We have a hard time keeping it real, don’t we? We change our demeanor and message based on who’s listening. We like a good image of ourselves too. That’s a problem. It’s a big problem. We’re fake when we do it.
I’m in Galatians 2 and Paul talks about going to the apostles to tell them about the message he’s been preaching, the leaders agreed, and others disagreed. Paul seems to mention over and over again that God doesn’t show favoritism, and that he didn’t care who he was talking with. It didn’t matter. The message stayed the same for all. Even when Peter decided that the message of the cross wasn’t quite good enough for the audience that was coming, Paul didn’t care. The message should remain the same regardless of the audience.
I’m sure that in those days anyone could say, “Yeah, but things are different in this case.” Don’t we use the same excuse? I bet it was difficult for any Jew to see other Jews not living the way they’ve been brought up. All those things that once mattered didn’t matter anymore because Christ destroyed all those barriers through the cross. Now everyone has the chance to know God just like the Jews. I’m sure it was a hard thing to grasp for some of them. Not only that, the law had a bunch of things in it that took a different turn because of Christ. Now food was clean, all food was clean. Gentiles could become clean without having to offer any type of sacrifice or go through a ceremonial cleansing. The message of the gospel has no barriers, and God made that very clear. It can go anywhere. But the teachings of gospel changes lives.
Let me ask you something. Have you put up barriers to the cross? Each barrier we make is declaring to new believers, long-time Christians, and the world that the cross isn’t strong or powerful enough to save us. We must do something to help it. It’s always easier to follow a step by step procedure. Faith is intimidating. It means we rely on God above what can appear to be the right thing to do.
Don’t take me wrong on this. Don’t get nit-picky about little acts of obedience or morality. Each time we obey God’s Word is an act of faith. It’s declaring that God knows better than we do and we’re going to follow Him because of it. It’s those big acts, the things that we don’t recognize, and the very small things that we’ve never thought of that causes us to live by faith. Righteous people are only made righteous by faith in Christ. Faith is seen in those who believe and obey God regardless of the cost to themselves. And the terrifying truth is that we can very easily get caught up in a nit-picky thing and, in the process, build a wall in front of the cross.
That’s what Paul was telling Peter. If they’re justified by faith, so are we. Why are we trying to change the gospel by now rebuilding something that Christ destroyed? If we rebuild it, CHRIST becomes a minister of SIN!!! We’re representatives of Him! It’s supposed to be Christ living in us, not ourselves anymore. If we’re trying to earn God’s favor instead of living in it, if we’re trying to gain approval from those who appear to have some type of importance, if we’re not real with other believers, then we don’t believe the cross is enough! If we died to it, why are we trying to rebuild it?
This is crazy stuff. I’ve been a believer much longer than I haven’t been. It’s like hearing something new, or something forgotten. Remember Jesus? Remember what He came to do? Remember what He set me free from? The law shows us that we can’t earn it. The law is there because people break it. If Christ set us free from the law by giving us life through His death, which the law what killed Him, why are we trying to live according to it? The shows us that we have sin. And our sin is what put Him to death. Christ came to set us free from the law of sin and death!
We may not be living according to the Old Testament law, but we do have a tendency to make our own. We tell people to clean up before they come to church. People actually believe that they’re not good enough to be associated with us! Dude, that sucks. Doesn’t that hurt a little bit? Do you know what that means? We’re responsible for building something that has been destroyed. We’ve made Christ a minister of sin instead of grace.
We’ve got to stop being fake people. We need to start glorying in our weakness to praise God’s strength. We don’t think we’re weak. We don’t think we need help. And unfortunately, most of us could possibly do just fine if we found Christ’s body today. Shame on us! We need to remember that we still need Him, desperately need Him! If we don’t, we’re leading everyone away from the historical Son of God and on toward a buddy that lives on a cloud in our mind.
Let me ask you again, and this time, pray that God reveals it to you and ask Him to cause an explosion in your soul. Have you put up barriers to the cross?
This verse makes all the difference.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
Stop trying to live. Let Christ live in you. Stop trying to live what you think you know and begin trusting that God knows better. Not because He does know better, but because He loves you and gave Himself up for you. See what He’s done? Remember.