Who will I allow to teach me?
Galatians 4: They want to shut you out of the free world of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them.
The Christians at Galatia are good hearted people. In fact, before they were ever established in the faith they welcomed a traveling preacher who was too sick to continue. These good people took him in, loved him, nurtured him to health, and then received his message. Their relationship was a mutual one. They gave him what he needed and he, in turn, shared with them the best news of all time. Now, though, we see the dark side of their hospitality. Others have come, claiming a “new” twist on the gospel Paul preached to them. These same people have welcomed these teachers and are now allowing these teachers to influence their understanding of how to live the Christian life. In many cases, seen more today than then, good, serious, honest people can arrive at differing opinions on a variety of spiritual issues. However, as we see in this passage, there are some who are out there teaching for all the wrong reasons. They’ve found that Christians are, indeed, a welcoming, generous people. They’ve found that if they say the right things they can gain a following of gullible sheep that can be manipulated to serve their own needs. In Paul’s day those teachers are perverting the gospel to mix faith in Christ with adherence to the Old Testament rules and regulations. Today, some are preaching a gospel of materialism and God-manipulation. Sometimes such false teaching rises from an honest failure to understand. However, as it was in Paul’s day, there are teachers out there who will say whatever they have to say to get whatever it is they want to get from gullible people. Generally speaking, their goal is either money or power or both. Paul practically begs his readers to hold steady to the pure gospel of Christ. In our day with unprecedented media access we can pretty much pick and choose those who we will allow to influence our thinking about spiritual things. More than ever we need to focus on Jesus and his Gospel.
Take Away: Who are you allowing to influence your thinking about spiritual matters?