God Thought 1/31/24

Because of God's authority, we don't need to seek the acceptance of others.

YouVersion Bible Study
Galatians: Accepted & Free
Day 2

'I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now seeking human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ. For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord's brother. In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie! Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.'

Galatians 1:6-24

How many times do we shy away from conflict? How many times do we choose peace over the thing that God might be telling us to push through because we really doubt the authority that God has given us? Paul was outnumbered here. He was talking to many churches. He had the Judaizers against him. He was just one man. He had been called to the Gentiles and his calling was unique, but he said, you're not going to shake my authority just because you're doubting it. Here's why this is important. This acceptance is not just for your journal and for you feeling better about yourself. You need to fully embrace your acceptance in Jesus because that gives you the authority to stand on. God is going to call you into places where everybody's not going to applaud you. They're not going to always agree with you.

You won't always get a lot of likes. You might not have a lot of followers. You might not always have a lot of friends, but the authority you stand on is what changes lives. It's not about being popular but about being able to speak with clarity and truth about what God has said. Look in John 12:49. Jesus says, “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who has sent me, He has given me a commandment what to say and what to speak.” Now, if Jesus, who was fully God and also fully man, needed the authority of the father, how much more do we need to stand on it?

I wonder how many times we are powerless in situations because we are relying on our own authority. The latest quote that we've read, the latest thing that's inspired us, whatever the current trend is. That will not change lives. I'm telling you only the authority of Christ will change lives. You can't stand on Christ's authority if you're doubting your acceptance, if you're not even sure that you have a place at the table with God because of your faith through Christ Jesus. The authority in Jesus gives us the ability to rebuke and challenge and do it in love. Paul says in verses 6-9, "I'm astonished that you're so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and you are turning to a different gospel. Not that there's another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ."

Now, that word "distort" is very interesting because he's actually talking about what it means to transpose. It's almost like if you put in your credit card number and you make a payment online and you flip just two numbers, you'll know instantly that something's not right. He's not talking about somebody that created an entirely new story. He's saying even the subtle change of the truth of the gospel is enough to call it a distortion. Because of the authority that he stands on, Paul feels like he can say - I can rebuke and I can challenge the distortion. I can do it in love. I'm fully accepted by God and I stand on the authority. I love you more than I need you to like me. That's really what it means when I stand on the authority of God.
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