by Dr. Ken Matto
(Gal 3:3 KJV) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the
Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
For those of us who have been saved for some time, I guess we could look back and recall that when we were new Christians we came on like gangbusters. There was nothing we didnít want to accomplish for the Lord Jesus and we had a sense of new dedication in our lives simply because we were just translated from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light. We were spiritually dead but then through salvation, we became spiritually alive forever. Remember the zeal that you had in those early days? I miss those days because I am disabled and canít do what I used to. I used to love going to the street in my hometown of Perth Amboy, NJ and handing out tracts. I even enjoyed going into New York City and standing on a soapbox in Times Square and preaching. Those were some good days.
In Galatians 3:3 Paul is chiding the Galatians because they had begun in the Spirit but the Judaizers had descended upon this church and were teaching that one must be circumcised before one can become saved. They were trying to mix law with grace because they were false teachers who did not understand that salvation came by grace alone. Isnít it a shame that this church was almost swept away by these unbelievers who came teaching this false idea? They started their Christian walk in the Spirit but almost fell prey to the idea that works must accompany salvation for it to be a legitimate salvation.
Let us look at Solomon for a moment and see how he started out. When Solomon became King of Israel, he asked God for wisdom to judge the people and God granted that request. For a while Solomon was the wisest man on earth and even the Queen of Sheba chose to come to him and hear his wisdom. Solomon had written about three thousand proverbs. Yet with all his wisdom and understanding, he had a problem with women which he could not control. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. All these women had caused him to turn from the Lord and he began to start worshipping the false gods which would eventually be the cause of the downfall of Israel. Solomon had really started out in the Spirit but he wandered into the area of the flesh and it was his downfall.
Solomon is a good example of what can happen to any believer. We can begin our Christian walk in the Spirit and then begin to transfer our desires or strengths to some system or some false teachings or even some type of works which may send us off base. When a Christian is new in the faith, they canít get enough Bible. Then a strange thing happens as they begin to get in with other Christians who are older in the faith. That is, there is a squelching of the zeal of the new believer as they begin to fall into the mainstream Christianity. Instead of older believers (those who are in the faith longer) encouraging the new Christians to continue in their zeal, they try to get them into a mold of subdued or passive Christianity. I believe many do this because they do not want to be shown up as do nothings. So it is much easier to remold a new Christian rather than repeal the apathy in older believers.
We need to mold ourselves after such Christians as the Apostle Paul who never lost his zeal for the work of the Lord. I am sure there could have been many things which could have diverted Paul from his calling as an Apostle to the churches. When God saves a person, that person automatically becomes an Ambassador for the Kingdom of God. (2 Cor 5:20 KJV) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. Unfortunately, some Christians who have been saved for a long time have chosen to be an ambassador from their easy chair and do not get into the trenches of spiritual warfare anymore. The reason for this is that Satan has conquered them.
No, they have not lost their salvation but they have had their zeal abated and no doubt with much welcomed excuse. Too many Christians attempt to focus in on what they cannot do instead of what they can do. This is one major way that Satan stultifies a Christian. If Satan can get you to focus on what you canít do rather than what you can, then he will have you finishing in the flesh as Paul warned the Galatian church. We gain our strength from the Spirit of God. Jesus even taught that the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. It is when we try to transfer our power in ministry from the Spirit to the flesh is when we weaken ourselves and become of none or little effect. How many Christians have started their life zealously for the narrow way and then down the road they began to get involved with ecumenical or humanitarian movements which have taken them away from the purpose that God had for them.
Solomon in all his wisdom, slowly drifted from life in the Spirit to life in the flesh and it cost him and the nation of Israel dearly. The same situation exists with us because we only have a few years on earth to serve the Lord. What will be your legacy when people look back at your life? Will it be that you served the Lord or served humanity? A big difference since you can serve humanity without serving the Lord. The other day I received a Chick Tract in the mail as a sample and it had a good story behind it. It is called ďFlight 144.Ē The story is about two missionaries heading home from Africa after fifty years. They were going home to raise funds for a new hospital. They boarded the plane and were seated next to a man who just got out of prison for killing another man. This man got saved in prison and he said to the two missionaries that he only led one person to the Lord.
Then he said that him leading that one person to the Lord was nothing compared to what these two missionaries had done. They had built five schools, four hospitals, one of them for lepers, plus they fed and clothed thousands. As the conversation progressed, the young man asked the missionaries how many sinners were saved through their ministry. The missionary husband said to the young man that God called them to help these dear people lead better lives. Then the young man asked them if they were ready to meet the Lord? Of course, the tract goes on and the missionaries finally die and stand before the Lord and are sent to Hell because they were unsaved. It has a tremendous lesson for the believer. Whenever we get caught up in something which seems to be more social than spiritual, we need to assess what we are doing. Can you imagine going through a whole life and never being a witness for the Lord? That would constitute a very empty Christian life and that is why so many Christians are depressed and discouraged today. They have left the spiritual road and went on to the flesh road.
There is one thing that you can count on and that is that God is never going to set us up with works which have nothing to do with the Kingdom. (Eph 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. It is when we abandon the spiritual works is when we are operating outside our realm and that realm is ruled by the emotional gospel. Which one of us reading this right now would say that world hunger does not bother us or that AIDS is killing thousands each day across this world and we donít care? We hurt for these people but if we place ourselves fully to fight hunger and AIDS, then what part does the spiritual life play in our life? We must realize that when God saved us and placed us on the narrow road, that narrow road consists of Kingdom priorities. The greatest priority in the Kingdom of God is for us to reproduce and that is to evangelize the world with the gospel. This is something that we must never trade for some type of worldly ministry. For if Christians do not evangelize, will the unbeliever? This is why we must be very careful when engaging in ministries or organizations, that we do not start in the Spirit and then end in the flesh. The way we compare the two is easy, what are the goals of what I am engaged in versus the goals of what the believer was saved for. Once you can discern between secular and spiritual goals, your Christian life will never seem dull. Do an evaluation as soon as you can and if you need to make a turn around, then do it. It is never too late to reestablish spiritual goals. (3/11/05)