Live in the Grace

Live in Grace 

Daily Reading: (Galatians 1:6-7):

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Turning or metatithēmiin the Greek means to fall away or desert something, however, there is a more common usage of this Greek word. I believe Paul is saying that the church in Galatia is transposing (two things, one of which is put in place of the other) the Law in place of grace.

The reason I am so confident in this definition is because of the history of the church in Galatia. Instead of living in God’s grace you have put something else in its place. How is this possible? The church that Paul started had now allowed false teachers to come who were trying to implement the law in place of grace. These teachers were a group of Judaizers—those who sought to make living under the Mosaic Law a requirement of the Christian faith—and they had gained an influence in the Galatian churches. We actually learn about this from Acts 15:1-30.  

This all makes sense when you follow the very next verse in Paul’s letter in Galatians 1:7- “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7b). Paul says when you turn from the Gospel of grace, Jesus Christ, you are preaching and teaching something that is really no Gospel at all.

The word “pervert” (metastrephō) means to turn around. A perverted gospel is a turned-around gospel. It is a gospel which turns the focus away from Jesus onto something else. If the gospel of grace reveals Christ alone, then a perverted gospel is Christ plus something. Whenever it is Christ plus something else that is how we transpose or place the law in place of grace.

So, this “different gospel” was not Buddhism or Hinduism or Islam that they are trying to get people to convert to, it was an in-house distortion. It was promoted by men who called themselves Christian “brothers” Galatians 2:4, and the purpose is to get other Christians to try to live under the Law.

Now that we have studied what it means to desert the gospel of grace by transposing it for law-based living, let’s focus on what it means to live in the grace of Jesus.

The original manuscripts doesn’t say “live in the grace”, the Greek word for live isn’t present. Galatians 1:6 reads like this: “I am amazed that you are so quickly transposing (the law in place of grace), of the One who has called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.”

So the big takeaway of the more accurate translation is that grace is your calling.It was God’s grace that called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. So, continue forward in His grace, don’t let anyone deceive you into believing a false gospel that there is something you need to do in order to receive the salvation of the Lord. To preach the gospel of grace is to preach the exceeding riches of God’s unmerited favor revealed to us through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:7). I am amazed Galatians that you would choose anything over than this amazing grace.

Pride is a Grace Killer

Pride

Daily Reading: (1 Peter 5:5-6, James 4:6-7):

“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

“God resists the proud”, we see this over and over again with Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees. It isn’t that God doesn’t love the Pharisees, but that the resistance provides the opportunity for the proud to be humbled, and to consider a better way in which they might receive grace.

Pride is what will hinder you from receiving the grace that God wants to give you (1 Peter 5:5) because you believe that you don’t need it or will try to work to earn it. God is not impressed with your sacrifice, especially when you are not impressed with His.

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8).

C.S. Lewis said,“humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” It is being compassionate and loving to one another as Peter wrote.Pride looks at self-efforts, humility says look at what Christ has done for me.

On the Mount of Transfiguration after the voice of God came from heaven and told the three disciples “listen only to My Son” this is what Jesus had to say to them in Matthew 17:7: “Arise and do not be afraid.” What Jesus is telling His disciples is to “allow yourself to be lifted by God.” True humility is when you allow the voice of grace to lift you up (Matthew 17:7, 1 Peter 5:6).  “God shows favor to the humble.” Because the humble are those who have received His Son. And when you are lifted by allowing Jesus’ finished work to do this for you (humility), you realize that you stand on equal ground with Him because you have been given His righteousness. Everything God desires to give us, it is available through Jesus. Pride says, “no thanks, I’m good, I got this.” God opposes this attitude. This shuts down the pipeline of His special grace unto us, the grace that grows us and makes us more and more like His Son.

James writes in 4:6-7: “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Both men quoted from Proverbs 3:34 to show how important this is.

Leading up to these verses James is going to hammer home the point of how destructive and dangerous pride is. Pride brings with it strife, division, and war. Pride leads to wars and fights, lust, and murder but God gives abundant grace. You can choose to be proud or you can choose to receive abundant grace. The principle of grace is supply, while the principle of the law is demand. The reason pride is a grace killer is that pride will take our focus off of our supply, Jesus Christ, and it will only focus on the demand placed upon us. Our part is just to exercise faith by receiving from God, His supply of grace, and this is living a life of humility that blesses others out of the abundant grace we have received.

Cancel Culture is Contrary to Christianity

Daily Reading: (John 8:3-6):

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”  

Today we’ll find that cancel culture is nothing new and it is actually an ancient practice, at its core is contrary to the Spirit of Jesus.

So, what is cancel culture? Webster’s dictionary defines it as: the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.[1]  In Scripture we will see the ancient practice of engaging in an attempt of mass canceling (someone) by exerting social pressure to do so in John chapter 8.

“At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.” (John 8:2-4).

Now if there ever was a Biblical moment where someone has been publicly shamed with the intention of permanently canceling someone else this is that moment. Did this woman do something wrong? Absolutely! Should her entire life be over because of it? The crowds think so.

Are things that are called out publicly today about what others have said or done in the past wrong too? Yes! In the same way, the women caught in adultery was also guilty.

“In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” The question for us should be how should we respond as well?

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7b). Jesus uses the Law as it’s intended purpose, to expose sin, to show us up that none of us in ourselves was righteous. 

Jesus essentially says, “go ahead, you self-righteous religious leaders and cast the guilty verdict by stoning her if you yourself aren’t guilty of violating the Law too.”

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The word “condemnation” in the original Greek means “condemning sentence”. That is exactly what the cancel culture brings- they are after something they can condemn someone else with.

How different would it look like if our desire when someone has messed up would be that they move forward as a changed repentant person of the wrong they did, instead of trying to oversee their destruction? Jesus has a message to the people who just witnessed cancel culture 2,000 years ago” “When Jesus spoke again to the people (the very same people), He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus is the Light that brings the lost out of darkness (John 8:12). 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The only reason we are not condemned is that we are in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only requirement to remove our condemnation. So, Romans 8:1 only means something, when you have done wrong, because that is when the gift of no condemnation matters to you when you should be condemned. God’s desire is for us to not live a lifestyle of sin, “go now and leave your life of sin” The power to do this comes when you first receive the gift of no condemnation.

The only way for people to go and sin no more, wouldn’t this be what you want cancel culture? The only way for people to be empowered in their life, to walk in peace, joy and faith, and to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us is to understand that there is now no condemnation in Christ. When we understand that God does not condemn us in Christ, it allows us to stop condemning ourselves. And then when we understand that God does not condemn us in Christ, we will stop condemning others.


[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cancel%20culture