7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
The Galatians had been off to a good start with the grace message. Now religion was coming in and messing things up. Paul makes it clear that “this persuasion,” this notion that religion is a necessary supplement to Jesus, is not from God.
Paul says in verse nine that just a little bit of the wrong thinking is a problem. This is such an important point. Just like a small amount of yeast causes the entire loaf of bread to rise, so only a little religion waters down the entire Gospel message. There is no room for watering a little religion, a little self-righteousness, or a little performance requirement into the finished work of Jesus. When we start believing wrong teaching or allowing the wrong thoughts to seed into our understanding of radical grace, then we are setting ourselves up to struggle. Worse, we might start telling others that they need to do the same thing. It is imperative that we understand, embrace, and guard jealously the truth of the gospel of grace. It is Jesus plus nothing.
Paul goes on to point out that he is not preaching law. If he was, then he wouldn’t be under persecution. He planted the Galatian churches with the grace message. Not only has the message not changed, it is also offensive to people. The cross offends the religious because it undermines religion and it is offensive to the non-religious because it seems foolish. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians chapter one. The message of grace will offend because it goes against the world’s structure of performance, reward, and punishment.
The offense of the cross is why we must brave grace. Success in this endeavor is rooted in determining to believe the radical truth of grace and immerse your soul in it. This might require a season of limiting relationships. Don’t be afraid to cut off some people for a time. Get firmly established in grace and then re-open those doors. This might mean finding a different church. Whatever you do, don’t let religious leaven in. It only takes a little.
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I really needed this today! Thank you for this daily devotion! The message of grace will offend because it goes against the worlds views ! Love this! We measure our self worth by education and amount of friends and the worlds version of success.. i This message was exactly what I needed today .