Paul’s letter to the Galatians is one of the earliest written books in the Bible, likely written between 15 and 20 years after Jesus crucifixion and resurrection. The Galatians were a small, obviously you church made up of primarily Gentiles. It seems that after Paul left the church to continue his preaching some Jewish converts arrived and tried to convince the Galatians that they needed to follow the old Jewish laws in regards to circumcision, special days etc. etc. Paul writes this letter to remind the Galatians that these old works can never save them and they are saved by having faith in Jesus and living radically changed lives. Paul also feels the need to remind the Galatians of his own life and why he has the authority to make these declarations. He then goes on to instruct the Galatians regard how a Christian is to live.
Greetings from Paul
1This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.
2All the brothers and sistersa here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.
3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christb give you grace and peace. 4Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. 5All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.
There Is Only One Good News
6I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ.c You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
8Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
10Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
This last verse is a biggy. Pleasing people and pleasing God do NOT go hand in hand. We all want to be popular, I know I do way too often. But that is not what we are called to. In fact, if we are pleasing too many people, we probably should examine our lives. Statements like this are common in the Bible, and even more common are examples of people suffering because they follow God’s will. Let us examine ourselves honestly, and follow Christ resolutely.
The Good News of Christ in general is an unpopular message. We humans always want to do it ourselves. We want to get credit for our achievements. Every other religion in the world is built upon the idea that we must make ourselves good enough to be accepted by some god or the other. That is NOT Christianity. Christianity is the ONLY religion that believes we CANNOT be good enough but God will give us salvation as a gift. This is not popular, especially among people who achieve a lot of things on their own.
Lord, help me to always humbly remember that you won my salvation and gave it to me when I deserved damnation. Because of your great gift, help me to always live to please you and not to please people.
Why do you think Christianity so “unpleasing” to people?
When has serving Christ made you unpopular?
When did you last choose to be popular instead of serving Christ?