Glory for ever and ever, (UP), Galatians 1, October 9th 2022

Glory for ever and ever, (UP), Galatians 1, October 9th 2022

Galatians 1, ‘to whom be glory for ever and every’, October 9th 2022

UP, Galatians chapter 1

Pray then video.

Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors.

A disciple of Jesus Christ, that gives glory to God.

In the midst of his greeting the churches in Galatia, he suddenly writes: ‘To whom be glory for ever and ever!’  Let’s look at why and how that can help our UP – our worship and our prayer.

To the churches in Galatia:

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, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Why give do we give glory to God? Why do we praise God?

Grace and Peace.

When Paul writes his letters, he begins them with ‘grace and peace’ yet Paul is a man who is deliberate about what he writes. When you compare all his other letters, Galatians is the only place where, as part of the intro, he says ‘to whom be glory for ever and ever.’

 In fact when we look at the beginning of all his letters, Galatians is the only place where he adds a statement  after grace and peace. He is explaining what grace and peace mean. And when he is finished, his response is ‘to whom be glory for ever and ever.’

Grace and Peace. On one hand, these terms were common use in letters of the day.

And ‘Peace’ was a common Hebrew greeting,

However, these two words – grace and peace – are pregnant with theological substance.

They in fact summarise the gospel of salvation.

The nature of salvation is peace, or reconciliation. Peace with God, peace with men, peace within.

When we come to the Sharing of the Peace, it is wonderfully rich thing.  To say peace is far more than ‘hi! How are you!’

Peace be with you. The person you greet. You can say ‘peace be with you’ – where you are in conflict with someone. I know of times when people who have been in conflict, have found the other person and said ‘peace be with you’ and hugged or handshake – I am at peace with you.  The gospel – the nature of salvation – peace with others.

But as you said this phrase – it is a statement of another reality: peace be with you – you, the one I greet, have peace with God. 

And ‘Peace be with you’ you can have peace within because of the gospel…

The nature of salvation is peace.

Grace. Grace has been defined as ‘you get what you do not deserve’.

The source of salvation is GRACE. God’s free favour. His gift. His loving-kindness to the undeserving.

As he writes in Ephesians: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork…

And this Grace and Peace:

 comes from where – not from within us, or from other our accomplishments.

it comes from the Father and Son together.

‘to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Immediately, in v4, Paul goes to the great historical event, in which God’s grace was exhibited and from which his peace is derived – namely, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

V4. who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.

There is rich teaching here… about the death of Christ.

Christ died for our sins.

‘he gave himself for our sins’. Another translation ‘who sacrificed himself for our sins.’ He shows his love, the cross declares victory, but death of Jesus Christ is primarily a sacrifice for sin. It is not a general sacrifice but it is substitutionary in its nature.

For our sins – Christ’s death was a sin-offering, the unique way by which our sins may be forgiven and put away.  The HOW is not explained here but later, in 3:13, we are told that Christ became a ‘curse for us’. He born in his body, the judgement which our sins deserved.

Christ gave himself for our sins. For your sins. 

On 31st July 1941 a prisoner escaped from Auschwitz. And as a reprisal the guards selected ten men arbitrarily to die in a starvation underground bunker. One of the men who was selected to die was a man called Francis Gajinisdek. And when Francis Gajinisdek was selected, he cried out: he said, `Ah, my poor wife and my children. They’ll never see me again.’

And at that moment, a Polish man—very unimpressive-looking in many ways, with round glasses in wire frames—stepped out, and he said, `Look, I’m a Catholic priest. I don’t have a wife and children.’ He said, `I want to die instead of that man.’ His offer was accepted.

Maximilian Kolbe was the name of the Catholic priest. He was 47 years old at the time. And he went with the others to the starvation bunker. He was a remarkable man—he got them all praying and singing hymns; it transformed the atmosphere in that bunker. And he was the last to die, as the Nazis needed the bunker, they killed those still alive two weeks later -—he was given a lethal injection of carbolic acid on 14th August 1941.

41 years later, on 10th October 1982, Maximilian Kolbe’s death was put in its proper perspective. In St. Peter’s Square in Rome, present in a crowd of 150,000 people- was that man, Francis Gajinisdek. And the Pope described the death of Maximilian Kolbe in these terms. He said, `It was a victory, like that won by our Lord, Jesus Christ.’

When Francis Gajinisdek died, in 1995, in the obituary, it said he spent the rest of his life going around telling people what Maximilian Kolbe had done for him, because he’d died in his place.

(To know more about Kolbe, follow the below link:

Christ gave himself for you.

‘to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Christ died to rescue us from this present age.

If the nature of Christ’s death on the cross was for our sins, its object was rescue. ‘To rescue us out of this present age of wickedness’ Bishop JB Lightfoot, one of the great bible scholars said: what Paul uses here, the verb to ‘deliver / rescue’ ‘strikes the keynote of the letter. The Gospel is a rescue, an emancipation from a state of bondage.’’ We were helpless and lost.  Other founders of religion come to teach, not to rescue.  If you ask an average person outside of the church,  they will probably say that to be a Christian means to follow Jesus’ teaching and his example.  But Paul, as Tim Keller points out, says there is so much more.

