Another Gospel ?

Religion’s 2000-year effort to pervert the gospel of Grace

Michael Scroggs

 

Religion has been perverting the gospel of Christ for a very long time.  And it has taken its toll on the “members” and the non-members.

It is obvious “the gospel” which has been perpetrated by the Christian religion for a couple thousand years is not dissimilar to the “variant message” presented to the Galatians by the false teachers of the Jewish religion.  They were presenting an alternative to the gospel of the grace of Christ that Paul had previously preached to the Galatians.  Paul was quick to label the Jewish brand as a perversion of the gospel of the grace of Christ to the Gentiles.

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9 (KJV)

He wastes no time in stating factual evidence to verify his original gospel.  He states, “you are so soon removed from Christ who called you into the grace of Christ UNTO another gospel, which is not another.”  He compares the original gospel, “that which we have (previously) preached unto you,” with “another gospel, which is not another” – stopping short of identifying the ‘variant message’ as a “gospel” – because the Jewish brand, the perverted message, was not worthy to be named with the original gospel because it contained no “good news” for the Gentile sinners.

Paul understood Grace – Jesus coming to earth on behalf of mankind to become their sins so they could freely become His righteousness upon reception of His free gift of eternal life.  Jesus paid it all and there was nothing left for which man had to pay.  Jesus came to die so forgiven man could receive His righteous, eternal life as their own righteous life.  And He accomplished it all at no cost to man.  That is unearned and unmerited favor!  That is Grace!  That is Jesus!  And Grace was so contrary to what Paul had learned, experienced, and worked for in his many years in the Jewish religion.  Now, not only was he a recipient of Grace, he was the one person Christ chose to distribute the “good news” to the Gentiles (and to those Jews who would listen, believe, receive, and endure the persecution that was sure to come if they turned traitor to Judaism).  As has been documented in Paul’s writings, 23% of the words in the New Testament, the Jews would find it very difficult to believe and receive the Grace message due to their works-oriented, flesh-focused, law-based Jewish religion.  They would encounter problems relying solely on the Jew who taught the leaders in the synagogue at age 12, fed thousands with only small lunch portions, healed the lame and the blind in front of hundreds of witnesses, raised the dead, was brutally tortured and crucified to pay for their sins, and rose from the dead and was visibly seen by over 500 witnesses after His resurrection – only to be totally rejected by the Jews.

But for the sinner Gentiles, this was “good news.”  What Christ had finished and now offered freely to them was the greatest message they could have ever received.

The original gospel is the only “gospel”

The gospel of the “grace of Christ” is original with Christ and is the only “good news.”  And this good news is still in force today, though you will rarely hear it preached from the podiums of religion.  From Judaism to Christianity, religion has never ceased from misrepresenting Christ’s finished work as the law specialists did in the churches of Galatia in Paul’s day.  But, the fact remains the same; Gentiles (and Jews who choose to come to Christ) do not have to participate in the flesh practices of modern religion to receive the righteousness of God in Christ.  And that is still the greatest news you could ever hear.

Of course, the religionists, who choose to remain in the “former way of life” (as Paul identifies his former experience in religion), vehemently disagree with any “gospel” that does not include some form of religious practices or “works of righteousness which we have done” by which one’s faith can be “authenticated.”  This is precisely what Paul was dealing with in many of his letters to saints.  It was not the only issue he addressed but the most prominent one in many of his letters to churches.  And the defense used by the leaders of religion is to run to the book of James for “scriptural” support and extract the “faith without works is dead” statement.  But, even James was never guilty of preaching “another message.”  When you understand the audience to whom James was writing (the twelve tribes [Jews] scattered in the dispersion) and the penchant they held for the law, it was necessary for James to write as he did.  James was never guilty of preaching “another gospel.”  He was teaching the same gospel but having to state it differently so his exclusively Jewish audience would better receive it.  Listen to how he says the same things that Paul said.

  • Life in the old law is impossible; you break one you break them all (1:10).
  • Life in the implanted word (James’ way of saying “Christ IN you”) is true salvation (1:21).
  • Life in the law of liberty (which is not the Mosaic law of slavery) brings blessing (1:25).
  • Life in the new covenant law of God is faith with works of love, so don’t just listen, participate (2:17, 20; See Romans 3:28; 4:6; Galatians 5:6).
  • Life in the accomplishments of the law brings pride, which brings opposition from God; He gives Himself (Grace) to the humble and they are approved (4:6).
  • Life in submission to the Spirit of God IN you is your only hope for resisting the devil and overcoming your doubleminded, “two-spirited” tendencies of your former religion (4:7-8; 1:8).

