Day 14, 2023 – September 20, 2023: Galatians 1-6

Can you imagine if in my enews my tone were that of Paul in Galatians? I can’t imagine saying in an enews what he says about members of the church in Galatia in 5:12. Ouch, that would be difficult for me to be so angry with you that I would feel compelled to wish something like that upon you. But all of Paul’s churches were his love and joy and they are churches that he founded and that he felt so strongly about. Keep in mind that Galatians, like most of the other letters in the New Testament, was written by Paul and was simply a letter, like an enews, that he wrote to the congregation to encourage them, address certain timely issues that the churches were facing, and give them direction in life issues that were crucial to living out their faith, such as the interplay between faith and law. Let’s look at this letter.

Paul makes it clear that the Gospel is not one of many truths but the singular truth that we have to follow and which we cannot change. He also makes it clear that the Gospel is not something that a disciple made up but came directly from God. Paul also does something that we see him do in other letters which is prove the status of his discipleship in order to be placed among the apostles and as one with authority.

Chapter 2 gives us the Reformation clarion call as we read in 2:16 that we have been justified by faith and not by works. He says it so strongly that the phrase: if we are justified by the law then the death of Christ is useless. The fact that the grace of God provides salvation is enough for us to understand that our work in salvation does not contribute to our salvation. It is all God. That should be a relief to all of us. Paul expands on that in chapter 3 by using Abraham’s faith as an example.

In chapter 4 he begins to castigate the Galatians for forcing gentile believers to be circumcised and to follow the law in ways that was not require as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We follow Jesus and the rules that we have to follow are one: Love God and love your neighbor. We see that in 5:14. He is furious that the church in Galatia is requiring their members to do much more than love Christ, but also to become Jewish which includes circumcision and the following of the law. Loving Jesus is always enough.

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