As I was reading chapter four of Galatians, the apostle Paul’s words in verse sixteen just seemed to lift off the page, “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth”. My thoughts went in two directions. First, I thought about the apostle Paul, who no matter the cost, proclaimed the truth of God, correcting error when it was needed. Secondly, I thought about the response of those whose error Paul was correcting.
Paul founded the churches in Southern Galatia during his first missionary journey. Galatians, the first of his thirteen letters recorded in Scripture was circulated among those churches. Paul’s purpose for writing was to address the issue of legalism or adding to the gospel (in this particular case, circumcision). He had preached the sufficiency of Christ alone for salvation, but after leaving false teachers came in and distorted that truth. Paul said this “different gospel” taught by these false teachers, was no gospel at all (Galatians 1:6-7). His letter also addressed the freedom one had in Christ and the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding believers as they battled against their sinful natures.
There had been a time when those to whom Paul was writing felt differently about him. Many had come to saving faith as a result of his preaching. There was great joy in the salvation they had in Christ alone. Unfortunately, when Paul left, the truth about that salvation became compromised. I’m sure Paul would have much rather been able to write to commend the Galatians for their faithfulness to the true gospel, but such was not the case. This letter was not only difficult for Paul to write, but also difficult for its readers to read.
There are two thoughts for consideration as it relates to this text. First, is the Holy Spirit working in your life such that you will proclaim God’s truth in spite of the consequences? It’s difficult to tell someone a truth they may not believe or want to hear, but it is always right and God honoring to do so. The Holy Spirit will also guide you in the manner in which it should be done, always “in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). A second thought related to this text is the manner in which we receive correction. Are there areas of your life that are out of step with God’s will, wrong beliefs that need of correcting? Is the Holy Spirit at work in you such that you will receive that truth in a spirit of humility?
As Christians, our spirits will always be at war with our flesh. We often love to have our own way, believe what we like and do what makes us feel better and more in control. And rarely do we like to be corrected. God’s truth may be a hard thing to both tell and to receive. But God’s truth is the best thing. We have a God who loves us and who always has our best interest at heart. So much so that He gave us His Son. Salvation is in Christ alone. So seek Him and His truth, tell it, receive it and live by it. He will bless you for it, but more importantly, you will bring glory and honor to the name that is above every name, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
God, I want to seek Your face and seek Your will in Your Word each day. Thank You for Your revealed truth. Lord, I pray Your Spirit will be present in me so that in a direct, but gentle way I will express Your truth. But God, just as I ask for Your presence to express biblical truth, I also ask You give me a humble spirit to receive Your truth when I wander from it. Thank You for grace and forgiveness. And thank You for Your Son who paid for my sin. Help me to bring honor and glory to Him each day. Amen!