As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.
My thoughts on this passage (Robert Ferguson):
Do you remember the first time you heard the story of Jesus? Where were you when you heard of his birth, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection? Perhaps you were a child in Sunday school class or a toddler sitting at the knee of an elder. Maybe you were a teenager that first time you heard of the greatest sacrifice of all. Were you excited? Baffled? Mystified? I remember thinking, “Is it really such a simple plan?”
In today’s reading, Paul is writing a letter to the church of Galatia. Paul and other church leaders have preached here before and helped to start and grow all of the churches in this part of the world. He reminds them that he shared with them the one true gospel. However, since he has left “others” have come in to the church and confused and complicated the message. Somehow the church had forgotten the original plan as Paul had preached it.
The original plan was so simple. God created us and God loves us. God’s desire for us is that we be reconciled back to our creator. To that end, Jesus, the son of God, made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life so that we may dwell forever with the creator. All we have to do is believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and we shall have eternal life and peace with God.
Somehow things got all complicated and twisted around. We started making up rules and regulations — stipulations and fine print to the original gospel of Jesus Christ. Often these restrictions are created to further some individual agenda or oppress a particular group of people. Everyone wants to be God’s favorite people. Everyone claims to have the inside track on how to win God’s heart. But God told us in the beginning all that was required of us — faith in Jesus Christ.
As Christians and people of God, Paul warns the church of Galatia (and us) to be leery of those who preach a gospel different from what we were taught in the beginning. The way to God is through Jesus. It has become a very popular notion that we can earn our way into heaven. Sitting on committees and volunteering for every ministry team, we think, will buy us a ticket to eternity. But good works flow from a heart already filled with God’s grace — not the other way around.
God has a plan for your life and a desire for you to have peace. That is a powerful thought — to know that the infinite God cares enough about little old me to make the ultimate sacrifice. Surely God is worthy of my praise.
God understands that we haven’t been perfect and that we make mistakes and do things that are sometimes just plain wrong, but through this simple plan we are offered freedom. Thanks be to God! We are not burdened by the mistakes and missteps of our past. In Christ we are brand new creatures, free to live life to its fullest.
Stay with the simple plan. Keep it simple and remember, God desires peace for us.
Thought for the day: Am I making my spiritual life more complicated than it has to be?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.