Title: Lent Time
Key Verses: Galatians 6:7-10
Topic: Following the calling of God’s spirit in our lives
Part 2: Contextualize the letter to the Galatians
Today’s scripture reading is taken from Galatians. The book of Galatians is a letter from Paul to the churches in southern Galatia, which had previously been founded by Paul and others within the Christian church. The letter is dated to approx 49 AD. The Galatians were struggling to understand how to live as Christians. There were disagreements pertaining to how to live as a Christian. Many within the Galatian community were falling back on old customs and laws, specifically many of the Jewish traditions.
As we can all see in the Gospels, Jesus was constantly at odds with Jewish traditions that involved strict adherence to the laws set forth in the Torah. As Paul reminds the Galatians in Galatians 3:5: “Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”
Paul’s letter to the Galatians served to remind them to be careful when following ritual and tradition at the expense of faith and intentional Christian living. To Paul, and Christians everywhere, the new law brought by Jesus could be summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” This law appears to be quite simple, but when put into practice it can be quite complex and all encompassing.
Paul urged the Galatians to do good to all and to live lives of positive Christian intentionality.
- Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
The key here is the word “please”. As in “the one who sows to please his sinful nature” or “the one who sows to please the Spirit”. The word please means to gratify or to appease. The New Living Translation uses the word “satisfy” in this context.
- Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
To Paul, your motivation is key. Without the motivation to please the spirit, your intentions miss the mark. With proper motivation, you please the spirit. And to Paul, it is important to persevere and to use the time that we have been given for good and for pleasing the Spirit.
Coming up next: Part 3: Understanding the call