Today we are going to be starting the book of Galatians which was written by Paul to the churches in Galatia.
After his introduction, he gets right into a major problem he is seeing among them:
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!
Although this was an issue the people of Galatia were having, it is something that we can fall prey to as well. It is a good reminder to us that the truth matters and that if we are trying to present the gospel contrary to what is found in Scripture, we are in trouble.
He continues on with his reminder in this way:
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.
You may find that it is easy to go through life being a people pleaser, and you may be able to avoid a lot of conflict this way, but if you are so focused on pleasing people to the extent that you start to displease God, you are going to have problems.
Now, I’m not saying you should try to stir up conflict with others. We are told in Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” But that doesn’t mean that you give in to the world. You still have a responsibility first and foremost to God to uphold His Word which brings us back to keeping the gospel as it is presented in Scripture. It is an unchanging story.
This first chapter finishes up with Paul summarizing his conversion and early faith story which we read about earlier this year in Acts. If you missed it, go back and read the full account! When Paul is writing here, he is assuming that his readers have already heard the story and he doesn’t go into much detail. His point here is that God was praised because of Paul’s conversion, not because they knew Paul at all.
Most of us probably don’t have a story like Paul’s, but that doesn’t mean that God can’t be praised because of what we do for Him. If our lives are reflecting God’s love, He will be praised. Make that your goal for the week – that because of how you are living, God will be given praise.