Sunday, September 2, 2012
Today we embarked on a new adventure through the Book of Galatians. It is a great study for us to come to the realization that by faith Jesus Christ is completely and unequivocally sufficient. However, there were those in Paul’s day that were infecting the churches of Galatia with a new message: Jesus Christ + Mosaism (the Law) = Favor with God. Paul the apostle was not at all keen on this proposed message. In fact, he is very clear on what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is from the very start of his letter. Read how he puts it:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. (Galatians 1:3-5)
Very succinct and to the point, don’t you think? Then Paul goes on to say this about those who are preaching a totally different gospel which is not even any sort of good news whatsoever:
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8, 9)
Wow! So the message that these teachers — who are false teachers by the way — are preaching something totally different than what Paul preached and he sees them as being the blight on the churches in Galatia. In his estimation, they ought to be “anathema”, accursed! Anathema carries the thought here of the delivering up to the judicial wrath of God of one who ought to be anathema because of his sin. In other words, in the context of Galatians 1:8, 9, the one who preaches another gospel other than the Gospel that Paul preached ought to be turned over to God for judgment. In addition, the term anathema means to be separated from Jesus Christ.
So how should we handle this false gospel? The best way to handle false teaching is to turn to the truth. The truth is that Jesus Christ, according to the will of God the Father, has given Himself to rescue us from the present world of sin in which we live. To be rescued by Jesus Christ also means to be rescued from our own sinful state! Thus Paul can tell us to see and understand the truth of who we are in Jesus Christ. Read what else he says in Galatians:
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. (Galatians 2:20, 21)
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE” — in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13, 14)
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4, 5)
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:24, 25)
But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. (Galatians 6:14, 15)
Faith in Jesus Christ is sufficient for freedom, for liberty sake. Any other gospel that is preached only enslaves. It is the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that liberates from the Law and from license. “Jesus Christ + Nothing = Everything!” as Tullian Tchividjian says, is what Paul the apostle was saying is the true Good News!