THE WEEK OF TRINITY XXV – TUESDAY
LESSON: GALATIANS 3:10‒14
“If anyone says to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.” Matthew 24:23
We should know and understand this passage and similar ones very well. There have always been those who have tried to gain currency for their ideas of the kingdom of Christ by attaching the Christian Church to external, visible features and circumstances, or even by identifying it with certain prominent leaders, claiming that the kingdom of Christ is wherever a certain leader is to be found. Their chief objective is that we should find them and be influenced by personal relationships and particular styles in our religious persuasions. In other words, everything is decided by external factors. Monasteries and ecclesiastical institutions have often been influenced in this way. “If you accept our way of life,” they say, “eat as we do, dress according to our direction, pray and fast as we do, you will atone for your sins and be saved.”
Christ gives us a good description of this kind of thing here. He is aiming His remarks especially at all the monasteries, religious ranks, and all the special works with which they try to help the souls of men. He warns us to be on our guard and not to allow ourselves to be torn from the foundation on which we stand; namely, that we do not become Christians by any of these institutions, ranks, or works, but are saved from all evil and brought into His kingdom through His blood alone, if we believe in Him.
He removes from our sight everything temporal and external, and with one word strikes down all doctrine which does not preach faith purely, and all living which is not governed by the correct doctrine of faith. He says here in brief, “If anyone says to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.” He means to say, “Be on your guard against everything that leads you to works; for it will deceive you and tear you away from Me.”
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, protect us at all times against all false doctrine and misunderstandings which would modify our faith and trust in You alone and direct us to our own vain works and merits, for Your mercy and truth’s sake. Amen.