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Friday-Winning is Everything


Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.


Galatians 4:17,18


Winning. This is the key phrase of our times. We love a winner. We want to be on the winning side. On the winning team. After all, no one wants to stand up and shout, “We’re number two.” There are no tee-shirts with the slogan, “Well, we were close.”


Winning is so important that it no longer matters how you won. Just look at some of the sports scandals of recent years for proof that winning is above everything else.


  • Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles when doping allegations, he had long denied, came out.

  • Tim Donaghy refereed NBA games so the final score was controlled, assuring that large bets were going to win.

  • Danny Almonte pitched in the 2001 Little League World Series when he was at least two years older than allowed.

  • Tonya Harding schemed to have Nancy Kerrigan’s knee broken by an attacker so she would have to withdraw from competition.

  • Huston Astros used high-powered cameras to steal signals on their way to winning the 2017 World Series.


These are only the tip of the sporting iceberg when it comes to being willing to do anything to win. There are many articles and documentaries that do a good job of showing just how low people are willing to go to win[1].


We even see it in soap box derby racing on Blue Bloods[2]. When asked about the cheating, Henry Regan justifies his “special” modification with, “The car will pass inspection.” Or, in other words, not getting caught is the same as being honest.


This is exactly the same thing that these zealots are doing. They are willing to twist the truth about who Jesus is and his death for the complete payment of all their sins. With Jesus, there is no need to observe the Jewish rules in order to earn God’s forgiveness and favor.


The problem with this is that it takes power and control away from the zealots. They lose the ability to tell people what to do. When to do it. How to do it. And winning to the zealots is getting the Galatians to join them in adding all the Jewish rules and regulations to their faith in Christ.


It’s no longer faith in Jesus alone as the way back to God. They’ve changed it, or should I say, added to it. They’ve moved our relationship with God from faith in Jesus to Jesus plus. Jesus and.


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God


Ephesians 2:8


When people say the truly awful thing that all religions are basically the same, bring them here. Don’t let them get away with spreading that lie. It may be popular, there might even be people who you’re ready to fight you about it, but that still doesn’t make it true.


Explain it this way. Yes, all religions are the same because they all say that you have to do something to get back to God. All, that is, except Christianity. Christianity is wildly different.


Christianity says that we were just so bad, evil, and unable to do anything that God himself had to step in. God himself had to die for us, paying the punishment that we could never, never, never pay.


Saying that you need to add something to Jesus’ sacrifice separates us from God. He did this eternally incredible thing, paying the full debt for us. When we add anything to what he did, who he is, drives a great big wedge between him and us.


That’s what the zealots were trying to do. This is what anyone is trying to do when they say that we have to add our own good works to God’s good work on the cross.


Let’s be clear. Our good works are like a filthy rag[3]. But not just a rag used to wash dishes or the floor. No, this filthy rag has been soaked in blood and is now rotting away. Infecting and corrupting anything and everything it touches.


That’s exactly what God thinks about our good works. Pretty humbling stuff. But it doesn’t end there. God didn’t just say that we were dirty and couldn’t do anything about it. No, he did something about it. And that something was a someone.


God himself coming to make us right again. He won us back to himself. Now, that’s really a case for winning is everything.

[3] Isaiah 64:6


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