Have you seen how Paul introduced himself in this letter to the Galatians? Oh, Paul. Loving the man!
So, just like we see today, there were some disagreements in the early churches, one of which is what Paul addressed in today’s reading. There is the belief that to be a believer, you had to obey the Jewish customs and practices to follow Jesus, which Paul refuted. He reminds them of who he was and that he practised Judaism. He illustrates how he arrived at his conviction. He further went on to say when he was called, he didn’t go to anyone; in fact, he had not met any of the apostles except James. And you can link this to how he introduced himself in the book. Paul is fighting for freedom and hope for gentiles, and the fact that Jesus paid it all — 3:13–14.
Ouch, James! Someone said it is not a feel-good book but a spanker, and I get why. But I would also say it could be a ‘feel-good’ book, mainly if your faith is backed up by action. There is assurance in the knowledge that you know your faith is not in vain, given that you are not simply folding your arms but taking steps to show your belief.
There is a lot more beyond faith — the book talks about double-mindedness, wisdom, pride, and so many other things. It is a book that one should go through and sit with from time to time.
Also, the message of Salvation is quickly spreading despite attempts to stop them. We see those scattered due to the persecution that started because of Stephen, made their way to other regions, speaking the word. Just as the Jewish believers realised, after questioning Peter for mingling with Cornelius (gentiles), that the message of Salvation is for everyone, it was an unexpected shift for them. As humans, it isn’t easy to wrap our minds around changes that take place, like the early believers. God’s ways are not ours and he would do things to confound us. He can’t be limited to the boxes we place on things or even Him and his ways. We should humbly rejoice when He does a new thing, different from our expectations.
The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (11:26). Paul also moved to Antioch with Barnabas to teach for a year.