Galatians 5:1-6

Heartonwood

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 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. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

standing on shoulders

My Thoughts

All I can say is “thank God for the New Covenant”. Its enough to make a grown man cry thinking about what I don’t need to do any more.  So here is my question: If I am so relieved that I don’t need to get circumcised why do I try to imprison myself with other religious rituals.  Why do I feel guilty about my imperfections, why do I feel unworthy if I have not performed up to some imagined standard? I feel guilty because in some ways I have returned to the “miserable spiritual principles of this world”.  In this world you only get what you’ve earned, only the best get ahead. But in the freedom of Christ I get what I don’t deserve and have not earned.  I am ahead before I even start.  The same applies to all who simply have faith in the finished works of Christ.  His victory is yours, His holiness is yours, His standing with the Father is yours… imagine getting all that before you even begin.  These things are our floor, we can only build up from here.  Have a great day

Galatians 4:8-12

plant

Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? 10 You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. 11 I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. 12 Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws.

finger print

My Thoughts

Here is an interesting point – to be free is to be known by God! What does it mean to be known by God? Why would He even want to know me?  I have been so focused on knowing God that I never stopped to consider that He also knows me.  What does God know when he knows you?  If I see God as a big, scary judgmental deity that I need to earn His approval. I might  not be so willing to be known by Him.  He will see all the things I don’t like about myself.  He will point out my faults and show me my short comings.  I already know all those things so why do I need them pointed out or rubbed in. On the other hand, if I know God to be a loving Father who moved heaven and earth to restore my relationship with Him. Maybe just maybe He knows something about me that is worth saving.  What does God see in you, why did He give up His most treasured possession for you.  If you can know that about yourself then you will truly know freedom.

Galatians 4

prisoner 1

Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

freedom 1

My Thoughts

If you ever asked yourself “why Jesus”… here is the answer.  Why did the Son of God come to earth. Why did he live as a man among us, take our iniquities on himself and go through the crucifixion. He came to set us free from the spiritual principles of the world. To purchase our freedom so that we can be adopted as children of God. The problem with slavery and freedom is that people who are accustomed to slavery don’t know how to cope as free people. Freedom can be frightening, no boundaries, nobody telling you what you must do. That is why we are given the Holy Spirit, to help us live in our freedom to understand it.  I know a little bit about adopting a child.  When we  made the choice to adopt it was an active process.  We looked at the cost and were willing to pay the price.  Once we adopted our son, we don’t treat him as a second rate family member.  He is simply part of our family.  All the hopes, dreams, blessings and love that we give our biological children we also give to our adopted child.  So take a moment to allow this truth to penetrate the spiritual principles that govern your world view. Allow the Holy Spirit to restore your status as an heir in your own understanding.  When you know this truth, look around you at all the people you interact with and know that God has the same hopes and dreams for them. He has made the way open for all to come to Him, now that is good news. Have a blessed day.

Galatians 3:23-29

Monkey hug

23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. 24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. 25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. 26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

hands earth

My Thoughts

I find it interesting that part of our blessing through faith is that we no longer have limitations placed on us by our race, gender or social standing.  However, the church still seems quite set on making distinctions between people based on these things.  The other interesting thing is that we are one in Christ but churches are set on dividing what Christ has united.  So if you feel in anyway that you have been disadvantaged by your gender, race or social circumstances by a church please take this to God and allow Him to show you how unique you are.  Allow Him to strip away all the negative titles you have managed to accumulate over the years and allow Him to replace them once and for all with this title … ” you are a beloved child of God”.  If we are one in Christ then lets speak well of those that share in our oneness.  Lets forgive and have compassion for those who have wronged us.  Let’s live in the fullness of the blessing given to us through faith.  Have a great day.

Galatians 3:10-14

Choice road

But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” 13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

choice

My Thoughts

As humans we can obsess over these two words: curse and blessing.  We treat God like some sort of Santa that dishes out good gifts to His favourites and curses those who are bad.  But in this passage we see that it is impossible to keep all of the laws of Moses which is the “requirement” for this blessing so was everybody “cursed”?  What if blessings and curses have always existed from the garden of Eden til now in the form of choice and consequence.  The way of God is good for us, we benefit because we have been designed to thrive in a certain environment.  We however,are able to choose “life” or “death” as part of our design.  So when we live in ways that are detrimental to ourselves, bad things happen.  If I spend my life eating junk food and not exercising I will develop illnesses related to my choice.  Did God “curse” me with these illnesses or are they inherent in the choice?  In the same way, we were designed to have faith in God, if we trust Him and believe in Him our soul is content, our lives feel complete and we can endure anything the world throws at us and still thrive. If we want to live in the fullness of His blessing then we choose to live by faith. Think about it for a moment and please comment, what does living by faith look like for you.  God bless

Galatians 3:6-9

In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.

Little boy flying into his fathers hands

My Thoughts

Faith is an interesting concept.  Its probably less of a concept than it is an action.  What does it mean to live by faith?  When my middle child was about 2 years old he had such faith in me that he jumped off the jungle gym towards me when my back was turned.  Up until this point in his life he knew that if he jumped off anything towards me I would catch him.  As a two year old it is simple but as we get older we learn to have less faith and more caution.  We get dropped too many times along the way to simply jump.  So how do we apply that metaphor to our daily lives?  Abraham’s faith involved leaving his home and moving to a foreign land because God told him to. That kind of faith is difficult but many of us understand it.  What about the next act of faith that sealed this promise to Abraham for us.  The covenant with Abraham involved having offspring as numerous as the stars but he had no children until he was well past child bearing years.  When he eventually has a child, God asks him to sacrifice the one thing that he has been waiting for all his life.  The one thing that will ensure the promise of God that all nations will be blessed.  Faith is trusting God to the point of giving up everything because you trust His character. So if He asks it of you, it must be good.  This story is difficult to understand unless you trust that God will only lead you down the best path.

What are some of the things we need to let go of to trust fully.  Are there any beliefs about God that make it difficult to fully trust that you will be caught even when His back is turned.  Identify those things and spend the next part of your faith journey resolving them.  Have a great week.

Galatians 3:1-5 (NLT)

Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

heart wall

My Thoughts

Why is it so difficult to take the easier option.  All we have to do is believe, believe and believe.  Belief requires trust and trust requires letting down our protective walls.  The thing about religion is that it is how we try to make sense of our beliefs. Religion is a wall we build around our beliefs to keep them safe. The churches in Galatia moved away from simply believing towards a system of standardized beliefs.  A system in which they can check a few boxes and know that they are doing the “right thing”.  Everybody worshiping God in the same way.  Very soon it becomes all about the structure.  The structure requires very little faith, belief or trust.  I am inspired by these words to risk a little, to do something that God put on my heart instead the “perceived right thing” to do.   Can I challenge you to trust Jesus a little bit and extend his love to a work colleague or a total stranger.  Ask Jesus to give you something to share with somebody else and see how our faith comes alive.

Have a blessed day