As we continue in the study of Galatians, today’s verse is from Galatians 1:10:
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”
Paul had just finished saying twice that anyone who preaches any other gospel than the gospel of God should be accursed. And he continues with the word “For” connecting these thoughts.
Clearly, Paul is not trying to win the approval of men or please men. If he were, he wouldn’t have said such strong language that the one who preaches another gospel be accursed!
The truth of the gospel, and pleasing God whose gospel it is, is Paul’s goal and priority. And it is actually better for men that it is this way. If Paul sought to please men or earn men’s approval instead of pleasing God and giving them truth, he might as well be cursing them! Because it is the truth of the gospel of grace, this gospel of God, that will set men free by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul has identified himself as an apostle of God in verse 1 and now as a bondservant of God in verse 10. A bondservant was one who, though free, has chosen to remain and freely chooses to be as a slave. Paul is a servant of God’s because as we will see, God’s revealing Himself to Paul was so incredible and awesome that Paul’s response could be nothing less than giving himself to God, to live to please Him, to be His willing servant.
Aren’t these countercultural ideas? The world would say we should live to please ourselves or to gain the approval of those around us. Or that we should soften or change the gospel to make it fit the what pleases man, not God. But Paul will show us the better way, the true way – that living for Christ and dying to ourselves and the opinions of man leads to blessing and joy and satisfaction because this is the gospel of God (not man) and this is how we were really made to be.
Paul would not be a bondservant of God’s if he were still pleasing men. “Still” seems to indicate that he did at one time live to please men, at a time when he wasn’t a servant of God. But now, God and His gospel has been revealed to Paul, and he lives to please God, to be His servant. We cannot do both.
Who will we seek to please? Who will we serve?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, please help us to think bigger, to think thoughts of You, to think beyond ourselves and the things that would please those around us or earn approval from our peers. Help us to please You instead. Help us to see that in living to please You, others might actually become pleased in You, too, as they see the value and worth of following You, Lord. You are worth our lives. You give us freedom and joy through your gospel. You take our curse, so that we might know You and be forgiven and be free. Praise You and thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.