1 1I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher–up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I’m God–commissioned.2 3So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace! 4We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we’re in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue. 5Glory to God forever! Oh, yes! The Message 6I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! 7It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no–message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. 8Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. 9I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed. 10Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave. 11Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. 12I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ. 13I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God’s church. I was systematically destroying it. 14I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career. 15Even then God had designs on me. Why, when I was still in my mother’s womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity! 16Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non–Jews about him. Immediately after my calling—without consulting anyone around me 17and without going up to Jerusalem to confer with those who were apostles long before I was—I got away to Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus, 18but it was three years before I went up to Jerusalem to compare stories with Peter. I was there only fifteen days—but what days they were! 19Except for our Master’s brother James, I saw no other apostles. 20(I’m telling you the absolute truth in this.) 21Then I began my ministry in the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22After all that time and activity I was still unknown by face among the Christian churches in Judea. 23There was only this report: “That man who once persecuted us is now preaching the very message he used to try to destroy.” 24Their response was to recognize and worship God because of me!
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About