“It is a destructive addition to add anything to Christ.”

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) once wrote: “It is a destructive addition to add anything to Christ.” That is the message of the Book of Galatians (and the rest of the Bible for that matter): We are made right with God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. How serious was Paul about that thought? Galatians 1:8-9 tells us: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

What was the Gospel that Paul preached? Again, Paul spells it out for us in Galatians 2:16: “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Three times in one verse we are told that we are not made right with God by the things we do (the law), but by faith in what Christ has done.

Why is that so? Isaiah tells us that “we have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” (Or as the old King James says, “like filthy rags.”) We must trust in the one who never sinned in deed, in word, or even in thought. We must trust in Jesus Christ alone because “it is a destructive addition to add anything to Christ.”

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