One Foundation, Two Blueprints?
by Jonathan Bailey
“6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
I am building a house. I move into my new home in August. The current phase of building is the framing and roofing stage. I am totally excited about this house, it is going to be great. Kori and I love the floor plan. It is one of the main reasons we chose the city of Mckinney, the neighborhood, and the house. The study, kitchen, living and master bedroom are my favorite. Wouldn’t it be strange if after the concrete slab was poured that the builders began using a different blue print with a totally new layout. I would be totally pissed off. I can just see myself driving up to the house and getting out of the car and yelling, “What are you guys doing? This is not what we wanted. Why are you building a different floor plan?
This is exactly what happened to Paul.
The Galatian region is currently central south Turkey. This area is where Paul began his Jesus work. This is where he invested so much of his time in the early days. After much planting and watering he moves on to a new region or city and then after some time gets a letter informing him that there is a new blueprint being used. The Jesus community in Galatian regions are building a totally different house then what Paul had laid out for them. And now Paul has to correct them!
Let me give you some portions of N.T. Wright’s “Paul for Everyone, Galatians and Thessalonians” commentary. He states that, Paul’s project…is building: but he’s building with people, not with bricks and mortar. He lays foundations for this building by telling people some news which is so good it’s shocking. According to Paul there is one God, the world’s creator (standard stuff for Jews), and this one God has now unveiled his long awaited plan for the world. The unveiling took place in a Jew called Jesus; Paul says this Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, a kind of king-to-end-all-kings.”
What exactly are these new Jesus communities slipping into? How are they distorting the gospel? They are muddying it up with jewishness. They are placing rules and new stipulations on the good news. They are missing the entire point of the gospel. N.T. continues, “If the Gentile believers want to be apart of the inner circle, the family of God promised to Abraham, they will have to become Jews. The men mut be circumcised. All must keep the law, they must do the things that keep Jews and Gentiles separated. That’s the real good news they said: you’re welcome into God’s family if you follow the law of Moses.”
So, now Paul has set up this letter by saying, I was called by Jesus himself for this work and you guys are missing the good news of the good news. This is how the letter shapes up in general. you can break it down into three different sections:
1. I am the real deal, and I will prove it to you.
2. The good news is not about Gentiles being Jewish.
3. the good news is to set people free to be free.
Paul ends verse ten by saying, I am not defending myself to gain favor in your eyes. I am doing this because I follow Jesus and I am always pursuing to please Him. I am a bond-servant, a willing slave of Jesus. I am free to be a slave to Jesus.
Thanks for reading and keep seeking the kingdom at all costs!