Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Law or Faith?

December 16, 2010

Today's post will be short and sweet because we are in the middle of finals week at school and I have to study. The scripture for today is especially poignant for me because of this. As usual, the lectionary gives us a passage from the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, a Psalm, and a passage from the New Testament.

I've chosen the one from Galatians as it is part of what scholars call the "Magna Charta of Christian Liberty." Martin Luther held Galatians so dear as to be equal in his heart to his wife, Katie von Bora.

Formerly a strict Pharisitic legalist, the apostle Paul was converted to Christianity and turned his not inconsiderable rhetorical talents to speaking and writing in support of his newly discovered faith. His letter to the Galatians makes strong arguments that there is nothing we could possibly do to make God love us more. God loves us because, well, that's what God does.

Prayer: "God of old and new, sometimes we believe that the only way to be loved in the world is to complete a checklist of requirements to deserve being loved. Thank you for loving us without deserving it and without sometimes even recognizing it. Amen."

Paul writes: Galatians 3:23-29 (New International Version, ©2010)

Children of God

23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Each of us is at liberty to respond to this extending of God's hand in whatever manner seems best to us.

Theological question for the day: What do we do with our freedom?

The ancient Christians went in two directions. Some, like the people in Galatia, became obsessed with legalism. Others took their Christian freedom too and refused to follow anyone's rules. Which is the greater danger today?

Prayer: "Heavenly One, thank you for grace, which we have by faith. Thanks as well for the freedom you give us to live outside of any artificial cages. May our response always honor you. Amen."

Grace and Peace!

For further reading:

Psalm 80 1-7, 17-19

2 Samuel 7:18-22

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