Thursday, September 18, 2014

what a mess!

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for Today: Galatians 1
mark this- Galatians 1:6-7
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ."
Whether it was your kitchen, or your car, or your office, or your back yard, each one of us has experienced a situation where we left a certain area in pristine condition, left, and then returned to find a huge, unexpected mess. Whether caused by a dog, or a flood, or an errant bowl of chili, it's a terrible feeling. I got my first taste of this several years ago, in the early stages of toilet-training our son. We tucked him real nice & clean in on a warm summer night thinking our job was done. The next morning, we were in for a pleasant surprise. During the night he managed to remove his diaper and leave all sorts of surprises for us- all over his bedding, clothes, & blankets.
What a mess!
What a mess indeed! This is exactly what is going on here in the letter to the Galatians. Paul had figuratively tucked them in safe and sound, only to find a royal mess upon his return. So everything is set? Not at all! Let's recount some background information:
- Galatia was not a city, but a Roman province in Asia Minor (what is modern day Turkey.)
- This area was so important in the early church. Center of correspondence of the letters.
- Paul was born nearby, and he had been to Galatia well before this letter was written. He ministered there and brought the Gospel. He saw the people receive it with great joy. He left the Gospel in good hands and moved on, to proclaim the Gospel to other areas (1).
But soon he gets a report back that these church plants in Galatia have some huge issues. Evidently a group of false teachers within the church know as the Judaizers , have brought some serious upheaval & confusion to the faithful of the entire area. And we see Paul cutting the usual pleasantries, like an angry parent, as he demands: "What in the world is going on!?!"
Throughout the entire letter, some very strong language used- ‘astonished…deserting…eternally condemned’ (And that's just from the first chapter!) The Judaizers had infiltrated and attempted to alter the true gospel by adding new requirements- keeping the law, circumcision, adherence to Jewish rules & traditions. They basically required those who wanted to be Christians to become Jews first.
Of course they were dead wrong, but Paul is even more heartbroken at the fact that his spiritual children were so quickly and easily deceived. There are many more strong words to come! Over the next week we will see how this plays out...
(1) Acts 13:13- 14:23


  1. Franklyn: "The Judaizers!!!" I am convinced that it was the Judaizers that completely clouded the meaning of the New Testament. Not the way you are citing, with the circumcision and all the food rules,etc. But the Church itself that became so paranoid about Jewish teachings that they tried to dis-connect the Old Testament from the very meaning of the New Testament. When I first studied and read the New Testament it made little since until I set out to understand the Old. For me I had to know and understand Jews before any of this made since. Even going to Jewish services to better understand. That would scare some people. But not me. I wanted to grasp what the whole thing was about; so I could better appreciate this gift that was given to me!

  2. I thoroughly and sadly agree. There is nothing that has stifled Bible literacy like the artificial, man-made division between the so-called "Old Testament" and the so-called "New Testament." It gives the impression that God changed his mind, when the only real distinction is that Genesis to Malachi are the "Promises Made" and Matthew to Revelation are the "Promises Kept."

    I have often recommended that (adult) students take their Bibles and cut out the page which says "Old Testament" and page which says "New Testament." Once, I even put scissors on their tables to facilitate the task. Some took me up on it, while others opted out (assuring me they got the concept.) So I urged the reluctant ones to at least cross out "O.T" and "N.T" and write the titles I proposed above, "Promises Made" and "Promises Kept."

    Scissors are essential Scripture-teaching tools!