Accepted & Free
Have you ever experienced a moment when you felt unaccepted? Perhaps it was the way you dressed, your accent, or the color of your skin. Maybe you felt like you were too much or just not enough. Or perhaps you couldn’t pinpoint the cause, and you’re left with that sinking feeling that you just didn’t fit in—and maybe you never will.
When we sense that we’re unaccepted, it has this way of unraveling us from the inside out. We replay the scene on an endless mental loop calculating what we could have said or done differently. We rehearse our failings from the past and our weaknesses of the present. We start to wonder what we should, could, no, must change about ourselves.
That’s one reason it’s so important to know in the deepest recesses of your soul that you are wholly and fully accepted in Christ, by Christ and, through Christ. From your birth, God has called and chosen you—yes, you! Whenever you catch a whiff of rejection, you can find security in the liberating acceptance of Christ.
The apostle Paul wrote the churches of Galatia (modern-day Turkey), in part, because they had forgotten this foundational spiritual principle. Within two years of visiting the churches in the region, a group of devout, God-fearing, people known as the Judaizers had slipped into the church. Now the term Judaizer does not refer to Jewish people in general, but a particular movement in the early church that tried to convince the church that God’s acceptance through Christ wasn’t enough.
Rather than cling to the pure acceptance and freedom of Christ, the Judaizers argued that following the Mosaic law (which included circumcision, dietary food restrictions, and Sabbath regulations) was required to truly be right with God. This addition may not seem like much at first glance, but it threatened the very foundation of the gospel.
That’s why Paul’s letter to the Galatians reads so fiery. Unlike other epistles, you won’t find a request for prayer or abundant words of commendation or thanksgiving. Instead, Paul takes a more stern and solemn approach. Paul’s letter is both a reflection of his personal acceptance in Christ and a reminder to the churches at Galatia that they are accepted. He outlines, in detail, the work and meaning of the gospel to challenge and remind these believers—and us—that the gospel is enough. Acceptance through Christ gives us security in our standing relationship with God and liberating freedom to live lives that bear spiritual fruit.
Deep spiritual acceptance brings healing and wholeness, renewal and revival—not just to us, but to those around us. Perhaps that’s one reason Martin Luther placed Galatians on the masthead of the Reformation and described it as his favorite epistle. John Wesley was so deeply moved by Paul’s letter that when he sought revival, he preached from Galatians.
“In a sense I believe this epistle has been the backbone and background for every spiritual movement and revival that has taken place in the past nineteen hundred years,” observes J. Vernon McGee. “And, my friend, it will be the background for other revivals.”
Through Galatians may you find the comfort, wisdom, healing, and wholeness that comes from discovering your acceptance and authority in Christ alone.