Silly Galatian Church

Posted on December 1, 2008

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Judging is an issue that can become like a thin ice under a Christian’s feet. Many people have a problem differing between judging, accountability and straight up legalism. However, this blog is not about accountability nor is is about legalism. This blog is simply about judging. I prepared this in hopes of turning it into a short non-fiction piece. However, now is the time to let this metaphorical cat out of it’s bag. As Christians, we are called to love everyone; hands down. Regardless of that person’s faith, belief system or morals we are to love them. When people judge, it is a form of hatred. There can be no love involved with human judgment.

The Apostle Paul writes:

“Oh, foolish Galatians! What magician has cast an evil spell on you? For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death as clearly as though I had shown you a signboard with a picture of Christ dying on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (Galatians 3:1-3, NLT)

It is obvious that Paul was upset with the Galatian people, and for good reason. These people were trying to live a pure life on their own without calling upon the name of Christ for transformational purposes. To me, this sounds like so many of the independent country churches around here. They create unreal standards in order to improve their relationship with God. If only these people could understand that they have it completely backwards! Improve your relationship with God and allow HIM to transform your life. Avoiding rock music and movie theaters will not earn you crowns in heaven! Allowing Christ to transform your life and help you to live more like Him is what will earn your heavenly treasures!

The sad thing is that the people who need to listen to the Apostle Paul when he writes to an ancient church will never get it. They simply will not see how their church is acting exactly like the Galatian church!

Let me share some thoughts from this passage:

1. The Holy Spirit lives in those who have truly accepted Christ’s payment for sin. Living a pure life does not come instantaneous to many. Instead it is a constant growth process. Through prayer, fellowship with like minded belivers and scripture reading, transformation can come more easily.

2. Only those with the Holy Spirit can be expected to live remotely moral lives. Therefore we cannot judge the actions of the “unsaved” people around us.

3. We must admit to God and one another that we are not perfect and that we rely on his grace. In other words, if you as a Christian think you are perfect, you are wrong. Church is and must be a place where no perfect people are allowed.

4. In admitting that we are not perfect ourselves we can no longer judge the actions of the “saved” people around us. There are Biblical absolutes. Without a doubt there are some things that the Bible demands that we do. However, at the same time there are some grey areas that simply are not addressed by the Bible. We can no longer judge people based on these grey areas. At the same time we cannot judge the status of someone’s salvation based on how they treat a Biblical absolute. We must love them, help them see the right way, and pray for their spiritual development.

Jay Bakker notes in his autobiography, “Son of a Preacher Man,” that “As Galatians 6:1-3 directs, when we see hurting people, we need to love them no matter what, because we’re all struggling with something.”

Just to give you, the reader, something to think about; examine the verse I used at the beginning as paraphrased by Eugene Peterson in ‘The Message’ and instead of “Galatians” put your name into the mix:

“You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!”

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