“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” — Galatians 1:10, ESV
Just before this, Paul gave a strong charge and warning to the Christians at the church of Galatia. Here’s what he said:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” — Galatians 1:6-9, ESV
accursed: (adj) 1). under a curse 2). used to express strong dislike of or anger toward someone or something.
Following Jesus may actually mean that there will be people that don’t like you. It’s part of the walk with Jesus. Paul’s concern in this whole section is the gospel. He had preached to them the gospel that he had received. The Christians in Galatia were turning to another gospel. Paul addressed that issue and gave that stern warning above.
I don’t like passages like this because I just wish that we could all stay focused on the message and mission of the gospel of Christ. But there will be some who will add and/or take away from Christ’s gospel, making it completely different and contrary to the gospel clearly laid out in Scripture. So Paul, with concern for his flock in Galatia, comes out strong in order to protect the people of this church.
PASTORS: Our first priority in our calling is to be true to God’s gospel, first personally and then in our teaching of it to our people. The gospel can never be messed with. It can never be changed. It can never be altered in any way. And I’m guessing, as hard as it is, we will have to stand against those who take the gospel and add or take away from it. It doesn’t mean that we have a green light to be jerks and arrogant idiots. It seems like there are many with an arrogance about them when it comes to “defending Jesus.” For those of you who sense the call to defend Christ, what makes you think that Jesus needs your to help defending himself? He’s not insecure. He’s not getting beat up and thrown to the side. We are called to bring him glory. Let’s leave the defending of Jesus to Jesus. He knows how to take care of himself. Let’s stay focused on his mission (Matthew 28:18-20)
We have to decide whether we are striving to please God or others. There has to be a decision made. If no choice is made, the choice to please other people is the default decision. We must be about Jesus, his message, and his mission.