You were Called to be Free! -- By Lyn Chaffart

Happy New Year, and may God bless each of you abundantly throughout this new year.  As you seek God this year, remember that God has called each of you to be FREE! 

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." (Gal 5:13-15)

The Galatians.  Paul left them in good standing, but someone--or something--cut in on them, redirecting their beliefs away from what they learned in the beginning.  What a disappointment this must have been to Paul!  You can hear his disillusionment as he cries out to them:  "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you." (Gal 5:7-9, Italics mine). 

But just what is this all about?  What horrible thing have they done? It all boiled down to this: They allowed someone to persuade them that they must keep the law, including circumcision, to be saved!  And in doing so, it seems that they lost sight of Jesus' own command:  "Love your neighbor as yourself"

But this isn't what Paul had taught them, and it isn't according to the Gospel of Jesus.  Paul was forced to take a stand on this: "You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." (Gal. 5:4)  His heartfelt cry of anguish calls out for them to receive their freedom in Christ and to break free of the bondage of the law:  "You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."  (Gal 5:13-15). 

In other words, they are free of the binds of the law, and that freedom will help them to focus on what is really important:  "Love your neighbor as yourself!"

The Galatians.  What a church!  How quickly they forgot what really mattered.  Good thing our churches aren't like that!  We never bite or destroy one another.  We always practice Jesus' command:  "Love your neighbor" . . . Or do we? 

A couple of years ago I was sitting in a small congregation of about 100, when the guest speaker asked for anyone who knew beyond a doubt that they would go to heaven to raise their hands.  I raised my hand, along with -- count them -- 3 or 4 others!  Sadly, the rest were not sure of their Salvation.  The rest were all "working hard", hoping to get there!  After the service, a lady came up to me.  She remarked that I had put up my hand, and we proceeded to have a conversation.  Then she noticed my wedding ring, and she began to try and persuade me that my wedding ring would keep me from Heaven.  Next she mentioned that she noticed I didn't wear a hat and I was wearing pants. . . I could just imagine the same kind of conversation happening in Galatia.  "But you aren't circumcised!" 

Now, this kind of modern-day drama may not always happen so vividly.  But haven't you ever heard someone say:  "Yes, 'Sam' is coming to church -- but (sigh, shake your head) you should have heard what happened last week!"

My friends, if Paul were to attend out churches today, I'm afraid the words on his lips would not be "Well done"!  Instead, I can just hear his anguished cry:  "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you . . . You, my brothers, were called to be free . . . The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other!" (Gal. 5:7-9, 13-15, emphasis mine)

Think about it, my friends.  Jesus has called each one of us to be free of the burden of the law, "for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Gal 2:21)  Reach out and accept YOUR FREEDOM in Christ today!  The ability to "love your neighbor" could hang on your decision!

In His love,
Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org