Day Four

February 5, 2009

I am so excited about today! Jeff and I studied over Galatians 3 and 4. Chapter 3 is my favorite chapter so far. It really shows off the freedom we have in Christ. Many of my non Christian friends think that Christians cannot have as much fun as non Christians because we have so many rules. IT IS NOT TRUE! We have FREEDOM in Christ! Jesus came to free us from the curse(as Paul describes it) of the law! Amazing. If we are truly living sold out for God, as I like to think I am, we will probably wind up doing many of the so called laws, but not out of a restriction from them. Because we love Jesus so much that we naturally do. And it feels good to follow the rules! How often do you hear people say that? But before I get too far off on this I should probably give an update on how I am doing.

Today has been great. I went to the cafeteria twice to study for my Calculus II test with some other people. It seems that my sense of smell is heightened, because I can make out almost every individual food right when I walk in the cafeteria, but it did not bother me. I sat in there and drank my water and felt great. As with the other days, I feel hunger, but it does not control anything. I do not really know how to describe it adequately. It is almost like when your car has less than half a tank of gas. You know it needs more gas, but it still continues to operate just fine. My mind is still plenty sharp, and I am expecting to do well on my test tomorrow. My focus is a bit off. I thought it was my eyes, but I realized it is my focus. Normally I am slightly paranoid and try to pay attention to everything going on around me, but I find it difficult to do so now. Not that it worries me too much, but it is a little annoying when I am walking around at night alone. What I do find interesting is that my stomach feels sorta flabby. If you have seen me lately you know that I have a bit of a gut now. Not a huge thing, but enough. It is still there now, but is feels like there is nothing underneath it, like it is just a flab of skin hanging on there. Maybe that is why I have not been crazy hungry, I’ve got reserves ;). But enough of me, more of God!

I have a feeling that this is going to get kinda long, so you may want to go get a cup of coffee or order a pizza or something.

Galatians 3. All about faith versus the law. Remember that previously we learned that Paul is an amazingly learned man. Paul knew more than most of the other religious Jewish leaders about the scriptures in his time. This knowledge of Paul lends an amazing amount of weight to his words. Anyone who denies a verse like Galatians 3:16 must be crazier than me not eating for a week.

I love how this chapter starts out: “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” Paul wastes no words, he does not beat around the bush, and he does not bother to be politically correct enough not to hurt peoples feelings. Instead he just comes right out with it. What he is trying to say here is that it is foolish to follow the law instead of the things he had told them. Why is that? Faith. We are justified by faith in Christ, not the law in humans, which is really what it is. When we Christians try to follow the law guess who is doing it. US. WE ARE. That is not how it is supposed to be at all. We are supposed to believe in God and follow him. He will lead us to where we need to go, and how to act. Listen to this, “Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”(verse 6)”. Paul is trying to illustrate here that Abraham did not have the law with him. Abraham had faith: “So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.(verse 9)” Some people try to say that God gave Abraham the law, but it is clearly Moses who received the law from God. Later on in the chapter we learn that God gave the law 430 years later! That means a lot of Christians today!

So what is the point? Here it is. The law was not made for use to be able to follow, verse 23 says the law held us prisoner. God knew what he was doing when he created the law. He knew that we could not follow it. The law is way to extreme for us. That is why he sent Jesus. Jesus followed not only the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law as well. The law was designed to show that it is impossible for us to get to God, and reveal to us Jesus Christ, the only one who could, so that we might be able to come to him.

This issue of whether or not Christians are under the law seems to have a lot of contention surrounding it. Let me share with you a few verses that should dispel any argument that we must live under the law.

2. Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law , or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After begining with the Spririt, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

5. Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

10. All who rely on observing the law are under a curse…

11. Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law…

18. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

25. Now that faith(Jesus) has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

That is a pretty large selection of verses in a chapter with only 29 verses. This whole chapter is all about Paul making a case that we are not bound by the law. “What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed(Jesus) who the promise referred had come.(19)” God gave us the law because there was so much sin in the world. When we have a relationship with God we will naturally do what he wants,  but many in the world rejected relationship with him. God had to tell us exactly what he wanted from us. Now check this out, “Before this faith(Jesus) came, we were held prisoner by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.(23)” Living by the law causes us to be restricted. It is hard to love or serve anyone who has such strict laws. But Paul goes on and gets to my favorite part, which also happens to tell us exactly what the law was for. You would think that he could have just said that, but people are thick skulled and needed it pounded home a bit. “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.(24,25)” Holy crap! That excites me to the core! Instead of being restricted all over the place I am now free to love God and worship him however I feel.

Many people that argue in favor of the law have told me that we should still do what is contained in the law. Now I do not disagree that the law is good, but there is no possible way that we can do everything contained within the law. Luckily Christ freed us from that burden. And here is my firm belief from reading and observation. If we, as Christians, strive for an ever deeper, more personal relationship with Jesus Christ we will eventually wind up doing what his heart is, which is the law! Cool isn’t it? If you do not understand that let me use the marriage analogy. When two people get married they know very little of each other, but over time as they grow in their relationship they learn more and more. Their love for the other person causes them to desire the desires of the other’s heart. That person in essence becomes their law. That is exactly the same as with Jesus. As we pursue a deeper relationship with him we will begin to desire the things of his heart.

There is so much more here, and I have not even touched on chapter 4 yet, but it is midnight here, and I have a test at 8am and all my roommates are in bet already.. I am going to hit the sack, but please leave me comments on this. If I have time before the post for tomorrow I will post more about the amazing things in these two chapters, but really, I challenge you to read them for yourself. Do not just take my word for anything I say, but examine the scriptures and determine the truth of my words for yourself.