Thursday, March 10, 2016

Whose Approval Rating Am I Looking For?

Scriptures: Deuteronomy 13-15 Galatians 1 Devotional Verse: Galatians 1:9-10
"As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:9-10

Paul has very strong and harsh words for those who preached another gospel, different than the other apostles preached. The gospel was that we are saved by grace through faith, and there is nothing we can do to earn it. Nothing! But soon after Paul preached, the people perverted the true gospel and substituted a "false" gospel. The false gospel was no gospel at all, because it went back to works righteousness. It went back to being saved by our good deeds. At the heart of works righteousness is trying to win other's approval, which is why it is so enticing. Works righteousness is people looking for approval based on what we do. But the true Gospel is that we have already been approved by Christ.

It is easy to turn the gospel into law. It happens all the time today. The law is self centered as it focuses on what I can do. It assumes I am worthy, in as much as I can do enough stuff to make the grade. The true gospel focuses on Jesus and what He has already done on the cross. As we accept the true gospel in our hearts, we begin to serve the One who was the Good News. Today we might ask these questions honestly.

Have I truly understood the Good News that I am saved by grace and NOTHING else? A good indicator would be am I looking to try please others, when I already have God's approval? And the tricky thing is that no matter how strong a Christian I am, I can easily slip back to believe in the false gospel. Why? Because it is so hard to receive a free gift. We would rather earn it and take credit for it. This is why Paul's words were so strong. He knew that everything depended on understanding the true gospel, and then living our lives in service to Christ.

Lord thank you for the Gospel, that someone preached to me with complete clarity. Through believing in what you did for me through sending Your only Son to earth, you have set me free from trying to prove myself to anyone. Help me to not be enticed to go back to any false gospels which put the burden back on me to prove myself. Thank you Jesus for counting me as worthy to receive God's grace and forgiveness. Amen.

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