Serious exegesis includes looking for key words or concepts that are repeated within the particular biblical passage that one is studying. It’s an interesting exercise to listen to Paul begin to articulate his concept of the Good News. My language and my frame of reference for faith is immersed in nearly sixty years of religious education and sermons. By consequence, certain constructs become less impacting not because they are outdated but by the familiarity with which they have been cast into the arena of discourse, by the sheer number of times I’ve heard the word grace or some other term.
But if you read closely to Paul’s first chapter of Galatians you hear two very important concepts that have invigorated Paul towards Christ and away from his religious heritage. A heritage, by the way, he now deems worthless if it doesn’t glorify Christ. The first is Jesus is the author of Good News. Dare I say, not just good news; GRReat news (homage to Tony the tiger here). It is THE good news. The good news that renders all other news not only useless but perverted if it detracts from THE Good News. The Good News that fits every station of life, every twist in the road, every storm on the horizon. Whatever the substance of the human condition is, Christ is the active ingredient that catalyzes the glory of our species.
The second important point that has struck Paul is that this news did not come from what a historian would call a ‘secondary source.’ It came from a primary source, from God himself. This is important to me for two reasons; First, when you experience the love of God in the first person no one else can tell you it wasn’t real. I mean they can try. and God knows, many people do try. But anyone who has received the affections of another knows that this experience is indescribable. It lifts you above the challenges of the day and most certainly gives anyone who receives that kind of affirmation a nearly superhuman ability to face the challenges of the moment. I’m not talking about just warm fuzzies here but the total confidence in the relationship to go the distance against difficulty.
The second incredible truth about the gift of the calling is that it is exactly that; a gift. There is no compatibility check or interview required to receive this gift from the Most High. No IQ standard, no tests, background checks or fingerprints, no sobriety tubes to blow into. God knows exactly who He’s getting when He picks us. The simplicity of His call on our life is so sweet and simple that many can’t believe it’s true. For me, that’s the hardest part about being a Christian. It is difficult to see so many trying so hard to be qualified when they can already receive the love and grace that they need. THE Good News.