Ecclesiastes 10-12 Galatians 1
“God, by his grace through Christ, called you to become his people. So I am amazed that you are turning away so quickly and believing something different than the Good News. Really, there is no other Good News. But some people are confusing you; they want to change the Good News of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7 NCV)
Early in church history, there were people who taught “another gospel” to draw people into their circle and make money. I’d guess that false preachers would compliment Christians on knowing the truth of Jesus, but them saying something like, “Let me show you the deeper truths.” In today’s world, the first class would be offered for $19.95. Paul saw believers that he has first taught and nurtured falling for this other gospel, which wasn’t another teaching of the same kind, but a completely different teaching and became indignant. The gospel Paul preached, the Good News of grace and mercy, was being reformulated into a system of following laws, like Judaism, only with the name of Christ attached to the system. Paul recognized that this wasn’t a deeper form of the Good News, it was the old slavery of legalism.
Christianity 1.0 proclaims the Good News – that Christ died for our sins, was resurrected, and will come again; that God offers us forgiveness and grace because of Christ’s sacrifice if we’ll turn to Him; that we can do nothing to earn God’s grace. There’s no other message of Good News. We don’t look for Christianity 1.1 or 2.0. Some would talk about growing in Christ and give you some very good activities that would help you grow: Bible study, reading devotionals (like this one), church attendance, helping others, giving money, and more. These are wonderful activities and I believe that in the long run, most Christians will do these things. They don’t earn more grace from God. They don’t guarantee spiritual growth. They don’t make God love you more. We come to Jesus through God’s grace. We grow because of God’s grace. We persevere in the faith because of God’s grace. We respond to His grace and His leadership by loving and caring for others, and by engaging in spiritual disciplines and formation. We don’t do those things to earn grace or more love from God; we do those things because we’re responding to His love. God saved us. God sustains us. God leads us in our growth. When you follow Christ, everything comes from His grace. Respond to His love and leadership in faith knowing that He loves you so much that He wouldn’t lead you the wrong way.
Oh Lord, there are so many good things I can do hoping to draw closer to You. Remind me that You’ve already drawn me as close to You as possible through Your grace. Lead me in other areas of life so that my faith will grow stronger.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.