Day 1

Greeting

from the Galatians reading plan


Galatians 1:1-5, Psalm 16:1-11, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Colossians 1:9-14

BY Melanie Rainer

Yesterday I went to visit my husband at his office–a newly constructed, all-glass-exterior building with marble floors and a sense of importance that seemed to demand awkward elevator silence, especially as I stood there with my out-of-place bag of ice cream from the shop across the street.

I stepped out of the elevator and onto his floor, greeted by a kind receptionist who asked me to fill out a form on the tablet on her desk. It asked my name and then for my “host.” I typed in my husband’s name, and out popped a nametag: my name, followed by my host’s. My entrance into the building was guaranteed by his name.

When Paul opens his letter to the Galatians, he goes through the same practice: “Paul, an apostle—not from men or by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead” (Galatians 1:1). Paul gains entrance into the church by his apostleship, dependent wholly on the person and work of Christ. He establishes his authority not by his own work or identity, but that of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.

Paul’s identity is the righteousness of Christ, and he repeats it throughout his letters. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he writes, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). In other letters, he introduces himself as “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1). And in Philippians chapter 1, the apostle refers to himself (as well as Timothy) as a servant of Christ Jesus. Paul fully embraces his new identity because it was given to him through faith in Christ, summing it up in this way:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ…”
— 2 Corinthians 5:17–18, 20

When Paul introduces himself, it is as though he is writing on one of those “Hello! My Name Is” stickers, one that says: “Hello! My name is Paul, and I belong to Christ. Everything I am is because of everything He did.”

Galatians opens with a precious reminder and a challenge to remember: If we are in Christ, then we belong to God, and our identity is now bound up in Christ’s death and resurrection. We are sealed by His Spirit, waiting for the day Jesus returns. And we can trust Him, as the psalmist says, because He is our portion and our cup of blessing (Psalm 16:5). He holds my future in my hands, and the boundaries He has drawn around my life are good for me (v.6).

There are so many days I feel like a hundred pieces of a puzzle, strewn about on the floor just waiting to be put together. I am a wife, mother, employee, friend, volunteer coordinator, chef, sister, daughter, and also somehow sometimes my own person. It is deeply refreshing to remember the truth today—that I am Melanie, through Christ and by the Spirit, a servant of God. From that one identity, everything else should flow, all for His glory.

Post Comments (120)

120 thoughts on "Greeting"

  1. Sophie Graham says:

    Imagine if we greeted one another with that reminder: “Grace and peace, we’re both in Christ because of what he has done for us. All glory to him!” It would really set the tone in our churches and lives!

  2. Alyssa Gomez says:

    As I am going through counseling for healing trauma, I am often flooded with thoughts of the enemy who says “you shouldn’t be here”. Call it imposter syndrome or call it a lack of true understanding of how big God’s Grace is, but truthfully I am often perplexed at how I could be reconciled, how I could be declared holy and blameless.

    Thankful for this reminder from Paul, that I am no longer merely Alyssa, former fornicator, alcohol black out, and hatred holding. I am Alyssa, the daughter of a King and the friend of Christ. He justifies me when I truly have no credentials.

  3. Kelly Gallo says:

    Thankf for the reminder that above all the chaos of the world and the pressure to be a mom, wife, employee, etc

  4. Kerri says:

    I am a teacher, youth leader, dog mom, daughter, seamstress, entrepreneur, cook, maid, and the list goes on. I get scrambled real fast in my brain as it jumps quicker than a frog on a hot day from thought to thought. I lose myself in all of my many roles. This reminder though. It’s speaks to my heart on a level I didn’t know I needed today. Thank you.

  5. A M-R says:

    It’s a lovely blessing, to hear this during the rough times we are living in the world right now.

  6. Irene Laeger says:

    Recently, my spirit was weak and dark. (Although, Jesus has been my friend, my Savior, since age 9.) At the depths of this despair, He reminded me that I no longer live but Christ lives in me. (Gal. 2:20) This was a cathartic moment, because at that moment, I died completely, and Christ came fully alive in me. I am His!

  7. Bobbie B says:

    Oh the places to which I’ve gained entrance solely because of whom I know! Jesus has opened doors no one else ever could.

  8. Carol King says:

    Started this study today and I am reminded of all I have in Christ! Even in this time of a pandemic I am secure in Christ. He holds my future, has set good boundaries, holds my hand so I will not be shaken. Thank you Melanie. Just what I needed today!

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