Why do so many Christians, having known the truth about what it means to be children of God, focus so much on their own abilities or failings? It seems that no matter what we do as Christians, the world keeps pulling us to those things that pull us away from Jesus Christ. When we should be preaching the Kingdom of God, we are preaching the value of the American dream. When we should be serving our neighbors with our time and money, we hoard for ourselves treasures on earth. When we should be focusing on the eternal truths and glory of the Gospel of grace, we believe that through our own abilities, we can earn God’s favor or when we fail that we have somehow disappointed God. Why is this?
The good news is that this is not unique to me or to you (I would venture to say). Paul, in his letter to the Galatians is entreating them to flee from a belief that they can earn God’s favor through the law and to focus on the truths that they have been taught by Paul where Christ’s sacrifice is all that matters. Through the inspired Word of God, Paul is pleading to you and to me to not be enslaved to anything that isn’t God (everything else). Even though Paul was talking to the church in Galatia, He is also speaking to us with a true and genuine desire to see all of us freed from the worship of our own self righteousness. Paul even goes so far as to say that he is in anguish at the way that the Galatians (and us as well) have turned back to this slavery even after seeing the freedom of Christ.
What we must all come to understand is that whether it is being enslaved to the law (as with the church in Galatia) or being enslaved to sin (as with the modern world), if we put our focus in anything other than in Christ and the Gospel, we are settling for something less. Even those of us who have been chosen by God and who are known by God (Galatians 4:9) oftentimes have a tendency to live our lives like the truth that has been revealed to us isn’t entirely true. What we need to rely on is the fact that though we rebel, like Paul’s concern for the church in Galatia, God is concerned that we rely on Him and not on anything less than Him (and that includes ourselves). Is the Gospel the primary focus of your life? Would Paul be perplexed at what you are holding dear and are you living like Christ has truly been formed in you?
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
(Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)
This week's posts were written by Michael Davis.