by Philip Layton
The churches in Galatia are accused of entertaining false doctrine
These sound like strong words, perhaps reflecting their importance (vv 6-9). Can we afford to take them any more lightly 2,000 years later?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
Celtic or Gaelic masses moved eastward from western Europe during the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. One such group moved into Asia Minor, carving out a state called Galatia. Paul established new churches in that region; but time had since passed – enough for certain things to develop which needed to be addressed. Reactionary Jewish teachers had been unwilling to accept the decision of the Jerusalem Council that all were welcome into full relationship with Christ. They were being legalistic. Paul writes, trying to save the Galatians from apostasy. He begins by defending his own apostleship:
From Paul, an apostle who is not sent from human authority … but sent out through Jesus Christ and God the Father (v 1 CEB).
He then wants to stress the supremacy of the gospel: the importance of both the law and the new promise given by Christ. Paul wants the Galatians to be free, living their lives in God’s grace.
Freedom is a beautiful word – and especially as it relates to faith. All of us can so easily get caught up in legalism in the Church, losing sight of the true gospel and the liberty it brings for all people. We’re to accept God’s blessings for each of us.
Am I trying to win over human beings or God? (v 10 CEB).
This letter to the Galatians declares a gospel of freedom through God’s grace. It was a revelation to be embraced by both Jews and Gentiles. God called Paul, as he called the Galatians. He calls each of us, personally, by his grace (v 15). Oh yes, we are indeed free in him!
Evelyn MerriamTags: Galatians