“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…”
Galatians 1: 6, NIV
The Galatian believers had heard and accepted the Gospel of grace, but now they were living by a different gospel. This other gospel was not about God’s grace, but rather it emphasized rules and religious traditions. The Galatians were now all about keeping the Sabbath, celebrating holy days, obeying dietary regulations, and circumcising babies. They became legalists.
A legalist is someone who believes that we earn God’s favor by keeping rules and, believe me, they are all around us. They are the ones who can tell you exactly how to react to every circumstance. They have detailed instructions, which govern every area of their lives. And if you are really spiritual, those instructions will govern your life, too! At least that is what they tell you. They have all the answers before you have even figured out what the questions are. And if you dare to disagree with these grace-killers, then you had better duck. The legalist will whack you upside the head and believe he is doing God a favor.
Sadly, we believers let them get away with this behavior because a legalist can seem so holy. But the fact is this: legalism and the Gospel of grace are wholly incompatible. If you are a legalist, then you are “deserting Him who called you for a different Gospel.”
Do not misunderstand. If Jesus is your Lord, then you should have convictions about how to live your life for His glory. Remember that you are a breed apart. But do not confuse the issue. God saved, He loves, and He has prepared a place in Heaven for you because He is merciful, not because you are good. And do not assume that God has given all believers the exact same convictions He has given you. Believe and share the Gospel of grace. Accept no substitutes.
QUESTION: Do you know for certain, right now, that you are a perfectly righteous child of God? The Gospel says you are, if you have faith in Jesus. If you believe otherwise, then you believe a different gospel.