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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”—Galatians 1:10-12 (NKJV)
Oswald Chambers wrote of the apostle Paul, “Paul was not conscious of himself. He was recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose— to proclaim the gospel of God.” That is what we should want in anyone who is called to ministry, whether a pastor, a Sunday school teacher, a greeter, or an usher. In fact, it’s what we should want in ourselves: commitment to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
The problem was the churches in the region of Galatia were opening themselves up to false teachings, a troubling distortion of truth, and a different gospel altogether (Galatians 1:6-7). The true gospel is that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was resurrected—it was God’s grace that saved us. Yet, others, mostly Jewish Christians (Judaizers), were proclaiming the idea of works as a means for salvation.
Paul’s agenda for his letter was justification by faith alone—it is by grace we have been saved, not works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). But he was fighting against centuries of a belief system (the Law of Moses) and now against people who wanted to uphold those beliefs; people who were so offended by the gospel because it involved surrendering to a Man who was hanged on a cross and died among thieves. These same people took such pride in what they did to earn God’s favor. Grace? No, more like disgrace and an insult to their intelligence.
Enter Paul: a short Jewish man who formerly persecuted Christians and was now warning them that if they believed another gospel, they were to be accursed (Galatians 1:8). They were going to trust him? But you have to love Paul’s cheekiness. He never held back. He wasn’t interested in pleasing mankind, but showing them their need for a Savior. And that’s hard for some people to admit. Truth is a hard pill to swallow. Yet, that is what bondservants of God do. They unashamedly stand on truth, letting its power lead to salvation.
This was the gospel of Jesus Christ, taught personally to Paul and then to anyone who listened to him, including us. Don’t fall for the deception of anyone who would proclaim something that isn’t scripturally-based. And before you talk to someone, be sure what you are saying is truth and not something you heard from someone else. Go to the source—the Word of God—with a true commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
DIG: What was Paul’s intention for writing to the churches in Galatia?
DISCOVER: Why was the gospel of Jesus being exchanged for another?
DO: Be a Berean . . . “The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 NIV).
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.