ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 177

T H E “ S U P E R A P O S T L E S ” in
Corinth weren’t the only ones trying to discredit Paul. In the Roman province of Galatia, a region in Asia Minor
(modern-day Turkey), some “troublemakers” were bringing a different
version of the Good News about Jesus into the churches Paul had
founded. They were teaching that even those who had faith in Jesus
needed to obey certain parts of the Jewish law, particularly circumcision. These false teachers evidently claimed that Paul had learned this
from the other apostles and was teaching this elsewhere.
Even though Paul was about to leave for Jerusalem, he recognized
the urgency of writing a letter to the Galatians right away. The meaning of the gospel itself was at stake. In his letter, Paul sets the record
straight regarding what he taught, where he learned it, and what following Jesus really involves.
We can tell immediately that Paul is upset by what’s happening in
Galatia. A standard feature of Paul’s letters is an opening word of
thanksgiving for the recipients, but Paul skips it and goes straight to
his reprimand: “I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from
God. . . . You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good
News but is not the Good News at all.”
Paul first explains that he received the gospel message directly from
Jesus, not the apostles. He goes on to say that the apostles in Jerusalem believe the same thing he does: Gentiles who follow Jesus don’t
need to keep the Jewish law.
Next, Paul describes a confrontation he had with the apostle Peter
over this issue. Peter had stopped eating meals with Gentiles because
of pressure from some Jewish believers who thought all Gentile believers should be circumcised. This struck at the heart of God’s revelation
that there is a new, single family based on faith in Jesus. Paul had challenged Peter publicly because he was “not following the truth of the
gospel message.”
Paul then devotes the bulk of this letter to explaining why it isn’t
necessary for Gentiles to keep the Jewish law. He reminds the G
­ alatians
that God gave them the Holy Spirit and worked miracles among them
as soon as they believed the message about the Messiah. They already

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