Skip to main content

Galatians 1:18-24: Paul's Honesty and Ours

18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." 24 And they praised God because of me.

I haven't written much about application in the Galatians series yet, but I personally felt conviction in this passage and thought it would be worth while to blog about it. I have to credit McKnight with this basic insight.

Paul's was honest even when it was potentially damaging. As Paul was recounting his story he would badly want to omit his visit to Jerusalem if at all possible, because any visit could be damaging and spun as him having been taught by or under the authority of the Jerusalem apostles. This would be exactly the type of thing that the Teachers would jump on and use for their own devices. It could potentially be damning for Paul's case. Certainly, it would have been easier to omit it, but in a highly selective account, he includes it. Why? Couldn't he have left it out to build as strong a case as possible, especially in defense of the gospel? Honesty is a critical component of Christian witness and being honest, even when it's difficult, is an active expression of our faith in God.

That's a personal struggle for me. I know that I have a tendency to omit relevant facts or stretch the truth to get the best possible result for myself. The desire to have the approval of others is very strong, I have a lot of pride. It needs to be dealt with. It also shows my lack of faith. I need to be in control, spinning the facts. The funny thing is, I probably have hurt myself by trying to make things work for my own good. What lessons of God have I missed by dancing around the truth and avoiding the consequences? I surely would be much holier than I am now.

We need to heed Paul's example in our teaching as well. Let's remember that only the Holy Spirit has the power to change people. He does use us as means, but there's nothing that dishonesty can do to bring real transformation. The Holy Spirit can move and change people in spite of our deceit, but never because of it. All it can ultimately effect is us being discredited when the truth comes to light.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Commentary Series Overview

When I write commentary reviews, one of my main goals is to assess how well the commentator hit the intended audience of the commentary and utilized the format of the commentary. This often necessitates cluttering up the post discussing issues of format. To eliminate that, I thought that I would make some general remarks about the format and audience of each of the series that appear in my reviews. Terms like liberal, conservative, etc. are not used pejoratively but simply as descriptors. Many of you are familiar with Jeremy Pierce's commentary series overview. If you don't see a particular series covered here, check out his post to see if it's reviewed there. I am making no attempt at covering every series, just the series that I use. Additionally, new series (such as the NCCS) have been started in the five years since he wrote his very helpful guide, so I thought that it might not be completely out of order to have another person tackle commentary series overviews. This…

Paul's Argument in Galatians 3:15-29

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! Fo…

Doctor Who: Rose Tyler - Traitor?

The end of season four was very, very controversial. When I first saw it, I felt cheated. I was angry. The more I think about it, the more I think I see what Russell Davies was doing. He is too good of a writer and the show is too carefully crafted for him to screw up Rose's character and the end of a four season storyline. So while the ending isn't strictly part of our series, it is tangentially related, and I've agonized over that scene in Bad Wolf Bay so much that I have to write about it. :)

To briefly set things up, near the end of the final episode of season four, there is a meta-crisis, that results in a part human. part Time Lord Doctor being generated. He has all of the Doctor's memories, and thinks and acts like the Doctor. However, importantly, he only has one heart and cannot regenerate. He only has one life to live. The meta-crisis Doctor brought full resolution to the battle fought against the Daleks, and in the process, wiped them out. Thus, the real Doc…