Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.
This will be my third visit to you. "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses."
I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others,
since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.
For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?
And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.
Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.
For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.
This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the saints send their greetings.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Paul, an apostle--sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead--
and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--
which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.
I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.
I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased
to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man,
nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days.
I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother.
I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.
I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.
They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
And they praised God because of me.
Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also.
I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain.
Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.