We are so obsessed with labels.
We love labels.
Which goes to show this hasn’t changed in thousands of years. Humans have been obsessed with labels since the beginning of time. Wanting to be like God in order to know good and evil.
That’s what was going on at the church in Galatia. People are adding to the gospel saying, “Yes you need to know Jesus, but Jesus was Jewish and kept the Jewish law and in order to follow him you need to keep the Jewish law.”
Imagine “Yes we want you to follow God but first… it requires a little bit of surgery…” I don’t care what you have to offer you’re not getting near me with that knife!
Circumcision was a big deal,
it was a label.
It was a question of identity, of knowing not only who you were yourself but who else belonged in your group, your tribe, your ethnic family.
We do this too….
Every time you tell someone that Christians dress a certain way, or vote a certain way, or act a certain way.
You are adding to the gospel. You’re saying that Jesus’ death and resurrection was a good start but it’s not enough. That there are still some things you need to do in order to be fully accepted. We add to the requirements of salvation based on our own preferences.
If anyone has ever made you feel like you were less than, like you need to get your life right, like you need to change in order to draw close to God…
I am so sorry.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We don’t have to be smart enough, clean enough, biblically literate enough…
God doesn’t judge by external appearance.
There is no need to add external behaviors to internal belief in Christ in order to be saved.
We must not insist on additions to gospel belief. Some churches teach that we must believe in Christ plus be baptized to be saved or others add their distinctions i.e. predestination or speaking in tongues, as ways we are sure that we are real Christians.
Don’t add anything to Jesus.
Jesus is enough.
Jesus meets us right where we are.
If the gospel is truly good news then it’s good news for everyone.
Externalities are to do with our doing. Internality has to do with our being.
Christianity is about who I am in Christ, not what I do for Him.
In Galatians Paul is saying the biblical gospel gives freedom, while his opponents ‘earn-your-salvation’ message would lead people only into slavery
So how does the gospel give freedom?
Cultural Freedom- moralistic religions presses for rules of dress and behavior. If your salvation depends upon obeying the rules, then you want your rules to be very specific, doable, and clear. You don’t want things like love you neighbor, it’s so ambiguous there can be endless implications as to what that means. You want things like: don’t go to movies, don’t drink alcohol or don’t eat this type of food.
Emotional Freedom- anyone who believes that our relationship with God is based on keeping up moral behavior is on an endless treadmill of guild and insecurity.
The gospel provides freedom, culturally and emotionally. Any other gospel provides slavery.
Any other gospel, Paul says, is no gospel at all.
It’s not about being told what to do, it’s about being reminded of who are.
Are there times when you think your performance counts toward your salvation?
In what way?
Why do you feel the need to earn God?
God loves you.
Not because of anything you can do for him.
Just because of who you are.