If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Exodus 26, John 5, Proverbs 2, Galatians 1. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Galatians 1.
As our society becomes more secular, it is a relief to find others who profess to know Jesus Christ. The problem is that many people and groups have adopted the name of Jesus without embracing everything that the Bible teaches about Christ. Since they claim to love Christ and may say many things about Christ that we find agreeable, the scriptures warn us here (and elsewhere) to be on guard against “a different gospel” (v. 6). The church at Galatia was caught in this when Paul wrote this letter to them. After receiving the good news that Christ alone saves people by grace alone through faith alone, they welcomed teachers who came along and said that true faith in Christ must be accompanied by obedience to Old Testament law. Paul said this was a “different gospel” and was “really no gospel at all” but rather an attempt to “pervert the gospel of Christ” (vv. 6b-7). It is “no gospel at all” because the good news has been replaced by the old news—obey God or else. Our faith in Christ is that the merits of Christ’s good works on earth (theologians call this his “active obedience”) and the penalty Christ paid for sin (Christ’s “passive obedience”) are applied to us by faith. You don’t need to obey the Law because Christ obeyed it perfectly and, by faith, God has credited you with that perfect obedience. You don’t have to fear God’s penalty for your sins because Jesus paid the penalty fully through his death on the cross. Any “good news” that requires something more than what Christ has done for us is not good news at all; it is very bad news because we are so adept at failing to do whatever our part would be in such a gospel.
Note that Paul warned them and us to beware of the messenger in verse 7. Even if Paul himself were the messenger, coming back to Galatia to tell them what else they needed to do to be saved or if an angelic being appeared with supplementary instructions, they deserve not God’s blessing but God’s eternal curse (v. 8). Just in case we miss it, he repeats his thought in verse 9. It is so comforting to find someone else at work who believes in Jesus, isn’t it? Our tendency when we feel isolated in a secular world is to hold on to anyone else who claims to follow Jesus, too. If they truly do follow Jesus, that is an extraordinary gift. But, if they tell you that you need Christ plus something else, beware! The message they have believed is not good news that sets you free from the power of sin; it is, instead, a perversion of our faith (v. 7b) which will enslave you.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.