"Continuing As We Began"
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel, which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-7).
The Galatian believers, largely Gentile, were tempted by legalizers of their day to add adherence to rituals (particularly circumcision) as a necessary component of receiving God's grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. This involved a perversion of truth according to the Apostle Paul, who went so far as to accuse the deceivers of preaching "another Gospel" that was actually no Gospel at all.
Our spiritual enemies will tempt all of us to add to God's grace and truth in the Lord Jesus. One reason we must consistently read and prayerfully ponder the Scriptures involves the counterintuitive nature of our Heavenly Father's freely given favor, based upon the redeeming work of Christ. We will inevitably be felled by legalism - or its counterpart licentiousness - if we fail to walk in the light of Biblical truth. God led an Apostle to illuminate, encourage, and challenge the Galatian believers to overcome the temptation to "frustrate the grace of God" (Galatians 2:21). He sends to us the entirety of Scriptural revelation administered by many apostles and prophets to enable our continuance in the work, God's "good work," that began our salvation and will "perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
Only the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus that made us "new creatures" can progressively change us into our Lord's spiritual and moral likeness. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:6-7). We continue as we began, the emphasis always being on the person and work of Christ, as "built up" and "established" in faith and abounding thanksgiving. Anything or anyone who might distract us from our only hope of righteousness in either spiritual standing or fruit bearing must be summarily rejected. The atoning work of the Lord Jesus was our hope to constitute relationship with God. The intercessory and sanctifying work of the Lord Jesus is our hope for continuing in that holy bond of grace. And the promised coming of the Lord Jesus to change and glorify us "in the twinkling of an eye" provides our hope for culmination (I Corinthians 15:52). Nothing needs to be added to such freely given favor, based upon the truth of Christ. Nothing can be added if the Gospel is to be received and experienced in genuine reality.
"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
Weekly Memory Verse
Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.
(I Peter 2:6)