I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;Galatians 1:6(NASB)
Paul does not pull his punches when he challenges the Galatian believers on their readiness to depart from the unchangeable truth of God's Word to a false gospel. He marvels at the rapidity with which they turned from the glorious gospel of God's grace: "By faith alone in Christ's finished work at Calvary," to a different gospel which was not an optional alternative, but a totally false gospel. This was a departure from the truth which was leading them back into bondage. "I am amazed," Paul admonishes them, "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him Who called you by the grace of Christ - to a different gospel."
These were not worldly, carnal Christians who were being enticed back to the self-indulgent, fleeting pleasures and fleshly lusts that the world has to offer. They were highly religious people who were in the process of surrendering the liberty they had freely received at salvation, by faith in Christ's once-for-all-offering of Himself, to a self-inflicted bondage to sin and enslavement to the Law.
They taught that we are saved by faith PLUS keeping the Law, and they further taught that we would only remain saved by faith PLUS keeping the Law. This teaching ties heavy burdens on men's shoulders which are impossible for fallen man to bear, for the righteous requirement of the Law can never be kept by sinful man. It is given freely by faith in the finished work of Christ Who bore our sin alone, carries our burden freely, and keeps calling us: "Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
The gospel of Christ centres on the Person and work of the incarnate Word of God, our Saviour, Jesus Christ Who gave Himself willingly to die on the Cross in our place. The death He died was accepted by the Father as FULL payment for our sins - payment for every sin so that whoever believes on HIM, will not perish but have everlasting life. And we are to live by faith alone in Christ alone as well.
At the point of our salvation, we were made a new creation in Christ. We were given a new-life-in-Christ. We were clothed in His righteousness and positioned in Him. When Christ died on the Cross, all who would believe in Him by grace through faith, also died to the power of the Law. You see, just as Christ identified with our sin and took all our sin upon Himself in our place, so we are identified with Christ and as a result have been clothed in His righteousness, by God's amazing grace.
Before the death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we were all condemned under the Law, but in Him we have died to the Law, by grace through faith in Him. Paul's condemnation of the legalisers in Galatia was a very stern warning to which we too should all pay careful heed, for if adherence to Jewish laws or any other form of eastern, western, or denominational legalism is an additional requirement for justification, sanctification, or glorification, it renders the Cross superfluous. If keeping the Law could make us right with God, then there was no need for the Lord Jesus Christ to die at Calvary.
May we never frustrate the grace of God by seeking to impose on ourselves or others an impossible, legalistic burden, knowing that Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us, once and for all.
Heavenly Father, thank You that my salvation does not depend on what I do, but on what Christ did for me on the Cross. Help me not to add additional legalistic requirements to my Christian life, knowing that it is not works of the flesh that can keep me saved, but that I am saved forever by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. To Him be all praise and glory, AMEN.
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