In the marketplace, someone is always trying to fool us by offering a
cheaper but inferior product as if it were the real thing! It is sad to
be fooled in that way, but it’s only money. When it comes to the things
of the soul, however, the matter is infinitely more serious. A
substitute gospel will rob us of eternal life. Today’s attached
devotional points to just such a terrible cheat. “Don’t be fooled!”
Because of Calvary,
Galatians 1:6-9 (ESV)
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 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. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
“The really essential thing about the Judaizers’ contention was not found in those particular’ works of the law’ that they urged upon the Galatians as being one of the grounds of salvation, but in the fact that they urged any works in this sense at all. The really serious error into which they fell was not that they carried the ceremonial law over into the new dispensation whither God did not intend it to be carried, but that they preached a religion of human merit as over against a religion of divine grace.
“So the error of the Judaizers is a very modern error indeed, as well as a very ancient error. It is found in the modern Church wherever men seek salvation by ‘surrender’ instead of by faith, or by their own character instead of by the imputed righteousness of Christ, or by ‘making Christ master in the life’ instead of trusting in His redeeming blood. In particular, it is found wherever men say ‘the real essentials of Christianity are love, justice, mercy and other virtues, as contrasted with the great doctrines of God’s Word. These are all just different ways of exalting the merit of man over against the Cross of Christ; they are all of them attacks upon the very heart and core of the Christian religion. And against all of them the mighty polemic of this Epistle to the Galatians is turned.” [Historic Christianity: Selections for the Writings of J. Gresham Machen, edited by Stanley A. Mansfield, Carey C. Olson, John H. Skilton, and Joseph X. Heincer, Jr., (Philadelphia: A Skilton House Ministries-Sowers Publication, 1997), p. 32-33]