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“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.” –Jonathan Edwards
The Gospel Under Seige
It’s a radical idea.
Galatians–the insistence that the spiritual life is all about trusting Christ and what every Christian needs is more grace, not less.
Most believers seem okay with the concept that apart from Christ we have no hope.
But this teaching of Galatians that from beginning to end the gospel is about Jesus and His grace gives us pause.
“Is this true? If you tell Christians that it’s all about Jesus and grace working in them, they’re going to take advantage of that, Ed. You’re going to be releasing a lot of sin that should be controlled. It’s a dangerous teaching!”
I’m not the first to hear this challenge. It came to Paul in stereo. His earliest written defense of his gospel was the Book of Galatians. The first two chapters contain his vindication of the radical teachings of grace.
In 1:13-24 he offered convincing evidence that the gospel he taught was true: His radically transformed life.⇦Tweet that!
The Most Persuasive Evidence
Now he offers the most effective proof of all–living proof!
There was nothing in Paul’s preconversion story that could explain his current life as a follower of Christ. In his former life as Saul, he was a relentless persecutor of Christians (1:13, Cf. Acts 8:3; 9:1). Nobody was more zealous for works-righteousness than the Pharisaic Paul before he met Jesus (v. 14).
Once he met Jesus, everything changed. Isolated from virtually all influence, the grace of God transformed Paul. The persecutor became the preacher (1:15-17).
The heart of Paul’s argument in these verses is clear. If you trust the power of God enough to maintain an atmosphere of grace in relationships and community, God will blow your mind by glorifying Himself in ways you never imagined.
This gives us two reasons to trust the gospel of Christ Paul argues for in Galatians: 1) This is the gospel Jesus taught. 2) This is the gospel that powerfully transforms human beings.
Only the pure gospel powerfully transforms human beings.⇦Tweet that!
Question: Do you have a memory of meeting a Christian who was so authentic that it strengthened your faith in the gospel?