Every Sunday morning, I have a bible study with a small group of believers at my church, Fellowship Bible Church Dallas. The group emerged out of a 10 week class called Starting Point, that gives the basis of the Christian faith – the gospel – and a place to ask the hard questions that many seekers, returners and new believers have. Towards the end of the 10 weeks, some of the group members were hungry for more and I was eager to teach, so a new group was formed.
Compatible with my ministry philosophy of teaching Christians who God is and what he has provided, I like to focus on teaching the bible through this lens – the self-revelation of God. It fuels love for Him as we discover his grace and mercy. So we spent the first few weeks discussing how the bible was put together, how it reveals God, his progressive revelation and culmination in the Son. This gives a parameter of how we consider the 66 books and read through them. We then spent several months plodding through the book of John, always connecting Jesus actions and his revealing of the Father. Next, we spent several weeks in the book of Acts to show how the apostles carried out the testimony of Christ and the establishment of the church. Both books were incredibly rich studies and brought many expressions of awe of our great God.
We started in Galatians today and I was reminded once again, of our tendency to trust in behavior of right and good, instead of placing faith in Christ. Grace is hard because there is something within us that makes us believe that we need to contribute something in order to be accepted by God. Faith in Christ is not enough, says our humanness that relies on human merit. And this was the problem with the disruption that was going on in the churches and why Paul was upset. Burdens were placed on belief. But faith plus some type of human endeavor for approval from God is a distorted gospel. In fact, Paul says it is really no gospel at all. Continue reading