Wednesday, 27 April 2016
Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16
When Paul had first visited them, they displayed amazing and wonderful affection on him. This was noted in his words of the previous two verses. Now however, it is as if he had become an enemy to them. Vincent’s Word Studies notes that the word “enemy” is given “in an active sense, as is shown by the next clause. Not passive, an object of hatred, which would have the pronoun in the dative.”
In other words, it wasn’t as if they hated him, but that they looked at him as someone fighting against them. They had been duped by the Judaizers into believing that his gospel message was false, even a heresy. How sad it is to think that it is they, the ones who would so pervert the grace of Christ, who were teaching heresy.
Unfortunately, this is exactly how false teachers, and the leaders of aberrant cults, work. They divide and conquer; they find an enemy in every good teacher; and they twist the truth, stating that what is incorrect is what is necessary for right living. In Paul’s case, they warned against him, not because he was a false teacher, but because he told the truth.
What is so immensely sad is that unlike the Galatians, we now have the truth of the gospel written down for us. If someone is confused about which teacher is telling the truth, all they need to do is pick up the Bible and read it. The answers are there. But even this approach is called into question. Paul’s words are maligned. Sometimes, people claim that his words were manipulated by an ancient conspiracy and that they are not what he originally wrote.
By some, it is said that his words can only be properly understood when taken from a Jewish perspective. By others, it is said that the Greek translation has been corrupted. On and on the lies go, deceiving people into believing that the law must be adhered to in one form or another. But even Peter warned against this for those willing to listen –
“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:14-16
Life application: Pick up the Bible and read it for yourself. Accept the truth that God has not allowed His word to be so utterly corrupted that it can no longer be trusted. Stop listening to Judaizers who are filled with wickedness and lies concerning the grace of God in Christ. Trust Christ, not your own worthless attempt at pleasing God through an obsolete law.
Lord God Almighty, help us to reject the utterly shameful notion that we must adhere to precepts of the law which were already fulfilled in Christ in order to be pleasing to You. Help us to trust, with the simple faith of a child, that we stand justified apart from the law by receiving the honorable and completed work of Your Son on our behalf. May we never be so perverse as to think we must add to what He did. And thank You that what He did is all-sufficient. Hallelujah to Christ our Lord! Amen.