Monday, March 9, 2009

Galatians 1:1-5 (Introduction)

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.” –Galatians 3-5

Paul’s first missionary journey, and the first half of his second one, were characterized by quick incursions into a town, the rapid establishment of a church, and the almost immediate expulsion from the city caused by persecution. Later on in his ministry, Paul had the blessing to be able to stay for extended periods in Corinth and Ephesus, thereby establishing churches more firmly. As far as the short term trips were concerned, Paul’s Macedonian experience seemed to reap good results. His Galatian churches, however, caused him more trouble and concern.

It must have been rather frustrating for Paul. To hear reports from his first churches of heresy and the people turning to legalism, away from the Gospel he had established them under. He did not let it lie, though. He quickly wrote them a stern letter, reminding them of the truth they had believed and urging them to turn from the false teaching.

This issue has troubled the church ever since. Not just the particular issue in the letter to the Galatians i.e. works vs. faith, but the issue of doctrinal integrity. Today it feels like people are not concerned with what is believed, just that belief be genuine. The problem is that sincerity and truth are two separate things. Sincerity counts for nothing unless that which is sincerely believed is in fact true.

Therefore, just as in Paul’s case, one of he primary tasks of the church planter, cross cultural evangelist, and church leaders everywhere needs to be the guarding of the doctrinal truths taught in scripture. It may not sound exciting and adventurous, but without it all the other efforts we undertake are pointless.

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