In Galatians 4:12-20 Paul urged the Galatians to be like him. He has been like they are. What does this mean? This passage paints a positive picture of the Christian living in grace no matter the circumstances. We’ll see here that all Christians can and should have a number of features in common.
v. 13 Paul came to Galatia and preached there because of physical illness. Illness may change our situation but the Gospel remains central to our life, wherever we are.
v. 14 We neither exalt nor degrade anyone based on physical appearance, ability, or health. Everyone has a dignity and a role. Again, centrality of the Gospel. Paul is received as a messenger of God.
v. 15 The Galatians’ benefit was not physical. They were the caretakers physically. A Christian’s role may involve all types of work.
v. 16 Paul’s gift to the Galatians is the truth of God. It is God’s truth in Law and Gospel which guides us rightly.
vv. 17-18 Those who would harm the Galatians wanted them to be zealous but only in certain things. The Christian realizes that God’s mercy and grace is of primary importance. The demands of the Law serve to push us toward Christ’s grace.
vv. 19-20 The Gospel is worthy of all our attention and labor. It is the only way the Galatians will be saved.
What’s the overall message? Jesus saves us by grace through faith in his perfect life, death, and resurrection on our behalf. The Christian engages in all sorts of activities within society. Yet central to them all is the belief in God’s grace through Jesus.
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