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Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, even now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of people, or of God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

Distortion (def) - The action of giving a misleading account or impression. In some of our "feel good" theologies the message of the gospel can become distorted and give the wrong impression about what is happening in our life when we surrender to Jesus. We sometimes feed the attitude of just not doing anything to grow in our faith, and that causes a lack of serving in many Christians in our world today. This lack of serving affects everything we do, because if we just leave it up to a few, not much will get done. We ALL need to be at work serving the Lord in some capacity on a daily basis. A distorted gospel that minimizes this growth in a believer's life is what some call "easy believism." In easy believism a person is basically getting what some call "fire insurance." Another way of putting that is a salvaiton with no works. The letter from James to Jewish believers scattered abroad in Chapter 2 verses 14-17 speaks to this very subject and the challenge from James make a strong argument that faith without works, or serving, is a dead faith.

The purity of our faith is found in serving Christ, but that serving is not haphazard serving. God directs our paths to ministering in the ways He has equipped us to serve. That way when we do serve it is a joy and not a burden because we are doing something that is very natural. Of course, the carnal man issue can rear it's ugly head and we overcommit to make us feel "more saved" and that distorts the heart of the matter. Distortion of the gospel cannot become something that has any of us in it. In other words, we are saved by God's grace through faith alone and that experience gives us the heart of service. Not the other way around. In the above scripture Paul wants to rule out going by the Law as a way to attain salvation. He knows that there will be many Jews who will hate him for the message of grace, but Paul cannot distort the true message of salvation to make those Jews feel good about him. Paul tells what condition his condition was in (ala First Edition) and now what condition his condition IS in. Paul was a Jew's Jew until Christ changed his life on the Damacus Road and He began to preach from what He knew and that was Jesus. No man-made salvation for him because Paul knew his only hope was found in Jesus.

This brings to mind what happened to those of us who accepted Jesus and what change took place. We became a part of the body of believers and in that body all are important to furthering the gospel. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body,so it is with Christ.13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Each of us are people God can use in an extraordinary way to further the work of the Lord. The ground is level at the foot of the cross and that level ground applies to all who serve Christ. A distorted gospel is not designed to be political or self serving, but to be a gospel that puts us in a position to serve Jesus and Him alone. So.....SERVE!!

The Pilgrimage continues.....

David Warren

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