Last week, we began looking at occasions when false teachers had tried to rob God’s people of their salvation. Continuing the discussion of Paul speaking to the people at Galatia, he had shared the good news with them, shown them the way of salvation and now they were following a different way.
In chapter three, he told them, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:1-5).
Paul knew that the “thief” had taken away their understanding, and he was working to show them the way back. Once again, the “abundant life” was being offered to them.
He told them, “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
The “abundant life” offered these people eternal life, and they were in danger of losing their opportunity.
Those at Galatia who still were faithful to the teaching of Christ were shown by Paul another of the blessing of the “abundant life.”
They were told to restore the erring in a spirit of meekness, lest they be tempted, and to bear one another’s burdens. This showed them that God’s love was not only for them, but also for the sinner.
It would have been easy for them to begin to think they were better than those who had been ensnared by the false teachers. This admonition from Paul showed the attitude and love they were to have for each other, even as Christ had loved them.
Just as there have been false teachers down through times who have worked their evil ways, there have been those who boldly proclaimed the truth of God’s word. Prophets and leaders God sent to his people to guide them.
The major and minor prophets record how that, as the people of God had followed false teachers, these prophets called them to turn back to God. These men of God worked to show the people the “abundant life” that could be theirs.
Most of the prophets were persecuted by the people (Acts 7:52), but they continued, as long as possible, to proclaim the message of God.
Even when the son of God proclaimed his message of salvation, the people refused to believe him and crucified him.
His apostles, whom he sent out into the world (Acts 1:8) knowing of the “abundant life,” proclaimed his message. Even though they often were persecuted, they continued their preaching.
God’s word must be taught and obeyed if salvation is to be had.