Sunday Rest and Reflection
Scripture reading for November 30th: Galatians 1-6
Some people, calling themselves Christians, make rules to define holiness and judge others by how they keep their rules. Some are condemned for the length of their hair, their make up, or certain types of clothes. Some judge people having tattoos or body piercing. Other groups of Christians claim a person must be baptized in a certain way or worship on a certain day to be right with God. These rules become a perversion of the true Gospel.
The Apostle Paul dealt with some people who tried to add the Old Testament Law to faith in Christ. Paul taught that any addition to the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith was no Gospel at all! (Galatians 1:6-7) Paul warned these believers that anyone, even an angel from heaven, who tried to preach another Gospel should be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:8-9) It is very serious business to pervert the Gospel!
This mixing of law and grace affected Peter and Barnabas some 14 years after Paul’s conversion. Paul found Peter withdrawing from the Gentiles and eating only with the Jewish believers who were teaching circumcision. (Galatians 2:11-16) Paul rebuked Peter in front of them for their hypocrisy! They had given in to peer pressure and moved away from the Gospel given them by the Lord Jesus. If it could happen to Peter, it could happen to us!
Paul wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:20-21)
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things. for you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-3
Our new identity is found in Christ! We were crucified with Him and raised with Him to a new life! No set of rules or regulations can make us holy.