By Keri Folmar
There is no other gospel. This is the message of Galatians. Jesus, the precious and infinite Son of God, “gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age” (v. 4). God the Father poured out his wrath on Jesus instead of on rebels who deserve his punishment. No works, merit, ritual or self-flagellation will take away our sin. Only God’s Son delivered up to death can deliver us from the present evil age. There is nothing we can add to the glorious work of God in Christ Jesus who says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
When we repent and believe on Jesus, we are delivered from the present evil age and enter into a new kingdom, becoming children of God. This is the good news, the gospel of grace and peace “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 3).
Turning to another gospel is deserting God and leaves us with no gospel at all (v. 6). This is why Paul was “astonished” that anyone would abandon such good news, and those who distort the true gospel he sternly warned (v. 8). The Galatians were confused and misled to believe that the gospel included extra work that they needed to do.
It is sadly possible for those who profess faith in Christ to abandon and twist the gospel, like the Galatian Christians did. So how can we keep the message of the gospel pure in our lives and our church?
First, join and become involved in a church that proclaims the gospel and lives in step with it (2:14). Don’t try to live the Christian life in this evil age alone. Help others, and help yourself, by committing to a local church.
Second, stay in the Scriptures. The more you read the Bible, the more familiar you will be with the big picture of God creating and saving a people for himself. Scripture will become a part of your thinking, and you will know the one true God better. It will give you discernment and wisdom. You will be able to spot a counterfeit gospel only if you know the real thing well.
Third, pray for discernment for yourself and your church.
Fourth, share the gospel clearly with others: The bad news of sinners helpless before a just God, as well as the good news of Jesus reconciling sinners by the blood of his cross. You must know it to share it, and sharing it causes you to dig more deeply into the truths of the gospel and to rejoice in it.
Fifth, read and listen with discernment. Look for the cross of Christ in all that you read and hear.
Sixth, examine your heart for “gospel amnesia.” Are you struggling under the weight of your sin? Are you working to gain acceptance with God? Cease striving. Lay down your burden. Remember you can go to Jesus with all of your sin. Only there will you find rest for your soul.
There is only one gospel—only one way to God. Christ gave himself for our sins to deliver us! Rejoice in it; remember it; live by it; and proclaim it to the glory and praise of our God forever!
Keri Folmar is the wife of John Folmar, pastor of the United Christian Church of Dubai, an evangelical church in the Middle East, and the mother of three children. Keri disciples and teaches women in addition to leading and writing Bible studies. Her Bible study, Joy! A Bible Study on Philippians for Women, is available from Cruciform Press. Before marrying John, Keri was a lawyer and served as the chief counsel for the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Constitution where she was the staff writer of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.
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