Galatians 5.1-6

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

–Devotion–

Paul begins to culminate his exhortation to the Galatians.  One of the most difficult words in this passage is the word “freedom.”  We hear freedom a certain way.  Paul used it a certain way.  I am very sure he did not mean freedom as, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  But, rather, that in Jesus the works of the law given through Moses were shown to be nothing more than guards that are no longer necessary.  If the Galatians go back to accepting one portion of the law then they must obey the whole of the law.  That is the trap the Galatians are flirting with. 

This sort of idea has a hard time hitting a mark with us.  We are similar to the Jews who responded to Jesus in our Gospel lesson from this last Sunday.  We might respond to the idea of slavery, “We are Americans.  We have never been under the bondage of slavery.  How can you say we will be free?”  I imagine, though, we are slaves to old laws.  Perhaps most prevelant among us is our bondage to status.  This is, after all, most of the conversation and language we use to talk about retirement.  We want to be able to retire “comfortably” or with the ability to maintain our “lifestyle.”  These are simply terms we use to say, “we want to maintain the level of status we have worked so hard to achieve.  But, when Jesus comes and asks us to willfully reject that status and leave it behind.  Indeed!  He tells us to sell it off piece by piece and hand it over to people of low status!  Well, that is a little more challenging. I entreat you now as Paul did then, cast of the bondage of slavery.  Christ has come to set you free, and if the Son sets you free you are free indeed.  Do not give in to these old dead laws that seem so powerful but will be shown to be nothing more than vanity and dust. 

Pastor Beltz

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