One of the biggest problems I see in the Christian Church today is the fact that we don’t stand firm on what we believe to be the truth. We’ve become like Chameleon Christians, whatever the issue of today is we’ll just change our color to fit in. I am literally appalled by the number of prominent preachers, pastors and proselytes today who are circumventing the Word of God so that they can be accepted by the mainstream media. They use the phrase that they don’t want to be on “the wrong side of history” and if you disagree with them, they say that you are on the wrong side of history. They attempt to justify their vacillations on the fact that the World is changing and we need to change with the world. However, I can’t find anywhere in my Bible where it says that we are to change with the world. I found in Isaiah 40:8, “the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.” I found in I Peter 1:24-25, “For all flesh is like grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached to you.” I found in John 15:19, Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Finally, in James 4:4, the Word of God says, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” So the world changes, always has, but the Word of God never changes and if we are going to stand on the Word of God, we can’t change with the world!
So it seems as though many Christians have begun to go contrary to the Gospel of Christ. But as I study this word and study people, it occurred to me that it’s not so much that people don’t know what the word of God says as it is that they don’t know who they are; they don’t know themselves so it’s hard to be true to themselves!
In Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet there’s this famous line spoken by Polonious that says, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” It says that we should stick to our principles, not assimilate, not try to resemble or liken to someone else, and that we should do what we believe. One of the most empowering books I’ve read is “Ordering Your Private World” by Gordon MacDonald. It was so impactful until I had the Men’s Ministry to purchase it and I even had my wife to read it along with me. You see, before we begin to tell people what they should or should not do, what they can or cannot become, we have to take an introspective look at ourselves and know who we are. One of the truest acts of this belief was exemplified by Paul in his letter to the Galatians.
Paul truly believed that the gospel of grace was the only means to salvation. He revealed that his belief was given to him by Jesus Christ. Listen to what he said in chapter 1:12, “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ!” Paul’s belief was so strong that he argued with Peter on one occasion to get his point across.
Paul came to Galatia with the good news of salvation in Christ. Most of those who believed were Gentiles. They had no background in Judaism. They found salvation and freedom in Christ. However, when Paul left the region, the Judaizers begin to lead the new converts astray. So when the Judaizers begin to add circumcision and the law to their faith in Christ, the new converts began to accept that as reality. Paul, however, realized that it was a serious issue. If it was allowed to go unchecked, Christianity would lapse into being a cult of Jerusalem. Freedom in Christ would be exchanged for a new kind of slavery and the gospel would be distorted. So Paul writes this letter to the Galatians!
Paul detailed the history of his apostleship to counter the claims of the Judaizers. He developed his gospel of grace from many angles, starting with his personal testimony. He also appealed to the experience of the Galatians. He used Abraham to be the prototype for justification by faith. He discussed law and promise, showing that the law was temporary, while faith in God’s word is permanent. Paul warned them against returning to slavery and bondage while compassionately sharing the joy of his salvation.
From the opening of his letter to the Galatians, one could see that Paul was serious; he wanted his readers to know he was disappointed with them and that he spoke with authority too as an Apostle. He wanted them to know that his authority came directly from Jesus Christ and that the gospel of grace was the only way to salvation.
In verse 10 of our text, Paul asked a couple of questions, “For do I now persuade men, or God?” or do I speak to please men? Paul was saying he hasn’t changed nor has his message. He was adamant about his assignment being to please God, not to please men. He said, in essence, if he was to please men he would not be holding true to his assignment of serving Christ. In other words, he was being true to himself!
So, we’re supposed to be influencing the world, but yet we’re allowing the world to influence us. We’ve got this thing backwards and it’s time for us to get it right! We’ve got to become more like Paul when we declare ourselves to be Christians. We’ve got to be true to ourselves!