“You stupid Galatians! I told you exactly how Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross. Has someone now put an evil spell on you?” (CEV). So, Paul, what do you really think of the Galatians’ attitude? The apostle was totally exasperated with this church. Having embraced the gospel of grace the Galatian churches turned around and started practicing a gospel of works. This did not just raise the ire of Paul; he went spiritually Rambo on them. The Christian life, Paul argued, was thoroughly imbibed with grace – so much so that there is no room whatsoever for Christianity to practically exist outside of grace. If we were saved by grace, we continue to live by grace.
The Galatian heresy, or stupidity, or whatever you want to call it, still exists. Having been redeemed by the grace of God in Christ, there are “believers” who persist in declaring a gospel of judgment for any and all who are different. Whereas they were saved by grace, stupid believers set up a system of works for folks like the LGBTQ community. Somehow they cannot be saved and sustained by grace because they are in a special class of sinner. In this system, somehow Muslims can only be saved and sustained by proving how bad they are, and not by grace, because they are terrible people who want everyone else dead. Somehow they need a gospel of judgment…. I see stupid believers everywhere (said in a hushed whisper).
If I seem perturbed, I guess I am. I would like to think I’m living along the lines of the Apostle Paul, but I know the human heart’s propensity toward thinking better of itself than it really is. It seems that, without fail, someone inevitably feels the need to remind me that God cares about truth whenever I talk about grace, as if grace isn’t the highest truth that one could hold. If it isn’t the gospel of grace it is not biblical – it is a perverted gospel – and the evidence of it is folks who downgrade the crucifixion of Christ and living by the Spirit in favor of group-speak and fighting the culture wars. Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Gracious God, you are merciful and save all who come to you by faith in the name of Jesus. Help me to see grace for what it is – scandalously free and exorbitantly wonderful – bought with the price of Christ’s blood. Amen.