The Church in St. Louis

But to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us. - Eph 3:20

The Lord's Speaking in Galatians

 

"We may have no idea how many things we are struggling with that we believe are 'for God' but are not related to the Person of our Lord Jesus, and are frustrating our enjoyment of His grace and frustrating our ability to love the brothers."

 

We have just finished enjoying the book of Galatians for 6 months.  During that time we all saw that the Lord came to rescue us from the "present evil age."  (Gal 1:4). It is commonly thought that when Paul used these words he was referring to the sinful aspect of the world.  However, according to the context he was actually referring to the religious aspect of the world.  This aspect is very deceptive.  When we deal with the sinful aspect of the world, we know in our heart and in our conscience that something is wrong.  But the religious aspect of the world can deceive us because when we are involved with it, we are often convinced that we are right, simply because what we are doing is seemingly related to God.  

 

At the time Paul wrote the book of Galatians, there were Christians from Jerusalem who on the one hand believed in Christ, but on the other hand were "zealous for the law" (acts 21:20), for circumcision and for the Jewish tradition. Their zeal for these things distracted them from Christ and damaged their relationship with Him. These were eventually the ones who were going out to the churches that had been raised up by Paul and doing a lot of damage. Satan's tactic is to present us with something that is very closely related to God and cause us to focus on that thing rather than on the Lord Himself.  Once this happens, he wants to make us zealous for these  things to the point that we will fight to vindicate them.  This is what happened to the Judaizers.  Eventually they didn't care that much for Christ at all, although they didn't realize it.  They were for the law, and for their tradition, and for bringing everyone into line with what they were zealous for.  This created all kinds of problems for the believers and practically wrecked their enjoyment of the grace of God and the simplicity that's in Christ.

 

We saw that our situation as Christians today might not so different from the situation back then.  There are lots of things that are "spiritual", and seemingly related to God, but are not Christ Himself, such as teachings, doctrines, methods of prayer, spiritual experiences and gifts, good works and programs, etc.  We can become very busy with these things yet be completely devoid of Christ and in darkness.  God does give teachings, doctrine, prayer, spiritual experience, and works good things through us - but this is all for the purpose making Christ everything to us.

 

During these last 6 months we felt like we had been "pruned".  The Lord's speaking to us was so strong.  God only cares for Christ.  We need to be careful.  It is too easy for the enemy to use "spiritual" things to damage believers, create issues, and ultimately frustrate the building up of the Body of Christ.  This is why Galatians says that the Lord gave Himself for our sins in order to "rescue us from the present evil age."  We need Him to rescue us from these things. We need to be rescued back to the simplicity of just being a believer that loves the Lord and loves the brothers and sisters. We have no idea how many things we are struggling with that we believe are "for God" but are not related to the Person of our Lord Jesus, and are frustrating our enjoyment of His grace and frustrating our ability to love the brothers. May the Lord have mercy on us that as we go on we would be continually enlightened so that we would be found zealous for nothing but Christ Himself.