The gospel that Paul preached to them proclaimed salvation by grace alone received through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. This message is great news for sinners because it reveals that salvation, from first to last, is God’s work and not dependent on anything in us. It eliminates any basis for pride as well as any cause to despair. Those whom God saves are made right with Him not because of anything they have done or not done, but because they have been “called…in the grace of Christ” (v. 6).
Sometimes, what is not said speaks more loudly than actual words. The silence, as we say, is deafening. In the opening verses of his letter to the churches of Galatia, the apostle Paul employs this communication technique to underscore the seriousness of the subject at hand. As he does in all of his letters, Paul begins by identifying himself as the author, naming the intended recipients, and pronouncing a blessing on them (1:1–5).
It is what comes next that is so uncharacteristic for him. Immediately after his introductory comments, and before launching into the body of the letter, Paul writes…nothing. He offers no expression of gratitude to God for them or words of encouragement about their spiritual vitality.
He leaves no doubt about the seriousness and urgency of the topic of his letter. His burden is to explain and defend the true gospel of God’s grace. He launches into the subject early and writes with a fiery tone, employing sarcasm, threats, warnings, and rebukes to get his points across.