Galatians 1 (Read Here)
Galatians 2:1-10 (Read Here)
Galatians 2:11-21 (Read Here)
The false teachers at the church of Galatia said, “Yes, yes. By faith, through Christ, but also… you need to be circumcised!” They had made an addendum on the Gospel, making Christ’s work to seem incomplete without also a work on Galatia’s behalf. An addendum is used to clarify and add things that were not initially part of the original contract or agreement. Addendums are a common temptation for us. Not just a temptation, but an insidious poison on our access to the fruits of the Spirit and the promise of freedom and true life. To make it seem that God won’t be generous until we are. That He won’t be faithful until we are. That He won’t act for us unless we do.
God is who he is. Apart from you; apart from me. He does not wait for your goodness, or count on my righteousness–if so, He’d be waiting forever. The Gospel is what it is. Simple, powerful, pure: Salvation comes through faith alone in Jesus alone.
It’s exciting… when life is good and energy is easy and you’re making enough money and surrounded by good people. But, then, life strikes. Death, bills, fatigue, new places with strange faces and a litany of failures. What will save you? Who will rescue you? Where is the answer?
This world has options for your plight, Adult Person. Dissociating options, distracting options, fill-the-void options, do-it-yourself options, meditative options, turn-tail-and-run options. It will point to any one, anything but Christ alone. “You can do it, just pull yourself up and out! You can buy it! You can find it… in this person, in this hobby, in this job!” “Just get circumcised!” They say. “Just follow our rules, and you’ll be safe.” It’s terrifying, in reality. The freefall of letting go of your ways, hands slipping from the reins as you take a leap of faith. We flail, helplessly, grasping for anything to slow our descent. “Trust me,” Jesus whispers. “I’ve got you. I’ve paid for it all. I’ve finished the work.”
But it feels like imminent death. You cough up money for newer, shinier devotionals. You squeak in more church events or volunteering. You add hours onto your already busy schedule, working harder to make more money. More stability. More success. More cushion for the end of your fall. Grabbing, grabbing, grabbing. You give up, give in. You shrug off the pull to righteousness and trade it for a life of sweet, sweet distraction. Clipping the taught tether of conviction, you float through life—not quite satisfied, not quite happy, not quite anything other than a feather on the wind of influence.
Open your eyes, my dear friend. See that you are in His hand–safe, secure. The stomach-flipping feeling of freefall is your pride screaming for purchase. Your flesh squirming for the throne. Your bruised heart searching for acceptance. Your addendums are the fingers of your unbelief, grasping at the things you know, the ideas you understand. By faith alone, through Jesus alone… once you are here, you are forever secure. The addendums are your backups, your just-in-cases. Just in case Jesus isn’t enough, I’ll have this.
As you read through Galatians, be bolstered by Paul’s pursuit of Jesus regardless of his past and the effects on his future. Ask God to reveal where you are adding to the perfect, finished work of Jesus Christ. Attack the addendums you’ve added to the Gospel in order to feel more secure, more in control. Flee from the false teachers on your internet feeds. Study and memorize the passages in Galatians where Paul outlines your new identity, your newfound freedoms, your new purposes in light of God’s mercy. Cling to them. Fight for the simple Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and live as Christ lives in you.