The evidence is clear that James was as convinced of the same gospel of Christ as Paul was.  He referred to himself as a “doulos” slave of two masters (where Paul referred to himself as an apostle ordained by both the same duo; Jesus Christ and God the Father – Galatians 1:1).  These two masters were not two opposing masters – the sin nature spirit and the righteous nature Spirit – as religion today teaches their members, but equal masters; God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  His Jewish audience was more familiar with the term “God” (Judaism) so he used it in unison with the Messiah – the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1).

Paul had already stated that anyone who preached “another gospel” – a different message than the gospel he was given by Christ – was to be accursed; cast out, condemned.  So, the truth remains – if James was preaching “another gospel” other than the grace of Christ, the Bible has a contradiction between two of the “inspired authors” of the New Testament.  And if these two authors are not in unison, the Bible is simply a book of lies.  And we know that is not the Truth.

The radical gospel is all about Jesus Christ

The gospel of Christ is all about Jesus Christ – the central figure of history.  He is the ONE and ONLY component of the gospel.  There is no other component; no additional element; no other ingredient.  There is no addendum to the gospel of Christ – not one!  He is the final answer, the final sacrifice, the final offering, the finished work who has provided the zero balance on our sin accounts with God.  Our sin debt has been reconciled – settled – once and for all, and He made available the free gift of His own eternal life; the righteous life of Christ for every sinner who has been forgiven and who will choose to turn from unbelief (trusting self) to belief (trusting Christ) and receive His free gift of eternal life.  It is all about Him – the Christ – the Author of life and eternal Life.  It is all of Him and none of us.  100% supernatural.  Christ alone!  And He is enough!  Grace is enough!

The fundamental gospel is the power of God unto deliverance

The gospel of Christ is the “dynamis” dynamite power of God to deliver sinners from the clutches of sin!  It contains enough dynamite to have removed all the sins of man.  It contains enough dynamite to detonate the sin consciousness from the saints.  It contains enough dynamite to extricate the penalty of sin – death – from those who receive His Life.  It contains enough dynamite to explode the power of sin – the law – in the life of the believer.  It contains enough dynamite to blast the only source of sin – the sin nature spirit himself – right out of the life and flesh body of every saint at salvation.

Richard Lenski, the German-born, Lutheran author, voices the seriousness of falsely teaching “another gospel” and the authority Paul possessed to expose and exorcise it, and the fact that the same deception practiced on the Galatians then is the same deception that has been practiced on church members even to this very day.

“Here there is no error in life; the heart of Christendom is assailed. The foe is deadly. A cancer threatens the vitals; palliatives (placebos) would be a fatal mistake; the remedy must destroy the ailment to the very roots.

The apostle not from men or by means of man but from Christ and God speaks, speaks in the power of Christ and of God. His words have a conquering ring. He speaks to the churches of Galatia who as churches are bound to hear and to heed every word unless they intend to cease being churches. The voice they hear is fearless and scorns to please men. This is the voice of the slave of Christ, the slave who knows only one obedience, that to his heavenly Master alone. This voice rings with divine authority and power.

The tone of this section is tense and dramatic. Paul is not swept away by passion. He writes with perfect self-control. He knows the weight of every sentence. Every statement is deliberate and straight to the point. The very first sentence reveals the fact that he is completely informed; all hesitation of uncertainty is absent. We have only one explanation for this decisiveness: not a mere report that has at last reached Paul, not a letter from Galatia that brought a certain amount of information, but a delegation from the churches, men whom Paul had questioned on all points and who had told him all the facts as they actually were. These facts the apostle meets with incisiveness.

