When you set people free, you may as well give them a poisonous injection of paranoia. A crippling fear of failure. The rules you shackle yourself to are a ceiling, floor and walls. Routine is a box where you don’t have to think or try because it’s all contained and packaged. ‘Faith’ is in religion, ‘hope’ is in the payoff and ‘love’ is a detached sentiment.
When the simplicity of the Gospel is embraced, power is shifted and control becomes slippery. The little god in man suffers when Jesus comes to play. We all have a ‘self’ that resists the power shift and scrambles to find a way to retain importance. ‘Self’ discovers a way to maintain an element of power under the clever guise of holy sanctity.
Many wear a trademarked Jesus on their chest but don’t have Him in their heart. They give Him their devotion, but not their trust. They dedicate their lives to His service, but don’t let Him serve them.
Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.” -John 13:8
You can claim Him all day, do things in His name and give Him all the credit, but still not have a clue who He is. Worse? When you’re a stranger to grace, He doesn’t have a clue who you are.
“You’ll protest, ‘But we’ve known you all our lives!’ only to be interrupted with his abrupt, ‘Your kind of knowing can hardly be called knowing. You don’t know the first thing about me.’ That’s when you’ll find yourselves out in the cold, strangers to grace. -Luke 13:26-28
The Gospel has caused problems from the start. You’re taking self-salvation away from people. You’re telling them that even though they set the curve in morality, they are no better than the one on the other end of the spectrum. People don’t like that. They never have. Converts turn into reverts when they get bored or start craving a physical rush. Not ‘reverts’ to immorality. ‘Reverts’ to the do-it-yourself rocket-ship to Heaven.
Sometimes the messenger talks too much, sometimes the listener half-listens. Misunderstandings and perversions have been an issue since the beginning. The message isn’t the problem. The ‘living’ is where we mess it up. We start to interject our own understandings and turn them into formulas. Formulas, traditions and routines become our gospel. Our religion and the way we practice become our god.
The church in Galatians was an example of a current problem. Actually, all of the churches Paul wrote are examples of current problems. There is nothing new under the sun and humanity repeats itself over and over and over.
So, here we are….
I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. -Galatians 1:6-7
What is the variant message? Salvation or salvation maintenance by adhering to the Law and not trusting in Jesus. You can recognize this variant message when you hear, ‘Yes, Jesus died for our sins, but we still have to….’ It’s the ‘Yes, Jesus, but…’ that you have to watch for. When you say ‘but’ then everything you said before it is cancelled out. The variant message is one that cancels out Jesus.
Anything that attempts to cancel, nullify or dumb-down the finished work of Jesus is deadly poison. If you are saved through faith and you pervert your faith with a polluted bottle of gospel bearing the fancy ‘Truth’ label, then you are crossing yourself out. ‘Yes, Jesus, but…’ double-talk vomited by religious con-artists and if you don’t read the Bible for yourself, then you are a prime target to be taken by the grotesque misrepresentation of the Gospel.
It’s more common than you may think. The vast majority of people don’t know that they’ve been taken for a spin and are perpetuating it by their lack of Biblical knowledge and always rambling mouth. Sometimes I wonder if going to church does more damage to some than it helps. If you have an organization doing all the work for you, then how are you going to know when they modify the truth?
The life you see and touch is not the reality. The life that continues after your physical death is real life. Spiritual happenings put the physical life in perspective. What sort of conversations happen when someone suddenly dies or when someone is born? Your perspective shifts to eternity and you get it for a minute. Then you go back outside. The physical life is full of spiritual sedatives and supplements. What are you ingesting?
‘What would you say to a person who you were trying to convert to Christianity? You’d tell him that the requirement for salvation is to believe that Jesus is the son of the one true God and you’d probably quote John 3:16. Have you ever noticed that witnessing tracks are small pieces of paper explaining that Jesus paid the price for their sin and that by believing that simple truth they are ‘in’? What a contrast to the millions of book pages that tell them how to maintain that salvation.’ -‘Grace Is For Sinners’
Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed. -Galatians 1:7-9
It’s time to think about where you are and where you’re getting your information. Were you taught a perversion and are you perpetuating the lie? The only place ‘but’ takes in the Gospel, is the place of submission to Jesus. ‘Yes, I have sinned, but Jesus…’ Nothing cancels Jesus out.
This post was inspired by Galatians 1. Galatians 2 is on it’s way….