Accept no substitutes might sound like an easy mantra to follow in life, but a quick trip to the grocery store shows that there are many challenges. Should you buy the Krispy Kreme doughnut that once was “hot now” even though it’s not “hot now” anymore? The Krispy Kreme doughnuts are sitting in a box, like ever other doughnut. AND to make things worse the Krispy Kreme doughnut costs almost double what the generic doughnut costs. Is it wrong to accept an inferior doughnut even though its half the cost? Don’t get me started on toilet paper…
That agonizing rant might not seem that useful. Does it really matter if we accept no substitutes? Aren’t generic doughnuts good enough? I grant you that food stuffs are areas of life where we can cut a few corners. There is one area of life where we must demand the REAL THING. The OG truth is found only in the Bible. In Scripture we find that God loved the world so much that he gave us his Son, Jesus. In Jesus’ death on the cross we are forgiven. Our debt is paid. Our guilt is gone. The danger of using generic theology has eternal consequences for our souls.
This is why Paul is emphatic and polemic in his letter to the Galatian Christians. There was a sect of Jews who believed that Jesus was the Savior, but you still needed to follow all the Laws of Moses or else you couldn’t be forgiven. You still had to work to make God happy. Paul reminded the young churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), “Accept no substitutes!” The gospel has no strings attached! Jesus has done everything for you. There is nothing that you need to do or could do to make up for your sins. Trust in Jesus alone.
Want to hear more including a link to Dylan and Xavier Lodle’s confessions of faith? Check out this Sunday’s confirmation sermon taken from the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians.