Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
Galatians is written to a group of non-Jewish Christians. Paul converted them with a simple message: Jesus came to earth to give us grace and immortality. We get that by believing what we’ve heard about him coming back to life and by being baptized into his grace. At some point, Jewish converts infiltrated their church and started aggressively promoting Jewish traditions. They told the Galatian Christians that if they really wanted to be saved, they needed to follow certain Jewish customs. The entire book is both a refutation of that teaching and a dire warning to any Christian who tries to add to God’s requirements.
Jesus’s sacrifice was to free us from this evil world we live in. Romans 8.22-25 says, “We know that everything God made has been waiting until now in pain like a woman ready to give birth to a child. Not only the Earth, but we also have been waiting with pain inside us. We have God’s Spirit as the first part of his promise. So we are waiting for God to finish making us his own children. I mean we are waiting for our bodies to be made free. We were saved to have this hope. If we can see what we are waiting for, that is not really hope. People don’t hope for something they already have. But we are hoping for something we don’t have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently.”
The whole purpose of Christianity is to anticipate Jesus’s return, and help the rest of the world face that day prepared. Paul reminded the Galatians that they weren’t saved by any old human way. The only legitimate source of truth and hope is God.