Galatians 1:4
who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
Sermons
IntroductionR. Finlayson Galatians 1:1-5
The Gospel of Self-SacrificeR.M. Edgar Galatians 1:1-5
Christ's Sacrifice for Our DeliveranceW.F. Adeney Galatians 1:3, 4
An Evil WorldJ. Jowett, M. A.Galatians 1:4-5
Ascription of Praise to GodLuther.Galatians 1:4-5
Christ Delivering Believers from This Present Evil WorldT. D. Woolsey.Galatians 1:4-5
Christ Gave Himself Up for UsR. Brewin.Galatians 1:4-5
Christ's Giving Himself to DeathJ. P. Lange, D. D.Galatians 1:4-5
Jesus Giving Himself for Our SinsJ. H. Norton.Galatians 1:4-5
Jesus Himself the Redemptive GiftA. B. Jack.Galatians 1:4-5
Love's DelightThe EvangelistGalatians 1:4-5
Our Father's Redemptive PurposesR. Tuck, B. A.Galatians 1:4-5
Particular Application of Christ's MeritsLuther.Galatians 1:4-5
Paul's GospelPaul of Tarsus.Galatians 1:4-5
Praise Will Go on for EverW. M. Punshon.Galatians 1:4-5
Redemption by the Life of ChristH. W. Beecher.Galatians 1:4-5
Redemption by the Substitutionary Death of ChristW. H. M. H. Aitken.Galatians 1:4-5
Redemption Through Christ Rests Upon the Will of GodJ. P. Lange, D. D.Galatians 1:4-5
The Appropriation of Christ's MeritsJ. P. Lange, D. D.Galatians 1:4-5
The AtonementJ. P. Lange, D. D.Galatians 1:4-5
The Christian's SurrenderStarke.Galatians 1:4-5
The Christian's Treatment of This WorldJ. P. Lange, D. D.Galatians 1:4-5
The Duty of Ascribing Glory to GodJames Fergusson.Galatians 1:4-5
The Grand in ChristianityD. Thomas, D. D.Galatians 1:4-5
The Honour Which is Due to God for the Redemption in ChristJ. P. Lange, D. D., J. P. Lange, D. D.Galatians 1:4-5
The Power of the CrossEmilius Bayley, B. D.Galatians 1:4-5
The Praise of GodJ. Lyth.Galatians 1:4-5
The Present Evil WorldCanon Liddon.Galatians 1:4-5
The Sacrifice of Christ IsJ. Lyth.Galatians 1:4-5
What Shall We Do Then for ChristDr. Guthrie., J. Lyth.Galatians 1:4-5
Who Gave HimselfA. B. Jack.Galatians 1:4-5
The salutation is more than a kindly expression of good will; it is a true benediction based on the grand assurance of grace and peace that grows out of a right understanding of the sacrifice of Christ. St. Paul describes the bearings of that wonderful sacrifice in order to give support to his benediction. But it is clear that he does this with great fulness and distinctness for a further purpose. He wishes at the outset to set forth the fundamental principles of that gospel which the Galatians are forsaking for "a different gospel, which is not another gospel." We have here, then, St. Paul's compendium of the gospel which, for force and terseness, will even bear comparison with St. John's - the most perfect of all compendiums of the gospel (John 3:16). The two do not cover exactly the same ground, for the gospel is so large that no sentence can comprehend even its leading truths, and so many-sided that no two minds can see it in the same light. Consider the main points of the one now before us.

I. CHRIST VOLUNTARILY SACRIFICED HIMSELF. In the passage just referred to St. John tells us how God gave his only begotten Son on our behalf, now St. Paul reminds us that Christ also freely gave himself. It was of his own will, subject also to the will of his Father, that he lived a life of humiliation. He could have escaped the cross by abandoning his mission. He went right on to death clearly knowing what was before him, able to deliver himself at the last by calling legions of angels to his aid (Matthew 26:53), yet willingly submitting to death. The self-sacrifice of Christ was distinct from suicide in the fact that he did not seek death, and only met it in the course necessary for the carrying out of his life's mission. It is important to bear in mind that the essence of the sacrifice of Christ lies in this conscious, willing surrender of himself. It is not the mere tortures he suffered, nor the bare fact of his death that gives a value to his endurance. If he had died of a natural disease after bearing worse pain he could have made no atonement thereby. The willing "obedience unto death" gives a sacrificial value to his death.

