Saturday, February 27, 2010

Free at Last - Thank God Almighty

As I was reading Galatians once again, an illustration came to mind that helped me to further understand the Old Law and Ten Commandments in relation to the New Covenant received through Christ’s death and resurrection. Admittedly it is not very academic or theologically deep but it serves as a simplistic picture of a profound truth.

As I saw it, the Old Covenant (law) was like a playpen, "Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.  ~3:23.  We were placed in it for our own safety, so that given our inability to walk sturdily [in righteousness], we would be protected and reminded of our inability to walk on our own. "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." ~3:24. The play pen (law) could not save us from death.  Indeed the 10 Commandments, reveals to us, our inability to ever be good enough. If we had to earn our way into heaven by following the commandments we would all fail. The law however protects us until Jesus comes and remind us of our need for Him and then like a baby with arms lifted high , we realize we need the support of our Father to learn how to walk. In order to free us from the playpen and bring life to its captives so that all [Jew and gentile alike] would be included and could experience freedom, God sent His son Christ, to bear the sins of the world, be crucified and resurrected, ascending to the right hand of God, so that who so ever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Through that belief in Christ we are justified by faith and receive the Holy Spirit, which enables us to walk, and sets us free from our playpens (law) as we mature and grow into the likeness of Christ and experience the freedom of new life resulting in Eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father.

So I guess the words of Martin Luther King Jr. could serve well as a subtitle to Galatians “Free at last, Free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last.” Which makes me question, why, as is the case in Galatians, would any one who experienced bondage and was set free, ever want to return to slavery. It seems to me it would be like asking someone who was set free after being sold into slavery, if they would consider taking that heavy yoke upon them again.

Paul’s letter to the Galatians serves as a shield of defence against the attacks to the true Gospel and protection for the Gentiles and a weapon against those that seek to rob them of their freedom in Christ. Paul is like a one man army, strengthened by the Holy Spirit leading an attack on legalism, and salvation through works.

In a day and age, of religious tolerance and innumerable “gospels” the warning Paul offers to the Galatians remains relevant, even for those who may appear to be firm in the faith, especially as we consider Revelation's warnings of end times and false prophets. “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” ~1:6-7

I am thankful that even here in the book of Galatians, Paul balances the freedom we have through Christ with responsibility. “You my brothers were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love." ~5:13 Putting the emphasis back on our freedom to serve God and others.

I take confidence in knowing that what God did through Christ for me is enough – nothing more is needed, His grace is sufficient – that is true freedom and having lived as a slave, I will never turn back.

There are two verses that remains with me from Galatians “If I were still trying to please me, I would not be a servant of Christ” ~1:10 and “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”  ~5:6

No comments:

Post a Comment