“Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule”.
Gal 6:16 NIV
When you wish another Christian believer well, it is customary to say something more than merely that which refers to their health. You wish them God’s blessing, or something that God can do for them or in them. Christians need more than human beings can do for them – in such every day things as greetings as well as in the bigger moments and crises of life.
What did Paul mean by ‘this rule’? The actual word he used meant a measuring rod or ruler, “the carpenter’s or surveyor’s line by which a direction is taken” (J. Stott, The Message of Galatians, p181) the original Greek word, ‘canon’ meaning the list of books which have been included in the Bible. There were many other writings that were not included, most of them having been regarded as of inferior or dubious quality. Paul saw the new creation and life in Christ as being the straight rod for any Christian church. Later, his writings were included in “the canon”, since they formed the guidance for Christian belief and conduct, as did Peter’s epistles, Jude and John’s three letters. Congregations that stuck to these guidelines would not go far wrong. They would also know “peace and mercy”. These were gifts of God and would be signs by which non-believers would be able to assess whether any congregation was a genuine Christian body of believers or not.
There are many different ways that people decide whether a Christian community is “on track”. Sometimes they are impressed by the music, sometimes by the preaching, or the charitable works, the attractiveness to youth or the pleasantness of the building. It should be by the manifestation of the new life in Christ.
Lord, let your grace be the rule which guides our congregation.