I’m currently reading through the book of Galatians, so I thought I would share my initial thoughts as I read a bit each day. The aim is to read a chapter a week (not quite as daunting as the failed attempt of the Bible in a Year). As it’s not overly arduous, hopefully I’ll be able to jot down some thoughts. They may just be in note form, but I’ll try my best to post something!
Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and sisters with me,
To the churches in Galatia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.Galatians 1:1-5 (NIV)
I like the way Paul introduces himself here. He does it because people have been bad-mouthing him and saying that he has distorted the real message of Christianity. It serves to remind them of his God-given role and that it was indeed God-given.
It reminds me of the verses in Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus had already died by this point in Matthew and was speaking to his disciples. He sent them out to spread the good news. We, too, respond to this Great Commission and we are sent by God. This further affirmed by Ephesians 2:10:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.(NIV)
We are not sent by men, but rather by God. This call should define our attitude towards what we do, working as if for God, not man.
Verse 1 also reminds us that Jesus was raised from the dead. Romans 8:11 also links God’s call on our lives and his power to raise from the dead. It’s amazing to think that the same power that resurrected Jesus is the same power that resurrects our lives. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus, lives in us. That Holy Spirit guides us, transforms us and empowers us. We have the power of Jesus’ resurrection living in us daily.
The summary of the gospel message here seems somewhat pertinent in the chaos of modern times. With American, British and European countries seemingly split down political seams, modern culture getting more debauched and secular than ever and the church losing its relevance and purity across the west, we seem to live in an evil age. We definitely need saving from it.
Jesus died so that we may be saved; God raised him so we may be called; the Spirit empowers us so we may do good deeds. This is all a bit challenging, especially in light of Philippians 1:27:
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.(NLT)