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Grace Baptist Church | Cape Coral

Not Man's Gospel

Pastor Jared Longshore begins a sermon series on the book of Galatians: “Trusting the Gospel of God Alone.” The message, “Not Man’s Gospel,” covers the first chapter of Galatians. Galatians exalts the Gospel of Jesus Christ and proclaims salvation by grace alone while denouncing any form of legalism.

In Chapter 1 Paul begins with his greeting, moves to an expression of dismay, and also provides a bit if biography. Paul’s concentration, however, is on the terrible cost of distorting the gospel. The gospel is the sovereign work of God. As such it is to be presented and received accurately. To that end God had appointed messengers, the apostles, to communicate the gospel. Therefore, Paul claims his apostleship, and message, was not received from humans but given to him directly by God. Thus, as Paul writes here, his word is God’s Word and is to be taken wholly and literally as given. God’s sovereign work of salvation laid out in the Bible could only be accomplished by Him and provides for the believer both grace and peace from God.

Nevertheless, man has a long history of distorting the gospel. Here Paul wrote of the Judaizers who taught the tenants of Judaism were a necessary part of the gospel. That is as false a gospel as are today’s perversions of the truth. We do not need Jesus plus attendance at church, or baptism, or leading a good life, or a confessional ritual. While there is merit in attendance, confession, good works, and baptism is a command of Jesus Christ, these do not add to or solidify one’s true conversion. Faith in Christ alone is the proclamation of the true gospel. “I am the way and the truth and the life” are Jesus’ very words (John 14:6). Teachers who add to God’s words are not to be tolerated; in fact, they are to be condemned. The church has the responsibility to see that only the true gospel is preached. Implicit in the responsibility is the churches’ knowledge of the gospel. This knowledge comes from study, reflection, and prayer.

The gospel is the sovereign work of God and has been distorted over the ages by man. But the gospel is also the revealed message of God. The message Paul preached was not conveyed to him by man or men but rather was given directly to him by God. The Bible shows Paul was set apart from before his birth, was called by the grace of God, and received the gospel in order to preach the gospel. Though perhaps not as spectacularly as with Paul’s, the same is ultimately true of all faithful believers. We are to proclaim the sovereign work of God in salvation. There is to be no distortion so we should seek to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should realize we are but vehicles God has chosen to use as He reveals His truths through us to whom He will.

God’s work in our lives is a wonder. Yet, it is only that wonder because we have come to God through God’s undistorted revelation of Himself and His work on our behalf.

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