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Monday, 18 March 2019

Galatians 1 : 1-17

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.” -Galatians 1:6

The Book of Galatians explains the exclusive nature of the Gospel of Christ, that it alone saves.  In the book, the proper difference of Law and Gospel, the central doctrine of the Christian faith- justification, baptism and the life of sanctification, the fruit of the Spirit vs. the works of the flesh are all well explained.

The same apostle who cared so deeply for the churches in different parts of Asia and Europe and their spiritual welfare, here in Galatians, comes right out with a different tone.  He didn’t say “I thank my God for you;” “And here is my prayer for you.” But rather, “You astonish me at how quickly you’re getting away from the gospel of grace I preached to you! What happened?” Later on, in chapter 3, he even says, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”

The gospel of grace in Christ had become distorted by certain false teachers who made Galatians believe that their salvation was dependent on their own works–that they had to keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved. It was like them saying: “Yes, Jesus did his thing–that was good–but there are some things Paul hasn’t told you. You have to get circumcised, keep the dietary laws, observe the Sabbath etc...”

But here in our text, Paul insists in the strongest language–that if you fall for that, you have lost the very essence of the gospel; you are believing another gospel; and there is NO OTHER Gospel!  You have perverted the gospel of grace in Christ into a religion of works, and that won’t save you!

The reason God saves you is not because of how well you keep His commandments. The Ten Commandments demonstrate God’s good and holy will for us.  But the problem is because of our sinful nature, we can never keep the law well enough to earn our salvation. If we make our salvation dependent of what we do, on how well we perform, then we have lost sight of what Christ has done and are falling for another gospel which is no gospel at all! However good a person you are, how morally good a life you lead compared to others—that will not save you, because it will never be good enough!

There is only one true gospel, and it is this–as Paul states in verses 3&4 “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.” This is the only gospel that saves. Christ Jesus gave himself for us, for our sins, into death—death on the cross. This was necessary because we were not able to save ourselves, and yet, God out of his great grace and love, wanted to save us from death and damnation. And this was the only way to do that. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, had to take on our flesh and bear our load, and He kept the law, perfectly, on our behalf. And then he took the punishment we deserved, to free us from the just penalty the Law requires for sin. Jesus suffered death under God’s judgment, on the cross, in our place. He is our righteousness. He is our redemption. He kept the law perfectly which we couldn’t. He is the appeasement for our sins. This is the gospel of Christ. Believe in Him and all His work on your behalf!- Then you will be saved. There is no other gospel.

Thought for the Day:

“For I determined not to know anything among

you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
-1 Corinthians 2:2

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