Never Mix Law and Grace
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
Do you know why many believers today have a confused perspective of God? For example, many believers think that God is sometimes angry with them, but at other times pleased with them.
And while they would personally never hurt their own children this way, many believers today think that their heavenly Father would actually punish them with sicknesses and diseases. What accounts for this apparent “schizophrenia” that exists in the body of Christ today?
The answer lies in a mixture of covenants (or “Galatianism”) that is prevalent in the church of Jesus Christ. During Paul’s day, the church in Galatia was struggling with this intermingling of teachings about God that contains a little bit of the law as well as a little bit of grace—a mixture of covenants. From the severity of Apostle Paul’s tone to the Galatians, it is obvious that Paul regarded this issue very seriously.
You might expect Paul to be more upset with the believers in Corinth, who were involved in all kinds of public sins and immoral activities, but he was not. His intense reaction toward the church in Galatia reveals what is of priority to God. It is clear that in God’s eyes, believing the wrong doctrine is worse than exhibiting wrong behavior!
When it came to wrong behavior in Corinth, Paul was cool and collected toward the believers. He was able to handle their wrong behavior because he knew that the grace of God was able to take care of their spree of wrong behavior. That is why he was able to speak positively to them, even telling them, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:4). But when it came to wrong doctrine in Galatia, he rebuked the believers there because they nullified God’s grace by mixing it with the law.
In the very first chapter of Galatians, Paul says, “I marvel . . .” or as you and I would say today, “I am appalled . . .” What appalled him? Paul continues, “. . . that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:6–7).
Paul had preached the gospel of grace to the Galatians, but he found that there were Judaizers who introduced elements of the law to them. They mixed God’s grace with the law, causing the Galatians to turn away from the pure grace of Christ. They said, “Yes, it’s good that you are saved by grace, but it’s not enough for you to just have Jesus. You must also know and abide by the law of Moses and be circumcised to be pleasing to God.”
This mixture of law and grace angered Paul. You see, if you have wrong behavior, as long as there is grace in the church, grace will teach and give you the power to overcome your wrong behavior. But if there is no grace in the church, or if grace is mixed with the law and nullified, then what hope is there for overcoming your wrong behavior?
Beloved, wrongly believing a mixture of law and grace leads you down a path of defeat and will keep you trapped in paralyzing captivity. Right believing in the pure, unmixed gospel of grace, on the other hand, is the door out of this vicious cycle of defeat and bondage.
Today, begin to believe right by choosing to know and believe in the true gospel of grace. Believe that Jesus’ finished work has cleansed and forgiven you, and made you righteous with His own righteousness in the eyes of Almighty God. I pray that as you turn to the person of Jesus who has saved you to the uttermost by His sacrifice on the cross, you will begin to experience your breakthrough and lasting victory!
This devotional is taken from the book Reign in Life—90 Powerful Inspirations for Extraordinary Breakthroughs.
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