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

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Aquinas and Conclusion

When we reach Aquinas we come to the pinnacle of orthodoxy when it comes to the Trinity and Christology. Christology was important to Aquinas and he dedicated the first fifty-nine questions of Tertia Pars of his Summa Theologiae[1] to the topic. In many ways it is refreshing because he does not treat solely the more philosophical questions of who Jesus was that preoccupied theologians from the third century on. He also spent extended time on Jesus earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification which was a major innovation.[2] Of course every possible topic of Trinitarian and ontological speculation is also probed. For the sake of space we will only hit some highlights.

Aquinas is clearly in step with the tradition that can be traced from Nicea, through Augustine and the Lombard, to the heart of the Middle Ages. One thing to briefly note is that even in his densest argumentation, Aquinas was not trying to prove elements of his theology via rational argument as that…

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Irenaeus

Starting from Irenaeus, Christology, in some respects, moves on. A big part of this would have been due to the “gnostic” controversies. It became increasingly important to clarify the relationship between Father and Son and to minimize their distinctiveness, while still maintaining Jesus’ full humanity. From this point on, clashes over heresy about the nature of Christ and discussions related to Trinitarian theology dominate Christological discussion to the point that the original emphasis on Jesus’ Messianic identity fades to the background.[1] Maintaining the affirmation that Jesus was both human and divine was critical for Irenaeus and those after him because they saw that as the necessary grounds of salvation.[2]

Of particular interest to Irenaeus was the baptism of Jesus. What happened when he received the Spirit?[3] It was not the means by which the Word entered Jesus. He was not merely human before that point.[4] Rather it was a divinization of the human nature of Jesus, a nat…

End of Summer Review/Update

The school year is now upon us and I'll definitely not be posting the next two months. This summer didn't quite go to plan so I didn't get to do the blogging I was hoping to do. Specifically I was planning on blogging through 2 Thessalonians, but that didn't happen. It may happen late in the fall, but we will see. I may instead decide to pick up a different Pauline letter (perhaps 2 Corinthians). This is my last year of school  and by the fall of next year I should be back on a more regular blogging schedule.

A lack of blogging was not from a lack of productivity (although I'm sure my Pokemon Go playing did cut into my reading time a little bit). I've had a interesting summer learning about Medieval Christianity and specifically focusing on Peter Lombard and Thomas Aqunias. They'll both be featured in my next paper in Exploring the Christian Way which I hope to publish here in late January of 2017. 90% of the reading and 80% of the writing is done for that …