By J.A. Medders
Bullies are the worst. I can’t stand them. There are times to mind your own business, and there are times to step up for others. Paul wasn’t going to let the church bullies in Galatia win. No way. Forget about it. Paul was riding this theological Harley to Galatia, ready to step up for the Galatian church. Christ’s church is too precious to let a distorted gospel run amok.
By this point in the letter, you are beginning to get a whiff of the garbage in Galatia. People are teaching that you have to be circumcised, in addition to faith in Jesus, if you want to be a real Christian. Paul brings up the fact that Titus, an uncircumcised Greek, was at his meeting with apostles in Jerusalem—mission control of the early church—and they didn’t make Titus get circumcised. So, why is that? Because it’s not vital to the gospel of grace.
But legalists will try and sneak in their lists of “do-this and don’t do that.” They want to enslave people, corrupting the freedom we have in Christ, and chaining them to their yokes and burdens. But Paul refuses to entertain it for even a minute. False gospels don’t get any courtesy. You must be swift to cut out any distortions of the gospel you see in your life. What do you think defines rightness before God other than the righteousness of Christ? The answer is nothing—not even reading your Bible every morning and going to church every Sunday.
Yes, we are called to read Scripture, to meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8) and to store it up in our hearts so that we might not sin against the God whom we love (Psalm 119:11, ESV). We are to feast on His words (Jeremiah 15:6) and delight in them (Psalm 1:2–3) because they teach us how to live best, but also because God’s Word invites us to know Him better. In Scripture we encounter Jesus and learn to follow Him as He transforms us into His image, making us more like Him.
But even spiritual disciplines, good things, like reading Scripture and serving do not make us right with God. His grace alone does that. As Dallas Willard said, “Grace is not opposed to effort, but to earning.” So let the real gospel out, share the truth with others, and it will defend against all its distortions. Today, may we rest in and run to our crucified and risen Savior.
Written by J.A. Medders