“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all.”
These are Paul’s words to the church at Galatia, a young group of Jesus-followers trying to figure it all out. He goes on to describe the fruits of the true gospel on his own life. This is important:
“You have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it…but when God…”
This is a gospel of radical life change. This is no simple prayer that saved Paul from hell when he died. This was a whole new way of living. The fullness of the good news of the kingdom – which is what Jesus preached – is that it changes everything. This means that by the power of the Holy Spirit it is possible for us to go from wicked and mean to righteous and kind. Mind you, that doesn’t mean we’re sinless or perfect. But we should not let that be an excuse for ourselves – or anyone else.
When the true gospel gets a hold of our lives, we should expect to see real life change. Our lives should look a certain way. In fact, Paul goes to great lengths to describe the fruits of a kingdom life later in this same letter to the Galatians, in stark contrast to other “old ways:”
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The beauty of the gospel is that it sets us free to live this way now, even as we anticipate the fullness of living this way forever.
Holy Spirit, empower us to live this way today. Amen.
Grace and Peace,