Opportunity to Do Good: The Letter to the Galatians

Craig R. Koester

Article Type: Texts in Context

Publication Date: 4/1/1989

Issue: Ministry and Mental Health (Vol. 9, No 2, Spring, 1989)

This message may have been attractive to the Galatians because they considered Paul’s gospel of freedom inadequate. The law would give them clear marks of identity, such as circumcision and distinctive rituals. Moreover, it would offer clear directives on how to deal with the Galatians as a form of neurotic legalism. The new preachers were apparently saying something like this: “the flesh with its passions and desires” (5:24), and what to do when someone “is overtaken in any trespass” (6:1). Paul accepts the challenges presented by these issues, as the modern preacher must do. His letter will argue for freedom—and for responsibility that expresses rather than abrogates the freedom of the gospel.

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