Daily Reform, Day 63
Galatians 2:1 & 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
From the Reformer
The opponents of Paul had his own example to prefer against him. Paul had circumcised Timothy. Paul defended his action on the ground that he had circumcised Timothy, not from compulsion, but from Christian love, lest the weak in faith should be offended. His opponents would not accept Paul’s explanation.
When Paul saw that the quarrel was getting out of hand he obeyed the direction of God and left for Jerusalem, there to confer with the other apostles. He did this not for his own sake, but for the sake of the people.
Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
The key word here is “compulsion.” Some people walk to the altar, not because their hearts have been moved by God but because some preacher has essentially browbeat them. It is likely that those people have not come to God but to that preacher. Why do some Christians stop smoking? Is it to go along with the crowd or because God has spoken to them? Believers should not be coerced by men; they should be moved by the Spirit. One should especially not be compelled to perform some action in order to be saved.
Yet some Christians (in fact, I think, very many) believe otherwise. They believe you are not saved unless you do this or that — either before or as a result of being saved. This is a result of preaching the wrong person. If your dogma comes from Moses or Luther or tradition or self, you will almost certainly go astray somewhere along the way. Proclaim Jesus. Only Jesus. For Jesus’ sake.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers