A History of the Region and People
Galatia was the region of central Asia Minor (now Turkey) inhabited by the Galatians. They were a Celtic people who had migrated to that region from Gaul (modern France) in the third century B.C.
Gaulish culture developed out of the Celtic cultures over the first millennia BC. The Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BC – c. 750 BC) represents the Celts as a distinct cultural branch of the Indo-European-speaking people. The spread of iron working led to the Hallstatt culture in the 8th century BC; the Proto-Celtic (Liguro-Venetic) may have been spoken around this time. The Hallstatt culture evolved into the La Tène culture in around the 5th century BC. The Greek and Etruscan civilizations and colonies began to influence the Gauls, especially in the Mediterranean area.
There were three main tribes of the Gauls: Beligica, Celtica, and Aquitana.
Following the climate deterioration in the late Nordic Bronze Age, Celtic Gaul was invaded in the 5th century BC by tribes later called Gauls originating in the Rhine Valley. Gallic invaders settled the Po Valley in the 4th century BC, defeated Roman forces in a battle under Brennus in 390 BC, and raided Italy as far as Sicily. The peak of Gaulish expansion was reached in the 3rd century BC, in the wake of their eastward expansion in 281-279 BC, in which the Gauls led by Cerethrius, Brennus, and Bolgios invaded Thrace, Macedon, and Illyria, sacked Delphi, and killed the Macedonian king Ptolemy Keraunos. The invading Gauls later settled as far as Anatolia.
There they created widespread havoc, until checked through the use of war elephants by the Seleucid king, (a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty founded by Seleucus I Nicator following the division of the Greek empire created by Alexander the Great), Antiochus I in 275 BC, after which they served as mercenaries across the whole Hellenistic Eastern Mediterranean, including Ptolemaic Egypt, where they, under Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC), attempted to seize control of the kingdom.
The Romans conquered the Galatians in 189 B.C., but allowed them to have some measure of independence until 25 BC, when Galatia became a Roman province, incorporating some regions not inhabited by ethnic Galatians (e.g., parts of Lycaonia, Phrygia, and Pisidia).
In a political sense, Galatia came to describe the entire Roman province, not merely the region inhabited by the ethnic Galatians.
In the late 40s AD, Paul founded churches in the southern Galatian cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe in Acts 13:14-14:23. At Pisidian Antioch, Acts 13:14-50; Iconium, Acts 13:51-14:7, cf. 16:2; Lystra, Acts 14:8-19, cf. 16:2; and Derbe, Acts 14:20, 21, cf. 16:1.
Paul’s First Missionary Journey, Acts 13:1-14:28:
These cities, although within the Roman province of Galatia, were not in the ethnic Galatian region. There is no record of Paul’s founding churches in that northern, less populated region.
The two uses of the word Galatia, one for political or geographic use and the other for ethnic use, make it difficult to determine who the original recipients of the epistle were. Some interpret Galatia in its strict racial sense and argue that Paul addressed this epistle to churches in the northern Galatian region, inhabited by the ethnic descendants of the Gauls. Although the apostle apparently crossed the border into the fringes of ethnic Galatia on at least two occasions, Act 16:6; 18:23, Acts does not record that he founded any churches or engaged in any evangelistic ministry there.
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey, Acts 15:36-18:22:
Paul’s Third Missionary Journey Acts 18:23-21:14:
Because neither Acts nor Galatians mentions any cities or people from northern (ethnic) Galatia, it is believed that Paul addressed this epistle to churches located in the southern part of the Roman province, but outside of the ethnic Galatian region. It also seems that the churches Paul addressed were established before the Jerusalem Council, Acts 2:5, having been founded during Paul’s first missionary journey before the Council met. Paul did not visit northern (ethnic) Galatia until after the Jerusalem Council, and was instructed by the Holy Spirit to not preach there, Acts 16:6, see also Acts 18:23.
This letter was written by Paul to Christians in South Galatia, the churches founded on his first missionary journey, after the end of the journey, probably from Antioch, ca. A.D. 49, making it the earliest of Paul’s epistles. In favor of this dating is the fact that Paul does not mention the decision of the Jerusalem council that directly addressed his Galatian argument concerning the Judaizers, “Christian” Jews who combined the keeping of the Law with faith in Christ as the means of salvation and sanctification, indicating that the council had not yet taken place.
Galatians has been called both the Magna Charta of Christian Liberty and the Christian Declaration of Independence. Out of its pages grew the Protestant Reformation, as a result of Luther’s study of the book that opened his heart to the truth of justification by faith alone. In addition, Galatians and Romans are very similar books in the teaching of the application of justification by faith, as we will note below. As a result, some call Romans the “Big book of Justification” and Galatians the “Little Romans.”
The reason for writing this book: The Galatian’s had two errors in their doctrine. Both were the result of the negative influence of the Judaizers, (“Christian” Jews who combined the keeping of the Law with faith in Christ as the means of salvation and sanctification.), who were influencing and leading astray the Galatian churches.
The first error was the teaching that obedience to the law is mingled with faith as the means for the sinner’s justification. The second was related to post-salvation living in that the justified believer is made perfect by keeping the law. Paul addresses and refutes both.
Having the persistent question, “How can men (sinful by nature) come to God (holy by nature)?” Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to pen the answer: “There is only one way to salvation and that is by God’s grace through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection.” As for the second issue, Paul meets it more subtly by vindicating the office of the Holy Spirit as Sanctifier.
Not only were the Judaizers saying that Paul’s gospel and doctrines were not correct, they also questioned his apostolic authority, saying that he was not a genuine apostle. So, Paul’s answers were to proclaim the doctrine of justification by faith plus nothing, and of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, not the Mosaic Law. He instructed them to forget about merit-salvation through obedience to the Law of Moses, because man is too weak by nature to accomplish self-salvation or self-sanctification. Paul gave his answers in the full apostolic authority he received from God.
Content: Not only does Paul establish his apostolic authority and the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone, he also points out that the Gospel brings the believer into great relationships; to the Father, to Christ, and to other believers, and to the future purposes of God.
Other significant subjects include: Paul’s three years in Arabia, Gal 1:17, his correcting Peter, Gal 2:11, the law as a tutor, Gal 3:24, and the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23.
Galatians is the only epistle Paul wrote that does not contain a commendation for its readers. That obvious omission reflects how urgently he felt about confronting the defection and defending the essential doctrine of justification.
Galatians also provides valuable historical information about Paul’s background, Chapters. 1, 2, including his 3-year stay in Nabatean, Arabia, Gal 1:17, 18, which Acts does not mention; his 15-day visit with Peter after his stay in Arabia, Gal 1:18-19; his trip to the Jerusalem Council, Gal 2:1-10; and his confrontation of Peter, Gal 2:11-21.
Dr. Douglas Moo, the Kenneth T. Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College and Chair of the Committee on Bible Translation for the New International Version (NIV) in a recent interview notes regarding the book of Galatians, “No other Biblical book so clearly and passionately teaches the absolute centrality of Christ and His Cross.”
As we noted in our introduction, Paul wrote the epistle in an effort to oppose the false teachers (Judaizers) who were in danger of leading the Galatians astray with the false doctrines of keeping to the law for salvation and post-salvation living. Therefore, Paul bluntly argues that the system of the Law is outmoded now that Christ has come. For anyone entering into faith and religion, this is a choice that has to be made.
As noted above, the main theological themes of Galatians are strikingly similar to those of Romans, for example:
- The inability of the Law to justify, Gal 2:16; cf. Rom 3:20.
- The believer’s deadness to the Law, Gal 2:19; cf. Rom 7:4.
- The believer’s crucifixion with Christ, Gal 2:20; cf. Rom 6:6.
- Abraham’s justification by faith, Gal 3:6; cf. Rom 4:3.
- That believers are Abraham’s spiritual children, Gal 3:7; cf. Rom 4:10, 11, and therefore blessed, Gal 3:9; cf. Rom 4:23, 24.
- That the Law does not bring salvation but God’s wrath, Gal 3:10; cf. Rom 4:15.
- That the just shall live by faith, Gal 3:11; cf. Rom 1:17.
- The universality of sin, Gal 3:22; cf. Rom 11:32.
- That believers are spiritually baptized into Christ, Gal 3:27; cf. Rom 6:3.
- The believers’ adoption as God’s spiritual children, Gal 4:5-7; cf. Rom 8:14-17.
- That love fulfills the Law, Gal 5:14, cf. Rom 13:8-10.
- The importance of walking in the Spirit, Gal 5:16; cf. Rom 8:4.
- The warfare of the flesh against the Spirit, Gal 5:17; cf. Rom 7:23, 25.
- The importance of believers bearing one another’s burdens, Gal 6:2; cf. Rom 15:1.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As was common in Paul’s letters, he greets the people he is addressing with various important opening topics.
In this salutation, Paul first addresses one of the problems Judaizers where causing in the Galatia churches; an attack on Paul’s apostolic authority. So right away Paul states that, YES! he is an apostle. He is not an apostle because the other apostles selected him, like they tried to do with Matthias in Acts 1:21-26 before they received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, He was selected by the Lord “Jesus Christ and God the Father” as he notes, just as the other 11 Apostles were.
