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Who were these troublers? There is little doubt that they were Jewish Christians from
Jerusalem who were zealous for the law. We read of them in Acts 15::
"And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren and said, except
ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."
A remarkable thing is that the problem of circumcision for Gentile believers is not
dealt with in Galatians which strongly suggests it was written before Acts 15:, when the
Jerusalem Council settled this question, otherwise Paul would surely have referred to it as
it would greatly have helped his stand on this point. He dismisses it by saying "If ye be
circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing" (5: 2, 3). It looks as though the Apostle
feared that the Galatians had not appreciated the seriousness of their fall from the truth of
the gospel, for he repeats himself saying "if any man preach any other gospel unto you
than ye have received let him be accursed". He then follows it with a protest:
"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please
men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (1: 10,
Why should he say this unless he had been accused of acting so as to get human
approval and thus winning adherents, by suiting his message to his hearers? Whatever
faults Paul may have had, a man-pleaser was certainly not one. So much so he now
proceeds to give details of his past life showing that such a charge was completely false.
He had long ago realized that trying to combine pleasing the Lord and pleasing man was
impossible. Peter and the apostles associated with him had publicly declared the same
truth for in Acts 5: 29 we read:
"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather
We need to remember constantly the same truth. All service and witness must be
done as unto the Lord and not to man. To carry out the Lord's work with one eye on man
and his approval is to court failure. Sometimes faithfulness to the Lord means that we
have to say or do things that are unpopular and will not please. The temptation is then
either to soften or avoid this in some way because we are afraid to offend others. Many a
church minister is at the mercy of his congregation. He knows that if he tells them the
truth there will be trouble and perhaps his job will be in jeopardy. This is specially true,
Paul warns, of the last days when "men will not endure sound doctrine; but after their
own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn
away their ears from the truth, and shall be turn unto myths (fables)" (II Tim. 4: 3, 4).
Thus it is that these hearers get what they want rather than what they need, and in doing
this, swerve from the truth and get embedded in error.
Paul intends to leave the Galatian Christians in no doubt of his faithfulness to God's
truth committed to him, so he now outlines the steps that led to his conversion and the
experiences that followed:
"For ye have heard of my conversation (manner of life) in time past in the Jews'
religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God and wasted it and