The One True Gospel

Galatians 1:6-10
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

The Incredible Freeness of Grace

The Incredible Freeness of Grace

The Christ-Churches,
As Marcus Borg refers to them,
had gone off the rails.
Paul has harsh,
even nasty and
mean-spirited wishes
for the ones who are undermining
the gospel
he brought to the God-lovers
he introduced to Jesus.
These underminers
are accusing Paul
of undermining the gospel
they see as the “true way,”
and Paul,
in return
who views his version of the gospel
as the “true way,”
offers a double curse back on them,
telling the Galatians
that they themselves are
foolish and bewitched
and suggesting to those who
are undermining his teaching
to go and castrate themselves.
YIKES!!!
So what is going on
here that would make Paul so outraged?
Understand that the
God-lovers Paul converted
were gentiles
who had been to Judaism,
but not circumcised,
and the accusers
were Jews who had become
followers of Jesus’ Way
and as Jews
were already circumcised.
The key to understanding Paul’s rant
is found in the words
justification, faith, law, works.
Circumcision,
to Paul was a work following the Jewish law.
Justification and faith
were the gifts of Jesus
bringing salvation to us
without any work needed on our part
to fulfill any,
and to Paul’s thinking,
outdated law of God.
For Paul,
the gospel he preached was free
and consistent with Jesus’
life, death and resurrection,
and circumcision
was fulfilling the statutes
of a law Jesus
died trying to dismantle.
Unfortunately,
this is an argument playing out in our own time,
and in our own churches
and it can get really insidious.
I am neither a fan of Paul
nor of his outrage,
but I do agree here with Paul
that there is only one true gospel
and it is a gospel of grace
free and clear with nothing to do but
to breath it in like air.
There are no formulas.
There is no good confession.
No law or rule.
Only grace free and clear.
To me
the only take-a-way from scripture
is that the faith of Jesus
is what saves us,
not anything we can do—
not even our own faith…

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