16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2
We hear a lot about counterfeit gospels or “watered down” preaching in the church today. Most of the time, the folks that do this talking are complaining that the gospel doesn’t talk about sin enough. It is certainly true that the gospel begins with the fact that we are all sinners who need Jesus. But we need to remember that when Paul talked about other gospels, he was talking about those who tried to require new Christians to be Jews before they could be Christian. He was condemning those who tried to bring the law back into Christianity. He was talking about those who called “sin” that which was merely a different practice or tradition.
We need to be careful that we aren’t just jealous of the success of approaches different from ours. We should not attach labels without careful prayer and study. We really need to be sure we know what we are talking about, especially when we talk about someone who, in truth, is following Jesus.
People aren’t always comfortable with the freedom that comes in Christ. With freedom comes joy and peace. It grows from the responsibility of being followers of Christ. A true Christian follows Christ, led by the Spirit. Many are much more comfortable with tradition and rules. Jesus came into a Jewish society that had gone crazy with rules. He wasn’t impressed. He condemned the Pharisees. This was a Jewish sect noted for strict observance of rites and ceremonies of the written law and for insistence on the validity of their own oral traditions concerning the law. The Pharisees insisted on “my way or the highway.”
I love to be with Kairos brothers. They come from a variety of expressions of Christianity. They worship a little differently. They differ in a variety of way in matters which are of no eternal consequence. But in each I see Jesus. I see peace and joy and a love for the Lord. I see a desire to bring others to Jesus. I hear their stories of redemption, conversion and restoration. I see lives truly changed.
Sometimes when we see something different, before we cry “counterfeit” we need to look for Jesus and the fearless love and peace He brings.