Monday, July 27, 2009

Galatians 6:11-18 (Conclusion)

Paul takes the pen from his secretary to write the final thoughts of his letter… to sum things up. He has been composing a well thought out argument for the Gospel and against religion. He finishes with an interesting statement about those who have been pushing religion on the Galatians:

“Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.”

The true aim of legalists is not to help those they are teaching and dictating behavior to, but rather to make themselves more accepted in their circle of influence. In Paul’s day, these leaders wanted to be accepted in Jewish society. Today it is the Evangelical Ghetto that people want to fit into. Instead of merely preaching the Biblical truth of Christ crucified and our total dependence on Him for salvation, they push a few extras that are not a part of our justification or even sanctification for that matter:

Instead of teaching that God has bought us completely and our whole lives and all our money are His; teach that he demands a very precise tenth of everything you receive (the gross—not net—and all of it must go to the local church!) Especially if the church budget looks in danger of not being met.

Instead of teaching that “food will not commend us to God” or “do not get drunk with wine” teach people that alcohol itself is sinful and no true Christian would even touch the stuff.

Instead of teaching that the Bible is God’s word and contains all the truth we need to understand God’s plan for the redemption of Mankind; require people to hold to only one interpretation of secondary doctrines where different interpretations are possible but only one if fashionable.

In the end, legalism and legalists are not concerned with helping others live better. They simply want to improve their own state in life or standing in the religious community. Instead, “religion is nothing, heathenism is nothing; being a new creature in Christ is everything.”

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