Who’s Approval Are You Seeking?
The book of Galatians is a wonderful biblical book. Paul is concerned for the church in Galatia because they are starting to follow false teachers. This issue is huge. In the introduction to Galatians the ESV Study Bible says this:
A crisis has hit the church in Galatia. The church came into being as a result of God’s Spirit at work in Paul’s proclamation of the gospel (3:1–5; 4:13–15). But within the short space of time since Paul left (1:6), the church has been visited or infiltrated by false teachers whom Paul calls those “who trouble you” (1:7) or “those who unsettle you” (5:12). These teachers have convinced the Galatians of a false gospel which requires them to be circumcised. Paul sees that these pseudo-Christians merely want to win converts for their own prestige: they want to win approval from the Jewish authorities by showing how effective they are in converting Gentiles to a form of Judaism (6:12).
As the ESV introduction says there was a “crisis” in the church in Galatia. False teachers took their hold on the church and they twisted Scripture to seduce people. They were trying to appease the Judaizers while trying to not offend the Christians. Listen to Paul’s words in Galatians 1:6-10:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Many Christians are in churches that do not teach the Word of God. Often, pastors try to appease the people in the pews so they do not lose their jobs. The moment a preacher teaches what Roman 9 says, they are going to be on thin ice. Why? Because people don’t like the sovereignty of God. People like to think they have the control. They are the be all and end all. If they are not , then they will rebel. What is a pastor to do?
Most pastors have debt because of student loans. Most pastors have bills and kids. So, what do pastors do? They will bend to the will of the untrained exegete and tickle their ears. We see this happening in many churches. Just like the teachers in Galatia, pastors will be willing to adjust so their messages so they are not offensive to men. Well, the Gospel offends people. The Gospel says that you are dead in sin. You are not a “good” person. You are a sinner in need of a savior, and Jesus Christ is the only one that can save you from your sin. People don’t like this message. People like to have their egos massaged. When this doesn’t happen, pastors will be at risk of losing their jobs.
I want to challenge all of those in ministry to focus upon what the Scriptures say. The moment we start seeking the approval of men, is the moment we stop seeking God’s approval. The moment youth pastors spend more time on their next big event or fun game, instead of their study of the Word, is the moment you are searching for approval outside of God. When head pastors teach things like, “Abundant-life Mentality” (Joel Osteen), or “Cool-Aid Pts.1-4,” (Ed Young Jr.) they are not seeking God’s approval, they are seeking man’s.
Granted, most pastors are not as blatantly false as these teachers, but when they do not preach the whole counsel of God’s Word they are depriving the flock of hearing all that God has to say. It is easy to be more concerned about what people think than it is about what God thinks. Do not forsake God’s approval for the approval of human beings.
Human beings are like everything else in this world…one day they will gone. God will never pass away. Seek God’s approval.
Thanks for Reading,