1. This only could be a "satisfaction" to God.

2. This only could be a claim upon our faith and love.

II. THE OCCASION OF THE SACRIFICE WAS OUR SINS. We cannot say that God would not have become incarnate if man had not fallen. But if the happy event at Bethlehem would still have taken place, the awful tragedy at Calvary would have been spared. It is not only that the sin of the world directly caused the rejection and killing of Christ; his submission to death was occasioned by sin; it was to save us from the power and curse of sin.

1. Sin alienated us from God and occasioned the need of a reconciling sacrifice.

2. Sin cast us into bondage and created the necessity for a redeeming ransom.

III. THE OBJECT OF THE SACRIFICE WAS TO DELIVER US FROM THE PRESENT EVIL WORLD.

1. It was not to deliver us from God, as false notions of the atonement have almost suggested, but the very opposite, i.e. to deliver us from that which is most opposed to God.

2. It was not primarily to deliver us from the future evil world, from the pains and penalties of sin there to be endured. A most degrading view of redemption is that which regards it as having little effect on our life now - as chiefly a means of escape from future suffering.

3. It was essentially deliverance from the dominion of the evil present, of our own bad habits, of the corrupt customs of the age.

IV. THE DELIVERANCE THUS EFFECTED WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WILL OF GOD.

1. The object was in accordance with the will of God. He was the first to desire the deliverance of his poor lost children. When they are delivered they are brought out of conflict into harmony with his will.

2. The method of the deliverance was also in agreement with God's will. It was God's will to send his Son. What Christ did was accepted by God as well-pleasing in his sight. The whole sacrifice of Christ was an obedience and submission to God's will. Herein lay its value (Hebrews 10:9, 10). The fact is here declared by St. Paul. He offers no theory to account for it. Theories of the atonement are after-growths of theology, and valuable as some of them may be, they are not of essential importance. The fact is the one ground for our faith. - W.F.A.







Who gave Himself for our sins.
1. Its occasion: our sins.

2. Its purpose: our deliverance therefrom.Or —

1. The strongest testimony against us.

2. The mightiest consolation for us.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

1. Its great effect: to deliver us from this evil world.

2. Whence it has this effect: as being a satisfying and bearing, and thereby a taking away of the Divine wrath.

3. In whom it is thus effectual: only in those who are His in faith.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

1. Every one needs it on account of his sins.

2. The sinner needs it precisely as sinner.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

If Christ has for our sakes given His all, ah! should not we surrender ourselves, with all that in us is, to Him? Man! keep thyself from sin, on account of which Christ hath endured so much lest thou thyself bring to nought for Him this great work for which He came.

(Starke.)

The character of this world is evil:

1. Therefore the Christian in this world longs for the world to come.

2. He must, however, be delivered from this present world, in order to enter the world to come.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

1. This is a rich consolation against all doubts.

2. At the same time it conveys an earnest admonition; for, whoever lightly esteems the redemption accomplished through Christ, sins thereby against the will of God Himself.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

Christ by His death introduced a new power into the world: a power by means of which man is rescued from the tyranny of sin, the captive is set free.

I. THE REDEMPTIVE ACT OF CHRIST.

1. It was voluntary. He "gave Himself." No opposition of will between the Father and the Son. God's mercy is just, and His justice is merciful.

2. It was vicarious. He gave Himself "for our sins." His life was sacrificed in place of ours. Suffering was endured by Him which must otherwise have fallen upon us.

II. THE DESIGN OF CHRIST IN THUS GIVING HIMSELF FOR OUR SINS. To deliver us from this present evil world. To free us from the condemnation and from the power of sin.

1. The Cross of Christ declares to man the will of a righteous and loving Father. It is at once a witness to His righteousness, and a pledge of His mercy.

