Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
In Galatians 1:11-24 Paul tells us clearly that the Gospel he preaches is not man's idea, but it is something from God. Recently a friend of mine pointed out his concern that the Church has allowed some sort of secular ideas to creep into its theology, secular ideas based on how our human wisdom would deal with suffering and injustice in the world.
As we discussed it further, he clarified that the human wisdom he sees is normally based on a hope for civic justice. This justice is always sought by means of obedience to some sort of moral or ethical demands. The problem in the public square is that the demands are always changing and that they can never be met adequately, at least not by those we may disagree with.
This runs counter to a biblical view of God's redemption. In Christ, we believe that we have forgiveness of our sins. There's a moral and ethical standard, no doubt. But we are all bound to fail it. The ultimate goal is to turn us to sorrow for our failings and leave us to plead for forgiveness from a gracious God. This forgiveness is granted, not based on our holiness, but on God's loving desire to make us holy by his own work. Jesus serves as the substitute in holiness, and at the same time serves as our substitute, receiving the penalty and condemnation that we deserved.
The moral and ethical standard is there, but we strive for it now in thanksgiving for God's mercy which we have received. We try to live a holy life because Jesus has given his life on account of our failure. Yet when we fail, we realize he has already done all that is necessary to forgive.
Our world's systems don't know about such forgiveness. They know only about demands. Alternatively, they demand that we have no standards, though then when they realize the implications of such a stand, they impose standards.
Paul did not teach man's gospel, but God's. It's the one that really forgives.
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