Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What So Many In The Church Fail To Understand

There are so many people who are still lost in the attitude of law and who have entirely missed the point of grace. The world is a place where everything has a price, a cost associated with it, so it is difficult for us to understand the free act of God's grace in such a context. Law is an easier thing for us to understand because justice is something we cherish in a world of law breakers. So we sit in our churches with our lists of do's and don'ts thinking that everything is well with us in a world that is going mad. But the truth is that we are just as lost as the world if we think a law will save us.

With the giving of the Holy Spirit, our Father has taken what was on paper and he has written it on our heart so that we are able to live the purpose of the law. Read through the Scriptures again and see how much our heart's condition matters to God. People struggle to understand where the law fits in compared to God's grace but Apostle Paul explained it very well in a few short verses. He starts off with:

So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ[h] that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)

So we see here that the law had purpose up until the arrival of Jesus. In fact, it's purpose, like everything from the Old Testament, was to lead us to Jesus. Paul explains it like this:

What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. (Galatians 4:1-3)

The Law given to Moses dealt with the basic principles of this world. It is all that they could handle at the time. God had to reveal a lot more of himself through this nation, using the Law, before he could bring them into the freedom of maturity. They were being raised under the trusteeship of the Law. Makes sense; a child under guardianship cannot make his own decisions but must follow the direction of the guardian. He has no choice in the matter.

Eventually that child is going to reach the age of majority and will be entitled to the freedom of sonship. That is what Jesus did for us, moving us from guardianship to the full rights of a son:

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Perhaps this is not all that exciting for you who are young in your faith but for those who are mature enough to understand, this is incredible stuff. I know that Paul seems to make a mere mention of the fact but the role of the Spirit is well worth taking note of. Jesus became the door for us to go through, to enter into this relationship with our Father. The cross is that door for us, not a place to hang out but to move beyond. It is the entry point. The mark of sonship, that we belong to God is the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Look at it again:

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

Not everyone in this creation sees him as Father and not everyone has the right to call him Father, but we do. And as he gives us the Spirit, the Spirit moves the Law from the paper to our hearts and we are now governed by the greater law of love. The entire law is summed up in two very simple things that can only be lived out in practicality when we are possessed by the Holy Spirit: love God with your entire being and love your neighbour as yourself. Everything depends on these two things that are written on our hearts by the Spirit and worked out in our daily living.

Unfortunately, there are huge sections of the Church who insist on the guardianship of the Law, setting aside grace because they do not understand it in the context of this world. They are very much like the Pharisees and priests who joined the early Church and became the circumcision group that followed Paul around and constantly stirred up trouble for him. But just because they struggle with the big picture of what God has done does not mean we have to. Just because they remain in the guardianship of the Law does not mean we have to. We have been set free so that we can become sons of God.

Claim that freedom today. Come out of that guardianship and enjoy the full benefits and privileges of sonship by the grace of God. We are the children of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ who is the first born of a very large family. Trust God and accept this free gift of redemption. Receive the Spirit and start living as God has always intended for us to live, in deep fellowship with him.

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