Friday, March 20, 2020


When you look around at the situation in the Church today, it is easy to see that confusion rules. Each denomination differs from the others in many ways—some important, some not so much. Within each denomination, their individual congregations differ from one another.

Is this all a part of God's master plan? Did He really want to cater to our individuality in such a way? I don't think so. What we have today is a far cry from what the Lord desires for His Body. But, it has been happening since early on in the history of the Church.

The first place we can see this is in 1 Cor. 1:10-13—v. 10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

Paul is distraught that there are divisions within the church. They were claiming different leaders as the ones to whom they belonged.

Paul asks poignantly, "Is Christ divided?" (v.13)

However, in a letter written much earlier—Galatians—Paul is attacking this same thing from a different angle. He goes to the root of the problem—a different gospel.

When we consider the two different schools of theology of which almost ALL are (or were) a part, it is easy to see what Paul feared and spoke against. These two schools are known as Arminianism and Calvinism. Ever since the Reformation, one of these two have ruled the hearts and minds of most evangelical Christians.

Arminians believe that the Gospel is available to all people, but only those who exercise their free will to believe will be saved. Calvinists believe that the Gospel is available to all people, but only the elect will believe. Both believe that repentance and faith are necessary to salvation.

You may ask, then, "How is this NOT what Paul preached?" He wrote—"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed." [Gal 1:8]

He then goes into great detail about how the gospel he preached did not contain any mixture of the law. The law has no part in the gospel. Then, in the letter to the Ephesians, Paul shows how God had a plan from all eternity for Jew and Gentile alike. Then, in his letter to the Colossians, he again attacked any form of adherence to rules and regulations.

Galatians deals with adherence to the Jews concept of the law, and Colossians attacks laws of religion developed by those outside of Judaism. Rules of any kind are not to be imposed on the believer who has been saved by faith. It is these various rules and regulations that provide the basis for much of the division in the Body of Christ.

Paul's gospel, as outlined in Galatians, Colossians, and Romans shows specifically that there is a freedom from any kind of law to get saved or to remain saved. We are brought into the kingdom of God through the faith of Jesus Christ.
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Rom 3:22 KJV)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.(Gal 2:16 KJV)
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. (Gal 3:22 KJV)

It is not our faith that saves us, but His (Eph. 2:8). It was His obedience that bought us with a price (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23).

Until this truth begins to penetrate our consciousness, we will continually be prey for those who would seek to once again bring us under the bondage of some sort of performance requirement. As long as you subscribe to either an Arminian gospel, or a Calvinist one, your faith will always be on shaky ground. "Did I believe right? Am I sincere enough? What if I'm not one of the elect? Did God accept my prayer? Was I baptized properly?" 

However, once Paul's gospel is firmly established, you will be able to confidently say as he did—
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.   (Rom 8:38-39)

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Second in the series from Ephesians 1.