Wednesday, August 15, 2012

260 in 2012 DEVOS - Day 163 -Galatians 1: Introduction & the Gospel

Jewish believers (Judaizers) were trying to convince the Galatian believers that they needed to follow the law (i.e. be circumcised) to be sanctified. These Judaizers had misled the Galatians into believing that Paul’s doctrine of justification through faith was false. They thought that Paul’s motivation for teaching such a doctrine was his desire to please men, and that he received his revelation from men. To address this situation, Paul writes the Galatians to exhort them to return to the sound and true doctrine that he, a true apostle, had taught them. Paul wrote this letter from Antioch about AD 48ish. Paul spends most of the first two chapters defending both the message and the messenger. so he begins with, ”Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead…” He wants them to know that the Gospel he had preached to them was straight from God! In most of Paul’s letters, after introducing himself, he usually gives thanks for something – not so in Galatians. He immediately rebukes them for ditching what they’ve been taught. They had received the Gospel by grace but the Jewish believers were adding to it by saying things like you had to be circumcised (works). These people were bringing confusion and Paul says “to hell with them!” Ok, ok…..our Bible doesn’t read those exact words but the word for eternally condemned is “anathema” which means to be sent to hell!~ Paul is like – look, I used to please the Jews when I was trying to kill Christians, but now I please God and HE gave me this message - I’m not making it up! Ask around, people know the change in me! SO WHAT? *Paul, as God’s messenger, stuck to God’s message, not his own, and it was powerful. Stories and illustrations are good, but the more you & I speak the Word of God, the more power the message will have. I’ve also learned that when I stick to God’s Word and people have a problem with what I’ve said, then I can encourage them to take it up with God because it’s HIS message. *If you have put your trust & faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sin, then you too are called of God! And like Paul, this occurs immediately! How incredible is God’s grace?! *Finally, let’s not make the good news just “ok news” by adding to it. It’s grace, grace, grace and it’s not earned or ever could be earned, but it’s given freely to ALL who believe & receive!

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