Galatians 1 - Standing for the Gospel

My study of Ecclesiastes was very productive. I decided that i needed to return to the New Testament, but since I had spent a lot of time in the gospels before Ecclesiastes, I decided to return to one of the epistles. Galatians kept popping in my head, so here I am.

Galatians 1:6 - After a short greeting, Paul dives right in, challenging them on "deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ". No sensitive consideration of their viewpoint or feelings.

Galatians 1:9 - Paul does not mince words - if anyone is preaching a different gospel, let him be cursed. We tolerate a lot of different gospels, don't we? By 'tolerate' I don't necessarily mean accept, but we treat them as if they are valid gospels. We accept them as alternate teachings too easily, I think. We don't have to berate and rebuke at every turn, but there is a way to stand firm when we see a 'gospel' that is not the gospel. I don't get the impression that Paul was much concerned about who might be offended here by calling their teachings false.

Galatians 1:15-19 - Paul seems to go out of his way to drive home the point that the gospel he preaches is not his own nor that of the other apostles. He received it directly from God (see verse 1 as well). He wasn't claiming to have a different teaching than the others, only to say that it was from God. If you refuse it, you are refusing not Paul or 'the church' but God. He seems to be nailing this down to make it clear that what he was about to write was not debatable or a matter of opinion.

In our age of so many churches and denominations, on one hand there is a lot of legitimate value in the vast variety of understandings. Still, there is a need to stand for the one and only gospel of Christ. The challenge is how to do both. When we claim to have all understanding, as my family of churches, and the larger CoC tribe before them once did (and sometime still do), we block out any knowledge but our own. We not only prevent our own growth, we alienate others who need to be taught by what we do understand.

However, the other extreme is to never confront anyone when they are clearly far away from the gospel. I think I tend to fall into this trap, it's the easy way, and it sounds and feels righteous. No confrontation, being nice and 'respectful'. But respect does not demand silence, but to speak firmly demands respect and discernment.

Related Entries

2 Comments

I found this Albert Barnes commentary to be a helpful backdrop to the passage Doug:

He alludes here, possibly, to a charge which was brought against him by the false teachers in Galatia, that he had changed his views since he came among them, and now preached differently from what he did then; see the introduction. They endeavored probably to fortify their own opinions in regard to the obligations of the Mosaic law, by affirming, that though Paul when he was among them had maintained that the observance of the Law was not necessary to salvation, yet that he had changed his views, and now held the same doctrine on the subject which they did. What they relied on in support of this opinion is unknown. It is certain, however, that Paul did, on some occasions (see the note at Act_21:21-26), comply with the Jewish rites, and it is not improbable that they were acquainted with that fact, and interpreted it as proving that he had changed his sentiments on the subject.

To me it is more important that I see the fruit of the Spirit in someone's life than correct doctrine. Jesus didn't call us to doctrine.. He called us to himself when He said "follow me".



Monthly Archives

Recent Comments

  • To me it is more important that I see the fruit of the Spirit in someone's life than correct doctrine. Jesus didn't call us to doctrine.. He called us to himself when He said "follow me"....

  • I found this Albert Barnes commentary to be a helpful backdrop to the passage Doug: He alludes here, possibly, to a charge which was brought against him by the false teachers in Galatia, that he had changed his views si...

Close