Tuesday

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. (v. 6)

Galatians 1:6-12 Tuesday 15 March 2022

Psalm 101

Background

Paul had set up this community of Jesus followers in the city of Galatia but he was always on the move from one new Christian community to another.  He had become aware that while he had been away there had been people – distractors and detractors – who had been spreading falsehoods within the community. These mischief-makers had been saying that Paul did not know what he was saying or doing whereas they had their message from Jerusalem, from the real original apostles who had known Jesus. It is not stated clearly at this point what the main issue is – but it becomes clear that it is all about Jews and Gentiles, about whether Gentiles had to become Jews first before they could be fully part of this new community of Jesus followers.

Paul was clear – Jesus had inaugurated a new entity that brought together people of different histories and practices into one family. Here he is shocked at how quickly that this message of an inclusive community of believers had been subverted.

Paul’s opponents accused him of 'tailoring' the gospel in stating that Gentiles need not be circumcised, and of doing it just to please people, effectively offering the gospel ‘on the cheap’. Yet Paul remained adamant – stating once again that he did not receive this gospel from human beings but through a revelation from God.

To Ponder:

  • Have you ever experienced a situation in which a church leader has sought to undermine the unity and togetherness of a congregation?
  • In this passage Paul seems very fixed and intolerant in his attitudes (although in some of his other letters he does exhibit more tolerant behaviour). How do we decide which matters are central to the gospel and non-negotiable and which can be subject to different interpretations? 

Prayer

Loving God, we ask you to guide us as we seek to behave as the one family of Jesus in our church communities. Give us grace, we pray, to distinguish those issues that are central to our shared life and those which are accidents of history or culture. Amen.

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