Identity Crisis

  1. Message:  Galatians 1 begins with a typical “grace and peace” greeting from the apostle Paul, but this letter got to the point pretty quick when he told them he was “amazed” that they were quickly turning from the gospel to another gospel. He qualified this statement immediately by acknowledging that there isn’t actually another gospel, but people had come in and distorted the purity of the gospel with other ideas. Paul very bluntly made sure there was no room for entertaining this when he said “cursed is the one” who would preach anything other than the original gospel. This wasn’t up for debate and Paul challenged them by asking if the intent was to please people or to please God. As I read this I thought about all of the challenges in our world today and how we are so tempted to morph the gospel into something that neatly fits the approval of people. I see people using scripture to back their political ideas and social justice beliefs as our society polarizes itself. This raises questions within my own heart when I think about this because I wonder what my real motives my be. When we believe something, it becomes a part of our identity. When our beliefs are challenged, we take it personally because we have identified so deeply with our beliefs that any assault against our ideas becomes an assault against us personally. Since we don’t like being rejected, we have a tendency to start interpreting parts of the gospel in a way that we believe may be more palatable to people. We might even believe we are defending the gospel when we do this, but we may just be defending ourselves so that we can hold onto the gospel and to the approval of people at the same time. If I’m honest, there are parts of the bible that make me incredibly uncomfortable. That is to be expected since I am human and I don’t have the mind of God. I think we get into trouble when we attempt to explain away the uncomfortable, instead of accept the discomfort for our growth. When we do this we are really just altering the gospel to fit our comfort and console ourselves from rejection. This really challenged me and I pray that I would brave enough to allow God to use the gospel to change me instead of trying to change the meaning of the gospel.

2 comments

  1. Brittany Gould says:

    I just watched a documentary on Netflix called the American Gospel. It dives into the ‘prosperity gospel’ that we have created. Some people have taken the true gospel and turned it into something other than what it is. Such as, our wealth is a sign of Gods blessing on our lives. Our good health is because we are obedient to God. I recommend watching it to dig into how the gospel has been perverted and preached right here under our noses.

    I think of the words ‘go and make disciples of many nations’. We are softening the gospel and bending it to appeal to men in turn giving them a warped and inaccurate image of who Jesus really is. The truth is: we become obedient in our suffering. We need suffering and adversity to grow ourselves in Christ. We cannot truly grow in Christ if we have a polluted and inaccurate understanding of the gospel.

    • bspangle says:

      Brittany, I just saw your comment and I couldn’t agree more. We have to be so careful that we are reading the word on our own so that we can identify the counterfeit when we hear it. I also think it’s sad that we’ve attempted to change the gospel to make it easier for people to accept because when things get hard those same people aren’t grounded on truth and they slip off the slippery slope. They are harder to reach later on because they experienced something that wasn’t authentic. Jesus said “count the cost”. He wasn’t about the numbers. He doesn’t want anyone to perish but he was about the commitment and always has been. The gospel is all or nothing and it will cost us everything but it will also gain us more than we could imagine.

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