Not So Random Thoughts 3

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. 6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. 11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

What appears small to man is gigantic to God (adding one little work to the Gospel) and what is gigantic to man (life’s troubles and trials) is actually tiny to God. We must learn to accept the perspective of God in matters of life and of the Gospel. Man cannot imagine that it is such a major issue to God to add one little work to the Gospel, but it appears that the Gospel has virtually disappeared in our day. It is true that a statement like that sounds arrogant, but when one reads the Reformers it is not at all clear that many in our day hold to the same Gospel that they did.

Man thinks that it cannot be a major thing adding one work to the Gospel, but we must remember that when one work (regardless of how small it is) is added to grace alone it is no longer grace alone. When one adds one work (regardless of how small it is) to justification by grace apart from works, then justification is no longer apart from works. The Reformers thought that it was vital to the Gospel that it be by grace alone and by grace apart from works. In this way it could all be according to grace alone and to His glory alone. What harm can it do to add one little work to the Gospel of grace alone? Well, what harm can there be to adding just a little poison to a person’s drink? What harm can it do to add just a peanut to a cookie when a person is allergic to peanuts?

From the text above we can see that people are called by God who calls through the grace of Christ. Anything else is a different Gospel. It is so hard (even impossible) to get nice and accepting people to grab a hold of the fact that adding one little thing (in man’s view) makes the Gospel a non-Gospel or distorts the Gospel where it becomes something other than the true Gospel of grace alone. While it may appear to man that one little work is no big deal, in the eyes of God it changes the whole structure of the Gospel and gives man something to brag about. In the eyes of God that one little work means that man is trying to have something to add to the Gospel so that he can trust in himself just a little. This means that the Gospel of the glory of God is now shared with man. That is huge.

In this we can see with some degree of clarity of the need of the human heart to be broken and humbled. The proud heart of man will cling to some hope in self until God humbles the heart. In this we can also see how it must be God who breaks the proud heart of man because man can never cast the pride of his own proud heart. A proud heart can be ashamed of obvious pride, but in its self-love it will never be able to cast out its own pride. The proud heart will always operate according to pride and as such a proud heart cannot cast out pride since it would be pride doing the work.

Men can see that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, but they think that they can humble their own hearts. In this is a great error because that would make them assist God in coming up with grace. Men must seek the Lord for a true conviction of sin and a true humility. Men must seek the Lord to give them a true faith in Christ alone. If men must come up with faith, then they are trusting in themselves and Christ. The heart must be thoroughly broken from self and pride if it is going to truly rest in Christ alone for faith and all things and to rest in His grace for those things. For a human being to rest in Christ alone that human being must not trust in self at all.

The Gospel of grace alone is not simply a belief in the words or a belief that God saves by grace, but instead the Gospel of grace alone teaches us that God Himself saves sinners in reality and He does that by His own grace alone. He does not need to find anything in them to save them and He does not need them to add anything to what He has done or is doing. In order for this to happen, then, the hand of God must break the human heart in His kindness and make them humble and broken enough that they would not trust in anything or anyone but Christ and His grace. They must not rest in themselves for anything and that includes the breaking of the heart and of faith. It truly is all of grace and no one can add one thing to the true Gospel and so we must beware of those who try. We must also beware of those who seem to think that proud hearts can enter the kingdom of heaven. Oh no, as Jesus said, it is those who have been turned and become like little children who will enter.

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