Tag Archives: Galatians

Real Liberty

4th of July

This verse (Galatians 5:1) hit home this morning in a way that I am just giddy with gratitude for God’s heart!

Have you ever felt powerless and inadequate? Welcome to the weak and beggarly elements of the world! (Galatians 4:3). The book of Galatians is an important book. It exposes legalism as to its misuse. Think, for example, about the 10 commandments. Are they weak (powerless) and beggarly (inadequate)? Not really, unless one gets the idea that by observing them, one earns his way into anything. Paul made this point over and over again in Galatians.

The book of Galatians is also addressed to pagan, gentile converts. Could we describe the ways of the world as powerless and inadequate? Yup! We see it everywhere. The world has got answers for absolutely everything! Sometimes – no wait!- usually, it is very, very frustrating. I have to remind myself over and over again that man isn’t the smartest firecracker in the sky always, God is!

When you combine legalism and paganism together the whole thing is insane. Enough of that!

I love that we have the privilege of prayer! It is great to talk everything over with God. I recently read an interesting quote:  “As long as you know God is for you, it doesn’t matter who is against you.” If you just believe the first part of that quote, power and adequacy are unequivocally yours! The second part of that quote we don’t have to worry about. Human beings naturally bump each other about, so why is it even shocking that it happens (reminder to self).

Absolute true freedom comes from a loving, wonderful God who sent His son to totally free us of all that renders us powerless and inadequate. Have a truly free day!

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July 4, 2015 · 8:31 am

The Inner Heart Of Fellowship

One can never replace the internal reality of the love of God shed abroad in one’s heart with the outward rituals of religion. In the book of Galatians, Paul made a big issue of this.

In Galatia there were Judean people who accepted Christ, but mixed Judean rituals with their acceptance to help avoid criticism of other Judeans who could not accept the spiritual accomplishment and grace of the cross. Getting new believers to undergo circumcision was a feather in their cap and made them look good in the eyes of other law-abiding Judeans.

Galatians 6:12-13 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of ChristFor neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory (boast) in your flesh.

Circumcision was an outward show of religion (religion can hurt!) and in Judaism, the most pious was treated with esteem and honor.  It was a false glorying, however, just as today the outward appearances and worldly boasts of education, wealth, status, position, respect, honor and titles mean nothing. The more we look into the Word of God, the more we can see though the setups of the world that try to trap us into slavery and work to distract us from looking to God for answers. That is why Paul said the world was crucified unto him and he to the world.

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory( boast), save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Paul had a lot of worldly credentials to boast about, but he saw right through the meaning of outward honors and said later that he bore the impress of the Lord Jesus Christ and what the cross of Christ meant. It meant he was a new creation. No one could bother him anymore because he knew Jesus Christ. That as his claim to peace.

The same thing is true today in our world, maybe not with the push for circumcision, but with other outward religious practices. True godliness comes from a vital, energized relationship with God. Godliness is about our inner life that radiates out through everything despite what’s going on.

No one person has mastered all the truth of God, we are constantly learning. Truly enjoyable fellowship occurs with people who honestly continue to seek God’s answers and have true humility based on the grace of God.  When Jesus Christ said “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Matthew 18: 20) he meant something more than just a meeting, he was talking about a spiritual reality. Two or three people could sit in Starbucks talking about the Bible and it may just be like talking about the latest novel. When two or three get together in the name of Christ, it is different. It celebrates God and that is what Jesus Christ is all about.

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Thankful for The Mystery

The mystery  is the great topic of the church epistles written by Paul.  Very few people really understand it completely. It is not nearly as hard to understand as it is to put into practice. Yes, it is “Christ in you” (Romans 8:16-17, Ephesians 3, Colossians 1:27),  but what does that mean in practical living?

In Ephesians 1:18 and 19 God says:

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

And there is a lot more where that comes from! What does that mean?  It says that the believer can see and know and utilize the power that God has given us.  Imagine that! If God has enlightened our eyes, and given us all this power, why don’t we use it? We don’t because we haven’t dared to believe it! Many things in the world talk us out of it. The world is all too ready to offer alternatives to believing God. We have not been taught how to practically live it.

When I was first learning how to read the Bible for myself,  I had a wonderful friend that loved to teach the Word.  One day I asked him about something I was having a problem with and he told me he knew how much I loved God’s Word and that I needed to check in with God as to how to handle the problem. (Hey! listen, I had been raised behind the altar rail in the pews and still had somewhat of a stained glass idea of religion. My friend had at one time been there too and he was an expert on how to get out of that mindset) It was a huge turning point in my approach to God. I truly began to get real answers for myself.

It starts in Romans in realizing what has been actually been accomplished for us that none of us really deserved. That includes everybody! (Mother Teresa, the Dalai Llama, even the apostle Paul are no exceptions)  Romans is the book that when we get finished reading and assimilating, we are extremely thankful. Next, there are so many things brought up in Corinthians that help people to see how to live that thankfulness and not get caught up with things that pull people down. Natural man is pretty self-centered and seeks his own remedies for fear. The culture very quickly tries to explain human nature away and make excuses for that fear.

This precious thankfulness is further protected by the book of Galatians when man attempts to outdo God in perfecting his own practice of religion. Man sets up his own levels of accomplishment and in the process pushes God aside to watch. It is brutal to others who have not reached man’s estimation of what is required. God makes it plain in Galatians in clear, straightforward grace. Believing pleases Him. Sometimes people get so wrapped up with the “Believing is action” performance mentality that they forget that believing starts with ‘God so loved the world’! We love Him because He first loved us (I John 4:19).

As we wind our way to reach Ephesians, the groundwork in Romans, the weeding of Corinthians and the rocky ground removal of Galatians helps our hearts to readily receive the unlimited supply that the big heart of God offers us without reservation. God has always been faithful. The problem is not with God; it is in man’s heart where the problem lies. We could blame it on someone else like Adam. (“Why wasn’t he thankful in Eden?”) Adam was Adam; but Jesus Christ opened a new door for each of us.  We have nobody to blame. Thankfulness starts with each of us individually and it turns everything around!

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