No Gospel at All
Day 6: Tuesday, March 12, 2019
6I am astonished that you are so quickly… turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all…
In the 15th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, the religious leaders of the day confront Jesus because His disciples, following Jesus’ example, started eating their food without first ceremonially washing their hands. So they asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Jesus quickly responded, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matt. 15:1-6).
This was the core conflict between Jesus and the culture — the conflict between what God commands and what human tradition demands. Fifty years after Jesus, this was the same struggle between Paul and the leaders of the Church. This same conflict was Paul’s motivation for writing his letter to the Galatians.
The “good news” according to Paul’s opponents was, you’re welcome into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ, “and if” you follow the traditions of the Jewish faith. More than 2,000 years later, this remains the central struggle between modern culture and anyone who seeks to faithfully follow Jesus. The question for any of us who seek to be followers of Christ, is, “how do we keep human tradition from overshadowing the heart of what God requires of us?”
The Gospel is the “Good News” — the message that salvation is given by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, alone. Anything that takes us from that message, or living the reality of that message in our lives, is simply bad news; or, as Paul says it, “no gospel at all.”
Read This Week: Galatians 1:6-12
Respond: Questions for Reflection and Discussion
✦ The “good news” according to Paul’s opponents was, “you’re welcome into God’s family if you have faith in Jesus Christ, “and if” you follow the traditions of the Jewish faith. As you see it, what are the “and ifs” that the modern church attaches to the Gospel of Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ?
✦ What is the meaning of “tradition?” What is the value of having “traditions?” Name a tradition you consider helpful, relevant and necessary within the church. Name a tradition within the church that you believe has outgrown its usefulness.
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