I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:6-10)
We’re saved by God’s grace when we repent and believe in Jesus. The first church I attended imposed other rules—obeying the Ten Commandments and baptism by immersion. Although Jesus calls us to be baptized, the only baptism required is baptism by the Holy Spirit, which God gives every believer.
When we impose laws that no one can keep, we cause division, hatred, abandonment, and self-righteousness. We fabricate a foundation for the enemy, not Jesus, to build on. Christian friends deserted me when I couldn’t keep their rules. I felt unloved, but the enemy pretended to love me. We’ve all been there; we look for love in the wrong places.
God doesn’t want exclusion. When we pervert the gospel of Christ, it must anger God. God cursed Paul on the road to Damascus with a notebook of Christians to arrest and slaughter because they weren’t playing by his rules. God’s light blinded him and caused him to be at the other’s mercy. Paul changed from a self-righteous murderer into a loving man.
God curses those who distort the gospel of Christ to change their way of thinking. But God’s curse is an act of love to draw the recipient closer to him. Paul knew that a curse changed him, so he wished the curse on every self-righteous person who causes others to turn from God.
Is there someone you are demanding to act as you want them to, causing division and strife? God wants you to treat them with respect, love them, and put their actions in his hands to work out.
Father, I praise you for changing me into a more loving person. I put __________ in your hands. Help me to love them and trust you to change ____________ mind and actions and bind ________ closer to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.