March 12th, 2007
It’s amazing how a slight twist of the rules can result in enormous wrongs. It’s like that with the truth. When you have a worthy message to convey, other people with selfish motives can take that message and twist it to their advantage and then claim that they have charitable motives in spreading the worthy message. In today’s reading, Paul talked about some people who preached a twisted version of the good news. The preaching still talked about Jesus and things which he had done, so it looked similar to the real thing, but instead of being about grace and freedom the message turned out to be about obeying rules and following laws.
Paul’s Letter to the Galatians — Chapter 1
1:1 From Paul, an apostle — not appointed by people but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead — 1:2 and all the believers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia. 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 1:5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from the one who called you in the grace of Christ, towards a different “good news”. 1:7 There is no other “good news”, but some people are stirring you up, and want to distort the Good News of Christ. 1:8 Someone who preaches to you any “good news” other than what we preached to you should be cursed, even if it was us or an angel from heaven. 1:9 I have said it before, and I will say it again: anyone who preaches to you any “good news” other than what you received should be cursed.
1:10 Am I now trying to please people or God? Do you think I am trying to please people? If I was still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 1:11 I tell you, friends, that the Good News which was preached by me was not invented by humans. 1:12 I did not get it from a person. I was not taught it. It came to me by revelation from Jesus Christ.
1:13 You have heard about my former lifestyle in the Jewish religion, how severely I persecuted the church of God, and devastated it. 1:14 I was further advanced in the Jewish religion than many of my Jewish contemporaries, and I was a keener advocate of the traditions of my ancestors. 1:15 But when God, who set me apart while I was in my mother’s womb and called me through his grace, was pleased 1:16 to reveal his Son in me, so that I could preach him amongst the Gentiles, I at once went off to Arabia, without consulting anyone 1:17 or going to Jerusalem to see those who had been apostles before me. Then I returned to Damascus. 1:18 Then after three years I went to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. 1:19 I did not see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 1:20 In the presence of God I swear to you that I am not lying in the things I write to you. 1:21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 1:22 The churches in Christ in Judea still did not know what I looked like. 1:23 They had only heard: “The man who used to persecute us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy.” 1:24 And they glorified God because of me.
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