2. The Cross reveals sin put away by the sacrifice of Christ.

3. The Cross reveals to man the love of Christ.

(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)

Mark diligently the word "our," for therein lies all the virtue, viz., that all which is said concerning us in Holy Scriptures, in such passages as "for me," "for us," "for our sin," and the like, we should know how to take well in mind, and apply particularly to ourselves, and hold fast thereto by faith.

(Luther.)

I. THE WILL OF GOD CONCERNING US.

1. Distinguish between the desire of a

(1)king concerning his subjects — to suppress their rebellion;

(2)a master concerning his servants — to enforce their obedience;

(3)a father concerning his children — to win their liberty, rectitude, and love.

2. So our heavenly Father desires to win us from the bondage of sin to Himself.

(1)He only can estimate this bondage aright.

(2)His purpose is to deliver us from it.

II. THE GRACIOUS WAY IN WHICH OUR FATHER WORKS OUT HIS WILL.

1. Jesus is the liberator.

2. He has gained the liberating power.

3. He uses this power in His self-sacrifice.

4. He liberates by

(1)training our trustful love;

(2)gaining entrance into our lives.

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

I. In its HISTORY. The grand fact of Christianity, its corner stone, the key-note of all its melodies, is "Who gave Himself" (1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14; Galatians 2:20).

1. The greatest gift of love.

2. The model gift of love. Self-sacrifice should be

(1)systematic;

(2)spiritual.

II. In its PURPOSE. "World," not nature, but the carnal, selfish, and devilish ἀιὼν. Christ came to deliver us from sin.

1. Its guilt.

2. Its pollution.

3. Its dominion.

III. In its SPRING. The "will of God" —

1. Originated the mission of Christ.

2. Met with the hearty concurrence of Christ (Hebrews 10:7-9).

IV. In its ISSUE (ver. 5).

1. This doxology is usual after the mention of God's wonderful love (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 1:17).

2. The great end of redemption is

(1)the right,

(2)the unceasing worship of the infinite Father.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

This is not the beautiful universe, not humanity with its burden of sorrows and capacities for greatness; but the spirit of the age as far as it is a thing apart from God. It is not a thing of yesterday: it is a tradition of many ages and civilizations, to which each generation adds something of force, refinement, intellectual or social power, and the world is protean in its capacity for taking new forms. Sometimes it is gross idol worship; sometimes military empire; sometimes a cynical school of philosophy; sometimes the indifference of a blase society. The Church conquered it in the form of the old pagan empire; but the world had a terrible revenge when it could point to such Popes as Julius II., Alexander VI., or Leo X., and to such courts as those of Louis XIV., and Charles II. It had thrown itself at the heart of the Church, and now between it and Christendom there is no hard and fast line of demarcation. The world is within the sanctuary, within the heart, as well as without, and sweeps around each soul like a torrent of hot air, and makes itself felt at every pore of the moral system. It penetrates like a subtle atmosphere in Christendom, while in heathendom it is organized into various systems; but it is the same thing at bottom. It is the essential spirit of corrupt human life, taking no serious account of God, either forgetting Him altogether or putting something in His place, or striking a balance between His claims and those of His antagonists: and thus it is at enmity with God, and thus Christ came to deliver us from it, and thus the first duty of His servants is to free themselves from its power.

(Canon Liddon.)

A great statesman has no policy; he accepts a few leading principles, his wisdom being to show how these principles apply to the various occasions of human life. And, similarly, the leading rules of St. Paul's gospel were a few inductions, the application of which is universal. These are the redemption of man by the sacrifice of Christ, the four facts of which are of enormous extent and are exhibited under a multitude of phases, — redemption, the nature of man, sacrifice, the nature of Christ. Can any conception be more vast? Can any interest be more absorbing?

(Paul of Tarsus.)

We are familiar with the expression that Christ gave His life for man, and I would not take away anything from the meaning and magnitude of the act of dying. But I should be glad to give more emphasis to the facts that Christ gave His life as much while He was living as when He was dying, and that to give life may mean either to use it or lay it down. He gave Himself — in dying indeed, but also in living. All His life was a giving. Although comprehensively viewed it was a single gift, yet it was also a continuous gift, developing in every direction, and for the redemption of lost souls.