The issue is nothing less than the gospel itself. That issue Paul states at once. I marvel that so quickly you are making a change away from him who called you in grace, (namely) Christ, to a different gospel which is not (even) another except in the sense that there are certain ones who are disturbing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 

Nothing in the world should ever make the Galatians change away from him who had called them in grace and at the price of his death delivered them from this present world which was wicked and doomed (4). They should have resisted the most powerful and the most persistent efforts to the last breath. Yet they are quickly beginning their apostasy! Paul might have used a stronger word than “I marvel.” He names the deadly thing the Galatians had begun to do: change away from Christ. The Galatians themselves would disavow this. They intended to stay with Christ; the Judaizers themselves taught Christ, yea, came as the genuine apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14). Why, the Galatians were now getting Christ better than they ever got him! Any plea of that kind is silenced by the next phrase: “to a different gospel which is not (even) another” but so different as to be no gospel at all.

The point to be noted is that Paul does not say: away from Christ— to a different Savior. No other person exists who could be placed beside Christ. He says: away from Christ— to a gospel that is no gospel at all. By forsaking the true gospel and by accepting a substituted fake gospel the Galatians are losing the one Savior there is. That is the dreadful danger toward which they are verging.

The emphasis is placed on this fake gospel, on the adjectives which declare it a fake: “different—not another…” But when it is “different” because it is “not another,” the very substance is changed; such a gospel is a fake, a mere pretense or a sham. Its proponents call it a gospel only to gain its acceptance as brass is sold for gold; those who buy are cheated. This is the charge Paul launches. The genuineness of the gospel is so vital because the true gospel is the one and only means by which Christ calls us, transmits his grace to us, in a word, delivers us from this wicked world (4). The substitution of a, fake gospel loses us this call, grace, deliverance, does so whether we are aware of the fact or not.

The deception practiced on the Galatians has been repeated to this very day. A “different” gospel is offered which is “not another.” It is even the same adulteration that is offered. Yes, the name “gospel” is retained, the “Christ” or at least “Jesus” are preached, but for pure grace in his atoning death there is substituted the law, the requirement of works as the means of salvation. The multitude applauds and, like the Galatians, is so quickly and easily deceived (emphasis mine).  Lenski New Testament Commentary – The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, the Ephesians, and the Philippians.

“Another gospel… is not a gospel”

It had not been that long since Paul had preached the best news Christ had to offer the Gentiles.  The Galatians, upon hearing the “good news” eagerly received it.  It was certainly a different message than what they had witnessed among their Jewish counterparts involved in their religion of Judaism; cutting of the foreskin circumcision, rituals, traditions, and adherence to the books and las of Moses for righteousness.  The Gentiles seemed to be thriving in their brand-new, “by grace through faith not of works” way of life, so Paul moved on from Galatia to continue his mission of reaching and teaching other Gentile groups; and Jewish groups who would listen to his brand-new “grace through faith without works” message.  But, not long after Paul left, Jewish law specialists came from Jerusalem and began to discredit Paul; weakening his reputation and “his gospel” message among the Gentile saints.

Oddly enough, the Galatians listened to what these troublemakers had to say and, though it did not parallel Paul’s gospel, they heard something that grabbed their curiosity.  And it all happened very swiftly.  They were quickly removing themselves from Christ who had called them into “the grace of Christ” (6).  They were being lured into the centuries old flesh practices of the Jewish religion, its laws, and its ordinances.  These flesh practices came highly recommended as premium additions to the gospel so, believing their relationship with their Jewish counterparts would be enhanced, they involved themselves in a change of mind, a turning to the yoke of slavery.

Religion had been exposed

The nation of Israel had made the same decision Adam made in the garden; unbelief in God and His words.  And when their Messiah showed up, they rejected Him.  Their religion had run its course.  For the most part, they had historically followed through with the ritualistic flesh practices initiated by God early in their history.  But, their law-abiding efforts never measured up to God’s righteous standards and He had seen enough.  In fact, the author of Hebrews stated God neither wanted nor delighted in the sacrifices and offerings which He required.  Why?  He knew they were only flesh practices and were powerless to accomplish what Only His Son could accomplish; the removal of the sins of man.  He knew His requirements were repetitive and subservient, serving only as temporary practices which were fully and divinely capable of driving His nation to their bitter end.  He knew precisely the prescription to cure their self-righteousness and stubbornness.  But His chosen became the frozen; not only cold to His free offer, but inflexible to the change required.  They were satisfied with the status quo!

