Paul Writes a Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Part 1)
October 30 - Nº 303 Galatians 1:1 – 3:22
When the Christians at Antioch rejected the teaching of the Jewish legalists (aka the Judaizers—see #302 - October 29), those same false teachers traveled to Galatia to intimidate the churches that Paul and Barnabas had established on their first missionary journey. They tried to convince the elders that Paul was an imposter and a fraud. When Paul found out that the Galatian Christians were accepting their lies, he was shocked. He couldn’t believe that these new converts would doubt him and turn away so quickly from the message he had brought them. So, Paul wrote a letter explaining the freedom they should be enjoying in their new relationship with God. He insisted that they did not have to keep the Jewish laws and customs to remain saved. Faith in what Jesus had done on the cross was all that was needed to be a child of God. The message of Jesus Christ was a message of grace, not a mandate to do good works. “How can you be so foolish that you would accept this ‘other gospel’?” Paul questioned. He explained that the Gospel message he had shared with them came straight from Jesus Christ and God the Father. “Even if I or an angel from heaven tells you something different, we will be cursed!” he exclaimed adamantly. Paul was passionate, “Believe me,” he said, “I understand all about what they are trying to teach you. I used to love the Jewish laws and traditions so much that I tried to destroy the Christians and the churches that taught about Jesus. But God grabbed my attention and showed me the truth (see #294 - October 21). He personally taught me about Jesus by explaining the very Scriptures I had studied so diligently all my life. I spent three years in Arabia learning from Him before He called me to share this truth with the Gentiles” (see #295 - October 22). Paul explained that for seven- or eight more-years God prepared him to share the Gospel all over the world. But now the Judaizers were trying to undermine everything he had accomplished—first in Antioch and now in Galatia. “How have you been tricked so easily?” Paul wanted to know. “Didn’t you already receive the Holy Spirit when you believed the message Barnabas and I brought? Good works were never required! So why have you decided that keeping the Law is the only way to please the Holy Spirit? Did God do miracles for you because you were good? No! It was because you had faith! Let me ask you another question: did God say that Abraham was righteous because he kept the Law? Obviously not, since he was born 430 years before the Law was given. He was called a righteous man because of his faith in God. The Law doesn’t save anyone. All the Law can do is point out why we don’t deserve to go to heaven. It reveals that we need a solution—someone who can save us. “Now that you have accepted Jesus as your Messiah (Savior), you are eligible for all the promises that God made to Abraham and his descendants,” Paul explained. “Don’t turn your backs on these promises. God has amazing blessings for you!”
Do the good things you do come from a heart that is grateful for what God has done? Or are they an effort to gain His acceptance? If you are trying to earn His favor or fatherhood, you will always fall short. It is only through faith that you can become His child!