Friday, September 17, 2010

Free in so many ways!

4:04 p.m. Today's project was to drop Steve off at his friend Bob's house for a guys' afternoon, and then return home for some much-needed hours of writing in silence and, other than the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit, solitude!

Galatians 5:1-15 deals with the need for believers to "stand fast in the liberty with which Christ as made us free, and not become entangled again with the yoke of bondage." The word for "stand fast" is the same as used in Ephesians 6:11, in the quintessential passage on spiritual warfare. It means to stand upright, or to adhere to our liberty. That almost seems contradictory, standing firm for freedom of living, and being loosed from binding religious regulations! I usually think of standing firm against an encroaching danger as resembling this bull elk guarding his herd in a meadow in Colorado. He was uptight, to say the least!
But as Christians, we don't have to stress over whether we are really saved, what we have to do next to stay saved, or worry that we haven't performed enough righteous deeds to maintain our Father's love, or to keep our name from being eased from the Book of Life. When we made a commitment to Christ by faith and trusted Him for salvation to eternal life, we let go of the striving to please God and earn a spot in heaven. Now we can let the Holy Spirit show us how we are to walk with God and please Him, not in order to be saved, but because we are saved and want to walk worthy of God, who has called us into His kingdom and glory. (I Thessalonians 2:12)
Going backward to regulations like the keeping of certain days, foods, dress and rituals now that I am living in freedom would be like me putting myself back on a restrictive elementary school schedule now that I'm retired! In other words, it's astoundingly ridiculous!
But Paul warns of the danger of the Galatians' sojourn into Jewish legalism (especially circumcision) to ensure their salvation in Chapter 2:21, NLT: "I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die." He later adds, in Galatians 5:3-5 (NLT), a rebuke followed by comfort, much as a parent comforts and encourages the child he has just corrected:
I'll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God's grace.But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.
Thank you, Lord!!

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