I am shouting ‘stop’!
It is an irony of our age that the people who tell the truth are the ones who tend to get hammered into the ground. Think Maurice McCabe. It seems that truth telling can be a very dangerous business in our society, so it is little wonder if many people feel that it is safer to stick their heads in the sand. But what if your boat is fast approaching a sand bank? Doing ostrich impersonations in this case will prove to be a very short term gain!
The apostle Paul was a man of amazing courage, someone who was not afraid to call it like he saw it. He was not afraid to speak truth, even when the stakes were very high. One such occasion was when a church was moving in an altogether dangerous direction. It had been infiltrated by false teachers who were determined to steer the group in a new direction. They preached faith in Christ plus our works for salvation. They maintained that it could only be faith in Christ plus sacraments. They strenuously preached that Heaven could only be gained through believing in Christ plus keeping the Jewish laws.
To Paul this was only damnable heresy. The great apostle knew that it was Christ plus or minus nothing that saved and thus He saves all who come to him with the empty hands of faith. Paul was shouting ‘stop’. The tragedy was, however, that many in the Church had been won over by the false teachers. So Paul asks the question; “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”
Sadly, things are no different today. People say, even when they have been worn down by religion, it can’t be that simple! Surely you have to earn your own way to heaven! You have to pay your own way to glory!
To this all the apostles would have responded- then why did Jesus die on the Cross? The simple Gospel truth is that, for everyone who trusts in Him, Jesus has earned heaven for them. This means that to try to earn what Jesus had already paid for is the ultimate insult and nothing less than a slap in the face to God. And that is the truth!
“Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”