Wednesday, 17 February 2016
(Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.) Galatians 1:20
The verb Paul uses is in the present tense. In essence, “…the things I am writing to you.” This then covers all of those things which he has relayed of which those in Galatia would have no way of easily verifying. It covers from verse 13 through the end of the chapter and then on through more events recorded in Chapter 2. However, it more especially starts with the thought beginning at verse 15. This begins the focus on his calling as an apostle and the fact that the gospel he preached was derived not from men, but from God.
The reason for this oath is that he is building a case against the false apostles. In doing so, he must verify for them the truth of his own calling and the divine Source from which it came. This oath is quite similar to that of Romans 9:1 –
“I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.”
And so in as solemn a manner as he can possibly present himself, he says, “…indeed, before God, I do not lie.” The words he has been writing, and those he will continue with, are either truthful or they are a lie. If a lie, then nothing else he has said can be held as reliable either. In other words, his words here are either an anchor which holds fast for the entire epistle, and as a refutation of the false apostles, or they are the cunning deception of a man who was willing to even pronounce a curse upon himself in order to deceive (see verse 1:8 & 9).
Paul has put himself out in a spiritually exposed manner for the Galatians to evaluate him and the truthfulness of his message. Though it would be difficult to determine the truth of some of his claims, many could be validated by the testimony of those who had walked with him in the past. Only a fool would make such claims if they weren’t true. This is especially so because they are in writing and could be referred to at any time. Because of this, it adds weight to the fact that they are, in fact, true.
Life application: On several occasions, the Bible tells us to let our yes be yes and our no be no. In other words, let our words be of such weight that when we speak those around us will know they are the truth. At times, however, a matter may be of such importance that we must invoke God in our words. Invoking anything less than God is idolatry. Let us never flippantly invoke God’s name, and let us never invoke any thing in creation when making a vow or an oath.
Lord God, just being still in Your presence and thinking on Your greatness is the most wonderful place to be. I can ponder the work of Your hands in creation and all the beauty it presents to our senses. I can meditate on Your word and all its lessons. And I can think on what You have given me in the life of Your Son. At times like these, I am filled with the joy of Your presence. Thank You for each precious moment where I can contemplate You and Your greatness. Amen.