Summary: Salvation has been secured for all who will believe by God’s finished work through Jesus. There is no work that we can ever add to God’s work to bring about our salvation.
It was just one week ago. Connie and I were out in the backyard working when Annie came out to tell us that someone was at the front door. I left my work and opened the front door to greet two young guys who were dressed like corporate executives in white shirts and ties. They had nametags pinned to their shirts. They introduced themselves and asked me if I was familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I said, "Sure. I am a pastor at a church in Oklahoma City." They began telling me about their church when I said, "I’m pretty familiar with the theology of your church. My theology is quite different from yours, but I want to tell you that I admire your passion and commitment." I told them that I was pretty sure that nobody from our church was out knocking on doors on Saturday morning and neither was I.
I reiterated my admiration for their commitment and told them that our beliefs are worlds apart. One of the young men asked, "How are they different?" I said, "Well, I believe that there is no accompaniment to the Bible…it is the Bible alone." One of the young men said, "I read my Bible this morning and I read it every morning along with the Book of Mormon." I said, "I only read the Bible as the Word of God." I also told them that I believe that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone - there is no other way to God.
One of the young men began telling me about the Book of Mormon’s record of God’s work in America when I stopped him and said, "Several years ago I spent several hours talking with two Mormon missionaries about our beliefs. When we finished talking they left my house unchanged and I closed the door behind them unchanged from the time they came into my house. I decided then that I was not going to debate theology with Mormon missionaries ever again." I said, "God promises that He will reveal Himself to those who seek Him with all of their hearts so I want to encourage you guys to continue to seek the Lord with all of your hearts and He will show you the truth. Have a good day and thanks for stopping by."
That was the end of our conversation. Five minutes max. As the young men left my front door step I prayed that God would open their eyes and reveal to them the error of their beliefs and the Truth of His Word. Was that arrogant of me? Was it religious superiority that overcame me at that time? Hardly. I was thinking of Paul’s encounter with the false teachers of His day. Everywhere Paul traveled he saw the fingerprints of those who had come into the Church and misrepresented the Truth of God.
In our study for today we are going to take a look at a situation that arose because of Paul’s defiance of false teachers. The false teachers of Paul’s day were quick to say that they believed in Jesus, but in addition to Jesus there were other works that Christians needed to receive salvation. Paul’s answer to the false teachers was always the same…Christ alone. Let’s read our Scripture for today found in Galatians 2:1-10.
1Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. 6As for those who seemed to be important-whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance-those men added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. 10All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. (Galatians 2:1-10 NIV)