2 Kings 9:30–10:36; Galatians 1:1–2:21; Proverbs 7:1–9
We’re fine with the idea of God being our savior, but we’re not always keen on the notion of letting Him transform every area of our lives. We often emphasize sharing the gospel, but do we consider the reality of the outcome?
It’s a question Paul poses to the church in Galatia. Typically, when Paul opens a letter to a church, he follows his greeting with a prayer of thanksgiving for the members of the community. But in his correspondence with the Galatians, he skips the niceties and opts for a biting remark, signaling that something is drastically wrong.
“I am astonished that you are turning away so quickly from the one who called you by the grace of Christ to a different gospel, not that there is a different gospel, except there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:6–9).
Paul’s message is especially cutting because the Galatians knew better. Paul himself had preached the gospel to them. After he left and false teachers infiltrated the community, the Galatians veered off course. Instead of holding to the true teaching or even testing these teachers’ claims against the gospel message, the Galatians adopted a new, counterfeit gospel.
Paul interrogates the Galatians, who may have been affected by the teaching of people who wanted them to adopt Jewish legal requirements, asking, “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal 3:2–3). The simple gospel had been cluttered by attempts to remain obedient to the law. The believers were no longer living in the Spirit.
We are prone to push aside the lesson in this passage by claiming that it’s specific to that context, but we might be guilty of this very fault. Do we think of becoming a Christian—getting saved—as the end of the journey? The reality of the gospel should affect all areas of our lives, which can now be used to give God the glory. Our entire lives—our thought processes, our ideals and theologies, our relationships—should reflect Christ and be shaped by the Spirit. The gospel isn’t for one moment. It’s going to transform everything.
Have you, without realizing it, turned from the gospel? What area of your life needs to be transformed?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.