Galatians 1:3-4 (NIV): “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.”
To provide historical context, the book of Galatians was written by the apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia sometime around 49 AD. Paul wrote this passionate letter to address some theological issues that were arising in these early Christian communities. Specifically, certain Jewish Christians were insisting that Gentile believers should follow traditional Jewish laws and customs like circumcision.
Paul saw this as directly contradicting the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. So Galatians focuses heavily on reinforcing that we are justified before God by faith in Christ, not by works of the law.
He reminds the Galatian church that Jesus “gave himself” by dying on the cross to pay the penalty for human sin. By God’s grace and mercy, not only Jews but now also Gentiles could find redemption through trusting in Christ’s finished work. This rescued lost sinners like us from bondage to sin and from the judgment of the “present evil age.”
We today are no less dependent than those early Galatian Christians on the grace extended through Christ’s sacrifice. By God’s mercy and empowering grace, we too can find rescue and peace, even amidst trying times. When we walk alongside struggling individuals in our community, we must model for them the same selfless grace that Christ demonstrated through His death for all people.
We live in an age that often feels full of turmoil, violence, and suffering. It's easy to get discouraged when we turn on the news or scroll through our social media feeds. The "present evil age" that Paul refers to in Galatians 1:4 frequently seems to bombard us from every angle.
Yet in the midst of it all, Paul offers a blessing of "grace and peace" from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He reminds us that Jesus "gave himself for our sins to rescue us." Even now, God extends the gifts of grace and peace if we continually turn to Him.
Grace is defined as God's unmerited favor and blessing in our lives. It's the divine, transforming power that enables us to grow beyond our human limitations. Peace is a sense of wholeness, harmony and contentment that comes from Christ. These gifts don't necessarily remove our external troubles. But they provide an inner stability and steadfast spirit.
As we walk alongside the hurting in our communities, we must first model grace and peace ourselves. We can't give what we don't have. God desires to shape us into beacons of light that reflect His goodness into the darkness around us.
So where do we start? The key is staying rooted in Scripture through daily prayer, meditation and study. As we renew our minds in God's eternal truth, it renews our inner being. Our thought patterns begin to align more closely with His divine perspective.
We also need authentic Christian community around us. At Crossroads Outreach and in our local churches, we encourage one another in love. Together we stand firm in our faith, drawing strength rather than stumbling.
By God's grace, we can develop an unshakable inner foundation of faith. From this place of spiritual grounding, we can extend compassion to a hurting world. We can bring hope to those filled with despair and peace to those in turmoil. Just as Jesus rescued us, we now get to participate in His rescue mission to others trapped in darkness.
The present evil age will one day pass away. But the grace and peace of God remains forever. May we live and walk in the power of His divine gifts.
We all long to be part of a community filled with grace, peace and hope. At Crossroads Outreach, we invite you to join us on this journey. Serving alongside one another and lifting each other up in prayer makes all the difference. How might God be calling you to become involved? Please share your thoughts and questions below to keep the conversation going.
And don’t forget to subscribe to receive email updates about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities to serve our community, daily inspiration rooted in God’s word, and more. By joining our mailing list you’ll stay connected to all that God is doing through Crossroads Outreach. We aim to walk closely with you through whatever this present age may bring. You need not walk alone.