Wednesday, February 15

Called According to Paul: Galatians 1

An explanation of this series of posts can be found here. You'll find the previous nine posts in the series listed under Current Series in the sidebar.

The word called is used twice in Galatians 1, first in verse 6:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel... (NET)

The phrase the one who called you refers to God the Father. The unified purpose but distinctive roles of the Father and Son are referred to throughout the previous verses, and in this verse, the Father calls by the grace of Chist.

As we saw in 1 Corinthians 1, this call to the true gospel is a call that changes how the message of the true gospel is percieved. So these Galatians, having been called by the Father, have known the true gospel and have understood the power, wisdom and redemption in it, and now they are turning away from it to "another gospel" that is not really the gospel at all.

Yet it would be a mistake to think of their turning away as simply a turning from a proper idea of the gospel. It is rather a turning from "the one who called you." This places God's call in a very personal context. It is not just a general and unspecific call, but a call from a personal God to individual people, so that the Galatians following a different gospel is a personal deserting or betrayal of the one who called them.

To sum up what we can glean about the call of God from this verse then: the call originates with the Father; it is a call based in grace--undeserved and grounded in Christ's death; and it is personal--from a personal God to individual persons.

Moving on to verses 15 and 16 of this chapter:
But when the one who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from any human being... (NET)

In context, it would seem clear that this call is Paul's call to apostleship. It was a call that was founded upon a choice (or a setting apart) by God before Paul was born, and resulted in God's work within Paul's life to accomplish the purpose for which he had set Paul apart. The point stressed here is God's sovereignty in calling Paul and equipping him for service. It was a call to something--apostleship--that was planned and accomplished by God.

What more can you glean from these two texts in Galatians 1 about Paul's use of the word called as it refers to the call of God?

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