Welcome to Galatia. Where life by many is lived by the law. Where your merit and what you do, means more than anything. This idea of, what do you do?; in contrast to, Who do you follow? Or the question of, what law or rules are you following? instead of, Who do you have a relationship with?
The book of Galatians has been called the charter of Christian Freedom according to a couple study bibles. Who better to write this letter than apostle Paul (formerly Saul). The story of Paul’s miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus is necessary story to the people in Galatia, it is necessary to us, it is necessary to me. Here’s a reminder. (Acts 26:5-23) As I reflect on this story, I think that when the Lord gives you an opportunity today write down or share your “Damascus Road” experience with someone who needs Christ will I? Will you?
Paul wrote this letter to defend his apostleship and to defend the authority of the Gospel. To help the Galatians turn from legalism to faith in Jesus. This issue can still be present today where we try to earn God’s favor through doing so many things, following rituals, or obeying a set of rules. I found a great reminder for myself in Our Daily Bread: Rhythms of Grace. It reminded me to take a second to pause and take inventory of your life: “If you find that Christianity exhausts you, draining you of your energy, then you are practicing religion rather than enjoying your relationship with Jesus. Your walk with the Lord will not make you weary; it will invigorate you, restore your strength, and energize your life” ( Matthew 11:28-29)
Paul gives a realistic picture of the challenges of transitioning from a religion based on rules to one based on a relationship with Jesus Christ. From a life based on entitlement, to one given through grace; to a life not lived out through our flesh, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So are we working for Him, or walking with Him? While you read through Galatians be reminded that we are justified by faith not just the law. ( Galatians 2:20 Galatians 3:10-11) That our list of do’s and don’ts doesn’t confine us, it is our relationship with the Lord. We have freedom in our faith in Christ alone. He is all we need now and for eternity. (1 John 2:1-2)
Thank you for your grace. I accept that I am just like everyone else and can’t do any of this life on my own. We are imperfect in so many ways and prone to sin. There is nothing we can do that makes me better than anyone else. You love us so much you gave yourself up on the cross for me. That’s a grace so amazing that I can’t wrap my head around it, I can only accept this free gift and know that I’m saved. I pray for guidance and willingness to submit the rest of my life to you. That as we walk together I grow my faith and serve you with continued joy. As we read through Galatians keep your words through Paul in our hearts.