The early church faced opposition from the Judaizers, from what we see in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. People were trying to bring back the law into justification before God. This led to Paul declaring that if anyone presented another gospel, distinct from that which is the gospel of Christ (Gal 1:7) and of God (Rom 1:1), let him be accursed. Strong words, but fitting due to the importance of the true Gospel.
How is this episode of the early church relevant to us? If we are aware of church history, time and time again a reliance on good works have crept into the doctrine of the free justification of Christ in the Gospel. Can the Gospel be truly Good News if the Gospel depended on our good works?
In South-East Asia, converts often carry remnants of their past works-based religions. Indeed, such believers become easily shackled by the works-based justification that has plagued God’s people for ages. The Gospel must not just be understood by individual christians but carefully taught in church. Otherwise, we should not be surprised if the future generation forgets about justification and professes a different gospel which saves no-one from the curse. As it is often said, justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls.
At Reformation Today Conference 2019 in Singapore, Dr. Joel Beeke has been invited to speak across 3 nights (from 31 July to 2 August). The topics of the talks are:
- The powerful Gospel
- The centrality of the Gospel
- The grace of the Gospel
You are invited to sign up for this conference (free admission) at https://ferc.org.sg/RefToday
This conference and its side events are jointly hosted by multiple churches in Singapore. More information can be found at the same link above.
On behalf of the organising committee,