Tuesday, May 1, 2018
It's All About Grace
Gal. 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
These were people who had learned the true gospel from Paul but now were willing to turn away. Others had come and enticed them away from the grace offered through Christ, and were telling them that they had to become Jews. Both physically and emotionally they were expected to convert before they could live in Christ. This was a perversion of the gospel of Christ, and Paul was righteously indignant at those who would distort the gracious good news of Jesus!
While Paul may be disappointed at the way in which the people had quickly turned from their faith, he still responded as a gentle parent, encouraging them back into the way of Christ. At the same time, he was indignant with those who had damaged the faith of these new believers, and led them into legalism. The beautiful green sprout of faith was being buried under the weight of Jewish legalism, leaving them choked and nearly dying.
The careful nurture of new believers is absolutely essential and when they are fresh in their spiritual growth, we must help to guard them from those who may bring in a false gospel. It’s so easy to pick up on a belief that steps outside the bounds, simply by watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading a blog or article. I mean, if it’s on the internet it’s the truth, right?! If we are not intentional about the spiritual formation of ourselves and others, we will find ourselves adopting whatever comes our way, and sounds good to us.
We simply cannot listen to every voice that sounds convincing. Just because someone has a good argument, doesn't make them right. A thousand likes on a post doesn't mean it's the truth. Retweets don't authenticate the original message.
Spiritual discernment is necessary as we grow and develop in the Lord. Living in the gracious presence of Christ brings us peace and creates space for growth. When we allow legalism to creep into our lives, or we become legalistic with others, we may begin to hear the condemnation of Paul. We cannot be saved by works, but by the beautiful and gracious love of Christ. Any teaching that distracts us from knowing Christ is not truth. Every message should point us in the direction of reflecting Christ. In this way the grace of Christ is reflected to and through each and every one of us. This is the gospel of grace which we are to embrace, and there is no other!
Lord, may every day be lived in your gracious leading. Amen.