Galatians for the Christian Institution
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
How does Galatians 1:1-5 help administrators within a Christian institution?
It is hard to imagine that such an old writing like the book of Galatians may actually be relevant within Christian administration, but Galatians is tremendously relevant for administrators within a Christian institution. It will be the purpose of this short article to set forth the passage, principle, and practice according to the book of Galatians.
Paul opens up with a thoroughly God-centered perspective. First, Paul mentions that he himself is an apostle (Gal. 1:1). This means that Paul is a sent one. Paul’s commissioning is not by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father. The authority of his commission rests in the Person of God, and is qualified by the powerful resurrection. God is central to Paul’s work.
The authority of [Paul’s] commission rests in the Person of God, and is qualified by the powerful resurrection.
Secondly, Paul notes how this work of God has brought about a new brotherhood (Gal. 1:2). God’s power is not only seen in the resurrection, but also in what the work, by Christ, has accomplished in creating a new people for his own name. The development continues as Paul mentions that this band of brethren (those who are with Paul) are writing to multiple churches. This shows that the work of God is multiplying by this same resurrection power. God is central in establishing the new brotherhood.
Lastly, in Galatians 1:3, Paul uses the terms “grace” and “peace”—terms indicating that something has started and is ongoing. How did this unmerited favor upon them begin? This is answered in Galatians 1:4. The grace and peace of God has come by way of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This substitutionary terminology presumes the sinfulness of men. This presumption can be understood by several phrases in the verse:
1. Who gave – this indicates the need for mankind to have a willing participant;
2. gave himself – shows to us the intimate and complete nature of what Jesus Christ did for mankind;
3. for our sins – answers the question why mankind needed a substitute;
4. that he might deliver us from this present evil world – teaches us the intended outcome of this substitutionary sacrifice. Thus, God is central to the bestowal of grace and peace.
This passage introduces the fundamental principle which guides the rest of the letter—God reserves the right to all glory (Galatians 1:5). God’s right to glory is attacked when another gospel is introduced to the region of Galatia, but it is not just a problem that happened in Galatia in the 1st Century. At heart, we are all glory thieves. Some are glory thieves who self-deprecate all of the time. Some are glory thieves who self-exalt all of the time. In both cases, self-deprecation or self-exaltation, God’s glory is being stolen.
In both cases, self-deprecation or self-exaltation, God’s glory is being stolen.
So, as Christians who have been graced to be children of God and to serve in a Christian institution:
1. Begin each day with a thoroughly God-centered perspective.
2. A God-centered perspective is impossible without re-faithing the gospel.
3. It is no gospel unless you consider the substitution of Jesus for your sinfulness and the power to live free in an enslaved world.
4. Extend the grace and peace to others, with whom you work, which has been extended to you on the merit of Jesus Christ.
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