The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

It is easy to see that an angry Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians. Paul had risked his life to preach the life-giving message of Jesus to this group of cities. Now some Jewish Christians had come through these towns and changed the message of Paul. They did not think the grace of Jesus was enough; one must follow Jewish laws, too. These former Jews could not abandon what they had followed all their lives. The vulnerable new believers had forgotten what Paul taught them.

The Judaizers had to discredit Paul as an apostle to discredit Paul’s powerful message. When Paul received the news that the Galatians had abandoned the grace of Jesus, he fired off a letter. He was like an angry momma bear protecting her cubs, and we get hints of this in the letter.  

The Letter Begins

Paul did not even waste time with a polite salutation in this letter but immediately established his authority as an apostle of Christ. Galatians 1:1 This 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.[1] Galatians contains more personal information about Paul than any other letter, as Paul wanted them to know he preached the truth.

His heavy-hearted disappointment shows throughout the letter: Galatians 3:1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the crossHave you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?…

4:8 Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? 10 You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. 11 I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing…

19 Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives. 20 I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance I don’t know how else to help you.[2]   

Words for Those Misleading the Galatians

5:7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?… 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves…6:12 Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. 13 And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples. 14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. [3]

Paul is heartsick for the people he preached to. He has found faith in Jesus and wants the Galatians to do the same. They need to know that salvation is by grace in Christ alone.And so it is with us today. We can’t earn our way to heaven; we must rely on what Christ did on the cross for us. The words of an angry Paul still guide us on our faith journey today. To learn more, listen here:

[1-3]Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. 

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