Monday, October 19, 2009

Galatians Journal: Chapter 5, Verse 7

Galatians 5:7: You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?

Paul uses the metaphor of a race, of athletic competition, to portray the Christian life in several places in his writings (e.g. Philippians 2:16, and here in Galatians 2:2). The implications of this verse are similar to what we just discussed above in Galatians 5:4 – this is not to imply that getting “off course” means we can lose our salvation. But we CAN choose to engage in behavior that will lead us off the course. We’re not disqualified from the team, so to speak, but God’s purposes in our lives is delayed or thwarted – by the choices we make, or the way in which we react to circumstances. This concept is borne out in I Corinthians 3: 10-15. The foundation is Christ – through the promise, not by what we do or who we are. This is our entry INTO the race. But then, we build on the foundation, or run in the race. We will be judged for what we do, and our reward in heaven will be based on this (see I Cor. 3:13-15). But, our ability to get into or enter heaven is based solely on the promise – on the foundation. (I Cor. 3:11). To use another sports analogy, the promise gets us a ticket to the game, but what we build on, as per I Corinthians 3, or how we run the race as described here will determine how good our seat will be. The Galatian churches WERE running a good race – they had been on track, with a vibrant, living relationship with Christ. But something happened. The Judiazers “cut in.” This is another play on words. “Cutting in” could of course cause a runner to fall, be pushed off the course, or lose his focus. It is also a play on words for the concept of circumcision, which is a surgical procedure. Relying on rules, or on an outward concept rather than an inner change – even relying on ethnicity, culture, or denomination to define our relationship with God and with each other keeps us from “obeying the truth.” In other words, its “rebellion.” Plain and simple. The blatant sin here cannot be disguised.

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