Pray the Word: Gospel Distortions
Read Galatians 1
Paul writes, "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 are an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preach to you, let him be accursed."
This picture of different gospels, which Paul says not that there really is a different gospel. But people who were at the churches in Galatia proclaiming what they said was the gospel, but was not the gospel. It was a message of salvation by works, not by grace. People saying that we are saved from our sins before God based on what we do, not simply by grace through faith and trust in Christ alone, what he did at the cross.
So we read this in the first century. From the very beginning, people were taking the gospel and twisting it and distorting it. And the reality is 2,000 years later, all kinds of people are doing the exact same thing, taking the gospel and twisting it, distorting it, and communicating it as if this was the gospel. We see this all around us. People saying that Christianity is based on what you do before God, how you earn the favor of God, instead of trusting solely in the mercy of God, the grace of God, in Christ on the cross to save us from our sins.
People, when it comes to a health and wealth gospel, prosperity gospel it's called, saying, "Come to Christ and you will get health. And come to Christ and you'll have wealth. And come to Christ and you'll experience prosperity in the world." It's not true. We don't come to Christ to get health or wealth or prosperity. We come to Christ to get Christ. He's the one we need. The picture of the gospel is clear from cover to cover all throughout scripture. We are sinners before a holy God.
We cannot save ourselves. No amount of good we do can earn the favor of God, which is why we need God to do what we cannot do ourselves. And this is what God has done. He has sent his son Jesus to live the life we couldn't live, none of us could live. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God. And then, though he had no sin for which to pay, he paid the price for sin. He died on a cross. He died the deaths we deserved to die.
And then after dying on the cross as our substitute for our sin, he rose from the grave. Jesus lived a life we couldn't live. He died the deaths we deserved to die. And then he conquered the enemy we cannot conquer, so that anyone anywhere solely by faith in Christ, by turning from our sin ourselves, and trusting in Jesus as savior and Lord. Anyone anywhere can be reconciled to God forever, forgiven of all of our sin. This is the gospel from cover to cover in scripture. And this passage in Galatians 1 beckons us to never turn away from that gospel, to never distort that gospel, and to never be deceived by other supposed gospels.
So God, we pray. We pray for each of our lives. We praise you for the gospel by which we are saved. We praise you for the good news of your grace that saves us from our sin. We shudder to think of where we would be apart from your grace and the gospel. And so we pray, help us to hold fast to it. Help us not to be deceived by different gospels. We pray for the downfall of distorted gospels around the world, as those distorted gospels, different gospels, are being proclaimed.
God, we pray that you would open eyes to see the truth, that you would keep people from being deceived, keep us and keep others from being deceived and keep us from deceiving others. Oh God, just as Paul exhorted the Galatians in these verses, help us to hold fast to the gospel every single day. And help us to proclaim it clearly as we should. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
The Pray the Word podcast is used with permission from Radical. For more from Pray the Word, visit radical.net. http://radical.net/articles/podcast_type/pray-the-word