Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?
Thoughts for Today:The Greek word PASCHO has been translated in the NIV as "experienced". However, according to Strong's Concordance, PASCHO has more to do with being affected by something (for example, the plight or suffering of a sick person) than a generic "experience". As we take this additional information into consideration we realize the Apostle Paul is saying, "When you first began, you were persecuted because of your simple faith in Jesus -- yet you still persevered and continued to believe. After having gone through all those difficulties because of your faith, why now would you turn from grace to religiosity?"
The Gospel of grace is offensive to religious people. Why? Because true Christianity tells people we can't save ourselves and we desperately need a Savior. This simple message is taken as an insult to people who are pleased with their own holiness and self-righteousness. They have difficulty placing their faith solely in Jesus because it would take away from what they've already accomplished -- and more important -- they would lose their advantage over those who are less holy.
In our passage today, the suffering the Galatians endured was the result of their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, if they turned from Jesus to legalism, then all they had suffered up to this point would have been wasted.
Questions to Ponder:Many times Christians are drawn to people who seem hyper-spiritual or religious. They have routines and disciplines that can make us feel inferior and as if we must be missing something. However, Paul tells us that without grace religiosity doesn't matter in the least. We can't make ourselves righteous. Righteousness comes by faith in Christ only. Have you been adding anything (religiosity) to the simple Gospel of grace? Be careful. We can't improve upon His perfection.