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Sunday, February 12, 2012

But Paul, that's not very nice!

Read all of Galatians - again & again until you understand what he's saying. Here are just a few verses.
Gal. 1:6-10 - "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Gal. 2:11-16 - "When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Gal. 3:1-14 - "You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
  • "Paul, stop being "anti-Galatian". That's not very nice. It's fine if you want to believe whatever you want, but leave the poor Galatians to their beliefs. I'm sure they mean well."
  • "But Paul, why don't you WANT to keep the law? Don't you love God? Why wouldn't you WANT to keep the law that God has given? So you want to keep 107 of the laws but throw out the other 506?"
  • "God gave 613 laws, not 613 suggestions."
  • "God doesn't change, therefore His law cannot change. How can you say the law doesn't apply to us anymore?
  • "Paul, stop focusing on the error of the Galatians and instead just love people."
  • "Paul, it's not very Christian of you to point out error. Just focus on Jesus and what you have in common."
  • "Paul, it's not your job to point out doctrinal error."
  • "That's just your version of truth. Everyone see's things differently."
  • "Paul, you're obviously very bitter and sad. I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with the Galatians. Just remember, we're all human."
Would we say these things to Paul? And yet the same points are raised when we defend the Gospel. It was clearly important to Jesus, the disciples, Paul, the prophets in the Old Testament, and many others to stand up for the truth and speak out against error. Yes, we are told to love others, but we are also told to spread the Gospel - the true Gospel! And often that means speaking out against a false gospel, "which is really no gospel at all." Paul makes it clear that adding law-keeping to the Gospel message is perverting the Gospel.

Just something to think about...

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