My beloved Galatians, you have seen the judaizers with the fringes on their garments and listened to their spiel and now you are wondering if Paul is meshugallah, no? You are thinking maybe Paul’s freedom is a lie?
Listen and see who bears the lie. You need to know the whole story. I was once just like them. I was zealous for the law and I chased the Christians from Jerusalem to Damascus, just like they do. Blessed be the God of Israel he appeared to me on the road to that city and revealed to me the full gospel of freedom and liberty from the bondage of the Law. Soon I returned to Jerusalem to meet with the other apostles, the very same men claimed as authority by those puffed up poltroons who are trying to poison the wells of your spirits. Do you think those apostles opposed my gospel? No! They agreed with me! So right there is the judaizers’ first lie, and it should be enough for you to shake your dusty sandals in their faces.
Let me tell you another story – one day Peter and his crowd were in gentile Antioch, worshipping and living in unity with the gentiles, and then some judaizers show up, and even Peter goes weak at the knees and bends them in spiritual hypocrisy to the spirit of death and bondage to the Law. As I rebuke you today – so I rebuked him! No man’s teaching or cowardly, man-loving failure to teach should ever be suffered to challenge or weaken Christ’s gospel of freedom by grace through faith, not of works.
I mentioned they wear their fringes. They say clothes make the man, and indeed they are on the fringes themselves, the fringes of the Kingdom, if indeed they are in it at all. They are the last echoes of 12 centuries of resounding failure of my people to obey their own law. And the law they themselves cannot keep, they now push on you?! I have been entrusted with the gospel to the Gentiles, and Peter with the gospel to the Jews. Their gospel, pfhff – it is not mine, nor Peter’s, and certainly not God’s. And this is our gospel:
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”
Now my beloved Galatians, you know the “back story” about their false authority to preach, and my very real authority. Judge for yourselves. And I add this difference between them, and their endless prattling about the Law, and me and the Christ I preach and live through:
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
Dwell on this, which teaching seems right to your minds and spirits? But know that I am not finished…..I have four more strong messages for you.