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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Galatians and the Message

These passages in the Message's interpretation of Galatians got me thinking about attitudes, heart, and actions that sadly too often characterize those of us in the church (think ego; think exchanging the freedom we have in Christ for the yoke of fearing/pleasing other Christians and/or not upseting non-Christians; think living for the wrong thing; think not keeping the main thing the main thing; think living for what is seen instead of what is unseen; think of living out of selfish ambition/performance rather than love; think an unwillingness to risk that stems from a lack of love for God and others, etc.).  It's convicting.

Gal 1:10... Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn't bother being Christ's slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn't receive it through the traditions, and I wasn't taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:6...As for those who were considered important in the church, their reputation doesn't concern me. God isn't impressed with mere appearances, and neither am I.

Galatians 2:19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

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