Galatians 1:1-12I In the church's year of grace we've reached Ordinary Time. Ordered, orderly, in order, somewhat structured.
1Paul an apostle—sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the members of God’s family who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
10Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; 12for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
This is the green and growing "time of the church."
Preparation: Jesus Christ's birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension.
Our own baptism; weekly participation in word and sacrament. Gift of the Pentecostal Spirit of Life.
II Paul's letter or epistle to the Galatians is one of seven epistles definitely written by Paul. We call this an undisputed letter, as in undisputed authorship.
Galatians was the first ethnic church, not in the sense of Jewish–gentile ethnicity, but of different cultures.
Galatians is the Epistle of Freedom; Galatians was and still is Reformation central, vitally important to Martin Luther's theology.
Galatians has been called the Magna Carta of Christian Freedom. Just as the Magna Carta showed everyone lives under the same law and has the right to a trial, to be declared guilty or innocent, Galatians demonstrates we all live under the same law of God, with the same freedom or liberty in Jesus Christ.
III Gospel means Good News. For Paul, the gospel is death and resurrection.
Almost every single time Paul uses the word "law," he refers to circumcision, sacrificial law, ritual law, keeping kosher, ceremonial law, and not to the ten commandments.
Galatians famously brings us:
• Paul's only birth narrative: in the fullness of time God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law. Galatians 4:4
• Neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, bond nor free, for all are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
• Fruits of the Spirit: By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a
IV Different gospel! Mostly about the Judaizers who claimed people had to become Jewish before Christian, follow sacrificial law, be circumcised. In other words, they taught that Jesus Christ's death and resurrection was not enough, that redemption was more by works than by grace. For Paul, the gospel is death and resurrection.
V Outreach, evangelism in the church building and out in our everyday worlds: what demands do we make of newcomers? If not exactly a "different gospel" that Paul found the church at Galatia teaching, do we insist people look like us, talk like us, act like us, etc.? As the Reformers insisted, wherever you find Word and Sacrament you find the church. No Word and Sacrament? No church. No requirement for everyone to look, act, talk, think, feel the same as everyone else.