Providence is beginning a time of close study of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Galatia was a Roman province located in what now is central Turkey. Paul had introduced Christ to the citizens of Galatia by sharing the gospel that Jesus himself had given to Paul. Jewish Christians later told the Galatians that more than Paul’s gospel was needed. They subtracted nothing from Paul’s message but added to it requirements of the Jewish faith, including circumcision. Paul wrote his letter to counter this error. The scripture passage from Galatians on May 29, verses 1-12 of chapter 1, introduces his conflict with the Jewish Christians and the Galatians themselves, who had “astonished” Paul by “so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ” and “turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all.” 1:6-7.
Pastor Karen Witt’s May 29 sermon addressed this conflict and explained why Paul was so unhappy with the Galatians. Because Christ himself had charged Paul, he had authority from God to share the gospel. And Paul’s gospel centered on God’s grace, which is undeserved and comes to us at God’s initiative, by His call, and not because of anything we have done or can do to deserve it. Paul boldly asserted that additions to that gospel were perversions that deserved God’s curse!
Karen’s sermon is a lovely meditation on the authority of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We pray that it inspires you to join in our study – and appreciation – of Galatians.