No Substitutes

brown cookies on black metal grill
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:3-7

Accept no substitutes.  While generic drugs and no-name breakfast cereals have their place, there’s also a time to say, “Accept no substitutes.”  For example, your mother’s chocolate chip cookies have never been beaten. The green ceramic pot your third grade daughter made for Mother’s Day is the most beautiful piece of sculpture ever. 

Paul has a similar view to the familiar gospel that he has shared with the Galatians. The Gospel is absolutely unique and no other “gospel” can compete.  Like most original products, the Gospel of Jesus begins with an amazing, new idea:  God becomes man.  Galatians 4:4 says, “In the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman…”  Only the true Gospel has this idea and direction—God comes to us to be fully man.  But original ideas and products are expensive.  Yes, and the Gospel is costly, but God bears all the cost himself.  Galatians 4:4 continues, “God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law.”  The impossible price changes when God pays the price by his own Son’s death.

Still, good ideas, whatever their cost, have to work.  The ultimate proof of this Gospel is in the resurrection.  Only in the true Gospel do we have the news that Jesus shows himself to be Son of God in power through the resurrection of the dead, Romans 1:4.  Here is an idea that has no substitute, no comparison.  God takes on our flesh, pays our price and rises from the dead. Accept no substitutes.
Heavenly Father, help us to know and hold onto the true Gospel.  We’re often tempted to get by with the substitute of our own promises.  Remind us that there’s only one Gospel, the truth that Jesus has taken on our flesh, died beneath the cross to make the payment, and risen from the dead to show the truth of his message.  Help us to accept no substitutes. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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