Christianity possesses the greatest power on earth. Within the teachings of Christianity are all of the things you need to know to set you free, because freedom is in Jesus Christ.
Apart from Christ there is no freedom and there can be no freedom. Apart from Christ there is only bondage and slavery.
Look at the world around you. Who in this world is truly free? Any person who is confined under law, fear and bound up by the passions of human nature cannot be truly free. All people in this world are in bondage because true freedom can only be found in Jesus Christ. That is what these few verses of Paul are saying too.
These verses in Galatians chapter 1 really set the scene for this whole letter. The essence of this whole book is to instruct a church that has rejected the gospel of freedom in Jesus Christ and accepted a different gospel, which is a mishmash of law and bondage.
Paul is frustrated, astonished and amazed that the Galatians church has been torn apart by false teaching and lies from people who are supposed to be representing Jesus Christ. False teachers had come among the Galatians and are leading them back into bondage, and Paul is quite clearly horrified by it.
He says they have been taken captive by accepting a different gospel, and then makes the point that there is not, and cannot be a different gospel. There is only ONE gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. Anything else, anything that purports to be a different gospel is a lie and will not lead to freedom, but to bondage.
Today I commence my studies in the book of Galatians. As a brief overview of this amazing letter from the Apostle Paul to the church if the Galatians, it is worthwhile just noting what Paul wrote in his first few introductory words.
These few verses really tell a story and set the tone for the rest of Paul’s letter. And it is not a good story as far as the church of the Galatians is concerned.
So let’s just examine his opening words and see where Paul is coming from and what he intends to speak about to the Galatians.
One of the worst things that can happen to a person, especially a Christian, is to brought into slavery. I am not talking about the kind of slavery we are familiar with, which is physical slavery where people are captured, sold and held in chains to do the bidding of others.
No. My concern and the concern Paul raises in this section is about Christians in spiritual slavery. This is far worse than physical slavery because most Christians don’t even know they have been captured. They don’t realise they are in spiritual bondage, and too often it is the church itself which puts them into bondage and forces them to stay there.
This should not be so because Jesus came and died so that the slavery of the spirit and the bondages of sin could and would be broken. And yet many Christians today are still trapped in those same bonds and have no idea how to break free as Jesus planned.
There is a process in corporations law that is known as lifting the veil of the law. It applies to the ability of the courts to get behind the protections in corporations law to hold the directors of a company accountable for their actions when they act unconscionably or defraud shareholders, investors or the community.
This process is one that brings people who have done the wrong thing to account so they can be judged and if necessary condemned for their actions.
Now what we see in this section of scripture is another process of lifting the veil of the law, not for corporate entities but for individuals. But the process in Christianity is very different. In corporations, it leads to condemnation, but in Christ, it leads to freedom. And it is this freeing process we will look at here Continue reading “Lifting the Veil of the Law”
Sometimes it is easy to become complacent about the wondrous opportunity we have been given by God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we take it all for granted, not realising how truly blessed we are to live in this age where we can receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This piece of scripture looks at the gospel of the new covenant and does a comparison with the offer under the old covenant and we recognise just how blessed we are.
While there were many blessings under the old covenant of law, what we have today in Christ Jesus is far, far better. We have an opportunity that was not even remotely possible under the law. So we must take time and effort to understand the gospel and the teachings of the new covenant to take full advantage of ALL that God is offering and make full use of the blessings we have been given freely in Jesus Christ.
In various places across this blog I have posted information about the financing of the Christian church.
I know that many in the church these days tithe and give offerings because that is what they are taught by their ministers and pastors. And there is no doubt that if a church is to operate it needs the financial funding to do so. Even those who hire local halls must have the money to hire and provide the needs of the church for the running of the church.
But the mechanism of the Christian church is not tithing. In this section of scripture Paul shows us how the giving process in the church ought to operate.
This section of scripture is well known among Christians for a number of different reasons, but what it represents is one of the least understood principles in the bible.
It speaks directly to what the offer of God's grace is to mankind. Grace is one of those “churchy” words that Christians throw around all of the time. But understanding grace and what God has offered us is well described in this section.
And the final few verses offer an insight into the mystery of grace. They open up the power of the grace of God so we can better understand just exactly what God achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
There was a practice in the church for many years where women were expected to wear some kind of head covering when they attended church. This practice has weakened and pretty much disappeared today, but even so there are some churches that still hold to this tradition quite strongly.
Much of the argument for this tradition comes out of this section of scripture. But is it what the scripture is truly saying? Does a woman have to wear a veil or a hat or some other kind of head covering today?
The question is probably even more compelling given the rise of Islam and the requirement of that religion for women to not just wear hats or veils, but to fully cover their faces with the burka. Now I do not intend to get into the discussion over whether the burka is right or wrong as my focus is not about what is done in Islam, but rather what is practiced in the name of Jesus Christ and the Christian churches. So let us look at this scripture to try to understand what Paul was driving at.
A number of things come to mind as I read these two verses. First is the stark contrast between the old and the ne covenants, especially as they were interpreted and put into practice by both the Pharisees and Jesus Christ respectively.
The Pharisees strictly applied the letter of the law, but without love. Their approach was without compassion, mercy or judgement. On the contrary, Jesus kept the law also but both preached and showed by His actions how it should be interpreted from the basis of faith, mercy, compassion, justice and most importantly, love.
The second thing that occurred to me as I read this is how wrong it is when many so-called Christians deliberately misinterpret the freedom from law we have in Christ Jesus by faith, and promote licentiousness. Paul is quite explicit in these two verses that this is not the purpose or function of freedom from law.