SGBC Modesto

Grace Has Enemies

March 28, 2024 by

William Heinrich

Douglas Wilson said, “Grace has no handles and is impossible for sinners to pick up, but it does have hands and consequently has no difficulty picking us up.” Grace had enemies in the Galatian church of the first century and we find the same is true today. To understand how we should respond we would be wise
to see how the apostle Paul responded in Galatia during the first century.

Paul had gotten sick in Galatia so stayed there longer than most stops. He was very clear on the Gospel of
grace and many embraced Christ through grace and faith alone. When Paul left, a thriving church was started. However the enemies of grace, called then “the Judaizers,” were not far behind. They were dedicated to overturning Paul’s preaching, crying that his message of grace was dangerous or Paul was too gracie and did not have a sufficient amount of human contributions. Paul, hearing of their effort, wrote a stinging rebuke calling all who do not come to Christ alone by grace alone apart from any human merit as accursed. Since the good news (Gospel) is found in Christ and apart from human effort and those who taught the need of human effort promoted another gospel, this was not good news at all.

Just as the enemies of the gospel in the first century taught that salvation was based on Christ’s death and man’s circumcision (law keeping), so today in our century, many teach the need of human effort. Today some teach it’s Christ’s death and baptism, other it’s Christ’s death and grace that come through the sacraments of the church or Christ’s death and worshiping on Saturday or even Christ’s death and prayer and sincerity or holding faithful to the end. But Paul argued then and now “A man is not justified
by the works of the law but by the faith in Christ…… for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
(Galatians 2:16)

Enemies of grace will continue to plague the church. We must resist and expose them lest others hear their gospel that is not good news at all.