By Theodore Epp
The basic error the Apostle Paul was dealing with was the mingling of Law with grace. There are three grave errors that arise out of this.
First there is what we call "legalism." This is the teaching that people are saved by works or human effort. That, in this case, would include the keeping of the Law and observing the rituals and ceremonies found in the Old Testament covenant God made with Israel.
This same error is reflected today when someone claims to have done his best to keep the Ten Commandments. This to him is the way of salvation.
The second error that can undermine true faith in Jesus Christ is what we may call "false liberty."
The Christian is called unto liberty, but that liberty is defined for us in the Scriptures and not left to our imagination. Yet there are those who teach that because they are saved by grace, it makes no difference how they live or behave.
This Satanic error is answered in the Book of James. He wrote: "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (2:17). In other words, a faith that does not produce works is not real faith.
The third error is the one Paul deals with in his Letter to the Galatians. In fact, the error itself is often named "Galatianism." This false doctrine teaches that we are saved by grace but are kept saved by the Law.
In reality this makes salvation dependent on our works. Our works of righteousness are to be a supplement to our faith for ultimate salvation. One must endure to the end by keeping the works of the Law if he is going to be saved.
This is the error of Galatianism, the error that Paul combats in this brief letter.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).