Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Galatian Deception

Last year, I started reading through my Bible with a highlighter, which was kind of a big deal for me because I'm weird and have an issue with writing in books. (My therapist says I may be growing out of it, but all his textbooks are those MadLibs, fill-in-the-blank things, so I'm not too sure.) I've just been highlighting phrases or sections that seem to stand out to me, or that seem to have a little extra significance to share right here and now.

As I was reading through Galatians yesterday, I was surprised at how much I was highlighting! It's like the yellow pages of my Bible now, without the phone numbers and a restaurant section. But more than the amount of highlighting I did, I was reminded of the scope of that letter. Paul needed to remind the church of just what made them the church anyway:
the calling of God to believe the Son of God and live by the Spirit of God.

They were trying to even the score with God by following the Law, as the Jews had known it for centuries. Their traditions and customs and peculiar practices were being forced onto people who didn't share them, as a condition for being made right with God. Someone had misled them into thinking this was ok, even that it was the way it was supposed to be, but Paul wanted desperately to correct that error.

They were buying a lie that told them that people needed to work their way in to God's family. But Paul said those 'rites of passage' or customs didn't matter. (And included a pretty sharp rebuke for 'those troublemakers' in 5:12.) What mattered, according to Paul was "whether we really have been changed into new and different people." What was important was "faith expressing itself in love."

I don't think I've ever been pressured to conform to the Jewish Law that the Galatians were promoting. But I wonder if we have New Laws that we make people adhere to before we'll accept them as family? Do we give people the impression that they have to be 'good enough' to earn a seat at God's table? What do you think? Have we repeated the Galatian deception with a modern twist? What are some of the New Laws you've seen urged on people in order to get right with God?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive theoquest