The worst kind of replacement

My friend Frank came into the shop today and we were talking. Talking about some believers here in Sydney who are missing the point of the Gospel and Torah. Seems we know some folks who are caught up in the Galatian heresy, which may be a new term to some of you. The letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia (a region in Asia Minor in the First Century) contained these famous words,  "You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?  This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain — if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?" (chapter 3, verses 1-5)

The rhetorical question of Paul to the Galatians begs the obvious answer, BY THE SPIRIT in FAITH!

So the contrast is clear, that people who came to faith in Yeshua did so by the Spirit of God. And they are going to be completed (sanctified, come to conclusion) in their journey by the same Spirit and NOT by the works of Torah.  Paul says that any other conclusion is folly, "foolishness."

Then in one moment we spoke about 'replacement theology.' And a thought splashed into my mind. The worst kind of replacement is the one where I replace God as the Saviour of my life. Most believers readily admit that without the blood of Jesus, without the grace of God, we would never be saved. We owe our salvation to the love of God demonstrated in the cross. Jesus died for our sins, we say. And if we trust Him, if we believe in Him, we will have eternal life. 

John the apostle said this, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (chapter 3, verse 16)

So believers all start at that place. God saved me. I owe Him everything. I'm grateful for eternity. I'm grateful for my salvation. Hallelujah!

But then a crazy and self-consuming idea creeps in. We think it's up to us to finish the work of God in our own lives. I'm reminded of the story of the car park at Christmas at Westfield (a major shopping centre network in Australia and now worldwide). The secularist is driving around and around in the car park, looking for a space, and not finding anything for 25 minutes. His frustration is mounting. He remembers his Christian friend has told him that he often 'prays for a parking space' and 'God provides for him.'  So the secularist thinks, "I'll give it a try." He isn't used to praying, but while driving around he shoots up this prayer, "Lord, my friend Larry says he prays for a space. So, I'll pray this, too, and if you give me a space, I'll donate my ... " (He sees an open space), "Never mind, I found one." 

The humour aside, the way of man is to depend on himself. Jeremiah the prophet said, "Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD." (chapter 9, verses 23-24)

The Galatian heresy is really replacement gone mad. It's where I replace God with me! The way of salvation starts with trusting Jesus, and the end of my life is successful if and ONLY IF Jesus is still bringing me to Himself. I'll finish well if I surrender well to the Almighty, and not take the responsibility to keep Torah and earn the rest of my salvation. 

The worst kind of replacement is substituting ME for YESHUA. 

There's only ONE Saviour. His name is not Bob. His name is Yeshua. I owe Him everything. 


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