“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:15
Pure Life has been studying Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia for the last year or so. Over the course of that time we have seen that the principle issue that Paul is resisting is a perversion of the gospel of grace. Sometimes grace is perverted by legalism, where people think that human performance can somehow merit the good favor of God. Other times grace is perverted by lawlessness, where people think that “grace” means God is largely unconcerned with the moral quality of our lives. Both these errors fail to appreciate the reality of the gospel. The gospel means that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is totally sufficient to bring sinful human beings into the presence of God. And a true appreciation of the work of Christ overflows a saint’s heart with divine love that expresses itself in holy living.
One thing that Paul points out that I think we would do well to remember, are the consequences for us corporately if we fail to daily internalize this gospel of grace. Paul’s warning is vivid: a church that rejects grace is a church that consumes itself. Legalism causes people to spiritually assault others by scripture whipping them and condemning them. Lawlessness feeds selfish ambition and desire as we seek to use others for our own benefit. In both cases our energy is spent not on disseminating the gospel, but on abusing the body of Christ. What then is the remedy?
“…but through love serve one another” (Gal 5:13). This means that humility in love is the way in which we resist the pride of false gospels. Meditate on who you are apart from God’s grace and it will fill you with wonder and awe at the magnitude of your salvation. Let that divine love flow out of you in genuine sacrificial love towards others. In this way we will “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2), rather than making our brothers and sisters food for the enemy.
Pastor John Woolard