August 11, 2014

God's Word Is for Rebuking

Galatians 3:1-6

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for … rebuking … so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
—2 Timothy 3:16-17


Rebuking refers to confronting error and pointing out sin. It conveys a sense of convicting someone in a courtroom.

In Galatians, the apostle Paul sternly rebukes the Christians in Galatia for what they were thinking and doing. He had brought them the gospel (“good news”) of God’s free grace, and they had believed that Christ saved them. But after Paul left, they listened to other teachers who said that trusting in Jesus was not enough. They told the Galatians they should also practice all the rules and rituals of the Law of Moses, including circumcision. In other words, the Galatians needed faith and these rules and rituals to have a right relationship with God.

No, said Paul. He argued by referring to examples in Scripture from Abraham and Sarah’s life. He said that going back to living by rules would put them under a burden that brought condemnation because they could never obey the law perfectly. It would also prevent them from living in the freedom of the Spirit of God.

Why is this rebuke important? Because today we too can fall into thinking that rules and good works—such as praying, attending church, doing devotions, giving offerings, and helping others—are needed in addition to faith in Christ. But salvation is only by grace through faith! Do you believe this?

“May my cry come before you, Lord; … deliver me according to your promise” (Psalm 119:169-170). Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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