Sunday, February 9, 2020
Galatians 3 (NLT)
Paul had a serious problem with the church in Galatia. Some were teaching that people must become good Jews in order to be Christians. Paul had planted this church on his first missionary journey (see Acts 13-14).
ANTIOCH & JERUSALEM
When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch they were forced to confront this heresy directly. Finally, the church asked them to consult with the other apostles and elders in the Jerusalem church for a definitive answer (Acts 15:1-5).
As soon as they came together in Jerusalem the Jewish believers “who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees” stood up and asserted this very challenge:
“The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”Acts 15:5 (NLT)
With Peter and James’s approval the other apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem made three simple requests for the sake of unity: 1) avoid meat sacrificed to idols, 2) avoid blood and meat from animals that had been strangled and 3) avoid sexual immorality (Acts 15:1-35, NLT).
GALATIA AND ABRAHAM
To confront this challenge to the gospel in Galatia, Paul reaches back to the faith of Abraham. The promise God made to him was before the rite of circumcision and the Law of Moses. He wanted to assure the Galatians that it was their simple faith in Christ that made them ‘heirs’ of Abraham, not their obedience to Jewish laws and regulations.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.Galatians 3:26-29 (NLT)