In their rejection of the Messiah, God gave His free Grace to the Gentiles, providing them with full access to Himself and His righteousness.  The religion of Israel had been brought to a low point – literally exposed.  When the Jew died on the cross, their religion became naked – exposed to the world.  Their 6-inch-thick temple veil was divinely ripped from top to bottom; God reaching down to sinners and exposing His holiness over the ark and in the holy of holies.  The holy of holies was no longer “holy” as it was now empty and void of God’s presence.  The inner sanctum was as exposed to the whole world as Jesus was while hanging on the cross.  Their high priest would no longer work under the former requirements of offering blood sacrifices for sins that would not be removed – since the Final Sacrifice for sins had been completed and the sins of man were now fully removed.  Yet, for another 70 years, unbelief would prevail and religion would continue their faithless flesh practices.

The Jews were not impressed with the newly circulating “gospel of grace” – righteousness without works – especially since the Gentiles, the sinners, were the receivers of the free gift.  It was a bitter pill to swallow for the religious; and still is.  No longer were their flesh practices necessary for “rightness” with God.  Adding insult to injury, one of their most highly regarded Pharisees, a former champion against the tsunami of saints being added daily to the “grace gospel” body of Christ, the church, had himself lost his mind and began traitorously spewing out his “good news” to the Gentiles.  And he knew full well, from his personal experience, the “good news” of not having to complete “works of righteousness” in order to, religiously speaking, rise through the ranks of religion by competing against his fellow religionists and countrymen.  He knew the struggles of his former way of life in Judaism cost much more than the free gift of righteousness that Christ had fully purchased and offered to sinners.

The religionist unbelievers had to come up with something – something old with something new – a familiar message that would be believable and connective to their original religion.  They had to develop a “special blend” of the old and the new, a diluted alternative to the new gospel – a misrepresentation of the words and work of Christ – oddly, the same equation Satan used in the garden; subtraction by addition – subtracting the full impact of the Truth by adding that which is old and ineffective.  This would be yet another adversarial maneuver to turn God’s words into a half-truth; which is a lie.  The father of lies, the sin nature spirit, was the motivation behind this effort to discredit the Christ, His divinely ordained apostle to the Gentiles, and His free forever gift of grace.  He was fulfilling his own desires in and through them, just as Jesus so clearly explained and boldly confronted (John 8:44).  And two thousand years later, the adversary continues his assault on the gospel of “the grace of Christ” through the “Pharisees” of religion.

What did they come up with?  They tried adding a “grace” supplement to their religious diet of flesh practices; circumcision, keeping the law, holding to traditions, and other rituals and requirements.  They were making a “gospel smoothie” – blending the “by grace through faith without works” Gentile gospel with the works and practices and traditions of their own Jewish religion.  They were adding to Christ’s “perfect law of liberty” their imperfect law of sin and death, which Paul affectionately called “the yoke of slavery.”  And the Galatians were slurping it down.

This perversion would be widely accepted because it included what the Jewish religionists then believed, and the Christian religionists today believe, to be the best of both worlds; the FLESH, the old, restrictive, but familiar, practices of religious works and behaviors, added to the SPIRIT, the new, the unfamiliar “grace through faith without works” message of Jesus Christ.

And Paul knew better than any other man on earth, whether living then or living now, that this “different gospel” was not the good news that Christ had personally given to him to share with the Gentiles.

“Another gospel” is good enough for church members

For most church members, “another gospel” is good enough.  It is good enough because it is the only one with which they are familiar.  I always encourage church members to inquire or discuss with their pastor the content of his messages and the veracity of his information.  For twenty centuries, there has been an epidemic of spiritual ignorance.  The same deception practiced on the Galatians has been repeated for centuries; even to this very day.  A “different” message has been preached and it is not the gospel of Christ.  It is an adulterated and polluted message that spawns defeat and doublemindedness.  The terminology is nearly identical and Jesus is declared, but He is not viewed as the sole component of His “good news.”  And if He is not the sole component, why not?  If any “flesh works” are necessary from the worshiper, His “finished work” on the cross was unfinished.  Grace is seen as a special “help” given when it is needed and asked for, when in reality, Grace is the indwelling Spirit of God, Christ IN you; living INSIDE the saint.  Church members have heard bits and pieces of “grace” in their pastor’s messages but misunderstand that Grace is actually personified in Jesus Christ.  And when they hear a different message than what they have always heard, their common defense is to say, “We ain’t never heard it that way before!”

One pastor gives testimony as to what took place when he began preaching the gospel of the grace of Christ.