(H. W. Beecher.)

In one of the back courts of Paris a fire broke out in the dead of night. The houses were built so that the higher stories overhung the foundation. A father, who was sleeping with his children in the top garret, was suddenly awakened by the flames and smoke. The man sprang out of bed and vaulted to the window of the opposite house. Then placing his feet firmly against the window sill, he launched his body forward and grasped the window of the burning house, and shouting to his eldest boy he said, "Now, my boy, make haste; crawl over my body." This was done. The second and third followed. The fourth, a little fellow, would only do so after much persuasion: but as he was passing on he heard his father say, "Quick! quick! quick! I cannot hold out much longer," and as the voices of friends were heard announcing his safety, the hold of the strong man relaxed, and with a heavy crash fell a lifeless corpse into the court below. So Jesus in His own sacred body provides a bridge whereby we may cross the chasm between us and God. The way home is through the rent veil, the crucified flesh, of our Immanuel.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken.)

The Evangelist.
Love delights in the contemplation of the glory of its object, in the recollection of benefits enjoyed, and in every fit opportunity of renewing the mention of the one beloved name. Our Lord is here presented:

I. AS THE GREATEST OF ALL BENEFACTORS. Christ "gave."

II. AS ACTUALLY CONFERRING THE MOST PRECIOUS AND COSTLY DONATION — "He gave Himself." In creation Christ gave the creatures to man; in redemption He gave Himself.

III. AS CONTEMPLATING, IN THE GIFT, THE HIGHEST MORAL OBJECT — "For our sins."

IV. AS SECURING THE HIGHEST REVENUE OF GLORY TO THE DIVINE CHARACTER AND ADMINISTRATION. It was "according to the will of God," the love of the Father being the originating cause of salvation: "to whom be glory for ever," — a devout ascription in which all the redeemed family, and all assembled worlds, will unite. But these topics are not more impressive in themselves than they are applicable to the scope and bearing of the apostle's argument, which was designed to convict the Galatians, and especially the Hebrew converts among them, of criminal folly in undervaluing the truth and grace of the gospel dispensation. For if Christ, whom they owned us Messiah, gave Himself for them, then were they guilty of the deepest ingratitude in deserting the standard of such a benefactor. If Christ came to rescue them from sin, and from the rigid discipline of the legal ceremonies, and from the servitude of "this present evil world," then how ineffably absurd was it to go back again to the hard bondage whence they had been delivered! If this new and wonderful economy had been introduced "according to the will of God and our Father," then how inconsistent and unfilial a line of conduct must it be, for adopted sons thus to oppose the Divine designs.

(The Evangelist.)

I. THE GIFT CONFERRED — "He gave Himself." The Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Look at the relation He sustains to God. Compared with Christ all the angels are infinitely less, than to you is the minutest mote that floats in the sunbeam.

2. Though God He is also man — "The man Christ Jesus."

3. Although God, and although man, remember He was also incarnate God; God and man in one Person.

4. While He lived on earth He was emphatically the Holy One. This was the Being who gave Himself.

II. THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH HE GAVE HIMSELF — "For our sins." This assertion throws light upon the doctrine of atonement. That doctrine is based upon two incontrovertable positions first, that God is a perfect Governor; second, that man is a rebel against God's perfect government. How shall the Governor, without departing from the inherent perfection of His administration for good, admit the rebel man to His favour? Jesus gave Himself to this end.

(A. B. Jack.)

