Isaiah 15:1-18:7, Galatians 1:1-24, Psalm 58:1-11, Proverbs 23:12
Today is the 14th day of September, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is wonderful to be here with you today around the Global Campfire, as we gather and take the next step forward together. And every next step forward together, picks up right where the previous step left off. And so, that leads us back into the book of Isaiah. We are reading from the New International Version this week and today, Isaiah chapters 15 through 18.
Introduction to the Book of Galatians:
Okay, so, yesterday in the New Testament, we concluded the book of second Corinthians, or Paul’s letter known as second Corinthians, which now leads us to new territory, although not all that new, another letter from the apostle Paul. This letter is known as Galatians. And Galatians is very respected, in terms of theology, because it lays out so much of our understanding of the Gospel and we’ll see why in a minute. But Galatia, this is a little different because when Paul’s writing to the Corinthians, he’s writing to the believers in the church in Corinth, the city. Well, Galatia isn’t a city or wasn’t a city, it was a province of the Roman Empire and that territory now is part of modern day Turkey. But in previous historical eras, the Galatians were known as Gauls or Kelts. So, Paul’s writing to the churches in Galatia, this region, and from the letter we know there are churches in Pocitia, Antioch, Aconium, Lystra and Derby. There may have been other ones, but these are named and so we can assume that Paul wrote to these these communities in these cities, in the province of Galatia. And one of the things that we might notice, might sound familiar, because some of the things that Paul’s dealing with in this letter to the Galatians, are the same kinds of things that he was dealing with in second Corinthians. People had come to these churches after Paul, and then taught what Paul thought was another gospel and more specifically, people were coming to the Galatian churches and telling them that they essentially needed to convert to Judaism and then follow Jesus from that worldview and that perspective. They needed to obey the holidays, the customs, the practices, including things like circumcision and obeying the Mosaic law. These are things that Paul stood against, so there’s a contrast here that is creating a conflict. For Paul, Jesus fulfilled the law, a new covenant had been begun between God’s people and God, and no one needed to convert to Judaism to get there, just go to God, because of the work of Christ in this world. This was a very difficult thing for a Hebrew person who had grown up in Judaism to get their mind around. It was a lot easier to believe in Jesus from a Hebrew perspective, but to think that a Gentile, a non-Jewish person, could just call upon the name of the Lord and be saved, without actually converting and living within the framework of the Hebrew context, God’s people, that was very, very revolutionary thought. Because the Hebrew people were a set apart people, a consecrated people and they kept to themselves and didn’t intermingle at all. And now, here’s somebody saying God has flipped this, He’s come in person and He’s made a bunch of things right again. We can go, anyone can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. They don’t have to convert and be initiated and accepted into a group, a people group. It’s one of the very, very earliest controversies in the Christian faith and it’s documented in the book of Acts, when we see the first Council, the Jerusalem Council, where this issue is actually up for debate. And even though a decision was made, and even though the Council made this decision based upon what they were observing God doing, because the Holy Spirit was falling upon Gentile people. So they felt like, how can we make this decision, God is making this decision, even though that’s the conclusion that they reached, that’s not the conclusion that everybody had and not everybody was on board. And so, there were people out and about, visiting different Christian churches or churches that were disciples of Jesus, telling them that they needed to convert to Judaism and then follow Jesus from that perspective. Which makes one naturally wonder okay, did this letter to the Galatians then happen before or after the Jerusalem Council, that’s a matter of debate. If Paul wrote this letter before the Jerusalem Council then people from the Jerusalem church were visiting churches that Paul had planted and were simply attempting to get those churches to align with the teachings of the Jerusalem church, before they had wrestled with the issue and actually needed to make a decision. Which would’ve made Paul irritable, to say the least. If Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians after the Jerusalem Council, then he’s reiterating, with as much force as he can put his pen to paper on, that the Jewish believers did not need to convert to Judaism in order to be saved. Basically it’s…it’s like one more step. So, to get to God you go through Jesus, but to get to Jesus you convert to Judaism. Or to get to God you go through Jesus, you call upon the name of the Lord and you are saved, you don’t have to convert to anything. This is a big deal to Paul because Judaism is an exclusive religion for Jews, believing in Jesus is for everyone in the world. And these decisions that were made were monumental decisions and choices, and we’ve talked about this some when we were going through the book of Acts. At one point, those who believed in Jesus, who were also Jews which is all of the early believers, they had the cover of Judaism, which had an exclusion in the Roman Empire so that they could have sort of freedom of worship. Once this Jerusalem Council happens, a distinction is made and those following Jesus no longer had the cover of Judaism and so, they were hated by the Jews and marginalized and persecuted by the Romans. So, the choice was a weighty choice because it had an enormous amount of impact on people’s lives who believed in Jesus. And that is what Paul is addressing so much, in the letter to the Galatians. And so, with that, we begin, Galatians chapter 1.
Father, we thank You for Your word, and we thank You for the Proverbs, we thank You for what we just read because that is exactly what we are attempting to do here every day to apply our heart to instruction and our ears to words of knowledge and we can’t achieve that without You, without the leadership of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. And so, Holy Spirit, show us how to apply our hearts to instruction, how to open our ears to words of knowledge. And even as we move into new territory in the New Testament, into the letter to the Galatians, Holy Spirit, lead us as we move through this letter into deeper understanding of the ways of our faith and intimacy with You. We pray this in the name of our Savior Jesus. Amen.
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And that’s it for today, I’m Brian, I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here, tomorrow.
Prayer and Encouragements will be posted later.