Galatians for 2016
“Grace and peace be 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...” Galatians 1:3-4a
If the headlines tell us anything they tell us this, the world has a lot of evil in it. It seems to be more noticeable now because of the technology we have and the continuous news cycle playing 24 hours a day. But evil seems to be spreading into more creaks and crevices of our lives that we thought might be left untouched and whole.
We don't have to look far to find all sorts of failings in our own church community and home. So I went to the book of Galatians, a book we have been studying through at church on Sunday mornings. But how could we apply those familiar passages to present day problems? How would Paul speak to our church, to our denomination, to our families and communities? Here's some suggestions for what we might hear Paul say...
2:11-12----When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
----->Paul would address our lack of love and outreach toward the homosexual community.
3:1-5---You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?
----->Paul would address our traditions that have become golden calves in the church.
3:27-29---for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 2 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
----->Paul would address our glorifying of men in the church and patronizing of women to our shame.
5:6--- For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
----->Paul would address the lack of serving others in our community as an expression of our Christian faith.
6:1-4---Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone,without comparing themselves to someone else.
----->Paul would address our inability to recognize our own sin and wear fake expressions of Christian lives that look too good because they're fake.
6:14--- May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
----->Paul would address our boasting in numbers with regards to attendance, baptisms, and conversions.
So what do you think? What would Paul say to you, your family, your congregation, your community? These are just some thoughts, there's lots more to be had if we explore our hearts and shortcomings with honesty and humility.