A Charter for Freedom

Reading through the Book of Galatians this morning, I found this interesting quote in the comments section at the beginning of the book.

The book of Galatians is the charter of Christian freedom.  In this profound letter, Paul proclaims the reality of our liberty in Christ — freedom from the law and the power of sin, and freedom to serve our living Lord.

The book of Galatians was written by Paul in approximately A.D 49 to the churches in southern Galatia (which is now an area in the modern country of Turkey).  Many churches had been founded in this area on Paul’s first missionary journey.  After Paul’s departure, many zealous Christian Jews (called the Judaizers) began to preach a gospel that said that Gentile Christians had to submit to Jewish laws and traditions in addition to believing in Christ.  The purpose of the book of Galatians was to refute these Judaizers and to bring the believers back to the pure Gospel, one that the Good News is for all people and salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith in Christ Jesus and nothing else.  Faith in Christ means true freedom.

Jesus himself in his own words tells us exactly what we need to do for eternal salvation.

Jesus told them, ‘This is what God wants you to do:  Believe in the one he has sent.’  -John 6:29

I assure you, those who listen to my  message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life.  They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death to life.  -John 5:24

I could share many verses, but the point is, throughout the Bible we are taught that Jesus has taken the yoke of the law from us and carried that burden to the cross.  When he conquered death, we are no longer tied to the law.  The law showed us how imperfect we were, Jesus took our imperfection upon himself and made us clean through his blood.  He’s given us our freedom from the law of the old testament.

I think I may have a few more posts in me on the book of Galatians as it’s a fascinating book that I’ve not studied in depth before.  I may talk more about that and more about the role of good works in our lives….because while not a requirement of salvation, it is something that Christians ought to want to do.

God bless you all today.

 

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He is Risen!

Cole,_Thomas_-_Cross_at_Sunset_-_c._1848_“He is risen”…..”He is risen indeed!”  Mostly likely this Easter Sunday you’ll hear those words over and over again.  I’ve seen them multiple times this morning already on social media sites.  Those incredible three words, “He is risen”, have such a profound effect on our lives and our world since they were uttered 2000+ years ago.  I’ve felt led today to think more upon them instead of just reciting them.

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. – Matthew 28:6

My study Bible points out in it’s notes how this verse is key to the Christian faith for a number of reasons:

  1. Jesus promised that he would rise from the dead.   This would have seemed like an impossible promise to keep by many of his followers, even those that witnessed him raising others out of death.  But, as always, he fulfilled his promise.  We can be confident, therefore, that he will accomplish all that he promises.  This gives us great hope.
  2. Jesus’ bodily resurrection shows us that the living Christ is ruler of God’s eternal Kingdom, not a false prophet or impostor.   There were many that claimed to be the messiah over the years, many whom even had quite a following, and a few that have even been the basis of major world religions.  Jesus has a unique factor among all of them.  He is the only one, who has conquered death itself.  He is the master over death.  He alone reigns over his Kingdom.
  3. We can be certain of our resurrection, death is not the end.  Jesus told his disciples that he was going ahead to make a place for them.  The scripture promises us life everlasting and new heavenly bodies when we join Jesus in Heaven.  We have eternity to spend with Jesus for those that believe.
  4. The power that brought Jesus back to life is available to us to bring our spiritually dead selves back to life.  We as sinners are separated from God.  We are broken spiritually.  The blood of Christ, upon the cross, paid the penalty that we deserve for our sins.  Because Jesus took that sin upon himself and paid the price and conquered death, the debt has been paid and we can now come into the presence of God.  Our spiritual selves have been resurrected with Christ.  He has risen, and so have our spirits been raised from sin.
  5. The Resurrection is the basis for the church’s witness to the world.  Jesus was so much more than a human leader or a great teacher.  He is literally the Son of God.  He didn’t just spend his time hear on earth teaching, or leading, or writing down his wisdom as many other “founders” of major religions.  No he lived a sinless life, paid our debt with his life, then rose from the dead, giving us true hope.  Jesus did what no other religious leader had done before or after.

Remember what those three words, “He is Risen” mean when you hear them today.  Such powerful meaning in such a short phrase.

Everyone have a blessed Easter!

HE IS RISEN!

We Are Being Watched

800px-Binoculars_25x100All day, every day, people are watching us.  Watching how we act, how we speak, how we interact with others, how we work, how we play.  No matter what we do others are watching.  No I’m not talking about the gov’t spying on us or some conspiracy theory of some sort.   No I’m talking about everyday people we interact with.  Our families (especially our children), our coworkers, our friends, strangers we meet, and simple passerby that we are completely unaware of…..all of these people we interact with in some fashion every day.

They watch what we do, even if they are unaware, they are forming opinions about us, about our beliefs, about life based on how they see us.

We try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered from finding the Lord by the way we act, and so no one can find fault with our ministry.  -1 Corinthians 6:3

This is a tough road to travel at times.  Because of just one unkind word or an inappropriate action, people who may be seeking answers in their lives could be turned away from Christ, because they see us, a Christian, act in a way that is hypocritical or in some way not very Christlike.

Your actions can carry a lot of meaning behind them, intended or not.  Do not be careless or undisciplined in your actions as they could be made an excuse for someone to reject Christ.  It’s a heavy burden and we will falter.  Luckily we can ask for forgiveness and pray that the damage done is not too great.