Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
Some things just don’t mix. Milk and orange juice, taxes and freedom, Coca cola and Mentos. But there is one particular mix that can sometimes be fatal. Blood pressure medicine can be a great thing, but when mixed with Advil/Ibuprofen it can harm your body and even give you a brain hemorrhage. If you mix rubbing alcohol and bleach you create chloroform. It’s safe to say that some things in life just don’t mix.
20-30 years after the ascension of Jesus, Paul wrote to a group of Celtic Christians in Galatia warning them of the dangers of mixing two teachings. We find the establishment of these Galatian churches in Acts 13-15 (Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia). In 15:1 Some people came down from Judea teaching that circumcision was required for salvation. This occurred right after Paul had converted them. They are new Christians, and Paul had a “great debate” with them there. In Acts 15:5, the Pharisees who “had believed” were the ones commanding this of Christians. Fast forward a decade, and these teachers are back in Galatia teaching that circumcision is required for salvation.
In Galatians one, the question Paul is trying to answer is, “What is required for a person to be saved?” Forget circumcision, forget additional teachings, what does GOD say? Paul gives his answer by basically saying, “We need nothing other than what is contained in scripture to walk in the light.” There is only ONE gospel. In Verse 6 Paul says, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.” He uses the word “amazed” or thaumazo.
These were Christians who should’ve known better. Their quick acceptance of this addition to the gospel amazed Paul in a negative sense. In Acts 4:13, this same Greek word is used to describe the scribes and Pharisees’ reaction to the apostles’ teachings. Again in Mark 5:20, we read that people were amazed by Jesus’ teaching. Paul now uses this word to describe his reaction to these Christians deserting the gospel! This word could be accurately translated as “deeply disturbed.”
If there is anything added to that which is necessary for the maintaining of your walk in the light, it is not necessary for salvation. These Christians should’ve known better, but sadly sometimes we are the same way. We know what’s right and wrong and yet we still choose poorly (speech, actions, thoughts).
The message that these Christians were to accept was that of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the correct way to be saved. Any requirement outside of the plan of salvation is a false doctrine that must be condemned. If that other requirement is the sinner’s prayer, it must be condemned. If that other requirement is a “new wave of salvation,” as some denominations teach, it is to be condemned. If that other requirement is a tradition not necessary for salvation yet is enforced as such, it is to be condemned. We are only compelled to follow what is contained in God’s Holy Word.
Let’s be careful as Christians to follow and teach solely what God has required of us.