Grace and Truth (Part 21): An Infection In Your Belief System

by Rick

Today we continue our series entitled, “Grace and Truth” by continuing to look at by continuing to look at The Law given under Moses vs. the Grace provided by Jesus.  Our main scriptures are John 1:14 & 17.  Let’s look at them again.

(John 1:14 New International Version)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John 1:17 New International Version)

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

In this series we studied Galatians 3, 4, and we stopped at verse 6 of chapter 5.  Let’s pick it up from there today.

(Galatians 5:6-9 The Passion Translation)  

6  When you’re placed into the Anointed One and joined to him, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. All that matters now is living in the faith that is activated and brought to perfection by love.

7 Before you were led astray, you were so faithful to Messiah. Why have you now turned away from what is right and true? Who has deceived you?

8 The One who enfolded you into his grace is not behind this false teaching that you’ve embraced. Not at all! 

9 Don’t you know that when you allow even a little lie into your heart, it can permeate your entire belief system?

Another translation of verse 9 reads, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things:

1.  The Apostle Paul visited southern Galatia on his first missionary journey (Acts 13–14).  Scholars date the trip early in his ministry, around 47–48 AD. Paul preached the Gospel of God’s grace during his trips and in the process, churches were planted everywhere he went.  Years later, he wrote to the Galatians, clearly frustrated with the fact that they had allowed Jewish converts to Christianity (like he was) to add The Law to the grace. He told them clearly, ‘When you’re placed into the Anointed One [Chrst Jesus] and joined to him, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. All that matters now is living in the faith that is activated and brought to perfection by love.” (Gal 5:6).  Paul says that by adding performance-based religion to the grace Jesus provided the Galatians were “deceived” and “led astray”.  The sad truth is that today, thousands of years later, many Christains are in the same boat.  They have added religious requirements to God’s grace as conditions for righteousness. As if you could ever be righteous by works.  Please don’t be deceived like the Galatians were. If you are Born-Again you are righteous. But you are not righteous because of what you do or what you fail to do.  You are only righteous because of what Jesus did. You are righteous by faith and your faith accesses God’s grace.

2.  The Apostle Paul said, “The One who enfolded you into his grace is not behind this false teaching that you’ve embraced. Not at all!” (Gal 5:8).  The false teaching Paul is talking about is adding works to grace as a requirement for righteousness.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans he explained this clearly. He drove home the point that God’s grace is a gift.  You cannot work for a gift. All you can do with a gift is receive it. If you try to work for it, then the gift is no longer a gift.  At that point it becomes payment for your effort. Paul said it this way, “And since it is by God’s grace, it can’t be a matter of their good works; otherwise, it wouldn’t be a gift of grace, but earned by human effort.” (Romans 11:6).  Going back to Galatians, Paul was upset that someone had convinced the Galtians to mix God’s grace with human effort.  This mixture is dangerous because it can contaminate your entire belief system. Paul went on to say, “Don’t you know that when you allow even a little lie into your heart, it can permeate your entire belief system?” (Gal 5:9).  Just like a little yeast works itself through an entire batch of dough, a little lie, or a little deception, can work its way through your entire belief system.  Before you know it, you won’t look in the mirror and see yourself righteous because of what Jesus did. You will start seeing yourself righteous because of what you do.  This is self-righteousness. Or even worse, you will allow the level of your faith towards God to be contingent upon your perceived goodness towards Him.  Meaning that if you perform good, you will expect good.  But if you perform bad, you will expect bad. If you get to the point where you believe this way, then Jesus means nothing to you.  You are living no different than the Old Covenant believers lived before Jesus came.  You are living by works, not by faith in God’s grace. Please don’t let this be you.

I will stop here.  That is enough for today.  Please meditate on what God, through the Apostle Paul and me, said to you today.   

Declaration of Faith

Father, You sent Jesus to die for my sin.  There was NO SIN in Him. You put my sin ON HIM!  Jesus died in my stead. He was completely righteous and there was no righteousness in me.  You put His righteousness ON ME. Jesus took my sin. I now take His righteousness. I am not righteous because of what I do or what I fail to do.  Righteousness is a gift. I cannot work for a gift. All I can do is receive it. I do! I receive it by faith. In Christ Jesus I receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.  I am not right because I do right. I am right because I believe right. And since right believing leads to right living, I declare that I live my life by faith. My faith taps into Your unearned grace every day and I am able to impact this world for You!  You live IN ME and You work THROUGH ME, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I am good. It has everything to do with the fact that YOU ARE GOOD! You use me by grace. I cooperate with You by faith. Together, we shall change the world! I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name. Amen!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

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