GCV Blog

Man's Favorite Idol: Man


In Galatians 1, Paul repeatedly attacks man's favorite idol. Man's favorite idol, of course, is himself. Self-worship lies at the heart of all external acts of idolatry anyway, since idolatry is simply making god in our own image and likeness.

A finely honed humanism is the prevailing theology of our day. You can hear it preached from all corners, ranging from Wall Street to the Discovery Channel to Fake Christian Church of Anywhere. Paul, on the other hand, lived in insistent antagonism towards the temple of man. Instead of looking to man for his reference point or endorsement, and far from seeing man as the ultimate arbiter of right or the source of meaningful existence, Paul decried the influence of man on his ministry and message.

In verse 1, he states that he was not sent by man or through any agency of man. His was a higher calling. His calling came straight from God. He wanted no credit to go to man for his ministry. In fact, he didn't even aim at making people happy with him. Paul says that attempting to please men is antithetical to being a slave for Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Men-pleasers fall into the snare of slaving for men, settling for a cheap, demanding master who will never be fully satisfied. In our day we have seen the exaltation of the lordship of man, and need all the more to announce the Lordship of our Christ.

In his final insult to the man-god, Paul announced that his message was a supernatural one. (Galatians 1:12) The Gospel Paul preached was not the product of his or any other great thinkers' intellect. It wasn't developed in a think-tank, worked out in a Rabbinical school, or philosophized into existence. It came straight from Jesus Christ Himself.

Paul exalts the work of God as he categorically rejects the influence of man. He was not sent by, working for, or taught by man. His apostleship, his service, and his message were all of God. May we all be so willing to run against the idol of man in our day, captive to the same Christ and certain of our Divine calling and message.

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