“The church members were too ill-informed to know any better.  Sunday after Sunday, I preached the message of the grace (forgiveness) of Christ as clearly and simply as I knew how.  They became offended that their pastor would consider preaching such a different message – that Jesus had forgiven them of their sins on the cross and they did not have to confess their sins for forgiveness – as did the old covenant, Jewish worshipers in their repetitive sacrifices and offerings which served to remind them each and every time of their sins.  Though my messages were supported with biblical references and clearly delineated the truth, they vehemently disagreed.  I began allowing questions in the morning service so as to bring discussion (and possibly push them to study through the week in order to give them opportunity to challenge me in the worship service).  Then I began using simple bullet points and simple questions to clarify matters:

  • Why did Jesus Christ die on the cross?  To pay for all of our sins, removing our sin debt with God.
  • For whose sins?  Every sinner ever birthed on this planet.
  • For how many of our sins?  All…
  • And what did He do with those sins?
  • If Christ died for all our sins two thousand years ago, were all of our sins in the future?  If our sins were future and removed, should we still ask forgiveness?
  • If God has removed all your sins as far as the east is from the west, why ask forgiveness for those He has already removed?
  • If God chooses to “remember no more” your sins, why state them to him?
  • If Jesus asked the Father to forgive us of all our sins while He was on the cross, His first words on the cross, why should we ask for that which Christ already asked?

Week after week, one by one, they came and talked to me, ‘You are preaching ‘another gospel when you preach this grace stuff.’  One lady said, ‘We’ve never heard this preached before so it must be a new gospel.’  Another lady asked me, ‘Where did you find this new gospel, on the internet?’  Then they reverted to leveraging as they asked, ‘How many pastors in our Association preach this new gospel?’  A month later, I was compelled to resign and I agreed to do so.”

There is a large element of truth in the statement, “Ignorance is bliss!”  Sadly, ignorance is no excuse for not knowing the truth, especially if your eternal future is hanging in the balance.  It is especially true for those who have never heard the truth, or never listened when the truth was presented.  Accordingly, these “blissful” church members have never known the freedom that comes from experiencing the grace of Christ and have never enjoyed the rest that comes from living in the grace of Christ.

But, their misunderstanding is not all their fault.  They are unfamiliar with the gospel of the grace of Christ because, as they honestly admitted, “We have never heard this preached before!”  The only “gospel” with which they are familiar is the “variant message” of religion – the same one Paul identified in our text as “not another” and the same one that has been perpetrated on them by their religious leaders for the past two thousand years.

You would think that the actual, supernatural tearing of the six- inch-thick temple veil from top to bottom, and the holy of holies not being so “holy” as it was laid bare before the Gentile world due to the death of the Jew hanging on the middle cross, would have been enough for someone down through the ages to take note that “the former way of life” in religion, practicing the flesh-focused, works-based, and “earning favor with God” was over.  But, no!  Satan countered God’s plan with his own plan to dilute the truth of Christ and focus man’s attention on the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” – the tree of unbelief, the tree of sin consciousness, the tree of rules and regulations the tree of religion – by keeping sinners enslaved to the yoke of slavery.

The consequence of preaching “another gospel”

The way Paul states the consequence for anyone who preaches another version of the gospel of Christ identifies his deep respect for Christ and his disregard for those in his former religion who were trying to pervert and destabilize Christ’s message.

The consequence is clear and simple.  Paul states any messenger who preaches “another” message is accursed.  And he includes himself in the mix, along with angels, and anyone else who presents as truth the perverted message.  Paul uses the word “accursed” (KJV) which basically means to be condemned, banned, or excommunicated.  His stated consequence actually fits quite nicely as he further explains why those preaching the not-so-good news are accursed.  His reasoning makes sense.

