Sunday, April 30, 2023

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Salvation Comes by Faith

Relationships can be very interesting at times. If you don’t work at having a good relationship, things can go wrong and change sometimes for the worse. Take, for instance, the churches in Galatia. Paul, after establishing churches in Galatia, kept close tabs on their Christian journey. However, things began to change.

The Apostle Paul had a complex relationship with the churches of Galatia. In the early stages of his ministry, he traveled to Galatia and preached the gospel, establishing several churches. However, after he left, some false teachers came to the region and began teaching that Gentile converts to Christianity needed to follow Jewish laws and customs, including circumcision. This prompted Paul to write a letter to the Galatians, urging them to reject these teachings and hold fast to the gospel he had preached to them.

In his letter, Paul emphasized that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone, not through adherence to the Jewish law. He also defended his apostolic authority and recounted his own conversion story as evidence of his message's authenticity. Despite his strong words, Paul expressed love and concern for the Galatian believers and expressed a desire for their spiritual growth and well-being.
Part of the problem that confronted the Galatians came in one of the arguments made by the Judaizers. These false teachers suggested that to live by grace and in freedom meant to live a lawless and therefore degenerate life.

Instead of understanding the true nature of Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection to atone for our sins and provide us with a way back to the Father, the Judiaizers preached that the only way to the Father was to follow the Mosaic law. This meant that anyone could get in God’s “good graces” by following the law handed down by Moses.
Paul writes, “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?” (Galatians 3:1-4 NLT)

Paul is expressing his frustration with the Galatians for turning away from the true gospel and embracing false teachings that emphasize the importance of following Jewish laws and customs. He uses strong language, calling them "foolish" and suggesting that they have been influenced by an "evil spell."

Paul reminds the Galatians that they received the Holy Spirit not by obeying the law of Moses, but by believing the message they heard about Christ. He challenges them to think critically about their current behavior and asks them why they are trying to become perfect through their own human effort, rather than relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Faith is the only way to salvation. Good works cannot provide redemption. Good works are an outcome of good work. Think about it this way. If we don’t accept the Good News and rely on our good deeds to provide salvation to us, there is no need for God and His plan. Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection are meaningless if we can “win'' our salvation through good works. If we follow the Mosaic law and do not believe, we are in control of our salvation. 

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, writes, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”

Laws prevent us from doing what we shouldn’t do. Think about all the laws and compare them to the Mosaic law. Half of the laws are written to tell us what not to do while the other half tells us what to do. Laws were written to overcome our desires to do things we shouldn’t. Paul is absolutely correct in saying that the Mosaic law just shows us how sinful we really are.

The centrality of faith in Christ Jesus is the most important part of our daily walk with the Lord. If we begin to believe that relying on our own efforts or false teachings to earn salvation, then we are in danger of falling away from our faith and end up on the road away from the Father. 

Paul's relationship with the churches of Galatia was characterized by both joy and frustration, as he rejoiced in their initial acceptance of the gospel but was grieved by their susceptibility to false teachings of the Judaizers. Through his letter, Paul sought to correct their errors and restore them to a firm foundation in the truth of the gospel by reminding them that faith is the only way to salvation. No matter what we do or how many good things we do in life, we cannot “win” our way into God’s good graces. It all starts with believing in Christ Jesus and developing our faith so that we don’t listen to charlatans who preach only to hear themselves speak and line their pockets with money.

When we remain true to our faith and follow the teachings of Christ Jesus, our faith will make sure we are doing the right things and can stand firm in His grace.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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