I’ve always been turned off by the idea of a denomination making their employees, church members or college students sign a contract of rules they will obey in order to be in their position. So many of the people who sign it knowing that they don’t see anything wrong with some of the prohibited actions and they don’t necessarily plan on following the rules. Only, later they feel guilted into obeying the contract that they put their signature to.
They’ve been harnessed like animals to rules that were designed to benefit them. Instead of religious organizations trusting the individual relationship with God, they create pockets of entrapment for the people who made their mark by the ‘x’.
When anyone complies with any rule-keeping system, they throw away the gift of freedom that Jesus earned for them.
I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. -Galatians 5:2
The only reason to submit to a set of rules for moral conduct is because you don’t believe that what Jesus did was enough. That is the small print on the bottom line. You believe that your sin is more powerful than His crucifixion. He’s not enough for you. We are supposed to take a stand against fear driven religious legalism because of our faith in the finished work of Jesus.
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. -Galatians 5:1
This should alarm you. If you submit to a set of rules, the rules become your master. You can’t serve two masters. These religious organizations, in trying to do a good thing, are causing you to choose between your job, your church, your education, or Jesus.
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. –Matthew 6:24 NIV
It’s a wolf who looks like a sheep. It’s a trap.
Choose who you will serve. If choosing Jesus and freedom are not options because you want to work for your denomination, be a member of your church or go to a Christian University, then choose your religion. Choose who your predecessors chose. Choose what tradition tells you to choose…‘but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ (Josh24:15) A signed contract trades ownership from Jesus to the rules.
Most people believe that ‘falling from grace’ means ‘to sin.’ However, grace is forgiveness of sins. If you don’t sin, then you don’t need grace. Falling from grace is following a set of rules to keep yourself from sin.
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. -Galatians 5:4
Ignoring religion and devoting yourself to it are both dead ends. God has set things up to where you can’t win within yourself. You are bound to your need for Jesus.
So, what do we do with our freedom? Obviously we can’t win by doing whatever we want and we can’t win by obeying all the rules. The only way to keep your freedom is to live selflessly. Whatever that means to you. The root of sin is self, so if you live selfless, then you are not looking for your own gain and your not focusing on your rule abiding abilities.
For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. -Galatians 5:17
Selfless people are free to love. That’s why we were set free. To love.
Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. -Galatians 5:23
When you actually know what this whole thing is all about, you don’t worry about yourself anymore and you don’t worry about the way others perceive you and your relationship with God. You are not like anyone else, you have your own flavor. As long as you’re not trying to get your own way or trying to keep yourself clean, then you can just be.
When you hear this stuff, you have to let it move beyond sentiment. Feel it change you. Feel the truth set you free.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. -Galatians 5:25-26
inspired by Galatians 5