Saturday, August 25, 2012

Galatians 6:17-18

Summary retelling of Galatians 6:17-18

Paul calls for the arguments to cease.  He claims to “bear the marks of Christ.”  Then Paul wishes grace and peace of Christ to the Galatians and their spirit. 

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul genuine calls for a cessation of trouble.  The turmoil of the Galatian church has absolutely torn it apart.  It has resulted in confusion.  The work of God isn’t getting done because people are too busy arguing.  In the end, the Galatians are missing the point.  Yes, we need to understand God as well as we can.  But we cannot ever let our theological differences compromise our mission.  Those differences might determine how we do mission and with whom we do it.  But they should not ever get us to the point where we stop doing mission because we spend so much time arguing about our differences.

Do you think human beings tend to be argumentative or do we tend to be followers?  What conditions make us more likely to be argumentative?  What conditions make us more willing to follow?

Second Thought:
Paul claims to bear the marks of Christ.  Some people claim that this means Paul had stigmata.  This is a belief to which I do not attest.  The Greek word for “bear” in this sentence is a word that comes out of slavery.  It literally refers to the process that slave owners would use to brand their slaves – much like we brand horses and cattle today.  Paul isn’t claiming a physical brand, but rather a spiritual brand.  In other words, Paul is making the following claim.  “Anyone can see that disciples are being made and people are drawing closer to God through Jesus Christ.  Therefore, I am the slave of God.”  In a way, it is Paul telling the Galatians that they can argue over theology and legalism all they want, but the true disciple of Jesus Christ is branded by His call.  That call is to actually get out and make disciples.

Are you ready to make disciples?  If so, are you doing it?  If not, what can you do to make yourself ready to make disciples?

Third Thought:
Paul wishes the Galatian church grace and peace.  But notice that he wishes them race and peace to their spirit.  Paul knows that life will not be easy.  We will be in conflict with this world and the people who desire to live in it and who desire to live according to the ways of the world.  The goal of the Christian is not to live an easy life.  The goal is to live a life that is at peace with God, regardless of how easy or difficult that life happens to be on any given day.  When our spirit is at peace with the Lord, the rest doesn’t really matter.

What are the ways that you use to find peace with God?

Passage for Tomorrow: TBD
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