Series: Paul’s Letters
Galatians 1:6-7 ESV
Galatians 1:11 to 2:14 (Squabbles)
Galatians 2:15-16 ESV
Galatians 2:20 ESV
Galatians 3:24-29 ESV
Galatians 5:1 ESV
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Galatians 6:7-8 ESV
Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia has a very different ‘feel’ to it from his other letters.
The first part of the letter is filled with explanations and history of Paul, Peter, and other Apostles. In Paul’s opening comments he admonished them in Galatians 1:6-7 by saying, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Then he wrote about his calling his dealings with other Apostles (Galatians 1:11 to 2:14). He didn’t hold anything back in this section. He was completely honest about their differences. While I pondered his reason for including this in his letter I thought that it sounded like modern day church squabbles.
I did church ministry for over 30 years and it was my experience that there were always squabbles. Church people are human and they act like humans. Then I realized that could be the reason Paul spoke about his own experience. Did God reveal the future church to Paul? I think that’s quite possible! Paul knew we would need to know that we are human and we will act like humans.
In Galatians 2:15-16 Paul wrote, “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
We are not God. We are justified by faith in Jesus God not by our works. We can rely on Jesus for anything!
Then in Galatians 2:20 Paul gave us the bottom line truth that we need to live by, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Christ lives in us by faith. When I was younger I thought my ‘job’ was to have and keep the faith. I was wrong. I was wrong because it isn’t my faith. I didn’t create it. Jesus in me created and creates my faith every minute of every day. Christ IN me sustains me in every way.
Christ in me makes it possible for me to honor the law (the big ten words God gave to Moses). In Galatians 3:24-29 we are told, “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.”
That was a huge statement for Paul to make in the first century. We are not Jew or Greek, slave or free, or male or female. We are all ONE in Jesus. We are all the same to Jesus. Did you hear that 21st Century church? We are all one. We are equal in God’s eyes, so if we are equal in God’s eyes why do we not give equal standing to all?
The real genius of Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia was how he built his argument. As an undergraduate (Go Mizzou) I majored in Communication and we studied argumentation and debate. In Seminary apologetics built on that when (with building blocks) we built arguments. Paul’s building blocks tell us in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Through Christ we are free. WE are free. We ARE free.
In Galatians 5:22-23 God gave Paul a wonderful visual aide to help us remember the fruit the Spirit gives us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The Spirit makes love possible where there is no love. The Spirit gives us joy and peace. The Spirit of the living God gives us patience. The Spirit provides kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. The Spirit GIVES faithfulness to us. The Spirit IN us makes all of those things possible.
The final verse quoted for this piece is and will be verses that I’ve seen come true over and over again in my life.
In Galatians 6:7-8 he wrote, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
Paul told us not to deceive .ourselves.
God will not be mocked.
We will reap what we have sown.
Every time. Every. Every. Every time. We cannot plant corn and expect to grow watermelons. If we sow lies and deception we will reap lies and deception. Once again, you can’t sow a lie and reap truth.
God will not be mocked.
Spiritual Practice: Sow love
In time you WILL reap love.
In God, Deborah