For three and thirty years He bore the penalty of sin, an endurance which was consummated when He suffered for us on Calvary. And if you say His sufferings were temporary, and ours should have been eternal, I pray you to remember that His Godhead — and there is the power of His divinity, without which I believe no atonement could be made — that His Godhead gave these services and sufferings a value in the eye of justice far greater than all the services and all the sufferings of all God's creatures. And it is easy to understand this. Just as the death of the Prince Royal of England, the heir apparent to the British throne, the oldest son of Victoria, would more honour the law of England, were he to die to-morrow on the scaffold, than the deaths of all the felons imprisoned in her jails — and you can fancy such a things; it needs fancy, for it was never shown on earth, the court and the country mourning, the palace plunged in grief, every cottage pale with astonishment, the news of it travelling on the wings of lightning from city to city, and travelling on the wings of the wind across the wave, a mighty multitude assembled, women weeping, and men's hearts beating, every eye in that sea of heads suffused with tears, while he who was born for a palace, born for a throne, steps forth from the prison to the gallows, to die in the room of the guilty — I say, brethren, just- as the death of that Prince would more honour the law of England than the death of ten hundred victims drawn from the lowest and vilest haunts of society, so the death of Jesus Christ hath honoured the law of God, and now in virtue of what Christ did, and in virtue of what Christ suffered, God stands forth by the cross, not only just, but the justifier of every one who believeth in Jesus.

(A. B. Jack.)

A friend of mine who, in the days of slavery, was accustomed to visit an old coloured man in his cabin, to read the Bible to him, and to converse with him about good things, mentioned a little circumstance to me, which can best be told in his own words. "Upon such occasions, I would sometimes request him to say what part of the Bible I should read; but this he would never willingly do. 'Any part, master, for it's all good.' His reason for this unwillingness he never gave. I divined, however, that he thought it irreverent to give a preference to any portion of the message, the whole of which was from God Himself. After coaxing him in vain, I would say, 'Well, if you can't tell me what you would like to hear, I may as well go back to the house.' Then would come the ready answer, and unvarying: 'If it pleases you, sir, I'd rather hear about the sufferings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.' From the moment the reading began, his whole being and consciousness seemed to be absorbed by it; and though no articulate word escaped him, the groans and sighs that accompanied the reading throughout, giving emphasis and expression to the words as they fell from my lips, bespoke unutterable fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus. Never before had I begun to enter into the unfathomable depths of that amazing tragedy as I then did. Never before or since have I heard anything from the pulpit that approached this in force and clearness of exposition. Such was the effect upon each of us that I was compelled to pause at intervals to recover a sufficient degree of composure to admit of my proceeding. There was preaching indeed; for the Holy Ghost Himself was the Preacher; preaching to my dear old friend through me, and to me through him, and to both of us through the written Word."

(J. H. Norton.)

When the Birkenhead, with five hundred soldiers on board, was sinking, the soldiers were drawn up in their ranks on the deck of the ship while the women and children were quietly put into one of the boats. Every one of them did as he was directed, and there was not a murmur or a cry among them till the vessel made her final plunge. Even so, silently and uncomplainingly, did Christ "give Himself up" (Rev. Ver.) for our salvation.

(R. Brewin.)

Did Simon start from his couch, deeming it beneath his Master's dignity to stoop to a menial office, and wash his servant's feet? And can we contemplate the Son of God, not stooping to wash us with water, but dying to wash us with His own precious blood, without these words bursting from our lips, "Lord, what is man that Thou art mindful of him?" Nay rather, should not, and shall not this be our language, That Thou hast done for me, what shall I do for Thee? What? but fondly embrace Thee with all my affections, love Thee with all my heart, serve Thee with all my powers, and, denying myself, but never Thee, say, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits? I will take the cup of salvation, and pay my vows to the Lord, now in the presence of all His people."

(Dr. Guthrie.)Here is —

I.A great fact.

II.A glorious purpose.

III.An adequate power.

IV.A grand consummation.

(J. Lyth.)

I.Voluntary.

II.Vicarious.

III.Worthy.

IV.Divinely appointed.

V.Efficient.

(J. Lyth.)

I. THE PRINCIPAL FACT OF THE GOSPEL is, that Jesus Christ "gave Himself for our sins."

1. "For our sins" — there was the occasion for this act. Did you ever reflect, my brethren, on the peculiar nature of this property, which is here said to belong to us — "our sins"? They are the only thing which we can truly call our own. Everything else that we possess, is given — nay, it is but lent to us; it came, in many instances, without our seeking, and we must quickly part with it again. But "our sins" are our own. The possession of them is of our own making and acquiring. We may, indeed, have had partners, prompters, assistants — each of whom has thereby added to his own accumulation of this property. But our share remains undiminished — there is none to divide it with us. And, what is worse, it is a property which, when once acquired, cannot be alienated or put away. Need I say, that it is a most worthless, most injurious, nay, ruinous possession? There is indeed good reason for all this anxiety: for our sins both deprive us of many present blessings, and entail upon us many future woes.

