PAUL GETS ANGRY
I praise You, God, for Your wonderful gift of grace.
Read Galatians 1:1–10
1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters[a] with me,
To the churches in Galatia:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
No Other Gospel
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
a Galatians 1:2 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verse 11; and in 3:15; 4:12, 28, 31; 5:11, 13; 6:1, 18.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectPaul’s letters normally begin with praise and prayer for his readers. Not so Galatians. Why?
Rarely is Paul so angry. Paul had planted the Galatian churches (Acts 13,14). He’d taught them the good news of grace (which is what “gospel” means). He’d taught them that it was the Father’s will that the Son gave himself on the cross, that this was all done for us. His sacrifice was never dependent on us. We never deserved it, we never earned it, and there are no conditions. It’s free. That’s why it’s grace (3–5).
And Paul is astounded that his readers have abandoned this Gospel (6). He’s angry with false teachers who have come to the Galatian churches and said: You started with Jesus—great! Now keep going with Moses. The cross gets you in the door—now do stuff to stay in. And Paul is angry with the Galatian Christians for their gullibility.
And twice he curses anyone—false teachers, angels, even himself—who tries to tamper with the Gospel (8,9). Because when you desert the Gospel, you don’t desert a thing or a system or an institution; you desert God (6). It’s personal. And if you turn away from God, you lose the grace and peace of the Gospel (3), and God is robbed of his glory (5).
How are you trying to earn God’s love today? Take a look at your life and see if you can determine ways that you are trying to earn God’s favor. Give those things to God today and accept his grace.
My God, I praise You for Your sacrifice so that I could come freely into Your presence. May I never try to earn the grace You give.