The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Today we visit Galatians chapter 5 verses 7-12. In the previous paragraph we found Paul criticizing the Galatians very severely. Now he turns and comforts them. Why would he do this? The Galatians have not fallen away from grace on their own initiative. They had help.
v. 7 Someone hindered them. This would be the group of people who came, seeming authoritative, requiring circumcision. In v. 8 Paul reminds them that this teaching was not from God who had called them with his grace.
v. 9 Paul compares this false teaching to the leaven which can spread through a whole batch of bread. It is a living thing which will spread. This is good reason to avoid false teaching.
Is all lost? It is not all lost. In verse 10 Paul expresses his confidence in the Galatians. They will return to Christ in repentant faith and the people who deceived them will face judgment.
Verses 11 and 12 emphasize, in the most vivid terms, that Paul also could avoid persecution if he were to preach circumcision. Yet it is counter to God’s grace to urge trust in the works of the Law. He suggests that those of the circumcision party should continue their work upon themselves, emasculating themselves.
With vivid images, then, Paul has affirmed that the Galatians can and should return to Christ from the false teaching they have believed. He also lays out the suggestion that those who would depart from grace would not like to be logically consistent.
Christians confess salvation by grace through faith, not by works of the Law. The gracious promises of God are great enough to keep his people securely.
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