Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gaining Approval

So Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn were both voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. My question is: how did those two not amass 100% of the vote? Ripken garnered 98%; Gwynn 97%. While their vote totals are the two highest totals ever in the history of Hall of Fame voting, I'd be curious as to who did not vote them in?

Whoever it was should immediately have their Hall of Fame voting privileges banished.


I love Paul's letter to the Galatians. It is chock-full of practical theology on the simplicity and sufficiency of the gospel to justify mankind in the eyes of God. What Jesus accomplished at Calvary -- signified by his declaration, "It is finished" from the cross -- was the turning point in all history; the moment when the redeeming work of man was done.

Throughout Galatians, Paul's principles ring truth into the hearts of men and women, calling them outside of themselves and their comfort zones for the sake of the gospel. Galatians is a radical call away from cultural and national imperialism -- evidenced by Paul's adamant stance against imposing the requirements on Moses upon disciples of Jesus -- as Paul makes clear the salvation found in the gospel is available to all mankind.

Galatians also calls us out of ourselves and our incessant quest to win the approval of our peers. As disciples of Jesus, our aim should be righteousness in the sight of God, even if that quest prompts some social disapproval along the way. Consider these words from Scot McKnight

"We need to examine ourselves to see if we are 'seeking to gain the approval of men' or succumbing to social and peer pressure (see Galatians 1.10). Probably no feature of life is more difficult than this: discerning where our own line of approval is actually going. Is it going in the direction of God or is it being rerouted through the approval of human leaders, spouses, and friends? Are we doing what we think is right or are we trying to be diplomatic or political? This rerouting can be subtle indeed: from the glance of a spouse during a conversation to a letter to a Christian friend. When the conviction of our own faithfulness to truth and the apostolic gospel gives way to the desire of approval from a friend, we have joined the ranks of those whom Paul attacks.

There is a fine line between being approved by others and having such approval as our motivation. Our motivation must always be to please God and him alone; if others disapprove of us when we know God approves of us, we must disregard their disapprovals. Our fear must be of God, not of humans"
(The NIV Application Commentary: Galatians. Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1995. p. 67-68).