Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Most Earth-shaking Letter Ever Written

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Probably the most earth-shaking letter ever written in history was dashed off by hand by a man with poor eyesight--God's apostle, Paul. The impassioned epistle was sent to the "Galatians" to correct a fatal error threatening to poison the young church that Christ and His apostles had just raised up. The subtle deception came from the then-headquarters of the church in Jerusalem: the idea that the gospel of Christ is a revival of Old Covenant "righteousness," supposedly by faith, but in reality by a counterfeit of it. The problem has plagued Christianity ever since.

Even the most astute of Christian scholars confess that "a haze" of confusion about the Old and New Covenants still covers "the landscape of the church."

The principal idea Paul made was that "God ... preached ... the gospel unto Abraham" (Gal. 3:8). Still today a suspect doctrine! The usual concept is that the gospel came later than Abraham--for example, 430 years later at Mt. Sinai.

Paul's idea is that Abraham's unusual response to God's New Covenant promises (Gen. 12:2, 3) was genuine faith--the kind that appropriates the much more abounding grace that saves us (Gen. 15:6; Eph. 2:8, 9). Abraham's faith therefore was like turning on a switch that allows the electricity to flow through the house. It's a simple idea: faith doesn't save us, but it closes the circuit so that God's grace is free to flow through us and save us. But that idea has created theological explosions all through history.

Abraham's descendants at Sinai were the first of countless generations to brush off the gospel truth; they have wanted the Old Covenant as their belief--"all that the Lord hath spoken we will do" (Ex. 19:8), they have promised vainly.

The great Day of Atonement is now--when it's time for God's people to overcome every trace of that Old Covenant confusion and recover the pure love for the gospel that Abraham knew when he "believed in the Lord, and He counted it [his faith] to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6).
True obedience to God's law is possible only through the New Covenant. Thank God He has given you a "hunger and thirst" to understand it.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 11, 2004.
Copyright © 2011 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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