2. Our text, my brethren, while it names the great fact of the gospel, answers this difficult question. Christ "gave Himself for our sins" — and that in such a manner, as to leave the fatal property just what it was, hateful, and condemned by God and man, while its owner is set free from its curse. "Take Me," He exclaimed, "instead of those sins." True, they are still "our sins," and we must be humbled for them, and repent of them; but, by faith casting them afresh on the atoning Saviour, we shall find that they can no more interrupt our intercourse with God as a friend, than if they had never been committed.

II. ITS INTENDED EFFECT. Christ gave Himself for our sins, "that He might deliver us from this present evil world"

1. "This present world" is "evil," because it is a rebellious world. It has apostatized from the service of its true and rightful Master — of Him who made it.

2. "This present world" is "evil," because it is a corrupting world. When sinners have been reclaimed from it, they are still liable to be "again entangled therein and overcome."

3. "This present world," is "evil," for it is a doomed world. It bears upon every part of it the sentence of condemnation.

(J. Jowett, M. A.)

Let us now look at this rescue or deliverance as the principal subject of thought in the verse of our text. The world spoken of is the present world; it is called evil, and so, if this word evil has any force, the deliverance is a moral and spiritual deliverance, A commentator of great name translates, instead of the present world, the impending world or age — that is, the age of apostasy and of the second coming of Christ as a Judge. But this is unnecessary and improbable. The word rendered present is the same which occurs in the passage, "Things present and things to come;" it is used by the grammarians to denote the present tense as contrasted with the future; and it is a truly Christian idea, that escape from present sin and present corruption was offered by our Lord in His gospel and made possible for us by His death. But what is meant by the world, and in what sense is it an evil world? There are two words used in the New Testament where we find world in our translation. One (κόμος) makes prominent the order or system of things as it exists in space, the other (αἰών) the course or flow of events in time. The two words, as denoting men, the inhabitants of the earth or world, in their present condition of estrangement from God as to their feelings, habits, character, in the world and in the ages of time, are used indiscriminately. In one or two instances the word αἰών is made to signify the material creation; κόσμος, just as our word world, which at first denoted an age of men, has come steadily to have the signification of the material earth or universe. We see from this exposition how and why the world is called evil. If Christ or His apostles have taught that in the order of created things evil is inherent, that this visible world is essentially a vile and corrupt place, owing to its material elements, they would have given sanction to the Gnostic doctrine that God, the supreme and the pure, is not the maker of heaven and earth, but that some other being made them, who is essentially imperfect. Thus Christian morality would have coincided with that ascetical system that has done so much mischief in the world, by teaching that escape from evil consists in extinction of desire, in abstinence from all that gratifies the senses, seclusion from society and absorption in contemplation of the Godhead. In this way we should have had a Christianity which was unfit for the mass of mankind, and which had the seeds of death in itself. Certainly, this was not the view of the world which He took who said, "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from evil." To the follower of Christ, then, the world, as continued by its Great Maker, in its structure, its sights and sounds, its influences on the soul, cannot appear to be evil. The present creation, though it may have fallen, with man, from a more perfect beauty that once belonged to it, is only good, just as it was at the first, "when God saw everything that He had made and, behold, it was very good." The sky and clouds are good, although sometimes monotonous rain-clouds cover the face of the heavens. Nor can I see what can possibly make a Christian look on the outer world without joy, when, besides having the same sources of pleasure in it which others find, he sees a God and a Father reflected from the whole universe. It has been sometimes said that the great seriousness which Christianity throws into life, the pressure upon the Christian mind of an unseen world and of the great thoughts of trial and of duty, ought naturally to call him away from things outward and visible. He may be compared to the soldier just before battle. What leisure has he for the music of the birds and the sweet forms of flowers, when victory and death are close at hand? Or he may be compared to the man just ready to embark on a vessel, whose thoughts are turned away from the beautiful outline of the coast, or the floating clouds, and fastened on the great, immeasurable ocean. And so it is said that the culture springing from the world and from life, the refinement of the taste and sensibility to things beautiful, are not encouraged by Christianity. Its influences are one-sidedly moral: it is imperfect, when alone, as a discipline for man. Some of the early Christians showed this defect; the stricter religionists since have shown it. They have looked on the world as evil. In my apprehension this charge has no true foundation. The gospel aims to cultivate our nature, not to turn it into another nature. And this it tries to effect by bringing the most inspiring, elevating motives to bear on our life and character. But, setting the differences of men aside, the gospel has often awakened the slumbering seeds of feeling, the love of beauty or power of thought which lay dormant before, and it puts the soul in the best position to receive all the good, all the softening influences which God appointed for it in its education in this present world. How unlike Christ's gospel is, in its view of the present