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Already Free (Part 2)
Series: Already Free, A Study on the Book of Galatians
Today's text covers a topic that I believe is extremely relevant for our generation. I want to talk about finding freedom from the opinions of others. Now this isn't something we are quick to admit. We would rather carry on like we don't care about what others think of us. But Beloved is a safe place. And we can be honest here…we do care. And you know what, that's human. Our God-given drive to connect with others creates an environment where we do care what others think of us because it affects how we connect with them. However, the problem occurs when the opinion of others becomes more valuable to us than the opinion of God. It's then that we give up the freedom of knowing we are secure in God's good thoughts about us and we fall as slaves to the opinions of others. This week I want to focus on not allowing the opinions of others to control and enslave us, and especially prevent us from completing the purpose God has given us.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul addresses this same concern. Last week we learned that false leaders came to the Christians in Galatia and started sharing a false gospel with them. Instead of preaching salvation by grace through faith, they were convincing the Galatians that this was not enough to be saved, and that the Galatians would also need to take on their Jewish customs.
This doesn't even seem appealing compared to the true gospel that Paul originally preached to them, so why were they even being lured away to a false gospel that would require more work for them? Well, one of the reasons was that these false leaders not only attacked the gospel Paul preached, they also attacked Paul himself. By discrediting Paul and his authority to preach the gospel in the first place, they were successfully convincing the Galatians to turn from the true gospel.
They brought up Paul’s sinful past (which we'll talk about more next week) and also his relationship, or lack thereof, with more respected Jewish leaders. So in the first part of Galatians chapter one, Paul defends the gospel. He reiterates the true gospel that he left them with that says they are saved by grace through faith. But in verses 11-24 Paul starts to defend himself.
Now I don't want you to think of his defense in a self-righteous kind of way. Actually, he does no boasting of himself. But he does set the record straight that he does in fact have the authority to preach the gospel, not because of who he is, but because of Who called him. In Galatians 1:10-13 he says:
"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human ...
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