Tuesday, November 15, 2005

TWO WAYS TO DENY CHRIST

In Galatians Paul denounced attempts by Jewish Christians to reintroduce aspects of the law into Christian life.

Galatians 2: 4 false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the
Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the
freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into
bondage [under the Law of Moses].

Jude highlights a different problem with the church that is more or less opposite to the problem Paul exposes.

Jude 4 For certain men have crept in stealthily. Their doom was predicted long
ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual
blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality,
and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the
Anointed One).

In Galatians we have those who would reimpose the Law, in Jude there are those who bring in lawlessness. Two almost opposite problems brought into the church by men trying to pervert the gospel.

Both groups of men are described as entering by "stealth" or secretly". I also see these two situations have something else in common.

1) The Galatian example has people replacing the grace of God with a need to observe the Law. Salvation is again made dependant upon OUR actions rather than on the grace of God. It comes back to earning salvation through works. It centres on self and self-effort. How much do we need to DO to be acceptable to God.

2) Jude’s example exposes an abuse of the grace of God. It takes it to extremes. Instead of looking at how much do we need to do to be acceptable to God (salvation through the law); these people take the other extreme – how much can we get away with without becoming unacceptable to God.

Both of the above centre on SELF. Both are centred on the acts of man.

Both situations take the centrality of the gospel away from Jesus and His sacrifice, in effect denying Him and our need of Him.

1 comment:

johnEboy said...

Hi Onesimus
One side promoted the Law, the Torah.
The other promoted the abcense of the Law/Torah, i.e. Lawlessness, being without the Law.

The balance is obedience to the Laws that God has written on our hearts, and thus obedience to God.

Living by the Law produces self-righteousness and is works, and is often because of fearing God and legalism.

Obedience is keeping the Laws he has written on our hearts because we love him.

If I make you keep the laws that I keep, that is legalism and ends up as religion.
johnEboy