Thursday, October 13, 2011

Make Friends With the Book of Galatians

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Have you learned to LOVE the Book of Galatians? Or is it dull, boring, confusing, to you? It has been the spark that has ignited glorious reformations in people's lives since the time of Martin Luther. So you should learn to make friends with it, to love it, to let your heart revel in its powerful Good News.

The key is Paul's vision of the cross of Christ and its effect on a proud, selfish, worldly human heart. He cries out, "I am crucified with Christ" (2:20), and says he can't "glory" in anything else in the universe "save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (6:14). So white-hot was his burning devotion to the One who died on that cross that he tells the people in Galatia that he "evidently set forth Christ, crucified among you" (3:1). That fire in his soul lit a fire in their hearts.

As they listened to Paul, their eyes were fixed on his eyes; they forgot where they were or who they were--they saw Christ crucified before their astonished gaze. They forgot about their fear of hell-fire, and they forgot about their hopes of going to heaven and getting a great reward there. Only one idea possessed their souls: the eternal Son of God had gone to hell for them, died their second death, gave Himself for them totally; they saw a "breadth, and depth, and length, and height" of this love of Christ that shattered their captivity to the love of self and the love of the world.

In chapter 3:2, 3, Paul makes clear to them that they didn't DO anything or WORK any "works" to achieve this deliverance from the prison-house of sin--they simply LISTENED by what Paul called "the hearing of faith" (3:2). And thus they stumbled on the exact experience of "our father Abraham," who also "listened," and "believed" by saying "amen" to the fabulous promises of God (3:6-14).

Now, after this glorious experience the Galatians enjoyed in fellowship with Abraham "by faith," they turned back to the petty legalism preached by the "brethren" from the headquarters of the church in Jerusalem! That explains Paul's righteous indignation! Let this "key" open the book for you!

--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 9, 1998.
Copyright © 2011 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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