By Brooke Holt
“Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1:1-5)
Paul begins his letter to the church in Galatia in an unusual way. Paul made it clear he was set apart to be an apostle right from the outset. Man did not choose him nor even affirm him. His apostleship was the divine act of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who called, affirmed, and anointed Paul to be an apostle. The authority Paul brought to the church in Galatia was not his own but the authority entrusted to him.
Early in his apostolic work, Paul built the church in Galatia. Faithfully, he shared the gospel with these Gentiles and led them to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Paul reminds them of this gospel that brought grace and peace to them. These Gentiles had been excluded from the household of God, but they were now invited into full fellowship with God and the church of Jesus Christ. And Paul would remind them of why they were invited. It was not based on anything they had done or could do. They were invited into the fellowship because Jesus died and rose from the dead, and now salvation and forgiveness were freely bestowed upon those who believed in this salvific work of Jesus.
Salvation and forgiveness were gifts given to these Gentiles. This same salvation and forgiveness are now available to us. However, Paul would remind us, just as he does throughout the letter of Galatians, that they are gifts we are to receive through faith alone. The Judaizers came into the Galatian churches teaching Gentile converts must follow all the Old Testament regulations to maintain their salvation. Paul wrote to rebuke this teaching and remind the Galatians of the simple gospel—Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected.
Salvation is that simple. Do you receive that simple gospel, or do you burden yourself and others with regulations? Just as Paul was called, affirmed, and anointed by God, so are you. This simple gospel will change everything for you just as it did the apostle Paul!
Do you know you are called, affirmed, and anointed for ministry? Your ministry may look quite different than the apostle Paul. Yet, your role is critical for sharing the gospel and building the kingdom of God. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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