“Gospel” is good news! The gospel of Christ is the good news that Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again the third day! When we believe this good news we are forgiven of our sins and have eternal life. It is good news indeed that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ apart from works. Good works are important, but we cannot be saved or earn eternal life by them. We are not saved by doing good works, rather God saves us that we might do good works. For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Not too many years had passed from the time of Christ’s ascension until people began to pervert the gospel (Gal.1:6-10). Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia around 55 A.D. because the people were turning away from the gospel to a different gospel. It was really not a gospel, but a perversion of gospel of Christ. Some were teaching that people had to be circumcised and keep the law in order to be justified. Paul countered by stressing that justification or salvation was through Christ’s death and resurrection apart from works.
“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ,2 so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
“I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2:21).