I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. – Galatians 1:6-7
More than any other person, Paul shifted the focus of Christianity from the proclamation of Jesus to the proclamation about Jesus. He singlehandedly transformed Christianity from an exclusively Jewish faith to a faith that included both Jews and Gentiles. He made Christianity open to everyone, everywhere, at every time. Paul began his ministry to churches emphasizing the freedom Jesus Christ brings from sin, from the fear of death, and from trying to be good enough for God. No other book in the Bible explains why Christianity is completely, uniquely, and absolutely different from every other religious faith. Jesus offers freedom that no one else can, and that’s the freedom Paul explains in Galatians.
Paul begins in Galatians 1:6 talking about how surprised he is that the people in the church of Galatia have so quickly turned away from the Gospel. Specifically, there were people known as Judaizers, which were Jews who had become Christians. But this group of people was teaching that in addition to accepting the Gospel, you had to become a Jew, be circumcised, obey the law, and keep all of the rules and regulations if you wanted to be a true Christian. They bought the lie that you have to be good enough for God, or God won’t be good to you. (Sadly, many people still believe this lie.) The Judaizers taught that the love of God is not a gift that you receive, but a prize you have to earn.
When you add the word “and” to grace, you have deserted the Gospel, because you’re basically saying, “The grace of God is not enough.” The Gospel reminds us that not only is the grace of God enough, but it is all you have and is all you will ever need. Everything has been done for us to be right with God. There is nothing more we need to do to experience His grace and His love other than receive it.
Dear Lord, thank you for your grace and your free gift of salvation. Help me not to add anything to grace and believe the lie that I have to save myself. Amen.