It is only reasonable that anyone preaching a curse, the works of the law, would bear the consequences of that curse.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed. Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed. The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.     Galatians 3:10-14 (HCSB), emphasis mine

Simply stated,

  • Those who rely on the works of the law are under a curse.
  • Those who rely on the works of the law must not miss the mark on one point, or they are guilty of all – cursed.
  • Those who rely on the works of the law must recognize the law is incapable of providing them with righteousness – God’s requirement.
  • Those who rely on the works of the law must recognize righteousness comes only by faith, and the law is not based on faith, but on works.
  • Those who rely on the works of the law are not living in faith, but in the flesh.
  • Those who rely on the works of the law must recognize Christ redeemed us – gave His life as a redeemable coupon for our life, finishing off all the works required by the law.
  • Those who rely on the works of the law must recognize Christ became that curse for us; and we, by faith, trust His completed work on our behalf.
  • The reason Christ completed our work(s) is twofold:
    • He ONLY could do it – to fulfill the covenant of Promise to the Gentiles (four hundred years before the law).
    • We could never do it – to freely offer us His Spirit, our life of righteousness by faith-trust.

Paul understood Christ had already redeemed saints from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13) but these religionists were turning Christ’s redemption plan, the gospel of grace, into a diluted blend of nonsense as they were promoting “the curse of the law.”

The consequence of preaching the radical gospel of grace

Paul was the forerunner of the gospel of the grace of Christ.  He was involved in its embryonic stage as the ordained by Christ apostle and received its content from Christ personally.  His background in the Jewish religion, his strong and aggressive personality, and his willingness to stick to what he believed no matter the cost (even before his conversion as a destroyer of the church) provided a strong foundation for its beginning stages of distribution and persecution.  But, since his introduction of “the grace of Christ” over two thousand years ago, not much has changed.  It is still seen as a supplement, an addition, to the preaching of the law.  The preaching of it and the implementation of it still receives the most negative responses from within “the four walls” of religion.

Paul had to pay a price for his part in it.  His experiences, both negative and positive, are well documented.  It was a difficult and enduring mission for him, and it will be for anyone else courageous enough to challenge the status quo and preach the truth; regardless of the outcome.  But, when you comprehend how the genuine gospel changes everything, you realize there is no cost too great to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love – the only “good news” of the grace of Christ – as was delivered to us in His Word.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “We sing, and sing rightly, too, ‘My soul, no more attempt to draw Thy life and comfort from the law,’ for from the law death cometh and not life, misery and not comfort.  ‘To convince and to condemn is all the law can do.’  O, when will all professors, and especially all professed ministers of Christ, learn the difference between the law and the gospel?  Most of them make a mingle-mangle, and serve out deadly potions to the people, often containing but one ounce of gospel to a pound of law, whereas, but even a grain of law is enough to spoil the whole thing.”  Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon on Mixture, (Facebook), Escape to Reality, Paul Ellis, 10/28/2016

When offered to sinners, no message is as effective as the gospel of Christ.  The “another gospel” is not good news!  Need proof?

Just take a look around you.  You have seen the religious, church oriented folks.  For the most part, what do you see?

  • Do you see excited people?
  • Do you see the super-abundant life?
  • Do you see the victorious Christian life?
  • Do you see churches busting at the seams?
  • Do you see “loved and accepted” people flocking to churches?
  • Or do you see the results of a perverted gospel?
  • Or do you see people tired of trying to measure up?
  • Of do you see modern churches declining or closing doors?

Another gospel?  NOT ONE.

A radical, fundamental Grace?  ONLY ONE.

Jesus said (Matthew 11:28-30) to come to Him if you are weary and heavy hearted and He would provide rest.  I can tell you He knows what He is talking about.  He is more than sufficient.  His rest is genuine.  Previously, I was not ready to receive His Grace – the benefit of Him living IN me.  But, having come to a repentant end, He made me ready.

He also said to be yoked up with Him and learn from Him.  I see this as a clear reference of not being yoked up with unbelievers – those who mistrust Christ – unwilling to be untethered from the yoke of slavery, the law.  It is not uncommon for a religious leader to say to a church member who has been introduced to the grace of Christ to say something like, “This new ‘Grace’ is greasy and will cause you to slip and slide away from Christ so you better remain under the protection of your church.”  This is why Jesus wants you to yoked with Him!

Jesus continues by saying He is gentle and humble in heart, and that rest can be found in Him. In my “former way of life,” I knew nothing of any kind of rest.  I was as involved in the physical requirements of my religion as Paul was in his Judaism; and I very much needed His humility.

Jesus also said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  It is easy for us because He paid for it.  It is easy for us as He is not expecting anything in return.  No works, just trust Him.

The gospel of the grace of Christ is not “another gospel.”  It is the original gospel, fundamentally sourced in Christ alone – and He is enough!

www.michaelscroggs.org

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