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Obeying the Truth
Preparing for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Two Days before Sunday (Year A)
Psalter: Psalm 13
Old Testament: 2 Chronicles 20:5-12
Epistle: Galatians 5:7-12
Psalter: Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18
Old Testament: Jeremiah 25:8-14
Epistle: Galatians 5:7-12
Through dreams and visions, O God, you broaden the horizon and hope of your people, that they may discover the meaning of your covenant, even in the midst of trial and exile. Increase the number of those who believe in your word so that all people may joyfully respond to your call and share in your promises. Amen.
You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. But my brothers and sisters, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves! (Galatians 5:7-12)
Paul is using strong language in Galatians to express his disappointment and frustration with the believers there. He begins by reminding them that they were once on the right path, running well in their faith. However, something or someone has hindered them from obeying the truth.
The phrase “who hindered you from obeying the truth?” refers to influences or teachings that have led the Galatians astray from the core message of the Gospel. Paul is addressing false teachers who had infiltrated the Galatian church, promoting a distorted version of Christianity. These false teachers were emphasizing the need for circumcision and adherence to certain Jewish practices (e.g. food regulations, Sabbath observance) as necessary for entry into the covenant.
Paul’s message throughout the letter to the Galatians is that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone, and not through works of the law. He vehemently opposes any teaching that adds additional requirements to faith in Christ. By asking, “Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Paul is challenging the Galatians to reflect on what or who has led them away from the simple truth of the Gospel.
It’s important to note that Paul is not asking for the specific names of the individuals who led the Galatians astray, but rather he is highlighting the deceptive teachings and influences that have caused them to deviate from the true message of salvation by grace through faith.
Paul’s words are a reminder that even today there are competing messages “out there” that detract away from Gospel of grace offered in Jesus Christ. Not all teaching in the name of Christ is Christian teaching.
PRAYER: Redeeming Sustainer, visit your people and pour out your strength and courage upon us, that we may hurry to make you welcome not only in our concern for others, but by serving them generously and faithfully in your name. Amen.
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