evil world, to the religions which have swayed and pressed upon the souls of the great Hindoo race. To them the world was filled with illusions; personal existence was an evil; the soul was on an almost endless transit from one form of life to another; the great goal afar off was absorption in the supreme essence; and self-torture was a means to this consummation. So dreary did this religion of Brahminism become, that the atheism and extinction promised by Buddhism became a positive blessing. This present evil world, then, is such as man has made it, not such as God made it. The very essential doctrine of Christianity is, that God made His revelation and sent His Son to stem and abridge this evil. Here we may see two thoughts in the text. First, IT IS A PRESENT EVIL WORLD AS CONTRASTED WITH A FUTURE AND AN UNSEEN WORLD. The presence of evil in a visible form, in a society of men whom we cannot avoid and from good whom we ought not to withdraw, if we would, gives to it its principal power. The which resists this evil, on the other hand, is spiritual and distant; there is a conflict between forces that draw their power from unseen realities and forces that have the senses and our temporal state and human opinion on their side. Let us next, for a moment, LOOK AT THE NATURE OF THE EVIL OF THE WORLD. It is, first, evil mixed with good, founded on desires and principles which, but for sin in the world, would lead only to good. Hence, it is insidious. We scarce know what excess is, where we must stop, how far we may venture. We have for all this no exact rules, and can have none. Herein lies a great part of our danger, that the judge within is blinded and misguided by the evil without, so that the decisions in the court of conscience are iniquitous. Again, there is an unrighteous sway, even a terror, over us, wielded by the evil or defective opinions of society. If the apostles opposed a false religion, they who wanted just that kind of religion which appeases the conscience and suits a feeble religious sense, became their enemies, Or it may he that a peculiarity of an age of the world consists in a decay of faith, an atmosphere of doubt which seems to act on the minds of men without their being conscious of it. In the light of Scripture this is, indeed, present evil, for it destroys the power of motives and deadens the religious nature. I will speak of but one other characteristic of the evil that may be in the world; it is the accumulation of objects to gratify the desires, and even those desires which may be called voluptuous. In a simple condition of society, where there is little wealth and little division of labour, this is not the predominant evil. Thus, early Rome — and the same is true of almost all simple societies — was outwardly virtuous, reverential, law-abiding, for some generations, only to fall into the grossest condition, at the decline of the Republic and through the Empire, when all the vices in a mingled stream seemed to be overflowing mankind. The apostle saw this; he saw the same decay of good habits in the Greek countries which he traversed; he might, if alive now, see it at Paris; he might see the inroads of thoroughly worldly enjoyment among us. Society ruins itself in such a decline, and needs frightful judgments, wide-sweeping changes, to make it endurable. All this enervating, voluptuous influence must act on every member of society, unless he fights against it and forms himself, by the conflict, into a heroic character. All this philosophers have felt, as well as Christians. There is a celebrated passage in one of Plato's works, where he uses language something like the apostle's: "Evil," says Socrates (in Theaetetus, 176, A.B.), "can never perish; for there must always remain something which is antagonistic to good. Of necessity they hover around this mortal sphere and the earthly nature, having no place among the gods in heaven. Wherefore, also, we ought to fly away thither; and to fly thither is to become like God, as far as this is possible; and to become like Him is to become holy, just, and wise." Plato saw the evil, and longed for a deliverance, and looked to wisdom and to the inspiration of moral beauty as the best means which he could offer. We look on him as one of the noblest of men, but we have a better guide — even Him who said, "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil." His prayer was fulfilled. God has rescued many from the power of darkness and brought them into the kingdom of His dear Son. This rescue was accomplished by Christ, says the apostle, in His giving Himself for us. The first step is the offer of forgiveness of sins, which is procured, according to the uniform testimony of Scripture, by the death of Christ. Without this assurance of receiving pardon and help the sense of sin would be a paralysis of the soul's active powers; and there would be, after a few fruitless efforts, a despair of making progress toward a holy and a perfect life. Christ's disclosure of the evil of sin would then have been only a ministry of wrath and of death. Secondly, the soul is thus opened to all the genial motives which must act upon it in order that it may be delivered from the evil that is in the world. Once more, the evil of the world is, to a considerable extent, an excess of good. Desire may not be bad in itself, yet a large amount of the corruption in the world comes from inordinate desire, Finally, the closing words of our text assure us that all this which we have considered is no plan for the improvement of mankind as merely living on the earth, but for the renewal of the world and as an ultimate deliverance of men from sin, through Christ. And Christ's giving of Himself for our sins, and His purpose, in so doing, to deliver us from the present evil world, took place according to the will of God and our Father. We do not owe our salvation to an impulse, a temporary movement in the mind of Christ, or to circumstances which awoke in a benevolent heart an opposition to the hypocrisy and covetousness of His day. We are taught by this high example, that a life thought out beforehand, carried through to the end according to one plan, is a life nearest to the life of God.

