Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Galatians: Which race?

“Can I play with you?” Billy asked the group of children at the park.

“Sure! Here are the rules.” Susie spent the next five minutes going over the game kids were playing. Billy’s eyes glazed over and he wandered off to check out the circle slide.

Even children surround themselves with regulations.

But Paul had some other ideas:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”[1]

We could summarize the book of Galatians with this verse. Paul is pleading with his readers to reject the slavery of rules and embrace the freedom Christ intended for his own.

In this chapter, Paul is working up to impassioned proclamation. In verse 5, he reminds his reader that trusting in rules separates us from Christ.

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”[2]

But we trust regulations, don’t we? We want to have a share in our own salvation, to contribute to our redemption. Somehow, regulations are easier than relationships. We want to show that we are worth saving.

Relationships mean we have to trust others while rules mean we trust the rules.

But freedom comes in relationship, not in rules. We are not worthy of saving on our own. We need relationship with Christ, not a pack of rules to provide how admirable we really are in obeying laws.

Paul begged his new Galatian churches to grip their new freedom. “You, my brothers, were called to be free.”[3]

Journal about these questions:

Read Gal. 5. How would Paul define freedom?

What did the “yoke of slavery” (v 1) look like for you?

Where are you in the “race” that Paul describes in v. 7? Are you running in freedom or trusting in rules?

[1] Gal 5:1

[2] Gal 5:6

[3] Gal 5:13

1 comment:

Maxine said...

Yes, indeed, He saved us from legalism. We are free indeed--not to sin, but to rest in the work of Christ.