Monday, July 31, 2023 – Galatians 1

This year as we’ve been going through the Whole Holy Bible, I’ve had people ask a lot of really good questions. One of the questions recently was about idolatry. I don’t think about idolatry a lot to be honest, but I think I should. I think we all should. Idolatry is second nature to human beings – but even as I say that, I think it’s incorrect. I think idolatry is first nature, and following God is second (or third, or fourth, or you get the idea).

This turns out to be true for the Galatians. Paul visited them and taught them about Jesus and they received the message enthusiastically. But since then, others have shown up and convinced them to follow the law given to Moses as a means of salvation. It seems they have agreed with this addition and Paul is beside himself. Not because he thinks the law is “bad,” but because he understands they have added good works to following Jesus, which means they aren’t really following Jesus at all. Anytime we add anything to Jesus’ work on the cross, we effectively erase the cross altogether. Salvation by means of Jesus and the law means salvation by means of the law.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we add things to Jesus all the time. Whatever keeps us from Sabbath; or whatever we default to when we feel insignificant; or when we work too much… that is our ‘and.’ It’s not that we believe the thing we default to will save us for eternity necessarily, but in the short term it is attractive and it keeps our attention away from God – which definitely makes it idolatry. The Galatians are evidence that even seemingly good things, like the law of Moses, can distract us from the work of daily accepting Jesus’ grace as enough for us.

Questions for reflection:

  1. What are the things you add to Jesus? What are the things of this world that help you feel like enough? Pause and confess that these things have, at times, been idols in your life.
  2. How will Jesus’ grace help you today? Make a list, write it down if you can.
  3. Thank God for Jesus, and ask him to help you rely on only his love today.