(T. D. Woolsey.)

To whom be glory for ever
The Hebrews are wont in their writings to intermingle praise and giving of thanks. This custom the apostles themselves observe. Which thing may be very often seen in Paul. For the name of the Lord ought to be had in great reverence, and never to be named without praise and thanksgiving. And thus to do, is a certain kind of worship and service to God. So in worldly matters, when we mention the names of kings or princes, we are wont to do it with some comely gesture, reverence, and bowing of the knee, much more ought we when we speak of God, and to name the name of God with thankfulness and great reverence.

(Luther.)

Here is the close of the salutation, in which, by holding forth His own practice for an example, He comprehends the duty of the redeemed. They are to ascribe lasting glory and praise to God the Father for His goodwill to this work of our redemption by Jesus Christ.

1. As God, in this great work of our redemption, has made the glory of almost all His attributes, especially of His justice, mercy, and wisdom, to shine forth, so it is the duty of the redeemed to acknowledge that glory, and to wish that it may be set forth more and more both in ourselves and others.

2. This duty can never be sufficiently discharged. There is required the leisure of eternity to ascribe glory to God.

3. The glory of the Redeemer, and of God, who sent His son to do that work, shall be the long-lasting and never-ending song of the redeemed.

4. Our praise and thanksgiving must not be formal or verbal only, but fervent and serious, proceeding from the most intimate affection of the heart.

(James Fergusson.)

The praise of God —

1. A fruit of the redeemed state.

2. A proof of the same.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

The praise which the redeemed bring to God

(1)begins in time;

(2)continues into eternity.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

Praise is the only part of duty in which we at present engage, which is lasting. We pray; but there shall be a time when prayer shall offer its last litany: we believe; but there shall be a time when faith shall be lost in sight: we hope, and hope maketh not ashamed; but there shall be a time when hope lies down and dies, lost in the splendour of the fruition that God shall reveal. But praise goes singing into heaven, and is ready, without a teacher, to strike the harp that is waiting for it, to transmit along the echoes of eternity the song of the Lamb.

(W. M. Punshon.)

1. Its nature.

2. Its source.

3. Its duration.

4. Its diffusion.

(J. Lyth.)

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