You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? ~ The Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians, 3:1
Purportedly written in the late first century A.D. in response to accusations made by the Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Galatians, The Epistle of the Galatian Agitant is an obscure, non-canonical text considered by scholars to be pseudepigraphal, or falsely ascribed to a figure of the past. There is doubt as to whether this figure ever actually existed. More probably, the epistle, like the gospel of Barnabas, is a forgery written at a much later date. It is reprinted below in full:
Brothers and sisters in Christ, word has reached me of trouble among you which the Apostle Paul has attempted to put to rest. It saddens me to know that this trouble is ascribed to my teaching, which it is said has led you astray.
But I implore you, dear ones, be not discouraged, for though the mind of man is finite, and his seeing has limits, the Son of Man is infinite and sees no limits. Christ Jesus is risen, and his rising has washed clean our sins. This you know from the preaching of the Apostle Paul, and this I say to you too. But the Apostle would have you believe you are beholden to sin, and ensconced in sin, such that you must seek constantly to repent and be forgiven of sin. Brothers and sisters, who among you can live in peace after this teaching? Your Father is a loving Father, your God a joyous God who made you in His image. Is it not so written? Christ said the Kingdom of God is within you. Brothers and sisters, do you not see that none of you is Adam, nor none of you Eve? For their sins were not your sins. And would that they were, Christ Jesus has washed them clean, and yours with them, and mine.
Do not misunderstand me, friends. I write to you to in response to the heresy of which I am accused. The troubles I am accused of causing, I would not have caused. I understand this, and you understand this, but my accusers do not understand this. They say that I am accursed! But God who knows all understands all, and His infinite knowing knows all. Let us clear up this matter of sin, which I am accused of wrongly teaching.
The Apostle has preached to you that you are sinful creatures who sin constantly and are incapable of ceasing to sin. His intentions are good, for as he himself says, he himself knows what is right and what is wrong, yet though he wants to do what is right he does what is wrong, and in this he is powerless to do otherwise, as you are to do otherwise, outside of Christ Jesus. Yet I preach to you a different gospel, and the gospel I preach is different in this way: You are good. You are made in the image of God. Is it not so written? The kingdom of God is within you, said Christ. This now is written. Then what is this story of sin? How can it be that you who are made in the image of God, who bear his kingdom within you, are doomed to sin without end? If this be the case, then all are accursed.
Friends, so good is your God who made you that He granted you through grace not only salvation through Christ but also a mind that chooses. Some choices of mind are good and bring you closer to God. When you choose to move with the Holy Spirit which moves within you, you are pulled within God’s loving embrace. But when you make wrong choices, you pull away from God and away from the Spirit, and the farther you move the more you choose further bad choices that multiply your wrong-doing and move you farther still from Him. Thus sin begets separation. Sin means turning your back to Him who made you. Sin means covering with a shroud the divine spark of Him that lives within you, not without. You are made in God’s image, and made to know God. Do not cover the divine spark under a shroud of sin. Do not separate yourself from God in sin but move closer to Him so that He might grow the spark of Him within you into a wholesome fire. But neither should you dwell upon your sin, nor accuse yourself of sin, nor others. Here is what I say to you:
Go about your days with meekness and charity. These will guide you in making right choices and avoiding sin. Only right ways lead from meekness and charity, and all right ways lead from these. With meekness and charity you will live rightly even without Christ. With meekness and charity, and with Christ, you will know the ever-present peace and everlasting, abiding joy that is God’s kingdom within you.
Dear ones, I implore you: Do not sin, but neither fret about sin nor let it weigh upon you, for that is the way of misery and death. Attend now to my prophecy: Thoughts of sin and thoughts of avoiding sin and thoughts of repenting for sin and thoughts of confessing sin will destroy you and turn you from faith if these are your first thoughts and last thoughts and thoughts between thoughts. And the gospel of Our Lord Jesus, which people are hearing now and which you wish to hear, will not long be heard if the gospel becomes a gospel of sin. I say to you brothers and sisters, do not allow sin to consume you, but neither allow thoughts of sin to consume you. Christ on the Cross and His resurrection is yours. Rejoice! For He is alive within you, and with Him alive you will not sin but die to sin and rise with Him as saints. Blessed be you in peace with Christ Our Lord. Amen.