Just this morning, our men met for a weekly Bible study. Currently we are in the book of Galatians. Galatians is a wonderful book that brings the church back to the basics of Christianity.
In the first couple of chapters, the Apostle Paul is doing all he can to help the churches in the Galatian region or what we would know as modern Turkey today, to bring their focus back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is, the death of Christ on our behalf for the sinful heart we all have, the burial of Christ on our behalf, because all people deserve death for being sinners, the resurrection of Christ on our behalf because as He was resurrected to new life, so shall we be if we have put our trust in Him to save us from the penalty of our sin, which is death.
The situation for the Galatian churches is, many of the Christians are being taught falsely, that in order to be a true follower of Christ, you had to adhere to the Jewish law. Even Peter, the great Apostle, got caught up in the stress of conforming to the Law, when He knew that Christ was the answer for righteousness. In other words, there where people who were making the Gentiles or non-Jews believe, in order to be saved, you had to trust Christ but also keep the Law, and Peter was buying it. That is until Paul set him straight.
The letter points out very clearly that a person is not made right in God’s eyes or justified in the sight of God by keeping the Law. The promise of redemption was given to Abraham long before the Law was given by Moses. That promise of salvation would be achieved only through faith in Christ and faith alone. There is nothing that can be added to faith to make a person justified before God.
Satan always tries to confuse human beings into thinking that salvation must come by doing more that just believing by faith in Christ and His work to save people. He works hard to add to God’s gift. But nothing can be added to faith. Salvation is a gift for anyone who accepts it.
And that is a huge blessing and a point that needs to be clarified. In our world today, and honestly for centuries, the church has gotten distracted from her real purpose of rescuing souls. And the way she has gotten distracted is by putting people in categories. For example, people who hold that abortion is not so bad or people who live homosexual lives or people who hold to a particular political affiliation or even people of different nationalities, have often been categorized as people who need to have their views changed first, before they are able to be saved. In other words, instead of sharing the Gospel with anyone and everyone, the church as often believed that people who hold to different political positions or ways of life need to be reformed more than they need the Gospel. The belief is, if the church can institute enough change, then the world with be a better place. So over the years, many avenues for change have been developed, hoping people would get the point.
That is a good thought, but the truth is, it is the Gospel, and only the Gospel, that brings about change in anyone. If a person is taught that all humans are sinners, that we are all under the condemnation of God and His wrath, and we all need to repent and surrender our lives to Christ, they will begin to see clearly that their positions on issues and the way they conduct their personal lives will change.
There are clear descriptions of people who will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, listed in the Scriptures. For example, the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB) 9 do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. What he meant is, people who practice these things or people who regularly take part in them. But notice verse eleven. He follows that list by reminding the reader that many of them were just like those ungodly people. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. In other words, many people have lived lives that were full of sin, but because they humbled themselves and submitted the Christ, He rescued them from those sins. Their change did not come about by some reform, whether in be social reform or political reform or some form of therapy. No, their salvation and change of heart came from surrendering themselves, by faith alone, in Christ alone, because of what He has done for all who will come to Him.
So, we must be careful, as God’s people, to not get lost in the dogma of our day. Let us get lost in helping others to be rescued from the darkness of Satan’s work. But we cannot rescue anyone through any kind of reform. Reform has it’s place and many people have been greatly helped by social reforms or good societal changes, but people are only fully changed by one thing, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because the Word of God teaches us that when we submit to Christ and give him control over our lives, the Holy Spirit comes in to our heart and guides us in all truth. John 16:13-15 (NASB) 13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
So, if you are wondering how you can help someone who is dealing with any sin. You don’t need to convince them that their specific sin is the problem. What you need to share with them is that all of humanity is under the judgement of God, no matter the sin. There is none righteous, no not one. Romans 3:9-18 (NASB) 9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” 13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS“; 14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”; 15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, 16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, 17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.” 18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” Romans 6:23 (NASB) 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So you see, we must all confess our sin before God or we will certainly be forever under His Righteous judgment. It is only by faith that we are justified. Romans 3:21-25 (NASB) 21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.
If we want reform in our culture, it is the Gospel alone that makes the difference. Anything else will be temporary at best.