Welcome to Week 12 of the Higher Hope Church 2018 New Testament Reading Plan! If you haven’t already, go pick up your 5x5x5 Reading Plan and join our private Facebook group for daily interaction and discussion. This week we finished the Book of Hebrews and started Galatians!
This chapter is a call to fix our eyes on Jesus at all times, during every storm of life. We will face challenges and hardships. But we must persevere and continue the race God has set before us. Jesus endured the cross because He knew the joy awaiting Him. Think of the hostility He faced from sinful people, yet He did not sin. So, we must focus our eyes solely on Him, the One who brings us into relationship with God and into an unshakeable kingdom.
The writer concludes by exhorting the reader to love each other, to show hospitality, to honor marriage, to remember those in prison, to be satisfied with what they have, and to remember their leaders. He reminds them that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever so they need to stay the course and not be attracted to new ideas.
The letter begins with Paul declaring his appointment as apostle was made by Jesus and not by man. The Galatian believers were beginning to turn away from the truth and follow people who were perverting the Word of God and preaching a false Gospel. Paul harshly criticizes these false teachers. He continues to share his story about how he fervently persecuted the church but God called him, even before he was born, to share the Good News to the Gentiles.
Paul continues to share his story, explaining how he returned to Jerusalem and received approval from the apostles regarding his ministry to the Gentiles, just as Peter was ministering to the Jews. Paul later had to confront Peter when he (fearing criticism) stopped eating with the Gentiles and fell back into Jewish customs and laws.
Paul asks the Galatians how they received the Holy Spirit – by observing the Law or by believing the message of Christ. The Galatians were trying to become perfect by their own human effort by obeying the Law instead of through the Spirit. He explains how the Law was given alongside the Promise to show people their sins. But the Law was only designed to last until Christ came. We cannot be made right with God by obeying the Law. We can only receive freedom by believing in Jesus Christ.
Have a great week!