Perfectly Accepted: Part 1
Are you ready for some good news?
In Christ, you belong to God. Period. You can’t make yourself more accepted. You are 100% accepted in the Beloved!
I want to preach on the “Magna Carta” of the Christian faith. It is the proclamation of the pure, powerful liberty that is ours in Christ.
Paul begins the epistle with a bold, direct expression of his shock:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6–9, ESV)
The great temptation for the Christian is not to abandon Christ but to add something to Christ. We are lured into believing that the abundant life is found in Christ plus something else. In the case of the Galatian Christians, the issue at hand was the Jewish ritual of circumcision. Contaminators of the purity of the gospel (the “Judaizers”) had infiltrated the community of Christians with a hint of legalism: if you want to be truly close to God, to be really acceptable, you’ll be a Christian PLUS be circumcised as was the custom in the Old Covenant.
Look at the freight and emotion of those words! Astonished … deserting … accursed … let him be accursed.
Whoa. What has made Paul so mad? What could be so bad about suggesting that Christians keep an Old Covenant ritual? It wasn’t like they were making golden calves or worshipping at foreign altars.
When the Gospel is mixed, it isn’t just less powerful – it is toxic. What Paul is saying is clear: when people adopt a mixed gospel, they do not desert orthodoxy – they desert God. Any taint upon the Gospel, any addition to the Gospel, is an utter violation of the Gospel.
It’s simply impossible to tell people that God loves them unconditionally but He’d love them more if they would practice circumcision. Either Christ paid it all, or He didn’t.
So Paul starts his epistle to the Galatians white hot mad. Pay attention to that. God wants you to know that His love for you is powerful and free. And that’s the Gospel!
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