The book of Galatians tends to read like one big warning to all Christians. A warning reminding us we have been saved by faith alone.
While we may nod our heads and agree with this statement, we can quickly begin, like the people in the book of Galatians, to add additional statements to our salvation. The book of Galatians reminds us why we need to be on guard and one big action step to take.
The problem in the church in Galatians
Paul very quickly in the book of Galatians states how shocked he is the church is no longer following the gospel. His statement “turning to a different gospel…” shows that the Galatians have begun to change what Paul originally taught them. It is now necessary for Paul to correct their new belief system.
Salvation by Grace Alone
What’s happening in Galatians is there are visiting preachers who are trying to convince the Galatians they have to be circumcised in order to be justified before God. This directly goes agains the gospel. Salvation by works is not true salvation.
Paul begins to expose the false teachers and what their true agenda is as he states, these false teachers “court you eagerly, but not for good…”. They are simply out to form an exclusive club of people who follow the same demands. This comes back to pride and flattery not the gospel. They simply “want to make a good impressionism in the flesh” instead of leading people to Jesus. Paul wants his audience to understand following the teaching of these people does not lead you to the gospel but to a man made religion that cannot save you.
Why it Matters
We need to be aware of this temptation to listen to false teachers as well. 2 Peter tells us these false teachers “will bring in destructive heresies” that need to be removed. However, the human heart naturally longs for acceptance and often these false teachers, like those in the book of Galatians, make you feel like you belong to an exclusive club and you’re important. But, before you know it, you have been led into a world where you live more like works save you and make you righteous than Jesus.
We have seen this play out this last year in the political spear. There were many conservative Christians who strongly felt and preached voting Republican meant you were a Christian. There were also many social justice advocates who felt and preached your Christian duty meant you didn’t vote for the Republican candidate. The more you clung to one camp or the other, the more you were accepted by that specific group. The exclusive club mentality began to take over instead of preaching the true gospel. By attaching Christianity to a political party, what was really happening was a different gospel was being preached.
Living Out Our Faith
Ephesians clearly tells us “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast”. Salvation and becoming a Christ follower comes by grace through faith. Simply put, we are saved by faith alone.
It does not come through an association with a political party. While Ephesians does give us the warning to “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—”, it never associates making wise choices with the gospel. The gospel has nothing to do with us and everything to do with God. We must hold fast to the gospel through faith and not attach our own personal works or ideas to it. Paul wanted to make sure the Galatians understood this and stopped listening to false teachers and the modern audience needs to clearly understand this as well.
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