Thursday 13 June 2013

Galatians Chapter 2 V 15//21

This passage is the Epistle for Sunday.

There is obviously a great divide between God and us, and the Bible recognising mankind’s sinfulness pointed us to the answer how this is resolved. The answer was the Cross, and in his Letter to the Galatians Paul tells how we can be restored to a relationship with God. It is being ‘justified by faith’.

We have to accept, with sadness, that Britain is no longer a Christian country. Indeed, government has been at pains to tell and show us. With passionate determination David Cameron has set out to destroy the bedrock of society and made no secret that as far as he is concerned Christianity does not hold pride of place in his society. We have had men and women taken to the European Court for daring to display or voice their Christian faith. I am still waiting (but not wanting) to see similar action taken against other faiths, but have no confidence it will happen.

It is true the majority of people like to think of themselves as Christians, but this is in name only with no biblical significance. I have met so many people who think listening to ‘Songs of Praise’ on television is a sort of certificate of them being Christians.

The Christian belief and teaching is that when we die our spirit moves on to either eternal life in heaven with Christ, or to eternal destruction. This is not popular theology, but it is biblical.

There are two lines of thought as to how we can get to heaven. One so popular with the person in the street, and with many Church members lay and ordained, is by our own endeavours and deeds. It is a common belief that if one is honest, kind and helpful to others, there is no need to suffer the inconvenience of going to Church or becoming religious.

I heard of an elderly man who was caring for his sick wife and his neighbour, a Muslim lady, offered to help him with shopping and washing. He thanked her and said what a kind Christian lady she was. She rightly told him how offensive this was to her. But it is an symptomatic of the way people think. A| lady once told me her granddaughter didn’t believe in God but was a real Christian girl. (If you can work that one out let me know)

So what should we base our hope and confidence in? Paul tries to explain in this Letter. He had founded the Church in Galatia and moved on. Later some Jewish Christians had arrived from Jerusalem, and whilst they accepted all the teachings of Jesus, they required the Jewish Law and circumcision to be added. Paul was furious that anyone should suggest anything needed to be added to that given by Jesus.

These Jewish believers also questioned Paul’s right to be called an Apostle, to which he pointed out that he had been called uniquely by God through Jesus Christ so that his words could be accepted as being spoken by God.

Paul taught that Jesus came into the world to live and die for us. In His death, He suffered on the Cross for our disobedience and because of that death, paid the penalty for our sin to enable us to be forgiven by God. All we have to do is to repent of our sin and put our whole trust in Jesus Christ to save us. This justifies us in God’s sight and we are accepted as sons and daughters into the family of God. Such a simple, yet profound act, but one beyond the ability of many to accept.

God will not accept human terms, for He wanted it understood that it was only through Jesus that salvation could be gained. The Bible states ‘there is no other name under heaven by which we may be saved.’

Imagine a woman charged with stealing food from a shop and appearing before a judge. She admits stealing and pleads for mercy. The judge tells her he must as a just judge fine her and does so, but then tells her the fine will be paid for her. God has to judge us and require a penalty to be paid. He gave His Son Jesus Christ to pay that penalty, which He did at Calvary.

Be at Church on Sunday and may God bless you.

(You are welcome to make any comment)

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