I want to start off by apologizing AGAIN for my inconsistent posting. I have been getting tied up with family commitments and distracted too. I am going to recommit again to being faithful with posting. Ok, onto our reading for today.
Paul is blown away by how quickly the church in Galatia bought into the doctrine of works. It took very little persuasion for them to follow along with the “new and improved” rules for the Gentile believers.
This doctrine was something Paul personally went to Jerusalem to address with the original church council; Jesus’ apostles. With all the evidence and arguments presented, the group had rightly concluded that God accepted the Gentiles without circumcision and a commitment to following the laws of Moses. The ruling was this: “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things” (Acts 15:29). Nowhere in here was circumcision mentioned. Neither was following all the Mosaic laws.
But this group either didn’t get the memo or were easily convinced of the opposition’s position. This broke Paul’s heart. He knew the core concept they were buying into by believing this “new doctrine.” It was the doctrine of works. Paul had lived that doctrine his whole life and it had amounted to nothing when it came to his salvation. The same held true for every other Jew. Only through faith in Jesus Christ could one attain salvation.
If ANYONE comes to you preaching otherwise, RUN!!! Don’t bother debating it with them. Don’t try and convince them of the truth. Simply turn and walk away. Have nothing to do with it. But more than that, pray that the Holy Spirit shows them the truth. It is not up to me to convince them but the Spirit. Paul does a good job at it but he was writing under the Spirit’s direction.
Those were Paul’s instructions too, a little later in his letter.
Father God there will always be those who prey on our vulnerabilities. I’m assuming that the Galatian believers felt incomplete or vulnerable in their salvation. They were anxious to please You and would do whatever an authority figure told them to do to prove their devotion to You. I can understand their motivation. I can even sympathize with their longing to please You. But their longing to please and their willingness to believe anything new got them into trouble. Thank You for taking the time to straighten them out. Thank You for using Paul and his pen to address their longing.
Their longing is my longing too. I have learned at Your feet the same lessons they were given. I think that same feeling is what motivated me to “ask You into my heart” MANY times while growing up. I didn’t feel I had done enough. I felt lacking. THANK YOU for addressing my longing too. Thank You that I am secure in Your arms, even when I stray from Your path. Thank You that You brought grace to me instead of ritual. Thank You that I don’t have to “jump through hoops” before You will love me. Instead I have to trust You and have faith in Jesus’ work on the cross. I have to take You at Your word. I DO! Thank You that You love me, warts and all.