DAY 20

READ GALATIANS 6:11-13

POPULAR OR AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY

When Paul says that he is writing with large letters, it is his way of highlighting his words for maximum emphasis and impact. He is making a final and unapologetic statement on the legalists and urging the Galatian church as strongly as he can to not give in to them but to remain positioned and rooted in the faith of the Gospel of Jesus, nothing more and nothing less. 
There is a kind of Christianity that is popular but not authentic, a respectable Christianity that does not invoke persecution. Christians were often persecuted, but Jewish people were officially tolerated. So if the legalists could persuade the Christians to impress people with their Jewishness, then their Jewish Christianity would escape persecution. But there is a massive problem with this kind of Christianity. It removed the Cross! If we get rid of the Cross, or add to our faith things that supposedly make us more spiritual beyond the Cross, what we are left with is not the Gospel of Jesus. There will remain only an external form of religion that carries no power for life and godliness.
    Then we see in verse 13 that legalists love the law in theory, but only in theory. They don’t even keep the law themselves but they take great pride in bringing you under the law. I remember when we went through a season as a church where people were burning up things in the name of spiritual cleansing and being more holy. But it didn’t make people more holy or godly. They were just external things that created a false sense of spirituality and pride. I admire the zeal. But I mourn for many of those who went after those external actions and missed the power of the Holy Spirit to bring the necessary change and maturity.

      The motivation of these Jewish legalists that were pressurising the Galatian churches was not a quest for godliness at all, but rather to have a respectable Jewish-Christianity that didn’t come with persecution. Tidy and nice, but with no power. But this makes the church, then and now, completely useless for the kingdom. Paul strongly condemns this. And let’s remind ourselves again, why was Paul so strong? Because adding to our Christianity outward forms of religious respectability and works of self-righteousness does two FATAL things:

        1. It sets aside the Cross of Christ. Is says that justification by faith alone is just a myth, and pushes instead for a legalistic version of moralistic “godliness” upon every person.

        2. It sets aside being “born again”. New birth. New Creation. Being born again is an instantaneous thing. It doesn’t take place over steps and stages. It isn’t a ceremony, it isn’t something external, it is the very act of creation by God where he takes a sinner and makes him or her brand new in the Lord Jesus Christ.

           

            QUESTIONS TO REFLECT ON:

            1. Am I convinced that the law, as perfect as it is, can only lead me to live out of the flesh and not out of the Spirit?

            2.  If I take an honest assessment of myself, how concerned am I with external appearances.

              3. Have I got a newfound sense of wonder when I consider that I am a new creation?