4. Turning Away

The start of the letter to the Galatians claims that the Galatian believers were turning away from God and the true Gospel. Perhaps it was a lack of trust in the Gospel for basic guidance that was leading the Galatians astray.

Galatians 1:6.: I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7. which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. NKJV

Paul is quite critical in stating this claim right at the start of the letter. The gospel had been contaminated by other philosophies. In particular, tradition, and the “everyone else it doing it” philosophy was threatening the Galatian belief. The concern is greater in chapter 3:

Galatians 3:1.: O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? NKJV

The rest of chapter 1, and half of chapter 2 details Paul's defence of his own credentials, and the subsequent trustworthiness of the Gospel message he had preached to them. Starting in 2:11, the issue behind Paul's concern emerges.

Galatians 2:11.: Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12. for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. NKJV

Paul was building up to the issue of observing rituals from the Law. In this example, he showed that even Peter was subject weakness on the issue. In 3:2, he reaches the substance of the argument.

Galatians 3:2.: This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3. Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? KNJV

At the time, it was a popular thing to obey the law, or at least to appear to obey the law. People had the observance of Mosaic rituals as the basis of their faith. As a result, the Galatians were drawn towards the majority and away from faith. In the same way, the majority of our world is removed from the faith in God. So in our case the result is that we are likely to be drawn toward the majority.

Next Page... Eagerness