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 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7)
The false teachers Paul is warning about not only challenged the truth of the gospel, they challenged Paul himself – his character, reputation and authority. Paul had no choice but to offer a defense.
If you’ve been a Christian for very long I suspect that you have experienced at least some of what Paul was going through. As Christians it seems like we are forever called to defend our faith.
- Confrontations: “why would I want to go to church, it’s full of hypocrites”?
- Allegations: “How can you do…. and call yourself a Christian”?
- Accusations: “If your God is so good, why does He let….”?
Sadly, these kinds of attacks not only come at us from the outside, too many times they come from within our own body of believers – just as in Paul’s day. How do we handle such adversity, especially when it comes from within? How do we overcome the lies and distortions? How do we defend our faith?
This is where we can learn from the Apostle Paul.
Paul defends by his testimony: No sugar-coating here. Paul freely confesses his former life. He admits how he persecuted the church of God even to the point of trying to destroy it. But you will note that his testimony in no way glorifies his former life, to the contrary, it points directly to the grace of Christ. Paul doesn’t profess any self-achievement; nowhere does he say “this is what I did” rather his testimony is what Christ did!
Can you say the same for your own testimony? Is your testimony more about you and your own actions or is it about the grace of Jesus?
Paul defends by the Gospel: The gospel of grace. The gospel of freedom. The gospel of justification. The Good News! Jesus said in John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We need not give human defense, God’s word is its own defense. His word is truth and it is all that is needed.
When confronted with doubters, judgmentalism, or even blasphemers, do you respond with human defenses or do you allow God’s truth to speak for itself?