I hope you will read along with me and think a little as we apply GALATIANS to life today. Run get your Bible and put it by your computer so you can read along. Remember the purpose of this blog is to think through the Bible together. Facebook me with any questions you have.
Many do not know what the Bible says….but many more miss out on what it means. I hope this Spring study will help us all get the meaning of what Paul was saying in this letter to several churches in what is today Turkey.
It is really amazing this letter has been preserved and passed down to us. It was written about fifteen years after Jesus ascended back into heaven. In his greeting, Paul reminds these friends of his authority to lay the foundations of Christianity because he was set apart for this task by an appearance of Jesus. His friend, Luke, recorded the details of this event in ACTS 9.
“But, the Lord said to him,”Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:14).
Paul always focused on the gospel. His greeting in verse 3 was the gospel in a nutshell.
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever” (1:1).
The claim here, of course, is that the death and suffering of Jesus was for our sins and was the plan of the Father’s all along. It was God’s will and for His glory to deliver a people from the sinful stain and pull of an earth gone badly. Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior promised after Adam and Eve broke that one rule about the fruit tree. He goes into a lot more detail about this deliverance in the first chapter of EPHESIANS, “..so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (1:12).
He also pointedly calls Jesus LORD to show his diety as a person of the Trinity. It is not like the Jehovah Witnesses teach: that to believe Jesus is God is to worship a separate God. Instead, Paul is agreeing with the theme in all of scriptures that the provision of a Savior was an agreement between the three persons of the Godhead; the three-in-one mystery; that God is indeed one, as the Moslems believe, but He exists in three distinct persons, for the salvation of a people who will be for the praising of His wonderful power and mercy and grace. It is like in Revelation 6:9,
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'”
Make sure you are clear about these two doctrinal points: that Paul’s face to face encounter with Jesus set him apart to clarify what the Bible had said all along about salvation; and that the Trinity is necessary to that salvation message. If Jesus was not a part of the Godhead, then His death and suffering would not be enough. He could never have lived a sinless life if He was just another prophet or teacher. Instead of being clothed in pure, white linen, we would be in dingy old rags of our own sin and unable to approach God’s throne. So check your beliefs. Do you believe in the Trinity? Does your church teach it? If so, rejoice in it and seek to give the truth to those who have been taken in by a false gospel. Why not invite a friend to church with you?
Paul is really upset that the Galatians listened to wrong teaching and turned away from the true gospel. We will look at what that means in the next blog. In the meantime, read what your church believes about the Trinity. It is for your comfort and the security of your soul that you are clear about this. What if Jesus were just another charismatic rebel? Then, we aren’t left with much, are we? There goes our hope…..Don’t fall into into this trap.
Teach your children “Holy, Holy Holy.” My grandsons, Sunday School class, and Children’s Church love it. Could it be that it gives them hope somehow?