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September 19, 2016

Have you ever seen a magician? A magician’s tricks are all performed with the use of gimmicks. Sometimes the trick is in the wooden box, the black hat or some other device. Sometimes the gimmick is in the skill of the magician, his sleight of hand. Even with the use of carefully designed devices and a practiced hand, every magician relies on guiding the eyes of the audience. If you know where to look many magic tricks become obvious. A skilled magician knows how to turn the eyes away from his movements at the crucial moment. By controlling where you look the magician makes things seem different than they really are.

False teachers are masterful magicians. They turn the eyes of their audience away from the One that matters most. Their deceptions cause many to believe something that is not true. As Paul points out in Galatians 3:1 believing false doctrine is turning your gaze from Jesus to trust a trickster. Paul asks five questions of the duped Galatians. All five questions can be summed up in one. Who are you trusting?

Trusting Jesus for salvation excludes trusting all other gods, efforts, righteousness and personal entitlement. Trusting anything else for entrance into heaven excludes Jesus. Jesus’ work cannot be supplemented. Believing Jesus enables the person to perform deeds worthy of salvation rejects Jesus. To add anything from Jesus is to take away from Him. The insistence of something else as necessary declares Jesus is not enough. Either Jesus is the fulness of God, the author and finisher of the faith, and the one who filleth all in all or Jesus is not. There is no middle ground here. Jesus is either fully sufficient to save and keep saved or He is not. He either does all to save or He does not. He is either the only hope of eternal life or He is not. No matter how it may be spun, there are no other options. Trust Jesus alone for salvation or do not trust Jesus at all for salvation.

“We often . . . are willing to be fascinated and to turn our backs upon Jesus. Mysterious it is, for why should men cast away diamonds for paste? Mysterious it is, for we do not usually drop the substance to get the shadow. Mysterious it is, for a man does not ordinarily empty his pockets of gold in order to fill them with gravel. Mysterious it is, for a thirsty man will not usually turn away from the full, bubbling, living fountain, to see if he can find any drops still remaining, green with scum, stagnant and odorous, at the bottom of some broken cistern. But all these follies are sanity as compared with the folly of which we are guilty, times without number, when, having known the sweetness of Jesus Christ, we turn away to the fascinations of the world. “
– Alexander MacLaren


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