Galatians 4:12-15

In Galatians 4:12-15 Paul talks to the Galatians about what they should do. Paul knew well that he wasn’t sinlessly perfect. He wasn’t standing before the Galatian Christians, saying, “Look at how perfect I am. Don’t worry about following Jesus, just follow me.” He simply wanted them to follow him as he followed Jesus. “Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong.” Paul knew the Galatian Christians should imitate his consistency. They started out correctly understanding and following the Gospel, but didn’t stay on track. They were led astray.

Stott explains “All Christians should be able to say something like this, especially to unbelievers, namely that we are so satisfied with Jesus Christ, with His freedom, joy and salvation, that we want other people to become like us.” We’ve been called to be salt and light, and to point the way to God through Jesus Christ. Paul had been like the Galatian Christians – having lived most of his life trying to earn his way to God by following the law. But he knew he fell short and needed a Savior. That’s how Paul was like the Galatians. Paul is direct with the people here, not because he was hurt, but because he wants them to return to the Gospel and grace.

Paul was in the region of south Galatia when persecutors tried to execute him by stoning in the city of Lystra (Acts 14:19-20). His attackers gave him up for dead, yet he miraculously survived. He had a physical infirmity of some sort. “You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.” The Galatians received Paul and didn’t dwell on his physical challenge. We don’t know exactly what the problem was – some believe it was an eye problem.

Fung explains “As physical infirmity and illness were regarded by Jews and Gentiles alike as a symbol of divine displeasure or punishment, there would have been a natural temptation for the Galatians to despise Paul and reject his message.” “What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.” The Galatians did not treat Paul with disdain. Even though Paul seemed weak and afflicted, they embraced him and responded to his message of grace and God’s love. While they didn’t hold his physical condition against him, they still lost their way around God’s love and grace.

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on The Searchlight.

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