When You're Forced To Comply


But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in — who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery — to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. — Galatians 2:3-5

For those that don't know Paul very well, he had two very well-known proteges. One was Timothy and the other was Titus. Both at some point worked and traveled with Paul in ministry. Now here is the nuance, he required Timothy to be circumcised before he traveled with him, but Titus he didn't. And he required this of Timothy because he was half-Jewish and half-Greek to avoid unnecessary issues since it should have been done when he was a child. But this was not the case with Titus. He stood his ground on this requirement with him because was a Greek and not a Jew.

But I want to note the tone here because Paul makes five rather strong indictments here:

  1. "[Titus] was not forced to be circumcised...
  2. "Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in...
  3. "To spy out our freedom...
  4. "That they might bring us into slavery...
  5. "We did not yield in submission...

Keep in mind these are indictments against religious people in the church. And it's some strong language. Paul describes them as religious fakes, undercover spies, and oppressive masters that have intentionally designed, implemented, and enforced rules over and above the gospel. And he calls them out because he cares about the freedom of the truth.

I think the church will always battle issues like this because sin is insidious. Even well-meaning Christian people can get drawn into sinful patterns. And the sinful patterns of righteous people are elusive and sometimes hard to initially see. Inside the walls of the church, we will pass over the unspoken rules and spoken methodology weighed upon us and others. Initially, we accept it as good. We believe they are an appropriate means of enforcing discipline or casting vision until we discover that over time they end up constricting our freedom in Christ. They are like a noose around the neck that gets tighter over time. Insiders refer to it as "The First Church Way." And we blindly follow assuming our leaders know what's best for us. Yet over time, we discover that "The First Church Way" takes precedence over Jesus's way, and then you no longer hear Jesus's name only a church name. I have seen it happen time and time again.

I think Paul understood the insidious nature of this sin. Here's why. He was a legalist who was guilty of doing exactly the same. But God revealed to him the gospel of grace and invited him to be the spokesperson for his grace. So in places where the gospel was diluted by religious fakes, undercover spies, and oppressive masters he spoke up because he wanted people to know the gospel of grace — not some counterfeit gospel that looked like the gospel but was no gospel at all.

ASK THIS: Is there a place in your life or in your church where you feel forced to comply that directly opposes the gospel of grace?

DO THIS: Share as you feel led below.

PRAY THIS: God, give me eyes to see how forced compliance becomes legalism that robs the truth of your grace.

PLAY THIS: Gospel of Grace.


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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

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15 thoughts on “When You’re Forced To Comply

  1. Kurt Steiger says:

    Vince how do you define God’s Grace?

    I am new to studying the word of God and struggle to understand some of the terms such as Grace and fear

  2. Keith says:

    Wow Vince. Walking thru Galatians these past several days has been amazing. You Rock Vince. Keep it up. 🙏✌️😎

  3. Chaplain J J says:

    Pastor, very good message this morning. So very true. This goes along w/something I else I read today:
    “I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns to attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life.”
    —Martyn Lloyd-Jones
    Thank you.

  4. Rich Gorecki says:

    Great stuff Vince and very timely as the church debates the cultural influence of sexual identity and practices. Our men’s group just finished a study of Paul’s epistles, which concluded with his “pastoral letters” to Timothy and Titus. I also wrote about those in my GodBuddies post titled: “MANual Lessons: Paul’s Pastoral Letters to His Mentees”. Thanks again for the reminder to stand firm in the Gospel.

  5. Paul L says:

    I’m so grateful to accountability brothers and strong Christian men in my life to help keep from falling victim to the many false prophets and idols that constantly cross our paths.

  6. Don says:

    There many examples today of those in ‘authority’ doing their best to take away our God given freedoms. These ‘authorities’ know not what they are doing. And it’s going to get worse, much worse. So if men have not felt it yet, they will. We have many who believe that are in ‘authority’over us, but they will find that they have nothing

  7. Tom Fredericks Sr. says:

    To know Christ and God THE Father is to have eternal life (John 17:3). To know Truth (Jesus) is to live in freedom. Let’s commit to making , more time for THE Word of God, and be sanctified by Truth! Speak up!!!

  8. Stephen George says:

    I’ve had to fight the impulse and urge to comply or please the board “man” instead of allowing the Spirit to lead me. The struggle is real!

  9. Trent says:

    I feel forced to allow children to be controlled by social media and electronics. Right down to them being used in schools. I do not believe in it, certainly not in such young kids. But I am on “social media” of a sort right now so I suppose I fit the bill of a hypocrite. Life is just too complicated and complex and overwhelms me most times. I feel a strong desire to withdraw to the woods and hide….but alas I am afraid that is not my purpose here.

    • David R says:

      When I won’t allow my child to drive a truck in town but do myself drive that truck in same town, does that make me a hypocrite? I say it makes me caring and responsible. The “leash” we have on our children is to guide and protect them. Otherwise we find ourself holding the end of the “rope” with which they “hang themselves”. May God guide you as you do your best!

      • Trent says:

        Good point. I already know I am no child rearing expert. Quite the opposite actually. But I have a pretty good reputation as a responsible adult these days. I do love the Lord and try my best to follow, and I lead them to Him in life as well. I will take your advice, do my best, and trust the Lord to make them who they need to be. All we can do right? Trust and have faith. God is good folks, spread the word.