You only rescue people who are lost or in a helpless state. If you see a drowning woman, you don’t throw her a manual on how to swim, or teach her from the side.  You don’t throw her teaching, you throw her a rope. Jesus is a rescuer first. As Keller says: ‘’Nothing in who we are or what we do saves us.’’

Christianity is a rescue religion.

From what does he rescue us by his death? Some bibles say ‘out of this present evil world’. But that is not correct, God’s purpose is not to take us out of the world – but we should stay and be in the world, and be both light of the world and salt of the earth.  Christ died to rescue us out of this present evil age of wickedness. Or to translate it a different way – out of this present age of the wicked one;, since the devil is the ruler of this world. Colossians 1, 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’’

The Bible translates history into two ages. ‘This age’ and ‘the age to come’. The Bible tells us that ‘the age to come’ has already, because Christ inaugurated it, although the present age has not yet passed away. So the two ages are running their course in parallel.  They overlap one another.

Archbishop Welby put it this way recently: ‘’Jesus ascension to heaven begin a new chapter in history that many describe as the ‘now and not yet’. Because of Jesus I can experience forgiveness, healing and transformation now,

And yet also I can know hurt, conflict and brokenness.

Escape from them is not yet. This is my reality.’’ Quoted from Lectio 365,1stOctober 2022.

Christian conversion means being rescued from the old age, and being transferred into the new age, ‘the age to come’.    The purpose of Christ’s death, therefore, was not only to bring us forgiveness, but having been forgiven, we should live a new life, the life of the age to come.

‘’Christ gave himself for our sins, to deliver us from the present evil age.’’

‘to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Christ died according to God’s will.

We have thought about the nature and object of Christ’s death. We come to its source and origin.

It happened ‘according to the will of our God and Father’.

Both our rescue out of this present evil age, and the means by which it has been achieved, are according to the will of God.

They are not due to our will – as if we achieved our own rescue.

They are not only due to Christ’s will – as if the Father was reluctant to act.

In the cross, the will of the Father and the will of the Son were in perfect harmony.

We must never imply when talking with people, either that the Son volunteered to do something against the Father’s will; or that the Father required the Son to do something against His own will. Paul writes: that the Son ‘sacrificed himself’ v4a, and that His self-sacrifice was ‘according to the will of our God and Father’.

And what was the motivation behind that will: Romans 5:8 ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’’ And as we know so well in John 3:16 –‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son’. Love for each one of us.

So v4 is teaching us – that the nature of Christ’s death, is a sacrifice for sin.

Its object – was our rescue out of this present evil age

And its origin, the gracious loving will of the Father and the Son.

‘to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

No wonder he ends his first paragraph with ‘to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Again to draw on Keller, if we had rescued ourselves, or even contributed to it, or if God has seen something deserving in us, in that we earned it, then we could pat ourselves on the back for the part we played in rescuing ourselves…

Keller says: ‘’ but the biblical gospel – Paul’s gospel – is clear that salvation, from first to last is God’s doing. It is his calling, His plan, His work,. And so it is He who deserves all the glory, for all time.’’ (Keller, Galatians, p.17)

Deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ.

From such a positive start, Paul then says ‘I am astonished’. We have said before, in every other letter, Paul says, he is thankful, but here ‘I am astonished’. Because they are ‘deserting the one who called them by the grace of Christ’ – they are turning to another gospel, which is not a gospel.

If a motivation to give glory to God, is the gospel. Then to turn from the gospel, or to lose sight of the gospel, can affect our worship.

 It becomes less heartfelt, because the gospel is no longer in mind. Now. Galatians argues simply. Our Salvation is by the gospel, and our discipleship stands on the gospel. We constantly are to live by the gospel. The gospel is not for salvation but for our whole life. It is possible that if we hold to a view that: I am saved by the gospel, but now I need to do a whole bunch of stuff, disciplines, service, witnessing, life groups etc, then it can affect our worship…

We lose sight of not only what we are saved by, but also by which we live and stand. Grace and Peace not just in the past, but for now and for the future.  If our Christianity is not about Gospel day by day, then it will be harder to give glory…

I guess I am saying. If my Christian walk is about legalism, then it is harder to give praise…

So if our praise is no longer heartfelt, could, a reason be, that we have deserted the gospel?

Or perhaps not deserted it, but packed it away somewhere… Lost sight of it.

Is it time for some of us, all of us, to return to those core basics. And as we do so, we will find our worship and prayer is shaped.

Paul wrote Galatians around 48-49 AD. Around 15 years later in one of his last letters, to Timothy, in his 60s he wrote:

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1).

Paul has the gospel before him, still, it did not lose sight of it, and it inspires him to say  ‘to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. ‘ 


Revelation 4. A vision of heavenly worship. I end with these words…

And they (the 24 elders and 4 living creatures) sang a new song to the Lamb, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign[b] on the earth.”

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

Shall we sing together and give glory to our God!