“O you foolish Galatians, you who saw Jesus Christ the crucified so plainly, who has been casting a spell over you?” (Galatians 3:1) These haunting words of the Apostle Paul find application not only with these Galatians, but to people of every generation-even to us in this postmodern world currently entranced by countless mystifying spells of mythological fables.
So what was this Spell? What was Paul’s message to these Galatians entranced by its influence? What do we discern as the Bible speaks to us through Inductive Bible Study regarding its application in our lives today? At Paul’s Primers Online Ministry we answer such questions every day in our ten minute daily Christian Podcasts. Sign Up today, and as a listening member you will have the powerful experience of walking daily in His word, enhancing and strengthening your Christ-like faith with ease and modern day convenience.
For now, let’s begin this written study by noting how Paul felt it necessary to remind these Galatians that indeed, he truly was the thirteenth apostle, equal to the other twelve in every way; how he and the other twelve were in perfect agreement regarding their gospel message. Remember, Paul had established the churches of South Galatia on his first missionary journey, and the churches of North Galatia on his second missionary journey, so these were folks with whom he was well acquainted. Thus his dismay that they would so easily be led astray by false apostles, those who came in after him-casting their evil spell by preaching a different Jesus. This is why he opens his letter to them with a reminder of who he truly was, to call them to remembrance of how they first came to faith, and the signs and wonders worked through him as evidence of the truth of his gospel.
Early on in his letter to these Galatians, Paul also makes a high level mention of the true gospel and its connection to the end of time. Why? Because he was concerned that these beloved Galatians, believers who had come to faith by his very preaching, would not make it safely to the coming catastrophic end of that Old Covenant Age. This mention of the end, of course, is also applicable to our day. Not in form, for the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple could happen only once; but in essence, for the end of our earthly existence and the destruction of our bodily temple will most assuredly come upon each one of us. So we, like these Galatians, will meet our Maker, and our only valid claim to salvation will be through Grace by faith in Jesus Christ. Only that Grace preached by Jesus Christ Himself, His hand-picked Apostles, and recorded for us in the beautiful writings of the early church fathers will be sufficient for our salvation.
So what was the “spell” Paul was referring to in chapter three? Simply put, it was the faulty teachings of false apostles. The spell thus cast had these Galatians leaving that “Ancient Christian Truth” that first beckoned them to an authentic faith in the Lord. They were being drawn away from the liberty of Jesus Christ through faith alone and back into a pharisaical anti-Christ religiosity. They were being drawn away from the truth of a New Testament Israel made up solely of believers, and back into a religiosity based on physical seedlines and earthly paradises. They were already falling for new doctrines to replace the “Ancient Christian Truth” preached directly from the mouths of the Apostles. And O’ how Paul sought to call them back-even as he seeks to call all men back, from every generation, to that Ancient Christian Truth once delivered to the saints.
Consider our world today. What “spell” have we come under… that somehow denominationalism means more than brotherhood in Christ? What “spell” have we come under… that somehow the simple truth of being chosen is no longer connected solely to one’s belief, or lack thereof, in the deity of Jesus Christ? How many new doctrines of men, in truth nothing more than fables and mythologies, must we of this generation fall prey to regarding the end of time? When will we return to that faith that once beckoned us to the Master-can you not hear the sound of the trumpet calling us home through the words of the Apostle Paul?
Now, the application of lessons learned from Paul’s letter to the Galatians for our world today is simple; it is the same in essence as it was for the Galatians of Paul’s day. First, we must return to the Ancient Christian Truth of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, as made evident for us through the writings of the early church fathers-this is the only means to obtain a truly authentic faith. Second, we must obey this truth and reinstitute that brotherhood of believers founded upon faith in Jesus Christ alone. And third, we must walk away from modern day fables and mythologies and return to the sound doctrine of the early church, especially in regard to the dominion mandate and the end times. As Saint Augustine (354-430 AD) wrote: “The advice, Brethren, which ye have just heard Scripture give, when it tells us to watch for the last day, every one should think of as concerning his own last day… Let no one then search out for the last Day, when it is to be; but let us watch all by our good lives, lest the last day of any one of us find us unprepared.”
We will continue our readings in Galatians and make them available to our Online Ministry members through our Christian Podcasts, always allowing the text itself to speak to us by following the three basic rules of Inductive Bible Study: Rule 1) Observation, that is, noting the who, what, when and where of the text; Rule 2) Interpretation, that is, noting the how and why of the text; and Rule 3) Application, that is, noting the application of the text in our daily walk with the Master.
As we proceed, the Ancient Christian Truths once delivered to the saints will return us more and more to an authentic Christian faith that provides a truly relevant Heaven View, and subsequent relevant Worldview, by which we can truly live in the power of the heroic greatness of that mighty warrior Jesus Christ. Only this Ancient Christian Truth leads to authentic Christ-like faith with a Heaven View so powerfully victorious that the Christian’s Worldview can be nothing but overwhelmingly triumphant. In the end, all else is but sinking sand.