Friday, April 16, 2010

Galatians and the Gospel

The content of the Gospel matters. Paul said that it's so important that anyone who tries to change it should be accursed (Gal. 1:8). In case you miss it - He's saying this person should be "cut off," "forsaken," or "damned." In case they missed it - He repeated it (1:9). And in case you are totally unaware, people have tried to change it for over 2,000 years. Some attempt to alter the Gospel blatantly and others subtly. Some outside the Church, but many inside the church. Some on TV and some in your Sunday School class. Paul's strong warnings should sober us to the gravity of the content of the Gospel. It should also lead us to ask two questions: "What Gospel have I believed in?" and "What Gospel am I sharing?" Paul gives a great picture in 1:3-5 "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father." Do you see it? Jesus freely gave Himself (despite those who think the cross was cosmic child abuse). Jesus willingly was our substitute. He gave Himself for our sins. In many pagan religions, you must do something to appease "the god" and "earn his favor." How stunning is it that the One True God had all of our dirty, rebellious acts placed upon Him and He bore the punishment (the wrath of God)? Which today - if you are struggling with guilt from some act of disobedience to God - might I remind us all that each of our sins were nailed to the cross. He loved you in your most heinous state. He still loves you today. Christ also delivers us from this present evil age. The Gospel is our only hope for both justification and sanctification. Christ does not set us free and then say "Now the rest is up to you." We would be hopeless in the fight against sin, the world, and the devil. Christ is your hope on the day of your conversion, but He remains your only hope every day that follows. And do you see who planned all of this? God the Father. Is it any wonder why Paul Goes on to say that He gets the glory forever and ever? He is the One who has done the saving. He is the One worthy of the glory. This is the Gospel. Salvation is not found in Jesus plus something else. Salvation is found in Christ alone. So make sure even in your sanctification you are not trying to earn salvation. Place your trust in Christ alone and not a single "good work" that you do (or all of them collectively). The world is desperate to hear the true Gospel. Are they hearing it from you? Can they see its effect in you? Let anyone who preaches anything else be accursed. May we contend for Christ and His life-giving Gospel.