“Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16, NKJV)
Paul had a genuine love for the Christians in the churches of Galatia. There was a spiritual threat among them. False teaching was perverting the gospel that had called them to the grace of God (Gal. 1:6-9). They would fall from grace if they succumbed to the error (Gal. 2:4-5; 5:4). Many people say doctrine (what we teach and believe) does not matter. Yet, so real was the danger of yielding to the false teaching of binding the law of Moses onto Gentiles to be saved that Paul told the Galatians he was “afraid for you” and that he had “doubts about you” (Gal. 4:11, 20). Paul’s preemptive strike asking if he had become their enemy by telling them the truth must have pierced their hearts. When people reject the truth, they often target the messenger as the enemy. “Killing” the messenger is not new. Hardened hearts shift the blame away from themselves and use character assassination to deflect responsibility because they cannot answer the truth (cf. Stephen, Acts 6:8-14; 7:51-60). Like Paul, let us speak God’s truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Additionally, let truth convict us and convert us instead of attacking the one who loves us enough to tell us the truth.
12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. (Galatians 6:12–13, NKJV)
Paul warned the Galatians of those whose teaching was perverting the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-10; 2:4-5; 3:1-3). Their false doctrine of binding the Law of Moses on Gentile Christians was damning them and endangering many others (Gal. 1:8-9; 5:1-7). Paul summarized his letter to the Galatians with a scathing indictment of these opponents of the truth. They had hidden agendas (Gal. 2:4). 1) To escape persecution (v.12). These Jewish Christians were avoiding persecution by compromising (corrupting) the gospel. Fellow Jews would not persecute them “for the cross of Christ” if they showed solidarity over the Law of Moses. Changing our teaching to avoid persecution is a sin against Christ and the truth (Matt. 24:10-12; 1 Pet. 3:). 2) To boast in their accomplishment (v. 13). Like the hypocritical Pharisees who gloried in making proselytes, these Jewish Christians boasted in the circumcision of the Gentiles (Matt. 24:15; Phil. 3:4). They “zealously courted” the Gentile Christians, only to enslave them to their error to do their bidding (Gal. 4:17). We must only boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and never in personal accomplishments over others (Gal. 6:14-15; Rom. 15:17-18). Our faith must be free of personal agendas that tarnish the cause of Christ and His disciples.
“See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!” (Galatians 6:11, NKJV)
Sometimes it seems like letter writing has become a lost art form. In this electronic age of email, text messaging, Twitter, Facetime, video chats, etc., brevity and speed are the order of the day. Impulsive bursts of blather often pass as substantive dialogue. Taking time to think out and write a letter takes forethought, dedicated time, and focused attention. These are among the traits we observe in Paul’s epistle to the churches of Galatia. Perhaps poor eyesight contributed to the size of his script (Gal. 6:13-15). His “large letters” suggest the purposeful attention with which he wrote. Paul personally wrote this message, determined to communicate his concern over the spiritual dangers they faced. With careful precision, he addressed them with God’s truth to reprimand departures from the gospel, to protect them against perversions of the gospel, and to solidify their faith (Gal. 1:6-12; 3:1-9, 26-29; 6:12-15). At times Paul would dictate his epistles (Rom. 16:22). His attention to writing this communique helped impress upon the Galatians his commitment to their faith (Gal. 4:8-12, 16-20). When someone takes the time to write to us about our spiritual welfare, it shows their care for us. Like Paul’s letter to the Galatians, it may be a message that challenges us to greater faith and faithfulness. Let us respect those who love us enough to take the time to write words of reproof, rebuke, and exhortation for our good (2 Tim. 4:2). More than that, may we accept and follow the inspired truth that comes from the mind of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 14:37).