Galatians 3:1-18; Jeremiah 51-52; Psalm 144
In football, it’s the “prevent defense” which usually doesn’t prevent anything. Or it’s the high-powered offense that’s ahead and suddenly does nothing but run the ball up the middle. Instead of following the old adage to “dance with the one that brung ye” the coaches change that strategy and will often lose a game that should be won. We have that same problem in the Christian life. We believe that our relationship with God through Christ happens because the Holy Spirit moves in us and we are able to come to Christ. We would readily say that we could do nothing to begin our relationship with God and that He’s already done all the work. Then, we talk about growing in Christ and becoming the person God wants us to be. And we talk about our efforts to do that. Paul had some tough words on that subject: “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3) The Galatians were being led astray into thinking that while the Spirit brought salvation, they had to work hard to grow. They were being led to follow the Jewish Law. Perhaps the concept was that while they couldn’t follow the Law on their own, now with Jesus in their lives, He would help them follow the Law. Paul is amazed at that idea. Paul is aghast at that idea. To him, it was going back into the bondage of the Law. He called the Galatians foolish, as he would call many of us who fall back into depending on the Law to tell us what to do and how to live. Growth in the Christian life comes from depending on and following the lead of the Spirit. Our relationship with God does not lead us into bondage, but into freedom. We should not let our freedom lead us back into bondage, though, either to the Law or to sin. We should be obedient to the Spirit’s call on our lives.
Lord, it’s so easy to live by a set of rules and regulations. When I do that, I don’t really have to think about how I do things. You did not leave us a set of rules and regulations, though. You left us Your Spirit. Help me to follow Your Spirit and become the man You called me to become through Your Spirit.