May 10, 2017 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza
The churches in Galatia were turning to a different gospel. In actuality, they were turning away from the gospel and away from God. They were being confused by false apostles who were preaching a false gospel. Two times the apostle Paul entreats curses upon those preaching a false gospel. Paul writes to the Galatians, "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—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 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. 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." (Galatians 1:6-9) This would not make him popular with his opponents but he was not competing in a popularity contest. Paul adds, "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10) Christianity is never a matter of public opinion. The Christian seeks to please God and is content to let the chips fall where a sovereign God ordains that they fall.
In our postmodern culture, truth to many is whatever they think it is. Or what the majority of people think it is. Opinions take the place of facts. Yet, truth is not up for a vote. Those who take a firm stance on truth and falsity are seen as intolerant and arrogant. We must be all nice and go along to get along. People say "it’s all relative.” “That’s true for you but not for me.” “That’s just your reality.” “Who are you to impose your values on others?” The relativist believes truth functions more like opinion and that truth depends upon your culture, context, or even personal choices. But, as John Adams remarked, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Winston Churchill once quipped, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
The Roman governor Pontius Pilate interrogated Jesus just before the crucifixion. Pilate said to Jesus, “'So you are a king?'” Jesus answered, "'You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.' Pilate said to him, 'What is truth?'” Those who concur with Pilate may intone, "There is no such thing as truth." But such a statement is literally self-refuting, if you think about it.
Humanity ignores God. Humanity refuses to recognize God as God and lives a life independent of God. Most live a life that is based upon this world and this life only. Despite the miracle of creation and the prevalence of the warnings of Scripture and the unknown future that everyone is surely facing in their finite existence, the average person has no thought of God and no time for God. Humanity thinks only of this world and this life.
Multitudes are deceived by a godless world system. The blind lead the blind and deceivers mislead the deceived. This deception feels good because it plays on the sympathetic string of self-centeredness. The deception seems right because everybody is buying it. Yet, the "fear of man will prove to be a snare" (Proverbs 29:25). Truth is not up for a vote. What is popular may be perilous. The crowd is fickle and usually degrades due to the gravity of sin. Today may be Palm Sunday, tomorrow will be Good Friday. Shouts of "Hosanna!" may lead to shouts of "Crucify Him!"
Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) He also said: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" (Matt 7:13). Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17)
Have you reviewed your estate lately? I do not mean your wealth. The etymology of the word Aestate@ comes from Anglo-French and Latin. In Anglo-French estat, from Latin status. What is your status? How is your soul? Have you investigated the truth claims of Jesus as set forth in the Bible? Have you even read the Bible? There is no other book like it. It is actually a collection of 66 books, 39 make up the Old Testament and 27 make up the New Testament. These 66 books were written over a period of 1,500 years by more than 40 authors who came from various walks of life. Some were farmers, others were prophets, all were inspired by God. The Bible was written on three different continents and in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. It was written in different literary genres: some history, law, poetry, letters, gospels and apocalypse. The Bible is the most read book of all time. It is the book with the most manuscript evidence of any other book written in human history. It has been remarkably preserved over the years so that what we have today is amazingly accurate. Despite the fact that the Bible is a collection of 66 books written over a period of 1,500 years by more than 40 authors, it has a single progressively developed theme running from Genesis to Revelation: God's redemption of humanity.
Most who are quick to reject the Bible have not read it. By popular opinion, the Bible is for religious zealots. Take the time to thoroughly investigate the truth claims of Jesus as set forth in the Bible by reading it for yourself. The late Chuck Colson observed, "The Bible --- banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints." Take it up and read! Theodore Roosevelt wisely remarked, "If a man is not familiar with the Bible, he has suffered a loss which he had better make all possible haste to correct."