Grace...It's a Good Thing

Legalists "zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing..."

The gist of this passage out of Galatians 4 is that self righteous people are always zealous and sincere, and their top priority is to influence you away from the gospel-preachers, to separate you from a gospel-centered church. The Message puts it this way:

"Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important."

You will be wined and dined, you will be invited to the parties, you will get the friend requests on Facebook, you will be the friend of the Pharisee, so long as you allow yourself to be affected by them. Because their goal is to separate you from the teachers they disagree with. They will flatter you with their friendship, but the motive is to "exclude you", which in the Greek means to separate you out for themselves. If you are in the grace-camp, a Pharisee will target you to hang with them, to make them feel validated and important. A Pharisee craves admiration like a pig craves the mud. They have to have followers, and they will look you up years later (lucky you!), they will call you with an invitation when they never even really liked you, all because they are searching near and far for yet another person to join them. And because they don't want you hanging out with the likes of Paul...

It's lonely at the top. These high achievers don't have the means for emotional continuity in friendship, because all us low achieving little people have such glaring flaws. No wonder we talk so much about grace, we need it...take one look at us and our children, after all. We haven't achieved much, other than a middle class income and true friendships. We drive cars that aren't new, and our goals don't go much beyond loving God and loving people. We got nothing to show for all this grace-talk other than righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

A little law mighta' dun us good.

Ah, well. Legends in Their Own Minds always end up, in the words of Peter Pan to Captain Hook, "Old. Alone. Done for."

Give me the low place, any day. I will choose the least important seat. The one with all my rowdy friends close by. The seat with all those prodigal sons and daughters. I'll sit there, thankyouverymuch. Who knows? At the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, I just might be the one told, "Come up here and sit."

Wouldn't that be fine?

I agree with Paul - it is good to be zealously affected in a good thing. I do not plan on shutting up, not in this life, about the finished work of Christ. Gentle Reader, I am out to zealously affect you in a good thing...a very good thing. The Word of His Grace.

It will be good for you to be zealously affected. It will be health to your very bones.

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. (II Timothy 1: 13, 14)

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