Summary: God will use your past history, good, bad and even what you see as irrelevant to further the Gospel in your life today.
The Apostle Paul has been accused of not being the real thing. Paul is being accused of not being authentic, he is accused of being a slick salesman rather than a true disciple. Is Paul reliable? Is Paul authentic? Are his writings to be taken seriously? Can we trust Paul and his understanding of the Gospel?
Well, here in the last part of chapter one of the book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul gives us, in essence, his resume. Here, Paul shows us that he is a reliable source of the Gospel, and Paul also shows us that God will use things in our history that we do not see as connected to the Gospel, God will use these things for his glory.
If you have ever had to hire someone, you know that sometimes, what people put on an employment application or what people put on a resume can be pretty funny. What you place on an application or resume really matters, doesn’t it? Here are some, honestly, real things people wrote down on a resume or an employment application.
Question: How large was the company you last worked for?
Answer: 3 stories.
Question: Why are you interested in the position?
Answer: To keep my parole officer from putting back me in jail.
Question; List your accomplishments.
Answer: Completed 11 years of high school.
Question: Do you have any hobbies?
Answer: Getting drunk every night down by the water, playing my guitar and smoking pot”
Question: Please list an emergency contact number.
Skills: Strong Work Ethic, Attention to Detail, Team Player, Self Motivated, Attention to Detail.
My duties included cleaning the restrooms and seating the customers.
I am bi-lingual in three languages.
And finally - Please call me after 5:30 because I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job.
I guess that is the split personality job seeker.
The details of who you are matter. As a Christian who you are, and how you came to be who you are matters very much. You are not here by chance or happenstance and who you are is not some sort of a coincidence. God had His hand on you before you even knew anything about God. In the same way, the details of who Paul is matters. Paul isn’t some guy who showed up one day and charmed the masses. Paul’s history has a direct bearing on who he is and the accuracy of the message that he conveys.
Looking at our beginning verses 10 and 11, we see Paul answering charges that he preaches to please men and that he made up his version of the Gospel to easily gain converts. Notice that the charges against Paul are not stated here in chapter one, but we know what the charges are by how Paul writes.
The men who have come to Galatia believe they have the answer to a dilemma that has come upon the early church: What to do with the non-Jews who were entering the church. See, at the very beginning of the creation of the church in Acts chapter 2, all those who were gathered together on that great day of Pentecost were Jewish. And the 3000 that were added that Pentecost day, were also, Jewish. In fact at the very beginning of the church, everyone was Jewish. Everyone. It makes sense. After all Jesus was Jewish and the vast majority of His ministry was spent interacting with Jewish people. Remember, the only Bible they had at this point was, the Old Testament, which of course is Jewish.
It had been for a time, that those who became Christians were only Jewish, and they used the Jewish Scriptures, and worshiped the God who Jews had always worshiped. Christianity was seen, and in fact is, the Completion of Judaism. Those in the early church did not see Christianity as another religion, but as a fulfillment of what they had been waiting for generations – the arrival of the promised Messiah. At first, the Romans saw Christianity as a sect of Judaism. They saw it as no different than Judaism. You see, from the point of view of those in the very early church, they were still Jewish, they just took the additional step of believing that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah.
So the men who arrive in Galatia believe this: We and all of those before us, including Paul, were Jewish before we became Christians; We were Jewish in our diet, we were Jewish in our dress; we were Jewish in our language; We were Jewish through and through. So, they would say, since Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism, it makes sense that a Christian should follow Jewish customs, in essence, be Jewish.