When Christians forget the gospel
“So where is your blessing? For I bear witness of you that, if it had been possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.” Galatians 4:15
In the letter to the Galatians, Paul had to remind the believers about the gospel, the good news about Jesus. He reminded them of how fascinated and overjoyed they were when they heard the gospel and began to believe in Jesus. It was as if they had been willing to even pluck out their eyes and give them to Paul, to express their joy and gratitude.
But, over time, the joy of salvation had diminished. The simple life with Jesus had become complicated. It had crept into the church false brothers and teachings that wanted to draw the disciples under legalism.
Legalism puts the emphasis on you and me. Everything we must do and definitely not do, to please God. The legalistic man is tossed between pride and depression. Pride, when one has managed to live so much better than others for a period. Depression, when one has failed in some way. This, being tossed back and forth, can go on until you become a hypocrite. A hypocrite knows he is putting up a facade, but has lots of excuses and whitewashing.
But, a saved person has received a new identity in Jesus. And that identity leads to a different lifestyle. Jesus says in John 15 that He is the vine and we who believe are the branches. Jesus did not come to give us just rules, but He came to also give Himself to us. When we live with Jesus, His life flows through us, just as the vine gives life to the branches, which produce fruit. The law demands, but Jesus points out the direction of our lives and says that He will help us to do the right thing.
It was this message the Galatians heard and it revolutionized their lives. Therefore, Paul was both surprised and upset when he heard that they were entering under legalism.
Have you lost your joy of salvation? Has the Christian life become complicated? Maybe you think you have failed to live as a Christian? Or maybe you tried to live an ultra Christian life, but coped only for a while or maybe you were disappointed?
Remember that through faith in Jesus, you became a child of God. It is your identity. You are on your way to heaven and you can be safe. Jesus is your Savior and insurance. You do not lose your identity as a child of God just because you fail sometimes. If you have children yourself, then you would never even think of throwing your child out, just because he made some mess. The more secure you become in the fact that you are a child of God, that you are a branch firmly anchored in the vine, the easier the life of Jesus will flow through you in everyday life. Let go of the cramp-like and realize that it is not you who should try to show Jesus through your life, because then you are just hiding Him anyway. Realize that it is Jesus who is the rock that carries you, you can rest safely on Him.
Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for your sins. Jesus is your shepherd who protects and guides you. Jesus says –
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
Life with Jesus becomes victorious when you remember that Jesus walks by your side, under the same yoke as us. It’s not all up to us to be good Christians. He carries the heaviest burden and we get to join. He wants us to learn from Him, see verse 29. Both Jesus and His yoke are gentle. Trust Him, lean on Him, count on Jesus in everything. What peace, what joy and what hope it brings to us. Jesus is the greatest, best and most beautiful. All glory to Him. Jesus is our hero and He is Lord and we get to join.
Everything is by grace and we receive by faith. Therefore all glory belongs to God.
God bless you.