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Thursday, November 29, 2012

"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth He it by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?"-
Galatians 3:1-5....

Let's talk a little bit of basic Bible doctrine here, OK? Justification by faith alone is as wonderful, yet simple a truth as there is in all of scripture. Think about it- You were separated from your Creator by your sin. You were helpless to do anything about it. God took the initiative in bringing you back to Himself by giving you His only Begotten Son as a propitiation for your sin. The word 'propitiation' means that Christ's death not only completely satisfied God's justice, in terms of the penalty for all of your sin being absolutely and totally paid, but also completely satisfies His wrath. It was all placed on His Precious Son.....

2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." The sinless Son of God died on a cruel cross, then rose from the dead. Your sins- all of them- were taken away, and you were guaranteed eternal life by His very resurrection! Now what do we have to do in response? Does God intend for us to jump through some impossible hoops to somehow prove that we're worthy of His love and life? Nope- let's go back just a few verses in 2 Corinthians- It's so simple that we often trip over it! "....

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19)." OK, so what is our response to be to the God of all creation? The end of the next verse says simply, "BE YE RECONCILED TO GOD." How about that? There's nothing that we need to DO, we must simply agree with God that we are lost, and cannot help ourselves, and thus must rely ENTIRELY upon the death and resurrection of Christ. As you do that- fully and completely, with no attempt to help God out with your own 'works', you'll find yourself looking up often, and thanking and praising your Savior in utter wonder of His unfathomable Love, rather than constantly asking Him to keep on forgiving you, as if He hasn't already done so.....

The problem with the Galatians (in our first portion of scripture here) was that they began listening to and following the teachings of the Judaizers (Jewish Christians who taught that certain parts of the Law must still be observed by Gentile believers in order to be truly saved) who would visit churches that the Apostle Paul had founded, and attempt to refute the pure Gospel which he preached.

Of course, Paul forcefully defended the Gospel against this aberrant teaching, and while we would all like to think that we would do the same, in reality we still seem to think that Christianity is part Christ, and part our own works or effort. Just listen to believers as they talk about their walk with Christ- In many of us, there is a lack of depth, a lack of thankfulness, and a rather high opinion of ourselves- despite what God has clearly declared about our condition.

You know, you can almost smell self-righteousness. It has an unholy stench to it, a filth, a putrid stink. It is a rare Christian today who possesses the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon, who truly knows that it is all Jesus and none of themselves. These kind of believers exist, to be sure- but you have to look awfully hard to find one. When you do find one though, it is a beautiful breath of fresh air, and well worth the search, for in them, you will see Christ!

Our Savior longs to be seen and known in us- His beloved bride. It is all about allowing Him in- to the exclusion of everything else. Beloved, who or what do you want to present to this lost world- you, or the Law.....or Christ?

En Agape,
Jim Ewing

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