“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain…?” - Galatians 3:1 A group of people once lived under an extremely rigid and complicated code of religious, moral, and ethical laws, so strict that even the slightest deviation could be punishable by death.
Then a teacher came along, one of their own, a respected scholar and spiritual leader. What he taught was rooted in their own belief system, yet so radical that it revolutionized their thinking.
They began to cast off elements of their laws. They discovered freedom, as they had never known it before. Without really intending to, they launched a revolution, a new movement grew.
Never before had they experienced such liberty!
But freedom can threaten an existing order, and this was no exception. Authorities challenged the new beliefs. People began to fear their freedom. Maybe it was too good to be true.
Maybe we’re turning away from too much of the law.
Maybe it’s not right.
Maybe it’s not even true.
Doubt crept in, and with it, bits and pieces of the old ways. They began to lose their freedom.
Their teacher was so upset by what was happening that one day he cried to the people, citizens of Galatia, “O foolish Galatians!"
He was appalled, frustrated, and burdened for his brothers and sisters. He had devoted his life, since his own conversion, to teaching them about Jesus the Messiah, and what it means to live under grace and freedom.
He understood laws, social convention and religious expectations. “I was a Pharisee among Pharisees,” he said.
Been there, done that.
He knew the danger.
Once I discovered the grace of God, I also realized how easily we slip back and burden ourselves with loads of unnecessary rules, laws, and social conventions.
Somewhere, in all our attempts to be a religious people, we forget that Jesus said, “the truth will set you free.”
Nowhere did God set down dress codes, music codes, building codes, social conventions, or lists of rules upon which to hang our salvation.
He hung on the cross, and that was enough. He desires nothing less than our total and absolute freedom to live for Him and to allow Him to live through us. We need to concentrate on loving Him and loving others, and giving people we love to His care. Then we will know what it is to be free!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
[Photo: Matt Dalrymple, CreationSwap]