In the letter to the Galatians church Paul writes, “As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message” (chapter 2, verse 6).
At first, this verse seems very harsh. Paul, on the surface, seems to be disrespecting the religious leaders of the time.
My initial thought was, “Woah! Paul….uhm, that’s not a politically correct statement”
After dwelling upon the context of the letter, I realized this statement is very important. It is important because it reveals the intent of Paul’s letter to the church.
The message: Keep the Gospel pure.
You see, in the first chapter of the letter, Paul expresses his concern that the Galatians have abandoned and strayed away from the Gospel they originally heard. The Gospel that had saved them through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the second chapter, Paul speaks about what happened upon his return to Jerusalem. He discovered that they had become dependent upon the law for salvation. This is especially true with regards to his observance of Peter. Peter would drawback in fear of being associated with Gentiles, creating a division within the body of Christ.
It was extremely disheartening for Paul to see the Galatians forgetting that salvation comes from faith. They also had forgotten that all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. It was disheartening for Paul because the Body of Christ held these religious individuals in high esteem instead of holding Christ with high esteem.
Paul ever so gracefully challenges their current, unhealthy condition by asking the hard questions. The most revealing being…“Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (verse 3).
Ouch! I need a bandaid….for my EGO haha.
But after punching the church in the face (as Paul has a tendency to always do), He sweetly builds the church back up by referring to the Galatians as “Brothers” and “sons of God” for the purpose of reminding the church of who they are and where they came from.
The main idea: Keep the Gospel pure.
“Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law” (verse 23 and 24).
The Galatians got caught up in statuses…much like we can today.
It is unfortunate that the church can do that today. It’s the same struggle, just a different and more modern year.
Let us be individuals who do not allow the gospel to be defiled in our lives. Let us not get caught up in statuses and labels. Let us live and walk out the Gospel that came from CHRIST and NOT man. Let us serve and walk in purity, proclaiming the life-changing, life-giving GOSPEL in our everyday actions and behaviors.#1John3:18
Church: Our purpose should always be to point to our Holy, Heavenly Father instead of ourselves as humans.
Thank you Galatians for messing up and allowing this to be a lesson-learned.