I am almost done with Galatians as January comes to a close… and I must confess that I have not done devotions everyday. As a perfectionist that is hard for me to say…
There seems to be some hoopla in the LCMS about the Specific Ministries route at the Seminary. It seems like there is actually a Biblical tradition for Pastor serving different groups of people based on their skill set.
On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised
(Galatians 2:7 ESV)
I haven’t fully worked out the implications of this connection nor have I had the time to fully think it through but in my devotions this morning it seemed to make sense. Thoughts?
My final thought on Galatians is about doctrine and our understanding of the faith. Paul says,
and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
(Galatians 2:9-10 ESV)
Fellowship. Denominations. The Gospel. The grace given to us.
A question that has plagued me since I have become a Pastor is, “How much doctrine do you need to properly understand to be a member of the invisible church?”
I see some of the most doctrinally wise Pastors I have ever met… and their church is struggling. I am following after a doctrinally lax Pastor… and under his pastorate the church flourished. If doctrine is all about the blessed assurance that is ours in Christ then shouldn’t the most doctrinally correct church at least be growing if not growing the fastest!?! I believe Lord, help my unbelief.
Now, I know we say it isn’t about numbers, but it is. It is about bringing the Good New of Great joy to all people.
If you believe in double predestination… properly understood, in my humble opinion, as the doctrine that God doesn’t love everyone… are you going to hear Jesus say, “I don’t know you.”!?!?!?!
If the only unforgivable sin is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit… then is a misunderstanding of this doctrine or that doctrine the other unforgivable sin?
I know, I know, I know… Paul also says, in Galatians for crying out loud,
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
(Galatians 5:2-4 ESV)
So… I don’t know, I believe only God does. Until then
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
(Philippians 3:12-16 ESV)
Philippians in February!
+soli Deo gloria+