Lawmen and Freeman, Daily Reform, Day 29

Galatians 1:6-9 & Psalm 119:33-40

From the Reformer

Paul accentuates the point that the Galatians had been called by Christ unto grace. “I taught you the doctrine of grace and of liberty from the Law, from sin and wrath, that you should be free in Christ, and not slaves to the hard laws of Moses. Will you allow yourselves to be carried away so easily from the living fountain of grace and life?”

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

If one does not rely upon the grace of God, there is only one alternative: the Law of God. This alternative is impossible. King David asked for the understanding to wholly keep the Law. (Psa 119:34) But he was incapable (re: Bathsheba) and by necessity needed to trust God’s grace instead of his ability to “observe it with [his] whole heart.” David’s situation is just like our own: he needed to try to be good but to depend upon God’s grace when he was not good. The Galatian Christians enslaved themselves to the Law after they had been set free by grace in Christ. This is tantamount to giving up one’s citizenship in Christ’s kingdom. One cannot be both citizen and slave. Yet this is exactly what the Galatians had bought into because of the teaching of those who attacked Paul’s teaching. They were easily swayed to be law-keepers instead of freemen.

Today’s churches are filled with these same sort of lawmen. It seems that entire congregations are bent on keeping their own version of law for both membership requirement and method of denigrating other Christians. In so doing, like the Galatians of old, these believers have relegated the cross to the back seat. Personal glory (i.e.: I am right and you are wrong.) has taken center stage. They have led themselves away “from the living fountain of grace and life” and must now depend upon an impossible law — whether they realize it or not.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

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