PAUL GONE WILD.
That was the topic of Tuesday’s blog article: Hot-headed Paul’s angriest letter, about some strong words Paul had for Christians in Turkey—and for the Apostle Peter.
Now for more, but not of the same.
It’s the same letter, but a different tone.
Paul gone mild
This letter isn’t all about the anger I talked about on Tuesday. In fact, it’s mostly a defense of the Christian teaching that we’re saved by trusting in God, not by obeying Jewish rules.
Here are some of my favorite snippets from the short, six-chapter letter.
“This topic of circumcision came up because of some counterfeit Christians who slipped into the meeting. They came as spies to learn about the spiritual freedom we have because of the Messiah, Jesus. They wanted to make it church policy that everyone has to obey the Jewish laws, including believers who aren’t Jews” (2:4).
“Wow! I can’t believe you’re already deserting God. He gave you a gracious invitation through the Messiah. But now you’re headed in the opposite direction, following a fake version of the Good News” (1:6).
Paul makes his case
- “We know we can’t have a healthy relationship with God simply by obeying the Jewish rules” (2:16)
- “I have just one question for you. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the Jewish law or by having faith?” (3:2).
- “Tell me something. It’s about the one who gives you the Spirit, and who does miracles that you can see with your own eyes. Has he been doing this because you’ve obeyed Jewish law? Or has he been doing it because of your faith?” (3:5).
- “So, why did God bother giving the law? It was a stopgap measure for dealing with sin until Abraham’s descendant came—the descendant in God’s promise… The law worked as our guardian. But only until the Messiah came” (3:19, 24).
- “The Messiah set us free because he wanted us free. So stay free. Don’t go back to slavery” (5:1).
- “If you let the Spirit guide your life, Jewish law won’t control you anymore” (5:18)
Paul’s parting shot
“Whatever seeds you plant with your words and actions, that’s the crop you’ll harvest. If you plant seeds intending to feed your human frailties, those frailties will destroy you. But if you plant seeds to feed the Spirit, the Spirit will save you—into a life that never ends” (6:7-8).
I created a leader’s guide and atlas for groups that want to study the book of Galatians. It’s available as a PDF download for $1.
Winners of this week’s giveaway books
- Julie Anthony
- Lee Carter
I give away free books every week to randomly selected subscribers to my free blog or my quarterly newsletter.
Note to the two winners: send me an email and I’ll give you the full list of books from which you can choose.
The deal’s good for a month, or for as long as I have giveaway books available.