Some years ago, I began to read contents from some ladies who were intellectually sound and their reasoning faculty was just superb. They wrote so powerfully that there was no way you would not be hooked by their words.
I adored them and would talk about them to any one who cared to listen. But then I noticed my faith walk was getting affected negatively. Beyond the intellectual enlightenment, they began to talk about issues that were contrary to the Word. At first, it seemed harmless.
But the more I read what they put up, the faster I began to think and act like them. When I saw how carnal I was becoming, I had to unfollow them one after the other. I still love intellectual discussions but you see, my spiritual growth matters more than anything and once I smell the tree of the knowledge of good evil standing in my way of eating from the tree of life, I cut it down very fast.
Why did I share that little experience? I want to point out something that is central to what I want to share with you today.
Believe it or not, we are products of our environment. What we listen to continuously will greatly influence our actions and behavior over time. It will influence our beliefs, our reactions and our thought life. In a blog post, Where the fight begins I remembered I shared that one of the major fights couples in a relationship have is what they have carried into the relationship from their culture, background and exposure.
Let’s get one point straight: What you allow to settle in your mind will have great influence on you.
The believer who spends his life running from the devil and killing his supposed enemy every day does that basically because of the teaching he is exposed to. Same goes for another believer who stands his ground and picks up his shield of faith by declaring his identity in Christ. Check him out, he has been exposed to teachings about the finished works of Jesus and his position in Christ. Same principle applies to a man who is carnally minded different from a spiritually minded man.
This was the exact problem of the Galatians in Galatians 1:6, 7 which Paul sought to correct. Can we look at those scriptures together?
‘..I am astonished that you are quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-which is no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1: 6,7.
The Galatians had been taught the gospel of Christ and yet they deserted it for something irrelevant. Why was that possible?
They gave a hand of fellowship to some people who distorted the teachings Paul had painstakingly taught them. Maybe these people had come in like the serpent in the garden of Eden:
‘Did God really say, you shouldn’t mix the law of the Moses and the law of the Spirit? Stop deceiving yourself. It is not true. You cannot walk with God without the law of Moses. Never. Except you want to end up in the lake of fire that is twenty times hotter than hell fire.’
‘Wait o, Who says Christ has redeemed you from the curse of the law? You don’t even know there are very strong generational curses following your life. They are strong o. Until you march round our mountain for forty days, nothing for you. You will add fasting to it and if the thing is still very strong, you may have to go naked for some days.’
‘Who is deceiving you that you have been translated from darkness to light. Just like that. You sef, think am. Is that realistic. You must do some things for yourself or else your destiny will end in a mess.’
I do not for once believe that the distortions happened in a day. Maybe they showed up twice every week and gradually, the Galatians began to ponder on their words and probably teach it among themselves.
I see the Galatians representing different set of believers today.
Those who just take everything hook line and sinker without understanding it. They will not ask questions. They won’t search the bible to verify what a preacher is saying. When Paul taught the scriptures and laid the foundation principles, they are the type that would nod their head and say, ‘Hmm.. eleyi deep gan. This message is powerful.’ But as soon as they are out of the service, the words are all forgotten.
When a sugar coated preacher comes, they quickly grab whatever he says and run with it until the next preacher shows up with something else.
Imagine a believer saying, ‘it is better not to use extensions or wear jewelry, because when we get to heaven and Jesus says, ‘get out!’ then you will be safe.’ How can you live your life based on assumptions when you have the Holy Spirit who is a seal and an inheritance for you. How can you not be sure of what you have come to believe? Someone claims he died and went to heaven abi hell and fiam, believers are running helter skelter, chasing non-essentials and you’ll be forced to ask, did they ever understand the scriptures?
There are those who call themselves believers and yet their closest companions are unbelievers. How will you not be carnal? I was shocked the day a discussion came up and Christians were arguing that people from a certain religion would make it to heaven if they had good and nice behavior. They justified their answers by saying these people behaved better than some Christians. When did being nice and good become the criteria for eternal life. Sometimes, it makes one wonder, are these believers or are they just professing to be one?
If you do not know the basic foundational principle that believing in the finished works fo Christ is the key to eternal life, how can other deep matters be understood.
If you do not understand the faith you have come to receive, you will never be able to stand for it. Even after you believe the gospel, if you do not surround yourself with people of like minded faith and stay long enough beholding the Word, it is only a matter of time before carnality sets in.
The gospel is clearly defined in the word of God.
1 Corinthians 15:1,3- I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that he was buried and that he rose again the third day.
John 3:16- He who believes on Jesus shall have eternal life.
Romans 3:21- Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all who believe.
Romans 6:4- Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life.
Romans 3:24- Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
I could go on and on.
The Galatians had been taught that they were crucified with Christ and that the life they lived in the flesh was by faith in the Son of God. It had been explained that the law was a schoolmaster for them until Christ came and now that Christ had perfected the sacrifice, they were no longer under it. They were aware that now that the law of Moses no longer guided them, the law of the Spirit was the focal point. Yet they threw all these away for irrelevancies.
In Galatians 2:1-5, Paul gave them an example of a similar situation in Jerusalem when some false brethren crept in to bring the believers back to the law from which they had been set free. Guess what Paul and Barnabas did? Look at verse 5.
…some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.. Galatians 2:5
Not even for a one minute did Paul let them speak. Immediately he sensed their motive to drag the believers outside the gospel truth, he addressed the situation quickly. Because seeds planted in the heart have the capacity to grow. Because It starts with a thought
What irrelevancies are we majoring on? Is our eyes still focused on what Christ has done?
Does the finished works mean anything to us or are we still trying to assist Jesus in completing a work that has already been done?
Are we beginning to replace the message of the gospel in our gatherings with motivational words? You draw the crowd yes, but has the message transformed lives?
The gospel of Christ is the only source for lasting transformation. It carries the power of God to liberate men and strengthen the faith of believers. Any gospel that does not point you to Christ and his finished work is not the gospel.
The mind is powerful. Guard it well. Bad communication corrupts good manners, says the scripture. Fill it with a deep revelation of God’s word. Spend time listening to Christ centered sermons. Create time to understand the terms of the new covenant. Let your inner circle of friends be people whose gaze are fixed on the finished work of calvary.
When your heart is continually solidified in gospel truths, it will be difficult to get tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine.
I end with this scripture:
..For The law of the Spirit of life in Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2.