Day 322 Galatians 1 - 2 Paul is MAD!! Glogger Rev. Alistair Morrison
November 19, 2021, 8:10 AM

Day 323 – Galatians 1-2

What’s Up with Paul?

Paul seems to have his angry head on right from the get-go.  Something in the churches in Galatia was causing him great concern; so much so that he does not even include a prayer of thanksgiving for the churches in his letter as was his convention at the time.  Paul had visited the region and established churches there during one of his missionary journeys (Acts 13-14), but reports had reached him that a group of ‘teachers’ had infiltrated the same churches claiming that he had not given the Galatians the whole, true gospel.

For Paul, as one commentary puts it, this was a ‘life-or-death struggle for the faith of one of his missionary churches’.  The problem created by the ‘teachers’ was that they were insisting that the non-Jewish Christians were not fully “Christians” because they had not adhered to the law of Moses (circumcision, dietary restrictions, Sabbath).  We have seen this struggle before at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, but it became particularly ugly in the churches of Galatia.  The ‘teachers’ were undermining Paul’s teaching and vision for the Gentile church, and he was furious!

We get some of Paul’s strong language in chapters 1 and 2 where he accuses the ‘teachers’ of ‘perverting the gospel of Christ’ and when anyone does this ‘…let that one be accursed!’, but just wait till you read chapter 3!

As the apostle to the Gentiles, an authority which Paul claims directly from Jesus (Gal. 1:1 and 1:11-12), his argument is that we are no longer required to do the ‘works of the Law’ to be justified (be made right with God), but it is by trusting in Jesus that we are brought into a right relationship with God.  The gospel Paul preached was that access to God the Father is by Jesus alone and not by any observance of the Torah or ‘the Law’.  The ‘teachers’ insisted that justification can only come by the Law, to this Paul replied, if so, ‘then Christ died for nothing’.

What are the implications to us today?  Paul’s big concern for the churches he established was they were being led astray by ‘false teachers’ preaching a ‘false gospel’.  For Paul anything which went beyond faith in Jesus for salvation was to be rooted out.  The ‘teachers’ were requiring additional hoops to jump through to be ‘saved’.  Their extra hoops appeared to be legitimate, go back to Moses, but to jump through those hoops would narrow the gospel again to the practices of the Jews.  Paul’s gospel was more expansive, it was for all the nations, and faith in Jesus was all that was needed, no extra hoops required.  I often look at our churches, not just Episcopal, and think what additional hoops do we ask people to jump through?  Church membership classes, Catechumen, adhering to certain teachings or requirements of behavior, the list can go on.  The saying, ‘it is easier to enter the kingdom of God than it is to become a member of the Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal church or add your own denomination’ is so often true.

Paul’s gospel is simple, Christ is enough, have faith in Him and you will be saved!

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