This morning in my devotions I was reading through Galatians 4. I have to admit, that at first read I wasn’t sure how helpful Galatians was going to be to my current situation in life. Honestly, I’ve been looking for a lot of passages that say something like:Your
Your new small business will be greatly blessed and made to prosper by the Lord, because you are a nice guy and God loves you lots.
[The book of Ryan’s Imagination]
You can imagine how successful I’ve been at finding those verses.
Reading in Galatians about the pros and cons of circumcision didn’t seem to speak directly to my immediate needs, if you know what I mean. (Although you always have to enjoy a good cut off your pickle joke (5:12)!).
At some point over the past few days, it dawned on me that I’ve been repeatedly trying to do what the Galatians were doing – though thankfully NOT via circumcision. Having been convicted of various sins in my life, I’ve made an effort to address them. I also began secretly hoping that God would bless us once these sins were addressed. Of course, hoping this kind of misses the point of freedom, grace, sovereignty and all that good stuff!
By expecting God to honour my efforts at mortifying sin by blessing me I’ve turned Him into a celestial vending machine. It makes God no greater in my mind than any world religion or spell that says if we do a certain prescribed thing some power will be forced or triggered to do respond in a certain exact way. Our God doesn’t play that game – He’s anything but predictable in His methods.
So, back to today’s reading. In preparation for reading chapter 4 (Sons through faith in Christ, being part of the covenant of the free) I read the end of chapter 3, including verse 24:
Therefore the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
We aren’t talking Sylvan, here. This isn’t some after-school session with a teacher’s college drop out (no offence to Sylvan, I have no idea if they actually use teaching school drop-outs). This is the idea of an old-school 24/7, running your life, always in your face, whip in one hand pen in the other type tutor. For some reason, this really clicked for me today as I remembered the movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights (not an endorsement, just a reference for those who have seen the movie). Maid Marion was under the watchful eye of Broomhilde until her wedding day.
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? [Gal 4:9]
So – once you’re out from the authority of Broomhilde and married to a prince, why in all the world would you desire to leave the freedom of being a princess with all the kingdom as your inheritance, and run back to be under the authority of Broomhilde again?!?
I am once again rejoicing in the freedom afforded to us as Christians – freedom through faith in Christ Jesus, that says we don’t have to DO anything other than love our Lord and live in faith.