Summary: A look at Paul's passion for truth and grace.
APROVAL OF HUMAN BEINGS OR GOD
I once attended a worship event and before the speaker took the stage a choral group was singing. I was to lead a prayer before the speaker began, so I was silently worshipping and reflecting on my words for the prayer.
As the choral group sang a very interpretative and contemplative version of Holy, Holy, Holy I observed a young lady with her hands lifted in the air and her lips were moving as if she was in conversation with someone right in front of her but nobody stood in front of her. Her eyes were closed, intently concentrating on the words of the song. It was evident that she was deeply moved and seemed to be talking to God. She was getting it. She simply stood in the presence of God.
I continued to watch her. She made no acknowledgment of my watching with awe at how God was moving in her heart. As we worshipped in song, her concentration rested simply on positioning her heart to receive from the Lord what only He could give. She did not care what was going on around her. Her focus was on the presence of God in that moment. Her worship and the gospel in song was enough. That image of a young girl in that worship service has stayed with me.
I think we can all relate to that young lady at times but yet for some reason we remain in our seat paralyzed with fear over the “what if’s” of life. At times in our Christian walk we lose our footing, forgetting what we know is right and turn away to something else that grabs our attention.
We lose the foundation that we once held onto so tightly. We wander away from the truths of God and do what we desire because of the sway of someone else.
? What will you do when this happens?
? Will you be able to stand tall in the midst of a crowd of people doing what the Lord wants regardless of what others are doing?
? Can you cling to the truths of God to have life and have it to the fullest?
In counsel to his young protégé, Titus, Paul said, “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared .” Some people think that happens immediately at conversion, but it doesn’t. It is a lifelong process. As you reflect on your life – how do you recall grace seeping in at unexpected times?
The meaning of life itself … the time lived without Christ … the poor choices we have made – God answers the mess of life with one word – G-R-A-C-E .
In the first 5 verses of Galatians, Paul has established his authority and purpose for ministry. Notice that Paul’s statement here does two things.
First, it sets Paul apart as a special apostle, chosen by Jesus Christ himself through the encounter on the Damascus road. Second, it subtly but distinctly “sets Christ in a category apart from ordinary man.” It was not any man that chose Paul - it was Jesus Christ !
He then invokes grace and peace upon the Galatians. There are two main ideas to the word “grace” (?a´???, charis). The first is sheer beauty - the idea of charm and loveliness. The second is sheer undeserved generosity - the loving favor that God gives to people who have not earned it. F. F. Bruce says "Paul's claim [was] that the message he preached was the authentic gospel of Christ. It is this: two things on which Paul pre-eminently insisted - that salvation was provided by God's grace and that faith was the means by which men appropriated it. ”
Peace, on the other hand, is a natural result of grace. Peace is the “state of wholeness” enjoyed by those who have effectively experienced divine grace.
They have not struggled to earn God’s approval, nor must they find some way to earn the right to keep it. Because grace has been freely given, peace can be securely enjoyed.
Grace was a favorite word for Paul because of his past beliefs and behavior. In 26 texts he mentions the word grace 94 times. He was a devout legalist who was not going to be stopped – but Jesus stopped him and his life was radically changed forever.
Beginning in Galatians 1:6-10 NCV we read, “God, by his grace through Christ, called you to become his people. So I am amazed that you are turning away so quickly and believing something different than the Good News. Really, there is no other Good News. But some people are confusing you; they want to change the Good News of Christ. We preached to you the Good News. So if we ourselves, or even an angel from heaven, should preach to you something different, we should be judged guilty! I said this before, and now I say it again: You have already accepted the Good News. If anyone is preaching something different to you, he should be judged guilty! Do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No, God is the One I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”