In vs. 2, by stating, “all the other brethren who are with me,” he reemphasizes his authority by identifying only himself as the author of this letter, not mentioning them by name as he does in other epistles, giving him an authoritative status. Yet, he does include them in greeting the Galatian churches.
In vs. 3, we have the typical form of greeting, “grace and peace to you,” which is equivalent to SHALOM of the Hebrew, but nonetheless it alludes to the very important doctrines of “grace and peace,” which are the major themes of this letter.
In vs. 4, Paul states the other main theme of the letter, the death of Christ for the payment of the penalty of our sins according to the plan and will of God the Father. “This present evil age” is ενιστεμι (ENISTEMI), πονεροσ (PONEROS), αιον (AION) that encompasses the entire history of the human race as the death of Jesus paid for the sins of the entire world.
And in vs. 5, Paul reminds us of the One who gets all the glory for our lives and salvation – God the Father!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Then beginning in vs. 6 and running through vs. 10, Paul begins his opening argument; the fact that these Galatians have been quickly and easily lead astray by others teaching a false doctrine. This is a sad commentary for believers in every generation. It never ceases to amaze me how believers, especially those who have been taught the Word of God for a long period of time, can so easily accept a new false doctrine when it is presented. We have seen this recently with the attack on the confession of sin for post-salvation experiential sanctification. Those who were taught the right application of 1 John 1:9 for years just go along with the new crowd that comes out and says it is not necessary. Sad and shameful on their part!
In Galatia, the attack was even more heinous, because they attacked the gospel of Jesus Christ. The “some who are disturbing you” are the Judaizers, who were not only attacking Paul’s apostolic authority, but also his message of grace for salvation by non-meritorious faith in Jesus Christ’s work upon the Cross and resurrection. These Judaizers were teaching that it was faith plus works by keeping the Law that saved you, which is completely false. Faith alone, in Christ alone is what saves man, Eph 2:8-9.
I like the phrase Paul used in regard to the false teaching in vs. 7, “which is really not another.” Here he is stating that the Law pointed to the same thing that Christ accomplished. Man was never saved by keeping the Law, but by faith in what it represented, the completed work of the Messiah. So, as Paul refutes keeping the Law as a false doctrine, at the same time he elevates the Law as that which told of salvation. As he states in Gal 3:24-25, the Law is our tutor leading us to Christ.
As Paul stated to Titus in Titus 3:4-5, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
In vs. 8-9, we see the serious consequences for someone who teaches a false gospel. It is one thing to teach a false doctrine, it is another to teach a false gospel. As Paul states, “let him be accursed, (ANATHEMA).”
Finally, in verse 10 Paul gives us an interesting take on witnessing.
When Paul states he is not “seeking the favor of men,” he is addressing another attack on his gospel. The Judaizers where accusing him of preaching a weak, or soft, or easy gospel to gain the favor of his listeners. The Judaizers where saying about his gospel the same things many people today say about our gospel, that it is too easy. They say, “How can you just believe and be saved? Don’t you need to be a good person too or do something to gain the favor of God?” In their way of thinking, works are necessary for salvation. But in God’s way of thinking, He provided for us by grace all that is necessary for salvation. All we need to do is “believe.” But for many, that is too simple or easy and they reject it preferring to work for their salvation, which is the absence of Grace and Faith.
In regard to “pleasing man,” even though Paul states in 1 Cor 9:22, “I have become all things to all men so that I may save some,” here he indicates that it is not about pleasing or appeasing man, but it is about serving God. In that service, sometimes you need to “tell it like it is” and step on some toes. This should not be the main stay of your ministry, because then you would only be a bully who goes around beating people down with your big thumping Bible. But from time to time, you need to hit them right between the eyes with the truth of God’s Word, and not be ashamed or shy away from it. Sometimes that is the best medicine for the spiritual life that you can give someone. Assessing each situation and responding appropriately as led by the Word and Holy Spirit, demonstrates your servanthood to God.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Similar to his argument in the greeting salutation of vs. 1 regarding his apostolic authority, here too Paul explains that the Gospel he preached was not derived or sent by man, but was in fact a Divine revelation given to him by Jesus Christ.
“Revelation” here is the Greek noun APOKALUPSIS, αποκαλυπσισ. It comes from the root verb APOKALUPTO that means, “to uncover, unveil, or reveal,” that is made up from the preposition APO that means, “from,” and the verb KALUPTO that means, “to hide, veil, or cover.”
