Crucified and Risen with Christ!

Scripture reading for November 30th: Galatians 1-6

I hate legalism!  Some people, calling themselves Christians, make rules for how we must live and judge others by how they do or do not keep their rules.  Some think that they are right to condemn others for the length of their hair, wearing make-up, or certain clothes.  Some judge others for having tattoos or body piercing .  Others are thrown out if they don’t believe in eternal security or baptism in the name of Jesus only.   The religious police are always out enforcing their version of “true” Christianity!

The Apostle Paul dealt with some people who tried to add the Old Testament Law to faith in Christ.  In his letter to the Galatians, Paul taught that any addition to the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith was no Gospel at all!  (Galatians 1:6-7)  Paul warned these believers that anyone, even an angel from heaven,  who preached another Gospel should be eternally condemned!  (Galatians 1:8-9) It was serious business because it affected eternal salvation!

This mixing of law and grace even affected Peter and Barnabas some 14 years after Paul’s conversion.  Paul found Peter withdrawing from the Gentiles and eating only with the Jewish believers who were teaching that circumcision was needed as well as faith.  (Galatians 2:11-16)  Paul rebuked Peter in front of them all for their hypocrisy!  They had given in to peer pressure and false teaching and moved away from the Gospel given them by Christ.  If it could happen to Peter the Apostle and Barnabas, it could happen to us!

Paul made a declaration of faith as he tried to counter these false teachers.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:20-21)

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not earthly things.  for you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-3

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