Reach • Devotion 4

The Line
Peter Mason

“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.” Galatians 1:6-7

Every year the MLB releases amended rules for the upcoming baseball season. This past April, teams were allowed to increase their 26-player active roster to 28. Surely this has some bearing on how the game is played, but no one really blinked an eye. In recent years, however, the idea of a game clock or countdown has been suggested to help speed up the game due to baseball's notorious slow pace. True baseball fans have been alarmed at this suggested change because that would cross the line, “It would no longer be baseball.” The slow social element of baseball is what makes it baseball! Whether you agree, disagree, or simply do not care, it is a fascinating question, “How much can you change a thing before it ceases to be what it was?” If we started kicking the ball instead of throwing the ball, we would no longer be playing baseball, but where is the line?

We do not have the space to ponder that here, but when it comes to following Jesus, the Apostle Paul has written the entire book of Galatians to show us where that line is for our faith. In these verses, we see the church had begun to accept a changed and distorted gospel. It was a gospel so distorted, that Paul says they have begun to desert Jesus Himself!

The line for Paul is the line between the Law and the Gospel. When the Law mixes with the Gospel, it is no longer the Gospel. The Law is God’s good and holy command but it is separate from the Gospel of Jesus. Let me explain. The Good News of Jesus is not that you now have the power within yourself to obey all of God’s commands and follow His teachings. The Good News is not holy advice to help you live a good life. The Good News is not a command to do anything. It is because in ourselves we are unable to fulfill the Law’s command.
 
The Gospel (Good News) is simply hearing and accepting that something has already happened for you. The Gospel of Jesus is that wherever you find yourself today, a man has died on a hill outside Jerusalem to save you, whether you like it or not. That man is Jesus. The Good News is that help comes from the outside regardless of how well your life is going or what kind of person you are today. As you read these words, you can let go of the heavy burden of believing in the distorted gospel of needing to do something in order to be accepted. Instead, simply enjoy your forgiveness. This is the only demand of the Gospel which is to rest and enjoy your forgiveness. You will be surprised how easily a holy life begins to bloom in your life when your energy is refocused from doing to receiving.

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