Literally, APOKALUPSIS means, “an uncovering or unveiling,” but in the New Testament it took on specific meaning in regard to the revealing of something that was previously not known. It is one of the most prominent words in the New Testament for conveying the Biblical concept of “Divine revelation.” It refers to God “unveiling” Himself to man and the communication of truth to the mind of man which he could not discover in any other way. It is truth imparted to man that could not be discovered by natural reasoning alone.
So, here Paul states that the gospel he preached was the one revealed to him by Jesus Christ Himself, just as it was to the other Apostles.
In vs. 13-14, Paul goes on to remind them of his former life as a persecutor of the Church, as a Pharisee in training. He does this in comparison to the current Judaizers who were spreading the false gospel. He is saying that if anyone wanted to halt the spread of this new doctrine of Christ crucified, it would have been him in his former life. As he states, “being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.” But since he has received the revelation of Christ and believed, he now understands the difference between the current false applications of the Law and the original intent of the Law to explain the Christ.
Note that he used the term “traditions” which is the Noun PARADOSIS, that means, “a handing down or over, a tradition.” This too is a comparative word in that the Pharisees believed that words, doctrine, or traditions handed down from the forefathers and written in the Talmud, yet not written in the Scripture, had equal authority to the Scripture. Jesus rejected their claims and called their traditions human commandments, Mark 7:8-9. So, here Paul is distinguishing, as Christ did, between the absolute truth of God’s Word, and manmade doctrines handed down. Paul is saying that the false gospel from the Judaizers is “tradition;” whereas, his gospel is Divine revelation from Christ about Christ.
Then in vs. 15-24, Paul speaks of his post-conversion days, where he did not seek the favor or approval of the other apostles, nor corroborate his doctrine with them to validate his Apostleship or gospel. They were given to him by Christ. Paul was absolutely certain that Jesus revealed Himself to him and gave him the charter and doctrines to carry forward, and that was all the validation He required. In vs. 16, we have the verb APOKALUPTO for “reveal” indicating that God revealed the person and work of Jesus Christ to Paul and the fact of apostleship to the Gentiles, (non-Jewish peoples).
Here we also see some historical facts regarding Paul’s life:
- He was converted to faith in Christ, 15.
- He spent three years in the Arabia desert, being instructed by Christ, 17-18.
- He first visited Peter in Jerusalem for 15 days, 18.
- Then he met James, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, 19.
- He then went to preach in Syria and Cilicia, 20.
- He began to build a reputation among the churches in Judea, which he never met, as one who was converted to Christianity, which caused them to rejoice, 22-24.
Finally, in vs.15, there are several important Doctrines.
Gal 1:15, “But when God, who had set me apart (APHORIZO) even from my mother’s womb and called (KALEO) me through His grace (CHARIS), was pleased (EUDOKEO).”
The Greek begins with EUDOKEO to emphasize God’s good pleasure to do all of this for Paul.
The doctrines include:
- The Doctrines of Foreknowledge and Predestination.
- The Doctrine of Sanctification.
- The Doctrines of Calling of God.
- The Doctrine of Election.
- The Doctrine of Grace.
- The Doctrine of Divine Pleasure.
A significant passage that also addresses these in form is Rom 8:28-30, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son (sanctification), so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; (election) and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Divine pleasure)”
Foreknowledge and Predestination relates to the believer only and speaks to God’s omniscience of the believer’s free will, positive volition towards Christ from eternity past. As a result of God’s foreknowledge and man’s free will faith in Christ, they are predestined from eternity past to receive salvation. That is why Paul can state he was, set apart, “from my mother’s womb.” Predestination also encompasses the believer’s life after conversion that God foreknew and provided for. Keep in mind that the unbeliever is never Predestined to Hell (the eternal Lake of Fire). God does not predestine people to hell. It is their free will choice.
1 Peter 1:2, “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”
Sanctification is the setting-apart of the believer from the rest of the world and sin. Typically, the word used is HAGIAZO that means, “to be made holy, consecrated, sanctified, or set apart.”
1 Cor 1:2, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”
1 Cor 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
But here in Gal 1:15, it is the word APHORIZO that means, “to mark off by boundaries from, i.e. set apart.” This word shares the same root word, HORIZO, as the word usually translated “predestinate,” PROORIZO. Here the word means, “marked out or designated” in relation to “from my mother’s womb.” Therefore, since Paul had been chosen or elected before he was born, he did not have any merit of his own, cf. Rom 9:11. As a result, APHORIZO is used here to show us the linkage between predestination and sanctification.
There are three sanctifications that we receive:
1) Positional Sanctification – which means at the moment of non-meritorious faith in Jesus Christ, you are placed in Union with Christ and receive salvation that cannot be lost or taken away, you have a permanent and everlasting position in Christ. At the same time, you receive the imputed righteousness of God which makes you positionally holy.
