This is what God gave me today in his word:
They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! (Galatians 4:17-19)
What do we see here? We see flattery, we see evil intent, we see anguish. Never three things no one (just about no one, that is) wants to see. – First, they come flattering, the purpose of which, is to bring them to the law. Then we see Paul, in anguish over their apparent ‘abandonment of Jesus’ love’ for them… And what do we learn from that? That if someone comes to church and attempts to flatter the pastor, throw them out? Kick ’em back into their car?
First and foremost… So what?
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. (Galatians 5:2-4)
So what? That’s an interesting question. So what, if someone decides to try to convince you the law still must be obeyed? Well, in that case: so what if someone beats you up and then sends you up against a world-famous boxer to get pummeled? It’s pretty much the same thing as trying to obey the law, after all (you’ll get pummeled by your sin, but before that, you’ll get beaten up by your prior sin). – Let’s take a look at exactly what happened again:
- People came into the church and started “making much” of the Galatians, for no good reason.
- These same people started suggesting the idea of circumcision and in general obeying the law.
- Paul doubts their very salvation.
This is how Satan operates: First, he tries to win you over, before winning your beliefs over. Then he plants an idea in your head. Finally, you’re overcome and your very salvation becomes questionable. So then, how do we prevent this from happening to us?
When you start having thoughts of: how incredibly good you must be, because you did___. Don’t forget, you even helped ____ today! Doesn’t this deserve some sort of reward? Surely I must now be closer to God than ever before. It may be a good idea to get into the bible; get into Jesus. – Don’t get me wrong of course, “doing good” is a good thing, however, “doing good” in order to be right with God is wrong… Jesus Christ did not die for us, so that we could obey God better. He died, in order to obey God for us; and to take all our sin onto himself, and kill it.
The point is this: Please don’t cause yourself or anyone else to doubt your faith (ironically) because of your works. Instead, be in the word, pray, rely on God’s strength and not your own to resist man and the Devil.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
You are Loved!