Week of August 19
The Two World Religions
By Skip Heitzig
The believers at Galatia were in danger of leaving a loving relationship with God for a religion of legal works. That’s still a danger today, and God preserved the book of Galatians to keep us from making that mistake.
You see, there are only two religions in the world. Oh, I know you can read books or take classes on all the world religions, but really there are only two. One is the religion of human achievement. The other one is the religion of divine accomplishment. Either you do something to get saved, or God does something for you to save you.
Some people try to combine these, and that’s what the Galatians were doing: “I’m saved by faith plus works. I’m saved by what Christ did on the cross, plus what I do for Christ in the flesh.” But there are only two religions, and you can’t combine them. You either earn your way, or it is a free gift.
Most people are banking on the religion of human accomplishment. But Paul, who was diligent in keeping the law, called it all “rubbish” in the end. He wrote, “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith’” (Galatians 3:11). You are saved by faith alone in Christ alone.
Verse 2 asks, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” The presence of the Spirit living inside you, as He does all believers, is the evidence of salvation, the seal of redemption. And it goes on: “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (v. 3).
What a great question! I want you to ask yourself that. You began simply in the spirit, by believing, by an act of faith. “Jesus, I trust you. Save me.” So if you started out not by keeping the Law of Moses, but just by believing, why would you go back and practice a form of legalism that never saved you to begin with?
More often than I would like, I’ve seen a pattern among Christians. They start out simple, and they get complicated. They start out intimate and in love, and they grow sour over time. They overemphasize some truth of scripture and become convinced they need to obey some law or perform some ritual in order to be saved. Trying to be perfected in the flesh makes their Christianity dead and dry, and it makes them useless for evangelism.
So look back on your personal salvation. Go back to the time when you personally talked to God. If you began in the spirit, continue in the spirit. It’s the only true way.
Copyright © 2011 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.