2) Experiential Sanctification – this is the believer’s spiritual walk after their conversion to salvation when they are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit by means of utilizing 1 John 1:9. It means you are walking in the holiness you were given at the moment of your salvation.
3) Ultimate Sanctification – is when upon your death or rapture, you are translated to heaven leaving your body and sin nature behind, where in heaven you live 100% of the time in your holiness.
2 Thes 2:13, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
The Calling of God – is an invitation to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. This constitutes the invitation of God the Father, which the Scripture terms “the call” or “the calling of God” or in past tense “called.” It is the invitation of God the Father to the spiritually dead person to believe in Jesus Christ after the gospel has been communicated to and understood by the unbeliever. This calling from God follows common grace and precedes efficacious grace. Therefore, it is the link between common and efficacious grace.
- Common Grace is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to act as our human spirit so that we can understand the gospel message. Once we listen to the gospel and hear an accurate presentation, God the Holy Spirit makes that information lucid, perspicuous, comprehendible, and understandable. That is grace. Under total depravity, we are unable to understand spiritual phenomena or do anything to have a relationship with God. Therefore, the invitation of God the Father comes to us through understanding the issue of the gospel, which is Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and you have eternal life; reject Him and you have eternal condemnation.
- Efficacious Grace is also a ministry of God the Holy Spirit to take our belief (faith) in the gospel message and make it effective for salvation. As an unbeliever, we cannot do anything to save ourselves including believing in something. So, when we believe in Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit takes that non-meritorious action and makes it effective for our salvation.
The term “called” is also used in Scripture for the post-conversion present status of the believer in Jesus Christ, emphasizing the grace of God which saved the believer and encouraging him to live righteously according to his “calling.” Cf. 1 Cor 1:9, 23-28; Col 3:15; 1 Thes 2:12; 2 Thes 1:11; 2:14; 2 Tim 1:9.
2 Tim 1:9, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
2 Thes 2:14, “It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Election – is associated with the foreknowledge, predestination, and calling of God. It is synonymous with “chosen” and is based on grace, Gal 1:6. It is used for believers only, Eph 1:4; 1 Thes 1:4.
Eph 1:4-6, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
Election occurred in eternity past when the foreknowledge of God knew of the believer’s positive volition towards the gospel presentation of Jesus Christ. In eternity past, God “elected” the future believer into the family or Royal Family of God. Election is the prehistoric, pre-creative recognition by God of those who would believe in Christ. The mechanics for the election of the church is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which occurs at the very moment we believe in Christ. This is one of the forty things we receive at salvation, by which, each one of us is entered into union with Christ. “Chose” or “chosen” emphasizes God’s sovereign act of our election, while “elect” represents our status under God’s election.
There are five elective decrees of God that are part of the Doctrine of Lapsarianism. The following list of these decrees is in an order that is defined by the Scriptures. The variation of this order and definitions associated with each constitute various Christian beliefs like hyper-Calvinism or Arminianism. But, as the Bible describes and what we believe is as follows:
- The decree to create man.
- The decree to permit the fall of man.
- The decree to provide a Savior.
- The decree to elect some to salvation.
- The decree to save the elect.
Grace (CHARIS) – Although a broad category meaning everything that God the Father does for man, especially the believer, here it relates to the Common and Efficacious Grace ministries of God the Holy Spirit in regard to God’s provisions for the salvation of man.
Divine Pleasure – Here is EUDOKEO that means, “to be well pleased with, take pleasure in, or to be favorably inclined towards something.”
Here it is divided into three concepts:
- God is pleased to save those who believe in Christ, 1 Cor 1:21.
1 Cor 1:21, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
- God is pleased to appoint His Son as Savior and to reconcile the world to Himself, Col 1:19-20.
Col 1:19-20, “It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
- God is displeased with Old Testament offerings.
Those who lived in the Age of Israel did have offerings to God, because they were able to discern the gospel through them. Every Old Testament offering was the same as if they had a concise, clear written statement of the gospel. They could not read, but they could see the gospel every time an animal was sacrificed.
But ultimately, God could not be pleased with the Old Testament sacrifices, and therefore there was the need for a better sacrifice, Heb 10:6-9.
Heb 10:6, 8, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them (which are offered according to the Law),” Quoted from Psa 40:6.
So, God’s pleasure is connected with salvation and our personal response to it, believing in Christ. God is displeased with the Old Testament sacrifices because they were not efficacious. They could not provide reconciliation, they could only point to the truth, they could only declare the gospel but they could not do the job.