“Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” Galatians 5:11-15 NLT
Preaching the cross of Jesus as the place of salvation caused the devout Jews to vehemently oppose Paul. The persecution was so severe that they threatened his life and even attempted to kill him (read the book of Acts for the detailed accounts of Paul's missionary journeys).
When we preach the simplicity of the gospel of grace some are offended even in the Gentile church world. There are those who teach that you have to work hard at living holy because it determines whether you "go to heaven" or not. This kind of teaching places our dependence on good works to save us. They never will. We cannot live "good enough" to go to heaven. This is the reason Jesus became a man, lived a sinless life, and died a substitutionary death on a cross. He bore our curses upon the cross. He, alone, was qualified to atone for the sins of the world. Salvation can only come to us when we accept Jesus as the payment of our sins. The good works we do should be a product of the relationship we have with God, not an attempt to earn His acceptance. Our acceptance by God is only in His Son Jesus.
Any religious group that adds anything to this as qualification for salvation is simply trying to lead us back into slavery. We are free through Jesus!!! Live free! Now that we are free, let's utilize our freedom to serve Jesus out of our sincere love. He didn't set us free to sin, He set us free from sin. We are new creatures in Christ. Let's represent Him well.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I want to thank You for loving and forgiving me. Help me live to honor You!
Rev. Curtis Norris