Last night we looked at Galatians 1:6-10. The reason for this was to press hard on the point that there is only ONE gospel. That Jesus came, lived a perfect life, died on the cross in our place for our sin, rose from death in defeat of sin, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father as a mediator between us and Him. Below is the text we read.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:6-10 ESV)
As we read these verses some very good questions started being asked. Though many of the questions didn’t come from the scripture reading it can be answered by it. Below is a recap of the questions asked and how the scripture answered them.
1. Is it wrong to hate/dislike someone?
In short, yes. If you hate someone Jesus says that is its basically like murdering them. (Matthew 5:21-26) The intent of your heart is what matters, not the action in this case. Jesus states that if you are angry with someone you should stop what you are doing and go apologize to them for what has happened. In the Sermon On The Mount Jesus indicates that it makes it harder for anyone to even follow Him if there are people that they have not apologized too. This is not to say that you must like everyone. However it does mean that as the Holy Spirit changes our hearts we begin to see people as God seems them. This means that we don’t hate them but love them like Christ loves us.
2. Do I have to forgive someone if they keep doing the same thing again and again?
There are two things we must understand while answering the question. There is a difference between forgiving someone and trusting someone again. For example, if I let someone know where where my car is and what it looks like and then the go and spray paint my car pink I would of course be angry. I can forgive them for their act, but they will have to regain my trust. There is a difference between forgiving someone and trusting them. If the person still continues to wrong you, depending on the severity of the wrong, legal action may want to be sought. Lastly, in Matthew 18 we see Peter ask this same question to Jesus. The answer Jesus gives Peter is not the answer We or Peter want to hear, but the answer we need to hear. Jesus gently but firmly tells Peter that there is no number of times one should forgive. We must always be on a posture of repentance and forgiveness. In short, we must forgive as we have been forgiven.
3. Whats the difference between knowing your a sinner and knowing your a sinner?
There is a huge difference between knowing that you are “bad” and really feeling your sin heavy on you. The difference manifest itself in a few different ways. One of the main indicators is simply that you know you are a sinner but don’t feel your sin is that your actions effect you and others but you don’t really care. You may attempt change your behavior but many times your identity is so wrapped up in your actions that you find it hard to change. When someone really feels their sin its hard to do anything because the weight of ones sin is crushing that identity that they hold so dear. This may seem painful but in reality it is really a great thing because God is crushing our old sinful identity and giving us a new identify in Christ. The question we all have to ask is have we felt the full weight of our sin against God or are we still fighting to keep our worldly identity?
It seems that Paul answers all these questions by simply reminding the Galatians that they should remember THE GOSPEL. That God is changing their hearts so they can see people like He sees them, that there is punishment for sin but forgiveness is always freely given and that if they don’t understand why the gospel is important they will continue to know that they are “bad”, but will feel no need to change it.
I pray that if the Holy Spirit has convicted you of sin that you understand the grace you have been given and freely give the same grace. I pray that if you haven’t ever felt your sin that the Holy Spirit crushes your worldly identity so that you will have nothing to cling to but Jesus.
Praying for you as I hope you are praying for me.