatians 5:20)

  7. Anger (Galatians 5:20)

  8. Selfish ambition (Galatians 5:20)

  9. Dissension (Galatians 5:20)

  10. Arrogance (2 Corinthians 12:20)

  11. Envy (Galatians 5:21)

  12. Murder (Revelation 22:12-16)

  13. Idolatry (Galatians 5:20; Ephesians 5:5)

  14. Sorcery (Galatians 5:20)

  15. Drunkenness (Galatians 5:21)

  16. Wild parties (Luke 15:13; Galatians 5:21)

  17. Cheating (1 Corinthians 6:8)

  18. Adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)

  19. Homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)

  20. Greed (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Ephesians 5:5)

  21. Stealing (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)

  22. Lying (Revelation 22:12-16)

  1. Love (Galatians 5:22)

  2. Joy (Galatians 5:22)

  3. Peace (Galatians 5:22)

  4. Patience (Galatians 5:22)

  5. Kindness (Galatians 5:22)

  6. Goodness (Galatians 5:22)

  7. Faithfulness (Galatians 5:22)

  8. Gentleness (Galatians 5:23)

  9. Self-control (Galatians 5:23)

The Blueprint

  1. Authenticity of the gospel (1:1-2:21)

  2. Superiority of the gospel (3:1-4:31)

  3. Freedom of the gospel (5:1-6:18)

In response to attacks from false teachers, Paul wrote to defend his apostleship and the authority of the gospel. The Galatians were beginning to turn from faith to legalism. The struggle between the gospel and legalism is still a relevant. Many today would have us return to trying to earn God's favor through following rituals or obeying a set of rules. As Christians, we are not boxed in but set free. To preserve our freedom, we must stay close to Christ and resist any who promote subtle ways for us to earn our salvation.

Do we still have to obey the Old Testament Laws?

When Paul says that non-Jews (Gentiles) are no longer bound by these laws, he is not saying that the Old Testament laws do not apply to us today. He is saying certain types of laws may no apply to us. In the Old Testament there were three categories of laws:

Ceremonial law

Civil law

Moral law

This kind of law relates specifically to Israel's worship (Leviticus 1:1-13). Its primary purpose was to point forward to Jesus Christ. Therefore, these laws were no longer necessary after Jesus' death and resurrection. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial laws, the principles behind them - to worship and love a holy God - still apply. The Jewish Christians often accused the Gentile Christians of violating the ceremonial law.

This type of law dictated Israel's daily living (Deuteronomy 24:10, 11). Because modern society and culture are so radically different, some of these guidance cannot be followed specifically. But the principles behind the commands should guide our conduct. At times, Paul asked Gentile Christians to follow some of these laws, not because they had to, but in order to promote unity.

This sort of law is the direct command of God - for example, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). It requires strict obedience. It reveals the nature and will of God, and it still applies to us today. We are to obey this moral law, not to obtain salvation, but to live in ways pleasing to God.

Galatians Overview