May 2, 2014.
If you have chosen the path of Christianity, you have faith that Jesus Christ is the son of God and have been baptized into him, do you ever feel like you are being pulled back into your former life? Do you ever fall back into the sins that you committed before you came to the knowledge of Christ? If you were of a different religious persuasion, do you ever find yourself wanting to go back to your old traditions/customs?
I believe that this is what Paul was dealing with when he wrote his letter to the church in Galatia. This church was a little abnormal for Paul as it seems that the majority of the Christians in this church were Jewish Christians. I say this is abnormal because Paul was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, and most of the churches he wrote two were at least half and half Jews and Gentiles. The problem he usually had to deal with was them getting along and having unity in Christ. The church at Galatia had a different story.
Having a Jewish background, the Christians at Galatia were going back to the law of Moses. I wouldn’t be too hard on them as they had been grounded in the law since childhood. It was all they knew until Christ. Thus it would make sense that they would try to uphold the law, given to Moses by the Almighty, even with the knowledge of Christ. The problem was, through the law was no man justified. Paul did seem to get upset with the Galatians as he wrote this:
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?”
The Jews still wanted to be justified by the law, holding on to their roots. Paul was not happy with this. He was actually perplexed on why they were still holding on to the law. Christ was (and is) so much better, so much more. Yes, it is really hard to change something you have been doing your whole life when you find out truth, but it is necessary.
This is not a message that many people want to hear, especially Americans. As a general rule, most of us think that we are alright. No matter what we believe or what we are doing, we are pretty good moral people. There is no bad news about the way we are living or even the way we are following God. With this ideology, it is hard to preach the good news. For good news to be good, the bad news usually has to be established first. The same applied to the Jewish Christians in Galatia. They had been taught the law all their lives as truth. What’s more, it was truth. They served the Almighty, they had a avenue to God and their Messiah had finally came. But the law had changed, and Paul needed them to understand the new way of life. The Christian walk.
I believe one application that we can draw from this today is that when we seek truth, we are likely going to find out that something we used to believe was wrong. We can either accept that and change our way of doing things, or we can not accept it and live in error. The choice is really up to us. Paul was pleading with the Galatians to change their belief system. I think he would plead with us today as well. Let us seek truth, find it and then live by it, no matter what the implications are. Are you up to the challenge?
Suggested Daily Reading: Galatians 1-4.
The Lord give us strength.