I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
In the name of + Jesus.
I’ve never been a church-planter, like Paul, who wrote the words above to the Christians in the Church at Galatia—which he started. I’ve never stepped into a community which didn’t have a Church—didn’t have or know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve never had the joy of seeing the beginning of a Christian congregation born in faith through the preaching of the Gospel.
But unfortunately, I have shared in the astonishment Paul shares – an astonishment he has over those who have heard and believed the wonderful message of the forgiveness of sins that freely come from the cross of Christ.
I have friends from years ago who were zealous in the faith, but who now enjoy mocking those of us who uphold the tenants of creedal Christianity. There are former classmates of mine who used to join with me in worship of our Triune God, but who now seem to worship anything but the true God. And I have family members who once stood as role-models in the faith, who now make me wonder, with great sorrow, “what happened to him/her?”
It’s astonishing, that one would have heard the Gospel, and believed the Gospel, and then be led astray into the darkness and confusion of unbelief. It’s astonishing, but it happens all around us.
And it would happen within us, too, if we began to listen to false teachers, or if we began to listen to false preachers, or if we began to read the books of authors who have adopted a different gospel – which is no gospel. Just do a Google search for popular Christian literature, and you’ll see that false teachers are not only all around us, but they have a large audience. If not for the grace of God go I!
One of the marks of the one, holy, Christian (catholic—universal), apostolic Church, is the true preaching/teaching of the Gospel: salvation in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, as reported in the Scriptures alone. That is what Paul was reminding the Galatians, and we do well to remember it as well.
Dear heavenly Father, you promise not to lose one of your children. And through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel of Jesus, Your Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth. Keep us steadfast in that Word which is the power of salvation for all who believe, and give us hearts of compassion for those who would otherwise be led astray by false teachers, that we might not be afraid, but may respond in love with the Word of a Savior who died for their sins, and our own; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.