AUGUST 17 READING…GALATIANS 1
Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a vigorous defense of the gospel of faith and if possible, an even more vigorous attack against the false gospel of works promoted by the Judaizers. The Judaizers, were false teachers who wanted to impose Jewish practices and observations, particularly circumcision, on the Gentile Christians thereby adding works to salvation rather than the grace of God alone.
It is against this backdrop that Paul begins by setting forth his credentials as an Apostle from God along with a brief presentation of the gospel. Paul is bewildered at the speed with which the Galatians have abandoned the true gospel and substituted if for “another gospel”, a distorted and perverted gospel. He emphasizes that there is no other gospel other than that which Paul had preached and that even if an angel said anything different, they are to be accursed, anathema, a damned soul. He repeats it to be certain that they know just how strongly he feels about this.
Paul then launches into an autobiographical argument for the true gospel of justification by faith. In the same manner that “flesh and blood” did not reveal Jesus’ true identity to Peter (Matthew 16:17), Paul was similarly taught not by man, but by God directly. He then recalls his Sanhedrin years zealously persecuting the church of God because of his commitment to his Jewish ancestral traditions. He then recounts his salvation experience, salvation by grace, and elaborates upon the divine education that he received. He closes the chapter referring to a visit to Jerusalem to meet Peter and James. Many scholars understand to be the visit found in Acts 9:26 – 30 though some think it is the visit in Acts 11:30. Finally, he tells them that although the churches in Judea had never seen him, his reputation as an effective preacher for the very gospel that he once was trying to destroy, was being established with the result of glory to God.
TOMORROW’S READING…GALATIANS 2
Devotional written by Dan Peña