Monday, January 26, 2009

Good News, Bad News

Please take time to read Galatians 1:1-10. Ever hear of a paper that only printed good news? In our world filled with trouble it is becoming more and more difficult to find any "Good news." Perhaps such a news paper would be a bargain. The Good News of salvation through faith in Christ is the most important message in the world. But now this message was being attacked, and Paul was out to defend the truth of the Gospel. False teachers were spreading a false "Gospel" which was a mixture of law and grace, and Paul did not stand by and do nothing. How does Paul approach the Galatian Christians in his attempt to teach them the truth about the Gospel? In the opening verses of the above passage the Apostle takes three definite steps as he prepares to fight this battle. First, he explains his authority. Paul is careful to let them know the authority he has comes from the Lord. He has three sources of authority. His ministry is the first source he mentions. Paul was an Apostle. Paul had founded the churches in Galatia. His message is the second source of authority. It is centered in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Christ paid the price that He might achieve a purpose, that is, delivering sinners from bondage. The Judaizers wanted to lead the Christians out of the liberty of grace into the bondage of law. Legalism has to do with attitude. A legalist will treasure man made rules rather than treasuring Christ. His motive is Paul's third source of authority. The false teachers were not ministering for the glory of Christ, but for their own glory. Paul's motive was pure and godly: he wanted to glorify Jesus Christ. Paul explained his authority. He is ready for a second step as he begins this battle for the liberty of the Christian. Second, Paul expresses his anxiety. The first reason for Paul's anxiety was that they were moving aways from the grace of God. They were abandoning liberty for legalism. They had become infatuated with the religion of the Judaizers. They taught salvation by faith plus circumcision. The second reason for Paul's anxiety: they were perverting the Gospel of God. Perverting the Gospel by adding to it. The word "Pervert" means to "To turn about, to change into an opposite character." They had reversed the Gospel and taken it back into the Law. The Law never was designed to save, only to lead people to Christ. The third reason for Paul's anxiety: it was troubling the Galatians. The verb "Trouble" carries with it the idea of perplexity confusion, and unrest. Do you have a lack of peace? Examine your walk, you might consider examining your belief system. Grace always leads to peace, but the believers had deserted grace and therefore had no peace in their hearts. Having explained his authority and expressed his anxiety, Paul now takes the third step. Third, he exposes his adversaries. The Judaizers are identified by the false Gospel that they preached. The test of a man's ministry is his faithfulness to the Word of God. Paul pronounced the Judaizers "Anathama" which means "Dedicated to destruction." The Judaizers are characterized by the false motives that they practiced. They accused Paul of being a compromise and "Adjusting" the Gospel to fit the Gentiles. Its easy to condemn others with you are wrong yourself. But in reality, it was the false teacher who was the man-pleaser. The servant of God is constantly tempted to compromise in order to attract and please men. Paul was not a politician: he was an ambassador. His task was not to "Play politics" but to proclaim a message. These Judaizers, on the other hand, were cowardly compromisers who mixed law and grace hoping to please both Jews and Gentiles. Paul explained his authority. He expressed his anxiety, and he exposed his adversaries. Our authority is in Christ. We are Priests and Kings. We are to cast all of our anxieties on the Lord. And we are to pray for our human enemies and resist our spiritual adversaries. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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