Galatians 2:4-6 ESV
“Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.”
The context is that of the Judaizers trying to convince Christians that they had to be circumcised and that they had to obey some of the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial and purification laws in order to be saved. Yet, the broader context is that of distorters of truth trying to convince Christians or prospective Christians to follow after a false man-made gospel in order to bring them back under slavery or to keep them in slavery to sin.
Now, the first is definitely still with us, and it has been gaining ground for some time now via the Hebrew roots movements or from the Messianic Jewish movements, etc. Many Christian “churches” have engaged in having Christian Jews speak at their gatherings, and many professers of faith in Jesus have been convinced that they need to become more Jewish and to engage in some of the Jewish customs and ceremonies, and perhaps to even follow some of the Old Covenant liturgical and ceremonial laws.
[I am no expert on this subject, so I can’t speak on it with any solid knowledge with facts. I just know that many professing Christians are being convinced that being more Jewish will add to their faith in Jesus Christ.]
The Broader Context
Although modern-day Judaizers are an issue, for certain, and they appear to be gaining ground, still the greater issue is not in legalism but in liberalism. The “false brothers” who are permeating the church of today, at least here in America, are those who are teaching a very liberal gospel message which does not put sin to death in the sinner, but which allows sin to live and to thrive and to continue unhindered. For they say all is forgiven, so sin no longer matters to God. They teach or they give the impression that those of faith can continue in habitual and deliberate sin now without punishment.
Some of them may talk about repentance, but if they do, it is mostly in the context of a one-time thing or of just admitting sin, but not usually in the context of actually turning away from a life of sin and doing a spiritual U-turn the other direction to now following Jesus Christ in obedience to his ways and to his commands, which is what the Scriptures teach repentance is. But many don’t even use the word “repent” anymore, or they do, but in a negative context when they dissuade people from repenting of sin.
Going along with this dissuading of people from repenting of sin is also that they discourage them or they teach against them obeying the Lord and his commands (New Covenant). If we repent of sin and obey our Lord and if we teach others that they must repent and obey the Lord, we are accused falsely of teaching “works-based salvation.” But that is a lie from hell. For Jesus, and Paul, and Peter, and John, and James taught repentance and obedience as necessary components of believing faith in Jesus Christ.
So, if you have pastors and people in your church gatherings who are teaching you that you don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord (Owner-Master) and that you don’t have to repent of (turn away from) your sins, and that you don’t have to obey the Lord and his commands (New Covenant), then they are false brothers who have secretly slipped in among you to spy on your freedom in Christ Jesus and to bring you back into slavery or to leave you in slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin while promising you heaven.
What they are teaching is not the truth of the gospel. The true gospel teaches that Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and was raised. He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our bodies (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).
When we believe in Jesus with God-given faith (not of ourselves), we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6).
Now we must no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, but now according to the Spirit. Sin should no longer have mastery or control over our lives. Now we should be living under Holy Spirit control. Now we must no longer live as slaves to sin in deliberate and habitual sin, but now we must be surrendering our lives to Jesus, denying self, dying to sin daily (daily putting sin to death) and walking in obedience to our Lord.
If we don’t, and we go our own way instead, and we have this idea that we can be Christians, and that we can be saved from our sins, and that heaven is our eternal destiny, and that we are in relationship with God, but we deny him as Lord of our lives, and we still deliberately and habitually make sin our practice, and we feel no obligation to obey him or his commands, then Scripture teaches that we are liars, that we don’t know him, and that we don’t have the hope of eternal life with him, but we will die in our sins, and unless we truly repent, hell will be our eternal destiny, not heaven.
For God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the power and wisdom of God while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For, Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (see Titus 2:11-14; cf. Eph 4:17-24).
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
An Original Work / August 8, 2012
Based off Ephesians 1:3-10 NIV
Praise be to God, the Father of Jesus,
Who has blessed us in heavenly realms.
For He chose us in Him from beginning
To be His holy children of God;
All in accord with His will and pleasure;
To the praise of His glorious grace.
In Jesus Christ we receive forgiveness.
We have redemption through His shed blood.
Glorious grace God freely has given us
In the One He loves and adores;
All in accord with the riches of His grace
Which He pours out on those He loves.
With all His wisdom and understanding,
God has made known His will unto us,
According to His will and good pleasure,
Purposed in Christ till all be fulfilled;
To bring all things on earth and in heaven
Under our Lord Christ; be unified.