I heard about a man who went to see his doctor because he was feeling absolutely terrible after being bitten by a stray dog. The doctor gave him a careful examination, left the room to look at some tests, came back in with a very somber expression on his face and said: “Sir I don’t know how to break this news to you, but you have rabies and you’re going to die very soon.” The man very calmly got out a piece of paper and began furiously writing. The doctor said: “What are you doing, making out your will?” He said, “No, I’m making out a list of people that I am going to bite!”
But if you BITE AND DEVOUR one another, beware lest you be CONSUMED BY ONE ANOTHER! (Galatians 5:15).
Obviously some in the “churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2) seemed to be consumed with seeking to destroy and devour each other. Some had been “bitten” by what Paul referred to as religious “dogs” (Phil. 3:2). He was referring to religious legalists who sought justification by “keeping the law” (Gal. 5:4). One warning that we need today is: “Beware of ‘Dogs’.” We today can be “bitten” by the same religious “animal” and wind up wanting to “bite and devour” other believers who don’t see it exactly as we do. When we think, as some did in Galatia, that we are saved by “keeping the law” we must insist that others do the same and therefore any violation of our interpretation of the “law” renders one’s soul in jeopardy. But, as Paul says, religious “cannibals” will, sooner or later, eat each other up! Why? It is because no two people who study for themselves agree on “all” interpretations of all religious “laws.” And there is a big difference in “saved” people seeking to “keep the law,” and in one who seeks to “keep the law” in order to “be saved” or “stay saved.” There is also a big difference in seeking to “find faith” in other believers, and in seeking to simply “find fault” in what others believe. All of us who are honest obviously “think” we are “right” about what we believe or else we would change. It is it also quite obvious that none of us are even “right” about that particular point–much less all of the other things taught in the Bible. We who are “honest” but “misunderstand” some things ourselves need “mercy.” We also need to be “honest” with others who need “mercy” because they have some things they “misunderstand.” As Paul wrote very plainly, “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1). If a person has the right faith in Jesus, then Jesus will keep him/her righteous (2 Cor. 5:21). We all need to remember Paul’s words to the “religious legalist” in Galatia: “I am not the one destroying the meaning of God’s grace. If following the law is how people are made right with God, then Christ did not have to die” (Gal. 2:21, ERV). “God bless us” as we seek to do His will for our lives as we understand it.