No doubt Paul faced a religious world much like the one that is prevalent today. We see a multiplicity of doctrines which are shouted on every street corner and trumpeted in every valley and on every hill. There are some who proclaim the veracity of their church’s teaching while others cling equally as tight to their own, each solidly convinced that the truth has to abide within the confines of those august bodies. Self proclaimed prophets spew out one speculation after another, and their blind followers repeat their errors as though they had the revelation of some great mystery. Religious charlatans and magicians bring their traveling minstrel shows to this city and that, (modern medicine men who confuse their chicanery with the power of the HOLY GHOST.) Some preach heaven high and hell hot and some say there is no hell and secretly wonder if there really is a heaven. Some who teach that water can wash away sin, others who say that all sin is forgiven. Still others say there is no such thing as sin, only mistakes. Then there are those who have simple formulas to follow or prayers to pray for men to obtain salvation. Still others are convinced that men can only be redeemed through obedience to some code of conduct and adherence to their religious order. Then there are others who convince the unwitting of the necessity of some particular experience or utterance in order to enter into the joy of the LORD. But just like Paul said, nearly two thousand years ago, there is but one gospel, and he clearly stated that he was determined to preach only that truth, “JESUS CHRIST and HIM crucified”.
When this gospel is preached, CHRIST alone is glorified. The LORD JESUS promised HIS disciples, that HE would send them HIS HOLY SPIRIT and HE said,” HE shall not speak of himself -------HE shall glorify me:” (John 16:13-14) The LORD also said, “if I be lifted up (i.e.; exalted) I will draw all men to me.” (John 12:32) Though the work of the HOLY SPIRIT is vital to the salvation and education of sinners, HE is content to work in obscurity that the work of the LORD JESUS might be magnified. We are not sent as ministers of the HOLY GHOST but as heralds of the glory of the blessed SON of GOD who is worthy of all praise. (see I Cor.4:1) A popular but erroneous teaching tells men that they must do their “part” and CHRIST must do HIS in order for them to be saved. This in essence puts men on an equal basis with the SAVIOR in this grand work of redemption. Nothing could be farther from the truth. CHRIST is the “AUTHOR and FINISHER” of our faith. Redemption is not a joint effort, rather it is the work of CHRIST from beginning to end. HE conceived it in eternity, HE accomplished it at the cross, HE sealed it at HIS empty tomb, and He consummates it when HE comes again to receive those for whom HE shed HIS precious blood. Let no man glory except in this. (see Gal.6:14)
When this gospel is preached the death of CHRIST takes center stage. The celebration of the birth of the LORD is enjoyed by many (as well it should be). More people attend church meetings on Easter to remember HIS resurrection (of which we are glad) than at any other time of the year. Yet the only event in HIS life which HE specifically told HIS followers to remember, was HIS death. Why did HE die? Death is the sentence which GOD passed on all who commit sin. (see Gen.2:17; Rom.5:12). If there was no sin, there would be no death. CHRIST JESUS died, yet the scripture says that HE “did no sin, neither was guile (i.e.; deceit) found in HIS mouth”. (I Pet.2:22) Why then did HE die? The scripture plainly tells us that “in due time, CHRIST died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6) HE did not die for HIS own sins for HE had none. HE died in the place of sinners as their substitute. The innocent for the guilty. HE who was unworthy of death suffered the pains of death for those who deserved to die. Many believe that HE died in futility that HE was only partly successful, but the scripture plainly says HE came to “save HIS people from their sins”. (Mat.1:21) Not one drop of that precious blood fell to the ground without accomplishing exactly what HE intended to do. To cancel the debt of sin for those who believe in HIM. The JUST for the unjust. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
On CHRIST the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on JESUS name. --Edwin Mote
Modern religion is filled with substitutes for God's simple plan and great impressive religious works have been produced. Multitudes have been gathered -- but to whom and to what end? Psalm 127:1--"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain." NIV. It is very evident that those Paul was concerned about were given to boasting about who they were and what they had done in order to advance themselves. ---(taken from an article, “Examine Yourselves” by Phil Enlow).